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Old 04-20-2017, 10:06 PM
Reaper2319 Reaper2319 is offline
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Default Ported barrel vs revolver cylinder gap

After purchasing a ported 9mm shield to double as a range toy and EDC pistol, I ran across a few articles and forum posts spouting the dangers of firing a ported pistol from retention due to hot gasses and potential jacket fragments firing through the ports. I'm curious just how dubious this warning is because they also spout false problems like blinding muzzle flash(at night.) My question, because I have little wheelgun experience, is if there's any more risk shooting a ported 9mm from retention than shooting a 357/44 revolver from retention due to cylinder gap. Any thoughts? First hand experience?
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Old 04-20-2017, 10:48 PM
M29since14 M29since14 is offline
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Pray tell, what is this shooting "from retention" business? Never heard of it.
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Old 04-20-2017, 11:18 PM
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The biggest difference is that a ported barrel directs the gases straight up. If you have to shoot from a retention position, i.e. the gun is basically alongside your chest pointed at your target, the gases/powder are directed up towards your face. Depending on the type of porting and/or round being fired, it could potentially cause some issues.

The gases/powder coming out of the cylinder gap of a revolver are directed more towards the sides. The top strap minimizes the amount of gases/powder going up towards your face.

I've never shot a ported gun before, so I can't say if there's any credence to the argument. Many say it's not an issue. Since I don't see porting giving a self defense gun any real advantage over a non-ported gun, I'd rather not deal with any potential issues and prefer non-ported guns for defensive use.

Just my opinion, FWIW.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:00 AM
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Ditto. The jury is out on it. Personally, I doubt it would be serious-enough to cause a problem, especially relative to the other problems you'd be facing at the time.

An aftermarket non-ported barrel replacement is a relatively cheap, drop-in affair on most polymer guns. You'll also likely gain some accuracy from the job as well, and offset some of the cost by selling the factory barrel if you don't mind parting with it.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:29 AM
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I have been shooting and carrying ported firearms for decades. There are no issues, from retention or otherwise.










Whoever told you (or wrote in articles):
Quote:
spouting the dangers of firing a ported pistol from retention due to hot gasses and potential jacket fragments firing through the ports
has no idea what they are talking about

Bullets/Jackets do not fragment traveling down a barrel. Bullets/Jackets fragment after striking something. If a bullet/jacket did fragment in the barrel, your firearm would have no accuracy since the projectile would be out of balance and not flying true.

The only bullets that have a reputation for coming apart in a barrel are the compressed copper dust bullets like Sinterfire. However that reputation was earned when this technology in it's infancy and the projectile manufacturing techniques have changed since the olden days. They are much better now.

Do HOT gasses exit a port? Well yes, that is what pushes the muzzle back down and getting you back on target for a faster follow up shot. However, a port is not a rocket motor trailing fire 5 times the guns length.

Hold your hand one inch from your face and blow at it. There is definite pressure. Now hold your hand ten inches from your face and blow. Unless you are a professional trumpet player, almost no pressure reaches your hand, just a breeze. The reduction in what you can feel on your hand falls off exponentially with distance. The same thing happens with the port and even barrel/cylinder gasses.

Now in truth, where is retention? it is 18+ inches below my face. Now, is it truly below the face? With me it is several inches off to one side or the other and a few inches BEHIND my face.

Think about it, are the side walls at your local shooting range burned/charred/melted from all of the hot gasses coming out of the barrel/cylinder gaps? Of course not. At my range, those side shields are eighteen inches from the revolver.

Millions of ported firearms are trained with and carried as personal defense pieces. If there was this epidemic of hot gas incidents, one or more of those TV lawyers would be out looking for clients.

Last edited by colt_saa; 04-21-2017 at 01:19 PM.
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Old 04-21-2017, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reaper2319 View Post
...they also spout false problems like blinding muzzle flash(at night.)
This is not false. The muzzle flash can ruin your night vision. Now, whether the muzzle flash from a ported handgun is worse than the regular muzzle flash is up for debate.

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Originally Posted by colt_saa View Post
I have been shooting and carrying ported firearms for decades. There are no issues, from retention or otherwise.

Whoever told you (or wrote in articles): has no idea what they are talking about
I beg to differ.

When firing a revolver, you will get hot gasses and sometimes fragments from the gap between the cylinder and forcing cone. This is not some fantasy, but really happens. I have seen it myself and seen several tests along these lines.

I don't know personally about ports on a barrel, but it stands to reason they could emit some small particles. Lead can have small parts shaved off and the same could happen to jacketed ammo. It will depend on the manufacture of the ports.


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Originally Posted by M29since14 View Post
Pray tell, what is this shooting "from retention" business? Never heard of it.
This is firing from retention:


Personally, I think she has it canted out too far, but that's a debate for another time.

