Is 3 inch barrel too short for 45acp?

Is 3 inch barrel too short for 45acp?

This is a discussion on Is 3 inch barrel too short for 45acp? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I know many manufacturers make 45's with three inch barrels, but I read on another forum that any gun with a three inch barrel is ...

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Thread: Is 3 inch barrel too short for 45acp?

  1. #1
    Member Array beagler's Avatar
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    Is 3 inch barrel too short for 45acp?

    I know many manufacturers make 45's with three inch barrels, but I read on another forum that any gun with a three inch barrel is not allowing a 45 to reach enough velocity for it to expand and penetrate properly on human flesh. Has anyone confirmed this? Any thoughts? I'm looking to get a new CCW, and it is a 3 inch 45, so I'm slighly intrigued.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array my2cents's Avatar
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    I have a SA Micro Compact with a 3 inch barrel and though I don't have any definitive proof - I wouldn't want to be standing 7 to 10 yards in front of it.
    elmacgyver0 likes this.
    Walk steathly - and carry a big Springfield.

  3. #3
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    I think that the biggest issue is the reliabilty or lack of it in this case.

    It used to be that the 3 inchers were notorious for being less than reliable...to the point that depending on ones life for it might be a risky affair.

    Im not sure that it's still true, if your gun is reliable without fail then the velocitty difference between a 3,4 or 5 incher wont make much diiference at the normal ranges that gunfights occur.

    Even if it dosent expand well...its still a big hole...
    RickyD likes this.
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    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    I'd have to go with my2cents on this one as well. I carry a Kimber 3" Ultra CDP a lot of the time and do not feel a bit of anxiety about not having enough power behind the round.

    I think what you may be reffering to is people talking about that there is not enough pressure put on the slide when a round is fired in order for a round to be ejected reliably. I find this false as well, my CDP has been a great little shooter. I did have some feeding problems at the beginning but my local smith smoothed that out. I have never had a failure to eject in at least 2,000 rounds, when of course the round is being feed properly which it's 100% these day's after seeing my smith.

    Although, if I had it to do again I would go with a Kimber compact 4" Bbl officer frame for better accuracy at greater distances, but that is the only reason why. I carry my Colt Commander when concealment isn't as big of a deal.


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  5. #5
    Senior Member Array my2cents's Avatar
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    Yep TI Carry - you nailed it. I looked long and hard at the Kimber Ultra CDP also. I've had no failures with a variety of ammo.
    Walk steathly - and carry a big Springfield.

  6. #6
    Member Array gotammo's Avatar
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    The difference between a 3" or langer barrel is at best a couple of feet per sec faster if the HP doesn't expand out of a 3" barrel it won't out of a 4" or 5".
    5lima30ret likes this.

  7. #7
    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    Here we go again (??) You'll get allot of varied responses to this question.

    I own two 3" gunz. Both Kimbers. With a proper F&B on a new(or used) weapon. With the proper mags(as with even the 5" gunz)With proper training. With the proper hand hold. The under 4" 1911's can be just as reliable as their bigger brothers.

    As far as the reduced velocity that the 3" bbl'ed weapons will give you.........how much reduced?? What effect will the "reduced velocity" have on your bullet ?? More so one bullet than another ??

    I say......this is not something that I wring my hands about. Put at least two,COM,with ANY well constructed .45ACP HP and the(your)problem will be solved. If not,then carry a .500S&W Mag.

    Of course >>>a guaranteed stop will still not come with that shot.-------

  8. #8
    Member Array Whirlwind06's Avatar
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    Shooting my Officer model (3.5 inch BBL) I have not noticed my hands covered with unburnt power like on my .38 snuby (2.5) or the Kel-Tec .380 (3.1) I used to have.

    I'm no expert but that would seem to me that most of the energy is going down the barrel where it should be.

  9. #9
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    It's more difficult to get a very short barrel 1911 pattern pistol to function with total reliability but, it certainly is possible.
    Detonics has done it.
    It requires some modifications to the basic design like the barrel profile & the recoil spring set-up and some hand fit work...in addition to a nicely polished breech face and frame and bbl feed ramp and a tuned extractor.
    A chopped 1911 can be just as reliable as a full size pistol but more care needs to be taken with the design and assembly.
    It's more likely that a chopped pistol will malfunction unless everything is done correctly.
    OD* and oldskeetshooter like this.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Old Chief's Avatar
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    beagler, to quoat the Noble Bard: Me thinks this is much ado about nothing. As was previously stated it will make a big hole.

  11. #11
    Distinguished Member Array randytulsa2's Avatar
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    If the question is about the weapon, there are .45 ACP's out there that aren't 1911's. The Kahr P45 is one. Even so, I am told that you can make a 3-inch 1911 reliable, although they are a little persnickity.

    If it's about bullets, Speer makes a loading especially for .45 shorties...I heard Cor-Bon did, too, but I haven't been able to find anything on it.

  12. #12
    Member Array Blackhawk6's Avatar
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    The convenience of a 3" 1911 comes at a price. That price is a possible reduction in reliability and a reduction velocity.

    As others have mentioned, sub-4" 1911's have a reputation for spotty reliability, though there are certainly reliable ones out there.

    As to terminal ballistics. I do not think the .45 ACP becomes impotent when launched from a 3" barrel, but clearly it will not match the performance the same bullet weight and design launched from a 5" barrel. Whether or not the performance of a bullet from a 3" 1911 is adequate for the task at hand is subject to a whole host of other variables.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array tegemu's Avatar
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    My 3" Kimber Ultra Carry II is perfect for pocket carry. It is approximately the same size as a .38 Snubby. I carry mine frequently in a Sam Andrews www.andrewsleather.com pocket holster. No print, no bother, no prob, draws easily and is very comfortable.
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tegemu View Post
    My 3" Kimber Ultra Carry II is perfect for pocket carry. It is approximately the same size as a .38 Snubby. I carry mine frequently in a Sam Andrews www.andrewsleather.com pocket holster. No print, no bother, no prob, draws easily and is very comfortable.
    Dude, I could never carry my CDP in my front pocket. How do you guy's do this? Pocket holster or not, it's still to big for me to carry in my pocket and to heavy when loaded for me too dig it in the front pocket if it fit's even. Is the 5.11 pant's carry or what's the secret.


    Ti
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  15. #15
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    No Problemo...

    with my Kimber Ultra CDP II...except...for trying to convince my wife that my Ultra and Pro are really the same gun...
    I never have both out of the safe at the same time!

    ret
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