Carrying a comped (ported) pistol for defensive purposes...

Carrying a comped (ported) pistol for defensive purposes...

This is a discussion on Carrying a comped (ported) pistol for defensive purposes... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Eighteen years of traditional, old-school law enforcement thinking tells me that a comped pistol/revolver is a bad idea for duty/off-duty carry. At least, that is ...

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Thread: Carrying a comped (ported) pistol for defensive purposes...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Dec 2004

    Carrying a comped (ported) pistol for defensive purposes...

    Eighteen years of traditional, old-school law enforcement thinking tells me that a comped pistol/revolver is a bad idea for duty/off-duty carry. At least, that is what we were always told. "Muzzle flare at night is prohibitive to follow-up shots" and "Muzzle flare from the ports can burn you if you have to fire the weapon in close to your body". However, I now hear about more and more law enforcement agencies permitting Officers/Agents to carry comped guns. What are your thoughts on the pros/cons? Not just from a LEO perspective, but anybody who carries a gun for defensive purposes.
    "Skin that smokewagon!".

  2. #2
    Member Array jaymzo's Avatar
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    I have fired my G23C in many different positions, and the only thing I ever experience is a little bit of debris depending on what ammo I'm using. I have fired it very close to my body, and not gotten burned in the face or blinded. Now, I haven't fired it at night, but the flash is so damn fast, you wouldn't even be able to see it. I've shot it plenty while the sun was going down and never noticed a huge flash that would blind me or inhibit my sight.
    I don't try anything...I just do it!

  3. #3
    Array SIXTO's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
    Why run the risks of all the negatives that could be?

    IMO, "C" guns are made for competition, or perhaps as a false security blanket for the recoil sensitive.

    The way I see it is this;

    They are made for competition, and the positive effects are minimal for the average shooter. If you purchase one because you think its going to make you faster and less recoil, (and you are not a shooter are a competitive level) you don't shoot well enough to take advantage of the small benefit it does give you.

    I don't think compensated pistols have any place in the defensive market.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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  5. #4
    Member Array razz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGreatGonzo View Post
    However, I now hear about more and more law enforcement agencies permitting Officers/Agents to carry comped guns.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
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    May 2007
    I think the idea of a gun that can throw debris up and into your face while firing from a retention position can be a bad thing. Muzzle flash is a secondary consideration. I also believe the comp holes allow debris into the slide area and "can" contribute to a possible buildup of debris in the gun.

    Not enough benefit in the comp gun to offset the negatives, IMO. Not being smart about it but I say learn to shoot the caliber and handle the recoil. Use the comp on the range.

  7. #6
    Member Array riverkeeper's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Washington's Olympic Penninsula
    About 1996 I got a SW 44 Mag Mtn Gun magna ported it cuz it was to be used for bear defense on AK rivers. Went thru the usual pros and cons....wanted quick follow ups too.

    If you look for the flash in dark conditions you will probably see it. Unless I am looking for it and especially in high energy quick follow up multi shot routines, I shoot right thru it without noticing. But I am visually target focused typically 5-35 ft...front sight out further.

    I've shot it at half hip too .. IOW about 12 in in front of my navel with no flash or soot problems....wearing glasses and a hat. Low or High Retention might be a problem with grit but suspect it will not be with flash ... that's point/instinctive shooting anyway and the flash, if you notice, should only be a problem during practice.

    (Yep, that's one-handing big rounds from a 44 mag ... no problem. You all prob recall the Dirty Harry Flims where he spends 2 seconds hauling that hog leg down outa recoil fore he gets the next shot off?? Bogus !)

    In hindsight I wouldn't port it. There is probably some reduction in muzzle lift and recoil but it is minor. I've also high speed shot multi SD targets with the newer lighter SW 44 Mag with 300 gr bear rounds ... it's about the same on multiple targets when firmly gripped. I doubt I'd notice much diff but haven't timed spiits.

    None of my other handguns are ported.