The reason for shooting from this position is you have an assailant right on top of you. Extending the gun in this situation creates two problems. First, you don't have time. He's right on top of you and you may even have difficulty getting the gun out. Second is retention. It's called this because you want to keep the gun close so the bad guy doesn't get it from you.
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Old 04-21-2017, 04:08 PM
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Here's a good pic of why shooting a revolver from retention can be bad:

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Old 04-21-2017, 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Rastoff View Post
I don't know personally about ports
On this we can agree

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Originally Posted by Rastoff View Post
they could emit some small particles. Lead can have small parts shaved off and the same could happen to jacketed ammo. It will depend on the manufacture of the ports.
When lead is spit from the barrel/cylinder gap it is because the cylinder throat is out of alignment with the forcing cone. Lead/jacket does not simply come off a projectile as it travels down a barrel.

Much of the aftermarket porting is done through EDM so there are no sharp edges to worry about. However if there were, you can't possible believe that the manufacturer is too stupid to remember to de-burr their work

It is a shame that you are on the Left coast of the country while I am on the Right. I would gladly take you to the range so that you can gain personal experience with various styles of Ported firearms shooting live ammunition.
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Old 04-21-2017, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
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Here's a good pic of why shooting a revolver from retention can be bad:

This is a great photo of why you do not want to stand in-front of a firearm.

How many shots have you personally taken from retention?

When learning to speed shoot with single action revolvers I took thousands at least. Perhaps tens of thousands over those years.

We did put a piece of duct tape on our shirts at the contact point of the propellant gasses. The reason for this was that by the end of the day, the hundreds of rounds that we had fired would cause a stain on the shirt. Removing the tape made laundry much easier.

Photos like that one are the same argument that folks use when saying you can not fire a Smith and Wesson Centennial or Bodyguard from a pocket because you will set the garment on fire, that is another incorrect assumption.

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Old 04-21-2017, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ContinentalOp View Post
The biggest difference is that a ported barrel directs the gases straight up. If you have to shoot from a retention position, i.e. the gun is basically alongside your chest pointed at your target, the gases/powder are directed up towards your face. Depending on the type of porting and/or round being fired, it could potentially cause some issues.

The gases/powder coming out of the cylinder gap of a revolver are directed more towards the sides. The top strap minimizes the amount of gases/powder going up towards your face.

I've never shot a ported gun before, so I can't say if there's any credence to the argument. Many say it's not an issue. Since I don't see porting giving a self defense gun any real advantage over a non-ported gun, I'd rather not deal with any potential issues and prefer non-ported guns for defensive use.

Just my opinion, FWIW.
I'll second this post. While the revolvers cylinder gap could theoretically cause issues, the probability is far less than with porting IMO.

I don't routinely engage in firing any handgun from any retention position without protective eyewear, but many well known and reputable defensive shooting instructors have stated they have seen problems with porting firsthand in their classes and subsequently recommend avoiding it on a defense handgun. I think it's a matter of the cons outweighing the pros.

I would add that how some people practice firing a retention position isn't necessarily how it may be performed in an actual defense encounter. If you are needing to shoot using some type of retention position, it means that you are extremely close(and they may be closing) or in actual physical contact with the assailant(s).

If you were in a close quarter struggle with someone, you would not be standing relatively straight up and relaxed like many practice at the range. Instead, you would essentially be in a fighting stance. If in a clinch, your body positioning and weight distribution would/should be relatively similar to that of a fighter to provide balance, leverage, stability, movement and deal with weight and momentum. Often, you will(want to)be in a bladed stance with gun side retracted. The torso will often be canted forward, head down with the chin tucked.

In these positions, I don't think it unreasonable to think porting could possibly pose problems. I know in ECQ force-on-force you will see some very unorthodox shooting positions, sometimes with the gun coming very close to the face/eyes. I don't think porting or the cylinder gap on a revolver will frequently cause issues, but it is still something worthy of analysis and consideration.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colt_saa View Post
When lead is spit from the barrel/cylinder gap it is because the cylinder throat is out of alignment with the forcing cone.
So you agree. Particulate and flame/hot gas does come from the gap.

Quote:
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How many shots have you personally taken from retention?
Probably more than most, but certainly not as much as you. I will defer to your experience.

Now, it's important to note that I never said a revolver can't be shot from retention. I just said there are risks involved. No, I don't think it will catch your clothes on fire. No, I don't think it's something to be terrified of.

But let me ask you this, would you hold your hand next to the front of the cylinder as you fire a revolver?
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:05 PM
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One more thing...

In a self-defense situation the danger from the ports or gap is far less than that from the assailant. So, in that situation, fire from retention. Just be careful when practicing this technique.
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:00 AM
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Just roll up a newspaper and hold it over or near the porting. You can then determine any issues.
Jim
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Old 04-26-2017, 10:19 AM
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Old 04-26-2017, 09:59 PM
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I have shot my 642 from a retention position several times, including +P ammo. The biggest negative I saw was more unburned powder than usual on my shirts. However, when I have done so, my support hand was up and away in a guard position protecting my head (if I'm firing from a retention position, it means my attacker is essentially on top of me). Also, I'm not willing to risk my flesh by placing it close to the cylinder gap when shooting, so no thumbs-forward grip when shooting revolvers for me.

It's all about risk/benefit.
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Old 04-28-2017, 07:46 PM
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[youtube mythbusters video]
Now Phil, everyone knows you can't believe youtube videos and the Mythbusters aren't real scientists anyway.
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