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What is your preference and why?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by NotSoFast, Feb 16, 2009.

  1. NotSoFast

    NotSoFast Well-Known Member

    I am trying to decide on whether to buy a revolver with either a 3" barrel or a 4" barrel. I realize it isn't much of a difference in length but it is enough that I want to end up with a gun I will not regret once I have bought it.

    I'm not asking which is better because I know they both have their good and bad points and the situation will tend to favor one over the other. What I want to ask is this:

    Which length barrel do you prefer and what were the things you considered when you were making your choice? What, then tilted the scale to the length you finally chose?
  2. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member


  3. Lawnman380

    Lawnman380 Well-Known Member

    4" range 3"carry
  4. jglcolosprgs

    jglcolosprgs Well-Known Member

    3" - I've got all the long barrels I need........
  5. Bearhands

    Bearhands Well-Known Member

    I made different choices depending on the use....for a carry gun, go 3" for a woods gun 4+" and for target shooting only.... somethin' longer is usually better.
  6. sidheshooter

    sidheshooter Well-Known Member

    I'm sort of with MCgunner and the rest... If it is to be a woods sidearm, then may as well have the 4-incher. If CCW is part of the equation, then the 3-inch tube is a bit easier to deal with when sitting in dinners or cars or what have you (IMHO).

    Aesthetically, I like the looks of a 3 inch tube, and I think that the balance is a hair better, at least with K-Frame S&Ws, to name one example.

    I've got both. If I was to be picking, say, between a 4 or a 3 incher for a medium frame gun (ie: model 65) and I could only have one or the other, I'd probably take the 3 first, but I'd be fine with either if there were other considerations (ie; too good a deal to pass up).

    Put another way, I'm currently looking for a 'smith to send one of my Ks to for tuning (just to have one really nice revolver), and It's going to be the 3-incher, FWEIW.
  7. pmeisel

    pmeisel Well-Known Member

    To me it's a sight radius thing. I have 3", 4", and 6" revolvers. The shortest is a 10 or 15 yard gun. The 4" is good at 25 yards, maybe a little further. The 6" I can take out to 75 yards.

    Your eyes and hold may vary. But the principle holds, if you mostly shoot short carry the most comfortable gun.....etc.
  8. Clarence

    Clarence Well-Known Member

    3" - easier to carry and you don't really have to give anything up.
  9. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

    as they asked, for what purpose?

    I carry a longer barrel when concealment is less of a concern and I am in more open terrain.

    Think about where you are likely to carry...
  10. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Well-Known Member

    I know that the 3" S&W model 13 that I picked up last year is probably the most balanced feeling gun that I have, but for some reason I gravitate towards 4" guns. I think it is due to the sight radius.
  11. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    on the proper frame, i think the 3" barrel looks better and if given the choice between to otherwise identical guns, i'd choose the 3".

    it isn't a matter of useable range as a 2.5" S&W M-66 i used to own was excellent at 50 yards and quite dependable at 100yards. i have also used a 1 7/8" barrel J-frame to win wagers at 50 yards

    the 3" would be just as accurate as a 4" pistol at any range you'd care to shoot at.

    what i like about the 3" barrel on the S&W K-frame and Colt Python...or 2.75" on a Ruger Speed-Six...is that you get the longer ejector rod that allows full ejection of spent cases
  12. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Well-Known Member

    On the same frame size?

    I always found the 3" a bastard length. Too long for good carry and too short for best performance.
  13. VegasGeorge

    VegasGeorge Active Member

    The way I see it, the 3" is all you need for self defense distance accuracy. Mine shoots head and thoracic cavity shots just fine at 30'. The 4" is too short for a real target shooter, so why get it at all? You'd just be carrying around an extra inch of barrel for no reason.

    PS: SaxonPig, I think you menat to say 4"?
  14. savit260

    savit260 Well-Known Member

    I've never had any issues with 4" revolvers, IWB carry.

    I actually prefer my 4" Colt and K frame to my 2 1/2" for IWB carry.

    The barrel rides next to the very top of my leg w/ the 4" , instead of poking at it like my 2" and2 1/2" revolvers do with their shorter holsters.
  15. Duke of Doubt

    Duke of Doubt member

    The shortest barrelled revolver I currently own is 4 inches (Model 10), but I prefer 5 7/8 inches (Model 29 and Army Special). Others are longer. Longest double actioned barrel I now own is 7 1/2 inches (Officer's Model Target). My single action is longer at 8 inches. I carry autoloaders concealed, but prefer revolvers for HD and other purposes, as well as for open carry. Longer definitely is better. It's all about the sight radius and the muzzle velocity.
  16. Gary A

    Gary A Well-Known Member

    While I like the 3 inch revolvers, as my "collection" evolved into those things I really want that fill some niche for me, my 3 inchers have gone away in favor of the 4 inch. My 6 inch DA revolvers are also gone. 4 inch is the best overall compromise for me. For shorter barrels, I have 2 and 2 1/4 inch snubbies. For longer barrels, my single-actions do all I want or need. YMMV.
  17. scotjute

    scotjute Well-Known Member

    Prefer 4" barrell for open carry, travel, and home defense because of better sight radius, slight sound reduction, heavier weight for recoil, etc. This is a standard that most police depts. use for a reason.
    The 3" barrell is better for carry/concealment because of shorter barrell length and a couple oz. less weight.
    Depends on how you'll use it as several have mentioned.
    If I could have only one pistol, it would be 4" barrell. Opt for the longest barrell you think you can carry.

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