    Sorry I couldn't help more. Best.
    Old testament....Shooting to Live 1942
    Newer testament... Kill or Get Killed 1976/1987

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array goldshellback's Avatar
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    My only experience with a comped gun was firing a G19 and a G19C side-by-side. The reduced 'felt' recoil was minimal at best and very noticable increase in muzzle flash. I can see (pun intended) where the muzzle flash wouldn't be good in a low light situation and in most handgun/defensive calibers the 'reduced felt' recoil isn't that much 'reduced'.

    As far as pro's.......a comped gun may give a sense of confidence in being able to 'handle' one's chosen caliber.

    Just my opinion.
    Last edited by goldshellback; June 9th, 2008 at 12:03 PM.

  9. #8
    Member Array dieselvrr's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    I have a G19C...also have 2 barrels for it too. I switch them out whenever I feel like shooting "traditional" or comped.

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array David in FL's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
    Central Florida
    I never considered comp'd guns appropriate for carry/self-defense for the exact reasons you outline.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Cthulhu's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Brevard County, FL
    Isn't a significant increase in the gun's report another factor making a compensated barrel ill-suited for defensive carry?

    Then again, one could argue that even the 'lowly' 9mm is loud enough to permanently damage one's hearing, and the added noise of a compensated gun wouldn't make much difference, in that regard.


  12. #11
    Member Array Airedale's Avatar
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    Jan 2006
    All good reasons above for comped/non comped carry pistols.

    I would add, shoot a comped pistol without hearing protection (as a self defense situation would be) and make the decision. When your ears (eventually) stop ringing, you'll likely decide against it.

    I can't think of a traditional carry round that requires a comped barrel-IMO.


  13. #12
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Does anyone know of any evidence that people have been burned by ports? I'm replacing my barrel soon and I'm looking for information myself. I've fired contact battery drills so I find it very hard to believe that porting would burn you - short of a contact battery firing with ports, which I absolutely believe would cook your hand. But you wouldn't care much if the BG is on you and it's the only way to keep the gun in battery to fire.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  14. #13
    Member Array Craiger's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Vermont USA
    I have been hearing more of the vortex flash suppressor types used by a few tactical teams on weapons like HK USP but not the reguler style comps seen at the range.

    I have carred my USP with the vortex on it it and I can tell you it sure adds time to how long before your weapon clears leather.
    In God we trust, Everyone else we monitor...

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    Here's my take:

    I shot a full-house open gun for many years while in IPSC. Unless you have a gun with a caliber that is capable of really benefitting from a comp, don't even consider it. What I mean by this is calibers like 9mm, .45acp, etc are all essentially low pressure rounds and will not generate the kind of pressure you need to make a compensator work properly.

    My open gun load back in the day was 13.5 grains of AA9 with a 115 grain FMJ over it and a small rifle primer in .38 super. The chronographed muzzle velocity was around 1600fps. The load was a custom load developed by the gunsmith that built the gun, and the compensator was pretty much the same, a custom job from the ground up. It would rattle the fillings in your teeth when it torched off, but it was literally a recoilless gun because of the design of the comp. If I downloaded it by 10%, recoil (muzzle flip) increased.

    So a compensated weapon at the very least must be able to have an appreciable amount of pressure from the round to be able to work in the first place. All of the comps you see for .45acps are basically just barrel weights, nothing more. 9mm is pretty much the same.

    So my view is that while you may not get hit with debris from a comped weapon, the factory loads today for just about any of the defensive calibers are simply not loaded hot enough to be able to take advantage of the compensators' benefits. Compensators are a lot like suppressors in this respect in that they must be specifically engineered for them to work properly.

    So don't waste your money on them, just practice more......
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

  16. #15
    VIP Member
    Array ppkheat's Avatar
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    I had a thread back in October titled "nighttime photo of ported 1911". It included a picture we made of a SA Longslide V-16 fired at night. No special camera used, it was just a matter of getting the timing right. It took about 10-15 attempts to catch the fire at just the right time.

    I've been meaning to try this again at night with an eye chart nearby and I'd read the chart before I fired, then read it after I fired and just see how much I was affected. I've been swamped with too many projects and haven't gotten around to it.

    I tried to get fancy and put the link to my old thread and photo here and can't figure out how to do it, (sorry) but you can do a search.
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