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Intelligent debate request...Compensated vs. Non-compensated pistols for defense?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by orangeninja, Dec 3, 2005.

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  1. orangeninja

    orangeninja Member

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    Like the title says...would you advise agains a compensated pistol like say a Glock 23C for self defense or for it? If so why?
     
  2. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Member

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    My best friend has a Glock 21C, which I have had the privelage of firing on a few occasions. I like the way the compensation seems to redirect and help manage the recoil, but I'm not too crazy about muzzle flash going off in my face. We fired it on New Years a couple years back, and shooting outside at night half blinded me for a second. I might worry about that a little in a home defense situation.
     
  3. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    You probably don't want to shoot one from a retention position, where your head is basically over the port.
     
  4. orangeninja

    orangeninja Member

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    how would the muzzle flash and shooting while over a port from a retention position differ from that of a .357 mag in a snubbie?
     
  5. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    The ports direct blast up, not mostly forward.
     
  6. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    Zak Smith is dead on about way the gas routes, and I think thats enough right there to make me not want a compensated gun. I suppose the advantage would be that you could theoretically get the gun back on target quicker, but for me, other than revolvers with major recoil (.44mag and above), I just don't see the advantage, at least from a practical standpoint. With a regular pistol, with practice, the average shooter can acheive somewhere in the neighborhood of .25 second splits between shots. I don't know what a compensated pistol would or could reduce that too, but I am betting its not enough to make a substantial difference.
     
  7. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    Me, I'm not a fan of ported/comp'd defensive handguns...My biggest concern involves the flash that is created & the ability to be able to re-acquire your target if a follow up shot is necessary.
     
  8. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

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    Don't like them.

    They handle fine, but the gas issue mentioned here is a valid and major point. Night blindness can be a determining factor in the outcome of you versus bad guy. Throw the gas at his face, not your own.
     
  9. carolinaman

    carolinaman Member

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    Hi there,

    For the shooting sports and gun games, I think compensators are fine where recoil management and quick target aquisition for multiple shots is required for decent scores.

    In the world of self-defense, they have no place for the reasons already noted.

    Personally, none of my handguns have compensators. Practice and a firm grip do the job for me.

    Chris
     
  10. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six member

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    It's not possible to make an intelligent case for compensators on a self defense weapon, so intelligent debate, therefore, isn't possible either.
     
  11. Rockstar

    Rockstar member

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    It's also not possible to engage in intelligent debate about a subject about which one knows nothing, from personal experience. The night blindness is a non-issue...just theoretical b.s. from folks who've never fired ported pistols in low light. The amount of flash is largely dependent on the type of powder used.

    Rather than make a judgment about one experience of firing a ported pistol at night, make a judgment, having fired several different brands of ammo through not only a ported pistol at night, but with a similiar or the same pistol without a ported barrel.

    I know this is a novel concept that will be hard to grasp by some, but it is, of course, possible to cant the ports away from your body during a close-rentention firing.
     
  12. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Member

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    Yes, that would be novel.
     
  13. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    One does not always have the luxery of perfect setup in a s.d. situation.

    In IPSC and 3Gun matches, I have seen comps shred or blast away cardboard and even rip cloth in close proximity.

    -z
     
  14. orangeninja

    orangeninja Member

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    There's always one.:rolleyes:

    As for the compensator injuring you in an up close and personal encounter, I have seen the slow motion firing of a revolver and there is a LOT of gas that escapes the sides of the cylinder....yet that seems to be overlooked. Granted it may be less gas...but still.

    As for night blindness, I'm not so sure I buy that. According to a Biomedical Journal I quote:

    "The pupil reflexively contracts to shield against brightness and expands to gather dwindling light; and a process called brightness adaptation adjusts overall sensitivity to match current conditions. This process is evident when leaving bright light and entering a dark room. It can take as long as 30 minutes for the eyes to completely adjust to the extreme change."

    here is the URL for those of you who want to learn more about your eyes: http://www.whitaker.org/00_annual_report/theeye.html

    So on the night blindness thing, I say "myth busted".

    The hot gasses may have somthing there. So what I propose to do is test a ported gun by holding it next to denim or a T-Shirt over a backing prop to determine the extent of the damage. We'll get to the bottom of this yet.

