The subject has been discussed at incredible length in the AR forum with regards to 5.56 ammunition and barrel length effectiveness of various AR types.
In the AR world, SBR's suffer from terminal balistics challenges due to the shortened barrel lengths vs. the minimum length requirements for the gases to expand, delivering terminal balistics over various ranges.
Anything shorter than say, 16", and your ammo choices for your SBR's become rather important when considering the loss in power due to the shortened barrel.
My question is this. I never hear this being discussed in the handgun world and I'd like to know why.
Is it simply because the ranges one typically uses a handgun in self defense are usually short enough that barrel legth and balistics becomes an irrelivant factor?
Would a snub nosed .357 effectively have the balistics of say a .38, when an 8" barreled .357 would keep it's .357 balistics over a greater distance? Or is handgun ammo an entirely different creature where such considerations are unimportant?
Just curious as to how this is actually viewed. I'm thinking the useful range most handguns have is so short that the ammo is effective as the caliber it's advertised as, as long as you're not shooting beyond 25 yards.
Anyone care to enlighten me?
ETA: Might be a decent Box-O-Truth topic for O.P....who knows?
Mostly the issue with short handgun barrels is that hollowpoint ammunition won't expand reliably from them. Handgun bullets aren't going fast enough to wound with velocity, they only damage what they can crush or bruise. If a 9mm hits at 1200 fps, doesn't expand, and goes through the body, or a 9mm hits at 1000 fps in the same place and doesn't expand, passes through, then the difference is negligible. However if the first bullet expands and the second one doesn't....I'm sure you see what I am saying.
Plus handguns aren't very powerful anyway and 80% of people shot with handguns in the US survive.
It isn’t discussed often, but occasionally it will come up.
In particular, I’ve seen a number of threads where some members have argued that a 3 inch .38 Special revolver is a significant improvement over a 2 inch .38 since the 2 inch barrel doesn’t give quite enough velocity for reliable expansion.
Beyond that, it’s mostly more of a hunting handgun rather than a self-defense handgun issue.
Putting an 8 inch barrel on a 357 magnum will certainly improve its ballistic performance, but that doesn’t make for a handgun that most folks can easily carry or use for self-defense purposes.
Plus handguns are a compromise anyway, and (while I disagree) lots of folks think of handguns as simply something you use to fight your way to your rifle anyway.