Worlds Collide: Does Barrel Length Matter? (Part 1 of 2)

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For viewers who’ve been craving a true Worlds Collide between the contrasting viewpoints of competition shooter Rob Leatham and defensive shooting instructor Rob Pincus, here it is.

Though they do start out in agreement: whether for competition, handgun training, or defensive shooting, an extra inch of barrel and slide on a handgun matters and is a good thing. But do they agree on why? Rob L wants the pointability and the sight radius. Rob P wants faster follow-up shots, which come from more weight out front due to the extra inch of length.

Follow-Up Shots

Rob L, however, doesn’t think the extra weight out front is what makes follow-up shots faster, and he wants to define faster follow-up shots. What matters is not how fast a shooter can shoot at the target, it’s how fast he can hit it. The longer sight radius shows the shooter his error better.

Rob P contends that Rob L is assuming the shooter is looking at the sights, and that in defensive shooting, the shooter is often not looking at the sights or not even aware of them due to the high-stress nature of the incident.

Perfect Sight Picture

Rob L counters that Rob P thinks he is looking for a perfect sight picture, and says that in competition shooting, he doesn’t have time to obtain that. Due to the speed of competition shooting, Rob L needs the longest sighting plane he can get, hence he prefers a handgun with a longer barrel.

Rob P asks that if Rob L is not using a sight radius, does the longer slide still contribute to faster follow-up shots? Answer: absolutely, because he can point it better.

Then they test this idea with some live fire and confirm that both of them shoot slightly faster with the pistol that has the longer slide and barrel.

The discussion begun in this video continues in Part 2: Aiming vs. Sighting.

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