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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok fellas, I've been thinking about this for some time now.

I can't bring myself to stop carrying my Taurus 92 (5" barrel). I finally found the answer: Shorter barrels don't inspire confidence in me.

I look at long barrels, and I have a long sight plane, a slight edge in velocity, less muzzle flip, and overall, a better shooter.

I shoot a 4" barreled pistol, I still have an adequate sight plane, decent velocity out of most cartridges, a bit more concealability but more muzzle blast and flip.

Going down into the 3" realm, the sight radius isn't adequate except for close in (I wouldn't want to try a 25yd pinpoint shot with one anyway), velocity suffers, muzzle blast and flip go way up (especially since I'm probably hanging on with two fingers, my pinky dangling), but quite a bit more concealability. I won't use Pierce extensions as I feel it kinda' defeats the purpose. As well, the capacity suffers compared to the full- and mid-sized pistols.

I can't bring myself to believe that the tradeoff for easy concealability in a "mini" handgun is worth it compared to a full-sized pistol. I want a barrel with more than 4" on it and decent capacity, unless I absolutely have no other choice, meaning, very deep concealment with a 2+ second draw time.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Thanks,

Josh <><

P.S. I am not bashing small pistols or those who carry them. J.S.
 

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IMO, short barrels, like a snub J-frame, are for those of us wanting an easy to conceal carry weapon. Most civilians, again just my opinion, with a CCW permit are not interested in shooting longer ranges, say over 5 yds. and therefore don't need the accuracy of a long sight radius. Less than 5 yds. is just a point-and-shoot matter and all that's needed is alignment of the pistol with the front sight on the target. So the short barrel turns out to be good enough for that.
Also, becoming more popular, are the laser sights that can be put on a short J-frame S&W or a Taurus 85 that turn the revolver into an accurate, longer range weapon. My S&W Model 37 with CrimsonTrace grips is POA/POI accurate at 10 - 20 yds. And it carries in my pocket easily.
With the new short barrel ammo, like Speer's GoldDot 135gr+p 38special, I feel just as well protected as anybody with a 9mm. Full "12inch gelatin" penetration with 50cal expansion, every time.
Just my opinion, Josh. You might want to take a look at laser sights. I don't recommend lasers for everyone and not for normal target shooting. But mine take the guesswork out of SD knowing the bullet is going exactly where the red dot is aimed, even in the "occular window", if needed.
og.....picture of my Mod 37, think I posted it before, "try it, you'll like it" ;)

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi OG,

I was talking more about autos (what I call pistols)... the .38spl snub is well accepted in my mind. Wierd, eh?

I do thank you for your answer. Maybe that's the key... why do I feel acceptably armed with a snub revolver with +P ammo, but not a "snub" auto? ??? Hmmm... point to ponder alright.

Thanks,

Josh <><
 
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We built a Shortsword 01 that shoots like a bullseye gun. It has an Officers slide over a Commander lower end in Titainum. If I can overcome the resistance to the software here, I will post a picture of it. I also have a picture of a target. Mr. Camp and I are the only ones that dare to post pictures of targets shot by the guns we build. There is a sectre message there...............
All Carry guns are for 3-7yards. If you have more room than that, RUN AWAY! Carry Guns are NOT Toy guns that we use for Games. They are meant to be Q&D (Quick and Dirty) and easy to conceal.
 

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Joshua, I regularly carry and shoot a Kel-tek P11. as well as a Makarov. I am able to hit my target quite well at 15 yards (haven't tried 25 in a long time). I'm sure Mr. Camp will agree with me, as an ex-LEO, you tend to get used to shorter barrels on your weapons. I carried and shot a 3" K frame for years....and shot it well. I tend to like the shorter barrel.
 

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sorry, Josh, I got carried away when you said "short barrel". But for pistols, I have a "short barrel" Kahr PM9 that I'm not at all concerned about. It fits the bill for close range SD and again, you don't need to line up the sights, just point and shoot.
Perhaps you are too much concerned about distances over 5 yds. And if that is the problem, I'll agree you need a pistol you can line the sights and hit POI/POA. Like LEO's need that.
og
 
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In the 1911 community it is pretty well accepted that if you go under the size of a Commander-length pistol that reliability begins to degrade. This is due in part to physics. The mass of the slide of a standard Government Model helps slow the speed of the slide during recoil. When you reduce the mass/weight of the slide/barrel assembly you have to compensate by using a stronger, but shorter, recoil spring. This dependence on the spring is the weak point of the smaller .45acp pistols. The spring takes a real battering in these short guns and they have a shortened life. As the spring weakens reliability starts to go South.

Glock had the same problem in their subcompact .45acp, the Model 36. If you look at the Glock lineup, the 36 is an orphan model. No other pistols were built on that size. Instead Glock chose to invent the .45 GAP cartridge and went with a much beefier slide.

I'm not an engineer, but this all makes sense to me. I won't carry anything smaller than a Commander in .45 and am wary of ultra-small semiautomatic pistols.
 

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Hi Josh,

With semi-automatic pistols, I would say that it depends on the particular firearm for me.

I used to own a Colt Officer's ACP that I could shoot like a champ and had every bit of confidence in it and then on the other hand owned a Kel Tec P-11 that would spray bullets all over the target in comparison to the Colt.

