Barrel length? 3" vs. 4" for accuracy and CC?

Barrel length? 3" vs. 4" for accuracy and CC?

This is a discussion on Barrel length? 3" vs. 4" for accuracy and CC? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a Springfield XD SC40 in 3" and like the gun, but having only about 500 rounds through, I'm not yet that good with ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array JohnHenry's Avatar
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    Barrel length? 3" vs. 4" for accuracy and CC?

    I have a Springfield XD SC40 in 3" and like the gun, but having only about 500 rounds through, I'm not yet that good with it. On the other hand, I drive tacks with my Walther PPK/S, though I am concerned with occasional misfeeds (I checked the threads on that, lots of info).

    My question is: I would probably feel better with a 3.5"-4" barrel for more efficient firing, and likely better accuracy. Is there really any functional difference in concealed carry with the slightly longer barrel? I know from reading all these threads that people carry full size tactical pistols and service pistols, but clearly it's easier to carry a shorter pistol.

    For those that have carried for a long time, and honestly, is there much different between barrel lengths of the same gun? Or should I just get a couple thousand rounds through my XD and work at getting better with it?
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  2. #2
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    I'm a 1911 carrier and have 3", 4.1" and 5" 1911s at my "disposal."

    I commonly carry the 4.1" as just like the gun better. My 3" is perfectly fine, of course and when carrying in a shoulder holster it does conceal better, but past that it really doesn't make that much of a difference and I'm a 5'3", 105 lbs woman.

    I've tried carrying 5" before and while concealing wasn't too much of a problem the issue I ran into was that, because of my short torso, I couldn't clear the holster with the muzzle without my hand being in my armpit unless I carried small of the back.

    So, I'd say no. There isn't a big difference in concealment from 3" to 3.5" or 4".

  3. #3
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    No question in my mind that a longer barrel and/or longer sight plane will be more accurate. Having said that, would not self defence be within 15 yds or so. So if you can hit a paper plate with the shorter barrel within 15 yds, it does not matter. IMO.

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    For those that have carried for a long time, and honestly, is there much different between barrel lengths of the same gun?
    I carry a stainless Colt Combat Commander and have carried the standard version of the 1911 with the 5 inch barrel. The shorter barrel seems to conceal better.

    Using the OTWB carry the length of my Tshirt could conceal the CC, but would show the full sized Colt, so I mostly just carry the Commander now.

    Or should I just get a couple thousand rounds through my XD and work at getting better with it?
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    Personal decision

    I don't think there is a definite right answer to your question, as it depends upon the individual gun owner and his personal preferences. I have various guns with different barrel lengths and grip lengths, and the easiest to conceal are certainly those with shorter barrels and shorter grips. But the longer barrel guns are easier to shoot well and give higher muzzle velocity for a given type of ammo. So it comes down to a tradeoff that each must make, of shootability vs. concealability.
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    I carry an XD45 Service 4" model. I have no real problems concealing it unless I have to tuck a polo shirt then the grip prints easily.

    The barrel length isnt the hard part to conceal but rather the grip size and length.

    I'd say that going from a subcompact to a full size or even compact sized grip will "feel" huge to you for a while.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nn View Post
    No question in my mind that a longer barrel and/or longer sight plane will be more accurate. Having said that, would not self defence be within 15 yds or so. So if you can hit a paper plate with the shorter barrel within 15 yds, it does not matter. IMO.
    +1.

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    I have found a few variables that decide on barrel/ slide length for my carry guns. For winter I carry full size USP.= More layers, clothes to conceal with.
    Spring /summer I carry a 4" 1911. = Less clothes (typically a t shirt , jeans ). Also a 3" double stack gun doesn't seem to ride well for me IWB.
    Hottest days of summer= I switch to a pocket gun (shorts ,t shirt ). I find little difference in accuracy at typical distance 10 yrds or less.
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    For winter I carry full size USP.= More layers, clothes to conceal with.





    Man...thats a big gun. I've thought about carrying mine, but I'm thinking after a few hours it would throw my spine out of alignment and I'd need a trip to the chiropractor.
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  10. #10
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    I have a 3" Kimber that is more accurate than some 5" 1911s. Barrel length within the ranges stiplated isn't going to be a determining factor in accuracy.

    With that said, the longer sight radius can make it easier to place shots on target.
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    I also carry a Kimber Ultra CDP (3")...dead on accurate and very easy to conceal.

    Stay armed...3" 1911's are perfect for CCW...stay safe!
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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Simple answer is "NO". Most conceal carry situations are going to be within a range that the barrel length & accuracy is going to make no difference. However, if YOU are more accurate with one gun over another, that will.

    In a SD situation, you aren't going to have a lot of time to "aim" & be real precise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    I also carry a Kimber Ultra CDP (3")...dead on accurate and very easy to conceal.
    +1. I have also carried commanders and full size 1911's and the smaller one's just seem to carry easier for me.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eagleks View Post
    Simple answer is "NO". Most conceal carry situations are going to be within a range that the barrel length & accuracy is going to make no difference. However, if YOU are more accurate with one gun over another, that will.

    In a SD situation, you aren't going to have a lot of time to "aim" & be real precise.
    about time someone said what should be said. most to all situations are within two and seven feet or closer. not what you see on tv. only on tv you see the long shots with a pistol. at work we do a lot of shooting at the two and three yard line. it is point and shoot, not take your time and aim. find the gun that you can/like to carry and practive at the close in range,,,,point and shoot.
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  15. #15
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    I have a 5" Springer and a Kimber Ultra Carry (3"). I love my Springer, and don't mind carrying it all...with my size, 6' 4" 240, it is pretty easy to conceal in the right holster. But for some reason, I can find that front sight on the Kimber a lot faster. They are both great weapons, but I carry the Kimber most of the time.

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