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pros and cons of a ported barrel.

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by possum, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    I have been wondering what are the pro's and con's of having a semi-auto pistol like an xd for example that has a ported barrel. Would this be something that would be best used as a target/ competition pistol, or what? does most of the competion groups/ organizations or what ever allow ported barrels, I know that it does cut down on muzzle rise but what else is there that can benifit from it? won't the front sight eventually get covered with powder residue and carbon, and make the front sight hard to see if not impossible, especially during extended range sessions? just wondering; Thanks in advance!
  2. joneb

    joneb Well-Known Member

    Not a good idea for self defense, shooting from the hip can hinder vision. Ported barrels are more likely to hinder night vision. At the range a ported barrel will reduce muzzle jump giving faster follow up shots. depending on the design and quality of the porting accuracy may be improved, not sure about the velocity loss it would depend on the porting. Just my two cents I don't own a ported handgun.
  3. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Well-Known Member

    The big pro is that it helps reduced perceived recoil and muzzle flip resulting in keeping the barrel on target. The cons...yes the gasses will get the front sight dirty faster, the effect of the holes on the barrel is like shortening the barrel, also in a SD situation, it may flash and blind the shooter and depending on ammo could spray debris on the shooter.
    I recommend staying away from ported guns :D
  4. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Well-Known Member

    Hello possum. My experience with ported auto's is limited. I've shot a friends G21C quite a few times. My Taurus 608 also has a ported barrel.

    What I can tell you is that you are correct about powder residue on the front sights, and it can be difficult to clean thoroughly, especially on a stainless steel gun. With my friends Glock it isn't as much of a problem. This would be a con IMO, but not a major one. I usually take some patches and a little Hoppe's w/me to the range anyways, so it's not too much trouble to give the sight and cylinder a wipe every hundred rounds or so if I'm going heavy w/the revolver. When shooting my buddies Glock, we don't worry about it.

    Another con of ported barrels, once again IMHO, is that the porting can redirect the sound back towards you, making the gun seem louder. Once again, IMO, not major, but not necessarily a pro.

    There's also the fact that fire, gas, copper shavings, etc. are sometimes ejected from the ports when you fire the gun... Although that makes for a cool-looking double fireball at the range or when shooting at night, I wouldn't want to fire one from a retented position. I don't, however, think it will blind you. I've shot ported guns at night, and while you get some flash, it's nothing that your eyes can't handle... a lot of that also depends on what ammo you're using. Some flashes more than others. Nothing I've seen flashes bright enough to hurt your eyes.

    Muzzle flip does seem to be reduced by porting. Firing .38Spl in my Taurus feels like shooting .22lr, and .357 Magnum is a pussycat. Maybe like shooting .38Spl. Shooting my friends G21C (.45ACP) feels almost like shooting a .380 - like a very light push.

    I can't really think of too many other pro's or con's at the moment, other than the 'cool-looking whiz-bang tactical' aspect of the porting. I like it for what it is, and it works well to reduce recoil. For that reason, they can be good for introducing people to larger calibers. Cosmetically it looks good on my gun, and I like the way they look on most auto's as well... but it's nothing I would pay a bunch of extra money for.
  5. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...make the front sight hard to see..." Nope. Lots of serious target shooters put carbon on the front sight to improve the contrast between the target and the sight. Having carbon from shooting on the front sight will not make it disappear. Cuts the glare from flourescent lights very well. Had my front sight completely disappear under them one time. If my sight had been carboned, it wouldn't have happened.
    A ported barrel not only reduces the muzzle jump, but it also reduces the felt recoil. Most IDPA/IPSC/pin/steel plate shooters are using ported or braked pistols for this reason. However, there's a class of firearm for everybody in most, if not all, of the shooting games.
    They do, however, increase the noise and flash. Not enough to worry about on a range though.
  6. RedAlert

    RedAlert Well-Known Member


    My only experience with barrel porting was having my Smith 629 .44mag with 8-3/8" barrel Mag-N-Ported.

    I was extremely pleased with the results as it reduced barrel flip and reduced felt recoil. My shooting partner, had his Ruger Redhawk, also in .44mag, done at the same time. His comments mirrored mine.

    As for a semi-automatic pistol, perhaps the addition of compensator to the muzzzle might be a viable option. This would mean that in the future you could just replace the barrel without having to have holes punched through the slide as well as the barrel. Of course, if the added length creates a problem, then your only option will necessitate drilling or EDMing holes in the slide as well as the barrel. Adding a little more weight to the muzzle has the additional benefit of calming recoil and muzzle flip to the help in steading the muzzle.

  7. extended-ported barrels on semi auto pistols/revolvers

    I got a extended/ported barrel for my 96D/Beretta .40. The stainless steel barrel helped balance the weight of the 96D. You could see the muzzle flash/powder sometimes but the reduced recoil helped improved my marksmanship. ;)

    For CCW/revolvers I'd get ported barrels for larger calibers; .44mag, .41mag, .45LC, etc. Many firearm experts advise against using ported barrels for concealed handguns but I think you should base it on the caliber and size of the firearm.

    RS ;)
  8. ceetee

    ceetee Well-Known Member

    I've got a CZ100 in .40 S&W with a ported barrel, and I just picked up a Taurus 24/7 Pro, also in .40 S&W. Both guns are nearly identical in size and weight. The CZ is DAO, the Taurus is SA/DA. I've only shot 50 rounds through the Taurus, and a few hundred through the CZ, so YMMV...

    I've never noticed any bright flash from the ports, but I've never fired it in severe darkness, either. In shooting with the gun held close to my body, I've never noticed any detritus being expelled through the ports toward me, but I've also never fired the gun from any extreme retention positions, and I've never deliberately aimed the ports towards any part of me. The ports definitely do seem to make the gun louder.

