Over the years as a competition shooter and firearms instructor I’ve seen fads and phases in nearly every aspect of defensive and competition guns and gear. One of the things we know to be generally true is that long guns tend to be more accurate than pistols for several reasons:
- Barrel length adds stability to rounds and, theoretically, increases velocity
- Sight radius is longer between breech and muzzle on long guns
- Shouldering a long gun provides a more stable shooting platform than gripping a handgun
Except for being able to shoulder the firearm, the reasons noted above have contributed to a new or reviving trend in popularity of long-slide pistols such as the Glock 34, the Springfield XDM 5.25”, the CZ CTS LS, FNS 9 Long Slide and the Kimber Aegis II – just to name a few.
Additional weight to the front of a long slide pistol – provided a proper two-handed pistol grip is being used by the shooter – helps decrease muzzle flip and perceived recoil, which in turn allows for faster and more accurate follow-up shots. Factors such as caliber also play a role. Obviously a 9mm will be easier for most shooters to have good follow-through than they would with a 10mm round which is essentially a magnum cartridge.
Long slide guns started to gain popularity in recent years driven mostly by the competitive shooting markets like IDPA, USPSA and other action pistol sports. Initially, the sight radius was a key factor in improved accuracy with long slide guns. However, with the advent and ever increasing improvements and popularity of red-dot and other pistol-mounted reflex sights and other optics, sight radius is no longer considered the primary benefit and it’s becoming apparent that the ability for faster follow-through is key. That said, if you are still an “iron sight” fan, the advantage stands. I prefer my Smith & Wesson 629 with an 8-inch barrel over the same pistol with a 3-inch barrel for all of the reasons that argue for a long slide gun’s accuracy.
Regardless of gun size, though I am an advocate of “carrying the biggest gun you can”, no equipment can replace proper training, regular dry fire practice, grip and trigger control, and measured live-fire training. These factors are still the key to every shooter’s success.
Remember this: Failing to train is training to fail.
(Pictured is a Glock 40 in our OWB holster. This holster model can be purchased here.)