1911 what is the most useable barrel length?

1911 what is the most useable barrel length?

This is a discussion on 1911 what is the most useable barrel length? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am considering my first 1911, I am looking at the Kimber, Colt and Springfield brands and am open to suggestions. I want to know ...

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Thread: 1911 what is the most useable barrel length?

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    Senior Member Array MichSteve's Avatar
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    1911 what is the most useable barrel length?

    I am considering my first 1911, I am looking at the Kimber, Colt and Springfield brands and am open to suggestions.

    I want to know what is the most all around useable length 3", 4" or 5"? I will use the 1911 for the range and some concealed carry.


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    Member Array Macantic's Avatar
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    long enough to where the bullet comes out the end of the barrel.
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    Commander length.
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    I have 3", 4", 4 1/4", and 5". My vote is 5" with 4 1/4" as a distant 2nd choice. 5" works and are pretty easy to conceal. 4" and 41/4" does not give you much concealment advanage plus slightly lower velocity. You lose too much velocity and energy with a 3" plus I have never had one that worked 100% (4 different guns and many trips to the smith). Just my opinion.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I haven't tested 3 inch barrels for velocity loss, but my hypothesis would be that with the relatively fast burning powders commonly used for the acp cartridge, velocity loss would be nominal.
    The weight of the bullet does good work even at low velocity.

    If ultimate concealability is the issue, go with a 3. If impromtu range shooting and CC are the mission , get the commander. If a duty weapon, get the 5.
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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Commander length.
    I tend to agree, however I personally prefer the 5".

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    Senior Member Array Gaius's Avatar
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    I have a Colt Defender with a 3 inch barrel. It is used for self defense, not precision target shooting. (I have a Gold Cup for that.) If as a practical matter the primary use is self defense, and that means most range time is at 21 feet or less, go with the three inch. Discussions about loss of velocity per inch of barrel etc, are great academic discussions, but of virtually little to no practical value if defense at close range is your primary mission. Of course it is easier to conceal a three inch gun than a four inch gun. Just my humble opinion.
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    Tough call! Really only a slight difference in concealability between a Commander and a full-size, and that difference is all below the belt line.

    My suggestion is that for your first 1911 (and, chances are it won't be your last), go with the full-size and get to know and love it, then "branch out" to the other sizes. I'd pass on the Officers Model size for a first 1911.
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    Government or Commander. To me it comes down to a matter of balance and pointability. For me a Commander balances and points better.
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    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichSteve View Post
    I want to know what is the most all around useable length 3", 4" or 5"? I will use the 1911 for the range and some concealed carry.
    For me, I prefer the 5" or 4.25". I've not found the 5" to be hard to conceal, and lessening the barrel by .75" makes little difference in concealment unless you're also going with a lightweight alloy receiver. I would certainly own a Colt 3"/3.5" barreled pistol, and have in the past, I just don't own one currently.
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    los
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    Commander length.
    This.
    What we've got here is failure to communicate.

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    My personal preference is the 5". It conceals well, shoots well, handles well. I guess I'm just a traditionalist, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it!
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    5" tends to be the most reliable, and generally speaking, is easiest to shoot, but most companies have worked out the kinks in their shorter models. But you will find that the shorter the barrel, the more finicky they become.

    That said, my favorite is the 4.25" bushing Commander. Of the three you mentioned, only Colt offers these. They have the simplicity, reliability, and easy takedown of the 5", paired with the concealability of a shorter barrel length.

    If you can find one (they are rare, and likely expensive) a Colt CCO would be ideal for concealed carry. It has the 4.25" bushing Commander slide on an Officer frame. It's the ultimate in concealable, reliable 1911s, IMHO. If you're interested in this concept, Dan Wesson makes a production model in this configuration for much less than you will find any collectible Colt, and DW makes very good guns.

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    I prefer the full sized 5" models myself. .75" isn't going to make that big of a deal concealment wise.
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckeyeLCPL View Post
    I prefer the full sized 5" models myself. .75" isn't going to make that big of a deal concealment wise.
    It could. I've noticed that at 3 o'clock, a 5" will press on my hip bone, but a 4" or 4.25" will not. So in certain cases, it can make all the difference in all-day carry comfort. And if it's comfortable, you won't be tempted to move it to a location that doesn't conceal as well.

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