    Oh and Jammersix...the world ain't flat.:D
     
  15. fastbolt

    fastbolt Member

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    I owned a Safari Arms Match Master with the optional Hybrid Compensator barrel and modified slide. I also borrowed and shot a Ruger P-90 that had been MagNaPorted.

    The Hybrid system used a raised lug containing the series of metered ports, and which fit within a long U-shaped slot machined in the slide. No escaping gasses and fouling entered the underside/inside of the slide. The MagNaPorting on the P-90, however, quickly allowed fouling to accumulate inside the slide and around the barrel. It became really nasty when shooting some handloaded ammunition, too. Different systems. Be aware of the potential fouling, however minimal/major it may be, which might be caused by whatever porting system you select. Also be aware of the extra avenue by which foreign matter/debris may now enter your barrel.

    Muzzle flash? Hey, I used to carry a .357 Magnum revolver as an issued service weapon, loaded with 125gr Magnum ammunition. Talk to me about muzzle flash, combined with cylinder/barrel gap flash ... ;) I never noticed the same sort of night vision degradation with my Match Master that I experienced when some other dimwit shined a flashlight in my direction during a building search, though ... :cuss:

    The ports may sometimes divert things other than burning powder and hot gasses upwards through the ports, you know. Like small, but sharp and fast-moving bits of jacketing material shaved off the bullets. I know a skeptical disbeliever who carefully held a piece of paper several inches above the ports of my Match Master, and saw the look on his face when he discovered the paper had been punctured & cut in several places.

    I wouldn't use some of the close retention techniques with a ported handgun ... and I don't. I own some ported defensive handguns, but they're all revolvers, and I had to modify some of my shooting techniques when first learning to adapt to using them.

    Porting does offer the advantage of enhanced controllability in some instances. My Ruger SP-101 .357 Magnum DAO can be fired as fast as I can cycle the trigger, and the muzzle doesn't noticeably rise. Sounds like rolling thunder. Always stops the rest of the range session whenever I start qualifying with 125gr Magnum ammunition, Still kicks hard back into the web and palm of my hand, but it doesn't noticeably rise. It's been Quad-Ported. It's also not something you want to shoot a helluva lot closer than arm's length, either.;)

    BTW, whether it's "just" hot gasses and burning powder, or also bits of shaved jacketing material, you really don't want to expose any sensitive portions of your anatomy to close proximity, or a close direct angle, to a ported handgun. It's potentially dangerous. My brother learned not stand so that he was holding my Match Master w/Hybrid Compensator directly under the exposed light bulb above the shooting lane in which he was standing and shooting. The blast, gasses & "whatever" blew the light bulb apart.

    I don't have anything against ported revolvers, in some circumstances, and in some of the roles in which I may decide to employ them as defensive weapons. My training and modified techniques reflect their presence.

    I doubt I'll ever select another pistol incorporating a porting system cut into the barrel between the chamber and muzzle, though.

    Luck to you in making an informed choice.
     
  16. Cousin Mike

    Cousin Mike Member

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    lol.. sounds like someone's calling me and a few others liars :D

    All I can say is that the flash, for me, was a problem. Enough to convince me not to buy one, but then again my primary concern with any firearm is self / home defense. My friend also bought another gun for home defense, mostly (from his own admission) because of the flash issue. If your life is on the line, you wouldnt grab some tack-driving match pistol. Or maybe you would... but that would be the difference between you and I :neener:
     
  17. idahoberetta9000s

    idahoberetta9000s Member

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    The only reason that I would not have a compensated pistol for self defense is that the extra flash can hinder your night vision, making follow up shots more difficult, if needed.
     
  18. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    This is a classic case of a little knowledge being worse than none at all. Pupil reaction has virtually nothing to do with temporary blindness from a flash or other short duration bright light. Read up on rhodopsin and iodopsin to understand what causes temporary blindness from a flash.
    Yes, powder selection makes a difference for a very good reason. Some powder companies have developed low flash powders. It's worth noting at this point that while there is such a thing as "low" flash powder, I've never heard of "no" flash powder. Now, ask yourself, why would there be such a thing as low flash powder if flash is not a problem? And another question... What is the intended function of a flash-hider? Hint--it does virtually nothing to hide the flash from observers.

    If you're not being bothered at all by flash in a low-light situation then you're very likely blinking inadvertantly when you fire. It's a common--in this case, I suppose you could even say beneficial--reaction.
     