I switched to the SA Champion 4" barrel because in all honesty I am thinking that it will be a happy medium between overall/barrel length and concealability/accuracy. I think my reasoning will be born out in time after it gets nice and "broken in".

In terms of speed and drawing from concealment, a person of my physical stature does well with shorter barrel handguns. Er hum, I mean my physique.


Chris
 

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Personally I like short barrels.

I favor the 3 inch 1911 for carry. (Kimber Tactical Ultra)
The only objection I have to the shorter barrel is the little loss in velocity and I make up for that with the ammo.

As far as accuracy, I find I shoot the 3 inch 1911 as well as I shoot the 4 and 5 inch.

I hate it when I miss with the last shot. :)
(5 inch bull)
 

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And as far as short barrels and crappy sights with a short sight radius being a problem, you just have to work at it.

A S&W 2 inch model 10 I bought in 1960, that has untold thousands of rounds through it. :)

(1 inch squares)


 
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It's good to see those targets! It's not the gun! It's the Gunner!
The shorter the slide, the more problems arise. If you know how to make these 3.5" guns to run, they can be very nice for CCW. I am going to pack Dean's Shortsword 01 today. I know it works fine because it has about 4000 rounds through it without a hic-up.
 

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I just flat do better work with the service sized guns, so that's what I carry most of the time. If hot weather or my sometimes sore back becomes a concern, I can make do with the Kahr K9, Makarov 9x18, or my snubnose 9mm Parabellum J frame S&W.

Anything smaller than those are only carried as a SECOND gun, which isn't a frequent thing for me either.
 

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Josh and all,
I've used and carried all barrel lengths of 1911's. The one exception is the 3" Defender style. Won't go there.
Both the Full size and Commander sized pistols gave up very little. The Ltwt Officers gave up quite a bit and it was apparent at 25 yards and especially at 50 yards. Long distances, but when chrono'd I was losing about 100 FPS + depending on the load.
Now I carry only Commander or Government sized 1911's. I will carry the Glock 36 as it gives me Commander ballistics.
I've occasionally carried a .38 snubbie, but can't get comfortable with the loss of ballistics, either. The lone excepton is my M19 2 1/2" .357. , but then its really a full size gun with a short barrel.
Now that we've beat this around let's return to Rule #1: Have a gun.
Guess that puts the caliber/size wars in perspective.
Wes
 

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"Mr. Camp and I are the only ones that dare to post pictures of targets shot by the guns we build."

Is it possible that you and Stephen are the only ones here who've built guns?

The target below was shot a couple of weeks ago. Range was ten yards, using S&B 230-grain ball, time was about ten seconds for eight rounds. Not really fast shooting, but faster than shooting for precision. Gun is a mostly stock Colt 1991 Commander.

 
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I've tended to doubt the reliiability of pistols shorter than Commander length, which is why I like j-frames. My little Kahr MK9 has proved me wrong about this, though.

Of course, barrel length is less important than overall width and grip length when it comes to concealability, unless you really do want to put it in your pocket. As many have observed for long time, a government model is still one of the easiest handguns to hide.

I find weight has more to do with accuracy than barrel length. A light weight gun can be more challenging on the follow up shots. So for me this is where the tradeoff really lies. I want something light enough to carry, but not too light to shoot.

So despite my experience with the Kahr, a j-frame is what carry or a G19.

Max
 

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In these threads about 3 inch barrel 1911 pistols there's always the comments about how unreliable they are.

I just don't see it. My three 3 inch barrel Kimbers have been more reliable than any 1911's I've ever seen. My Eclipse did need a break in to reliably feed, of all things FMJ RN. ::)
My friend's 3 inch Kimbers are the same, stone cold reliable and accurate.

Now I have no experience with any other brands and maybe most brands with 3 inch barrels do give problems.
 
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It's not so much an issue of them being unreliable, per se, as it is an issue of them being high-maintenance. You have to change the recoil spring a bit more often in the shorty 1911s, or you'll end up with problems. At least that's been the case with everyone that I've ever spoken to who owned one.
 

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I've never changed my Kimber springs and haven't had any problems but a little preventive maintenance doesn't hurt. :)

Then to, the great majority of my 45 shooting is with 200 gr SWC bullets loaded less than full loads.

I'll have to look into getting some new springs.
 
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Well I can and do build guns I just cant ever get the pictures to work,, Will look up the photobucket sight though... A common thought seems to be " I carry a compact and it's accurate" uh another important part of the equation is speed. How many of the posters have shot drills with the shorties and shot the same drills with a full size with a shot timer and using some type of scoring method like IDPA, IPSC or TSA to compare the performance from the holster from concealment. I can take my time and hit pretty well with my 3.5 Beretta thought alot of it until I added a shot timer and the IDPA classifier to my practice session. I can score expert with room to spare with a Para 16-40 5 inch 1911, or a 9mm commander 1911. Best I have ever done with the Beretta is marksman and just barely that. Pretty much the only handguns I carry are a 4.25 1911, Hipower, and a S&W 646 (Lframe 4") and a Super Blackhawk 5.5 ( well actually my horse carries that one in a pommel holster wish I could teach him to fan the hammer maybe cover me in a firefight)
 
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