Before we touch on all the means barrel size matters, let us first make something crystal: The length of a firearm’s barrel is simply one variable that determines its performance as a whole. Other determinants such as the firearm’s weight, chamber dimensions, bore, high quality, the ammo it is firing, and also also humidity and also air press all add substantially to things favor muzzle velocity and also accuracy.

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To pin an element of a weapon’s performance solely to its barrel length would certainly be like blaming WWII on the collapse of the Romale Empire. It contributed, sure, yet tbelow were a few various other determinants at play.

Barrel Length vs. Velocity


As a general ascendancy, a much longer barrel equates to a higher muzzle velocity. This may seem counterintuitive if you believed that making boosted call with the barrel would slow-moving a bullet dvery own as it generates more friction. In fact, a much longer barrel provides even more time for propellant gasses to move their power to the bullet. More pressure builds up in a longer barrel till the bullet gets rid of its muzzle, giving that bullet higher velocity in the procedure.

Barrel length is essential to take into account if you like a short-barreled weapon for individual security, such as a snub nose revolver. Since its barrel offers extremely bit time for propellant gasses to acceleprice a bullet, a snub nose revolver is going to deliver a lesser muzzle velocity – and power – than a longer firearm.

Many kind of hollow point bulallows call for a specific amount of energy in order to function appropriately by widening in the time of penetration, and also therefore might not work-related in a snub nose. For this factor many manufacturers make specialized self-defense ammo for compact handweapons. Many type of shooters likewise choose wadcutter bulallows for their snub noses, which reduced wide holes through their targets without any kind of require for growth.

We watch the various other finish of this phenomenon in rifles: A lever-activity chambered for 357 Magnum will certainly provide a significantly greater muzzle velocity than any handgun. Unfortunately, tbelow is no formula obtainable to calculate a round’s muzzle velocity based upon the barrel size it will be fired through. The just method to arrive at that number is actual measurement using shooting chronograph.

How To Meacertain Barrel Length


Measuring a barrel have the right to be a large deal for gun owners. We’ll define just how it effects your shooting in a small bit. More importantly, your barrel length have the right to be the difference in between the government classifying you as a legal gun owner or a criminal. Often, weapons should accomplish minimum barrel size needs to fall into the ATF’s legal constraints.

How to Meacertain Barrel Length of a Pistol

To meacertain the length of a barrel on a pistol, web page 5 of the ATF’s official procedure calls for you to meacertain from the muzzle to the breech challenge.

How to Measure Revolver Barrel Length

For revolvers, we measure barrel length by taking the distance from the muzzle to the face of the cylinder.

How You Meacertain A Rifle’s Barrel Length

For rifles, we measure barrel size from the breech challenge to the muzzle finish of the barrel. To do that, you deserve to usage a dowel rod that you’ll slide dvery own the barrel until it reaches the breech face. (Then, you’ll meacertain the dowel rod distance with a tape measure or yard stick.) Take care not to nick the rifling inside the barrel through your dowel rod. Any imperfections to that rifling could hurt your future accuracy.

Measuring the Barrel Length of a Shotgun

For shotguns, gaining a precise barrel length measurement is comparable to what we do via rifles. You’ll want to slip a dowel rod down the barrel until it makes call with the breech confront. That distance is your barrel length.

Does Barrel Length Affect Accuracy?


Barrel length absolutely plays a role in the accuracy of your firearm.

With the exemption of smoothbore firearms including some muskets and also shotweapons, the inner of a barrel (aka bore) has actually somepoint dubbed “rifling.” Rifling is consisted of of grooves and lands. These continue down the bore in a swirling helical pattern. The attribute of the rifling is to revolve the bullet as it travels with the barrel, which stabilizes it to give it much better accuracy.

The exact same principle is at job-related when you throw a footsphere. You put a spin on the sphere to provide it rotational stcapability on its course to the wide receiver.

Not all rifling is the exact same. You will check out it described in regards to “barrel twist,” wright here 1:8 means the barrel provides a bullet one finish rotation for every 8” it travels through it. A 24” barrel via a 1:8 twist would therefore rotate the bullet three times before it exits its muzzle.

Tbelow is a lot of scientific research to barrel twist, and in basic heavier bulallows come to be even more precise once fired through barrels through quicker twists. All the layman have to recognize is that a much longer barrel almost absolutely offers a bullet better rotational stcapacity for much better accuracy downvariety.

Of course, through eincredibly rule comes an exception. A shorter rifle barrel might actually boost accuracy if it is more rigid than its longer equivalent. Unless you’re a sniper, however, you needn’t stress also much over this one.

Muzzle Flash

The propellant gasses produced by ignition are very warm – visibly so. A much longer barrel provides even more space for propellant to burn up before it exits the muzzle. This basically lowers the amount of light the powder’s ignition is going to produce. A incredibly brief barrel is going to expel even more burning propellant to develop brighter light in the procedure.

This is incredibly essential for self-defense. If you fire a weapon that produces a very bbest muzzle flash, it may very well leave you blinded in the nighttime – just as if someone took your picture using a flash bulb. Naturally, you still want to have the ability to watch after you fire in self-defense for many reasons, consisting of being able to line up exact follow-up shots. Many self-defense rounds boast reduced flash propellant to assist minimize this, however a much longer barrel will help as well.

Heat Mitigation

The even more times a weapon is fired in fast succession, the hotter its barrel becomes. As the barrel heats it also expands, enhancing its bore diameter as the outcome. As the bore widens its rifling becomes less efficient at its job, which weakens accuracy. A much longer barrel heats even more progressively than a much shorter one, for this reason preserving accuracy. This is even more a concern for long-distance shooters that are very involved through surgical degrees of accuracy – for the layguy, not so a lot.


One of the primary determinants that determines recoil is the weight of the firearm. The heavier a weapon becomes, the less recoil it will certainly geneprice as soon as fired. This is why fairly weak cartridges choose 22 LR and also 25 ACP can acquire amethod with featherweight compacts. It is also why tools chambered for huge boys favor 500 S&W Magnum and 50 BMG are necessarily extremely hefty.

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As a firearm’s barrel becomes shorter, so also will it come to be lighter in weight. It’s not a huge distinction, but if you were to fire a handgun through a 6” barrel and also then cut it dvery own to 1.875” you would most likely notification it jerks a little more sharply. (Want to know even more around handgun recoil? Check out this handy handgun recoil chart.)


A weapon with a shorter barrel isn’t just much easier to conceal. It is likewise simpler to relocate around! If you’re pertained to around your ability to whip roughly a edge actual rapid to take aim at a house intruder, you might certainly favor a shorter barrel for the job. It’s much less most likely to snag on walls. Plus, lining up its sights takes a little less time. So, it offers the intruder much less purchase to perhaps snatch the weapon out of your hands. A short-barrel shotgun provides a good residence defense weapon mainly hence. Just make certain you factor in the boosted muzzle flash and recoil!

Does Barrel Length Matter?


Thturbulent its influence on muzzle velocity, recoil, muzzle flash and also various other significant parts of shooting it’s clear barrel length plays a huge duty in shooting. How execute you know what barrel length is finest for you? Like most points in the shooting civilization, it depends on what your certain needs are. We constantly recommfinish you take an hour or two to try firearms before you buy them whenever before possible. Most varieties have actually rentals easily accessible. This will certainly aid you gain a feel for what you’re potentially buying prior to you put that crmodify card dvery own on the respond to.