    In my opinion, the porting does help to tame recoil somewhat. It's possible that the design of the ports on the CZ100 is not as effective as others (like MagnaPort, for instance), because I haven't noticed the recoil on the CZ as being markedly lighter than the Taurus. Bottom line, in my opinion, porting has it's place. Best would probably be a well-designed system, done by a professional porting company. Is it proper on a self-defense pistol? I've never noticed any reason to NOT have it, but it's not a guaranteed cure for improper technique, either.
  9. Gary G23

    Gary G23 Well-Known Member

    Not legal for IDPA competition at all.
    Not legal in USPSA Production division.
  10. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    All my carry revolvers are ported: accuracy and speed matter more than muzzle flash.
  11. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    thanks everyone for all the intel, It is much apreciated. Lots of good points, and thanks for the personal experiences with ported weapons of your own! that really helps out alot! Thanks again!
  12. Biker

    Biker Well-Known Member

    My Taurus 450 is ported and I love it. Tested side by side with a 3 screw Blackhawk (45 LC) with the barrel cut down to three inches testing 260gr LSWC handloads, there is a noticeable reduction in muzzle flip even though the BH is considerably heavier. The muzzle flash is just about the same (using Unique) and tests conducted by holding a sheet of typing paper about 6" over the barrel of the Taurus and firing off two rounds show no visible danger to human skin.
    The benefits outweigh any drawbacks, real or percieved, IMO.

  13. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    I think that I am a go for a ported target pistol, i am convinced,ya'll did good thanks guys!:)
  14. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Well-Known Member

    Hi again, possum.

    I think you'll be pleased with whatever you buy. I love my Taurus 608. I'll definitely be buying more ported guns in the future. Not so long ago, I had no desire to own any gun with a ported barrel.

    I think Standing Wolf hit the nail on the head. The muzzle flash just isn't anything to worry about, and the ports help improve accuracy by a noticeable margin. My first time shooting my Taurus, I shot it better than I shoot any of my other guns... and I'm a pretty decent shot w/my Sigs and Beretta.

    Let us know what you end up buying. :D
  15. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    I already consider myself pretty good with my xd service model, and 12 months ago i wasn't a big pistol shooter, I don't know what it is but the whole xd familyis easy for me to shoot with and do it accuratly. I think i might have to pick up a 9mm service ported and just tear the x ring out!:)
  16. Seismic Sam

    Seismic Sam Well-Known Member

    In general, porting is good

    My first experience was having my 44 Automag Magnaported in the middle 70's, which I believe was when that company first started up, and it certainly helped with the considerable recoil of what was then the most powerful automatic in the world.

    Since then I have had a 10mm EAA Witness and a 45 EAA Witness that I worked up to 45 Super (185 grain XTP @ 1250 FPS... :eek: ) Magnaported, and in both cases this helped considerably with the recoil. Also have a Springfield V-16 longslide in 45 Super that came from the factory with 2 rows of 8 holes in the barrel and a butterflied slide, and the porting helps here too. This gun can put a 230 grain RN out the front at 1200 FPS, so there is recoil that needs reducing.

    My only bad experience was a 10mm comped barrel I got for my 10mm EAA, and while it reduced the muzzle flip and recoil, it moved the target impact UP about 8" at 25 yards, and since the gun had fixed sights, that made the gun pretty much useless.

    For high power, hot caliber guns I think porting is worth the price, and if you can get it from the factory that way so much the better. As far as added noise, at the range you're wearing headphones anyway, and if it's CCW shooting it will only happen once in your lifetime at most.

    As far as increased muzzle flash at night for CCW, I haven't done enough night shooting with or without porting to really have an opinion worth sharing. Yes, there will be more flash, but if it allows you to get a 2nd shot off that much quicker and more accurately, a bullet in the perp is generally worth two in the bushes...
  17. Magnum Wheel Man

    Magnum Wheel Man Well-Known Member

    porting is a pretty generic term... I have nearly a dozen compensated handguns, from my TC Contender 14" hunter barrel in 45-70, to my Auto Mag 4 with an 8" barrel & factory porting, to my Dan Wesson 44 mag snubbie, with a single chamber compensating barrel nut...

    older porting, was much more crudely done than most work is today... if the ports are slightly angled forward, you'll find the front sights are often not effected at all, I've never been hit with shrapnel out of a compensator ( I have though, from the barrel cylnder gap of revolvers )...

    ... you would think that the longer the barrel, the more effect you would get, but my 44 mag snubby is one of the most pleasant guns to shoot, while my Auto Mag 5, one of the most abusive, while the 14" hunter barrel on the 45-70 tames the gun in every way, except for the noise level... & while some designs seem better than others, all of my compensated handguns are LOUD... but that is likely also caused by they are all loud calibers to shoot in the 1st place...
  18. dairycreek

    dairycreek Well-Known Member


    Ported barrels do what they say they do - reduce recoil and muzzle flip.


    They are awfully dirty and are really difficult to clean well. I used to get so doggone tires of cleaning out the port holes with Q-Tips and it just took forever.
  19. possum

    possum Well-Known Member

    so what i have gathered form several of you is that, if it is a facory ported weapon that is the best way to go? that is what i was thinking as well!
  20. Magnum Wheel Man

    Magnum Wheel Man Well-Known Member

    1/2 of my stuff is custom ported, & 1/2 factory... my old factory porting ( like the original ported barrel on that Dan Wesson 44 mag ) was horrible... all my custom ported stuff is awesome...

    I have no doubt that the magna ported stuff is good... I think it has more to do with the design, & the skill that was used in designing it, not weather it was factory or aftermarket...

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