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Thread: Barrel length

  1. #1
    CSailor is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Barrel length

    I am looking at purchasing my first handgun. I am looking at both the 40 S&W and 45 ACP. I am leaning toward the 40 S&W at the moment.

    My question is, in either caliber, is there much difference between a 4.4 inch barrel or a 5 inch barrel?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Fdesantis3 is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    19
    Both calibers are effective at both barrel lengths, but you give up muzzle velocity and sight radius as you shorten the barrel. Frankly, there's not that much difference between the two barrel lengths. It would be more pronounced in comparing a 5 inch and 3 inch barrel.

    Sight radius will be an issue with both barrel lengths independent of caliber. Even in the more drastic 5" v 3" comparison though it's less of an issue within the close contact distances that a personal defense gun would be used. It makes a difference, but the shorter sight radius is more important at longer distances.

    The velocity give up is more important in my view, but only for the .45 in my view. The .40 sw is a high velocity round and expansion of self defense ammunition is not an issue in the shorter barrels. It's my view, and there is a lot of debate on this, that the shorter 3" barrels create some question of hp expansion. He round is subsonic to begin with and generally slows down by 100 ft/sec for every inch off the barrel. I have a 4" self defense weapon in .45 and a 5" competition gun. The 4" barrel is as short as I will go with a .45. Again, plenty of others like the 3" barrel and that's fine too.

    So, long winded answer, but I don't think barrel length will matter much for either caliber unless the difference in barrel length was more drastic, and even then it's only the .45 that would really be affected. Hope this is helpful.

  3. #3
    CSailor is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    2
    that is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks.

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