  19. Sylvilagus Aquaticus

    Sylvilagus Aquaticus Member

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    Some folks can replenish rhodopsin faster than others do.

    Boorow, you know I carry a P229 in 357sig. It doesn't have a small muzzle flash with most of the loads I prefer, and I can keep its nose down easily enough for fast followup shots. As cool as it could seem, I don't have any desire to port the dang thing. Seems like an unnecessary expense to me, let alone one of questionable function from my perspective, at least in my world.

    Lately I've been playing with SWMBO's new Micro. With both 185 and 230 grain loads I'm holding tight on double (and triple) taps without much problem, and I gravitate toward a modified Weaver hold.

    In a nutshell...I can't see that it'd gain me anything to have ports. I'd just as soon have all that exhaust heading downrange as up, whether it's illuminated still or not. I can hold my handgun firmly enough for a followup shot in all my admittedly 'best case' scenarios without jetting the thing.

    Regards,
    Rabbit.
     
  20. JMusic

    JMusic member

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    I do have an example of ported vs non ported. This was during a night firing training session. A LE course the scenerio was to shoot at 25 yards in almost total darkness at man sized targets (B21?). We had one cruiser 75 yards away with its blue revolving lights on. The training involved handguns and shotguns. The objective was to aquire the target minimally with the blue light and fire. You were instructed to immediatly fire at the target again without aiming. The theory was that the muzzle blast created a snapshot that allowed you to immediatly compensate for any alignment. It worked surprisingly well. I had no trouble hitting CM during the second shot. Shots resembled double taps. We were shooting full power loads in revolvers. I was using my 5 " S & W 27. One guy from another department had a similar Smith that had been magnaported. Though he was advised against using it he did at least at first. He was not doing well and ended up borrowing my revolver during his firing run. After using mine he told me he was not able to see the snapshot that we were being trained to use while using his revolver. All people in this course were advanced shooters and to a man could not believe that they could use muzzle flash to the advantage that we were able to shoot.
    I use compensators too, just not on my combat weapons.
    Jim
     
  21. carebear

    carebear Member

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    Shooting in a near blacked out range (just enough light to identify the target at 20 odd feet) I've never noticed any loss of visual ability/night vision to reaquire the target using any number of ported pistols and short magnum revolvers.

    But then, once I'm on target at <10-ish feet my body position and practice are going to keep my rounds on target even with my eyes closed halfway through a string.

    Also, I'm not going to be shooting in true "pitch black", I'd hardly be justified to shoot with no target. If conditions warrant it, I'll have a flashlight going on and off so night vision is going to be iffy anyway.

    Finally, if I have to shoot from retention, minor cuts from case shavings or flash/burn damage to my jacket will be the least of my worries, canting removes most of that problem anyway.

    I will never add ports to a weapon, I don't find them particularly helpful versus good practice. BUT, if the rest of the package is good, I'm not going to NOT buy a gun for the minor issue ports may or may not be.
     
  22. KurtC

    KurtC Member

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    I once qualified with a magna-ported S&W 4586. During the up close "hip shooting" phases, the porting sent gasses, powder and other particles straight up into my face. Even wearing glasses doesn't help, as the debris comes up behind them.

    I changed back to an unported barrel and slide.
     
  23. TimboKhan

    TimboKhan Moderator

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    Rockstar, your real fond of making the point that nobody has real life experience when they answer these questions, and you do it regularly. As it happens, I DO have experience shooting a pistol in a dark defensive situation (and, for that matter, an offensive one as well), and I can tell you that I would not select a compensated pistol for these matters, pretty much for the same reasons all these non-experts listed. Tell you what, next time its dark and your defending yourself with a compensated pistol, see if you have the presence of mind to cant the gun away from yourself. I hope you do, but until then, I will go ahead and continue to use a non-compensated pistol in order to reduce the number of concerns that I have in a combat situation.
     
  24. CAnnoneer

    CAnnoneer Member

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    Compensated guns? Only if I cannot have anything else.

    IMO, gases belong in the barrel and flashing is nothing but trouble. That's also why I am not a wheelgun guy, albeit I recognize their aesthetic appeal (especially the Redhawk, drool, drool).
     
  25. Jammer Six

    Jammer Six member

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    Things you use as weapons should have a bare minimum of things to think about under fire.

    Everything else is arm waving.
     
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