Ported Glock. There are two main arguments against porting a pistol: the possibility of injury to the shooter during close quarters combat and the degradation of night vision. Top (as opposed to side) porting takes the steam (i.e. hot gasses) out of the first objection. Shooting a pistol next to your hip—the draw, pivot your arm and fire technique—isn’t as potentially injurious with top porting. The cloud of searing heat loses some of its destructive fury by the time it nears your face. At least in theory. With side porting, the gasses are headed east west; west being inches away from your torso. The second concern, night vision loss, is less easily quantifiable. Well, until now . . .
This weekend, TTAG’s trio of VA-based testers did some no-light tests with three revolvers: the top-ported Smith & Wesson Model 67, a Gemini Customs east-west ported Model 642 and a non-ported Ruger SP101. We’ll have their full report for you next week; pictures, stats, the works.
Meanwhile, one wonders about the “problem” of recoil. As Brad pointed out in one of our recent chin wags, recoil “is what it is.” You practice and manage it. If you can’t manage it, you need more practice. And instruction.
“Unless you’re talking about really small guns, I think there are more important factors,” Brad told me. “Grip size, concealability, the sights, things like that.”
There is certainly a lot of psychology at play. I remember offering my Smith & Wesson 686 to a newbie struggling with a snubbie. She took one look at the 4″ barrel and shook her head like I was trying to hand her the keys to a B52. She refused to accept the idea that it would have less recoil than her small gun.
Last night, a couple of Row Deyelanders were shooting a new SIG .40 quickly and more-or-less indiscriminately at a target 20 yards away. When I offered them the chance to fire the XD-M .45, they approached the task with trepidation. After a little grip and stance modification, they fired off 2″ groups (at five yards, thank you very much). “I told you to buy a .45,” one told the other.
Obviously, if you’re particularly frail, recoil becomes a concern. So get a smaller caliber gun. The question remains: is barrel porting a solution in search of a problem? Is it just a style thing, like those cool[ing] fender vents designed to chill the brakes of race cars, now used to make SUVs look sportier?