It’s the age-old question in the gun industry (not really, but we thought it would be cool to say that): Are ported barrels worth it? In all seriousness, the question is one that many gun owners today will ask themselves when analyzing the performance and look of their Glock, Sig Sauer, or other firearm. And to say it’s a heated debate would probably be an understatement. In the same way people these days tend to have inspired opinions on anything from which light beer is superior to whether or not ketchup belongs on a hot dog, ported barrels do possess the power to strongly divide us all.
Gun barrel porting is a process used to redirect some of the gases expelled during the firing of a gun. Ports or small holes are drilled in specific patterns into the barrel of the firearm, usually near the muzzle (the front end). These holes are designed to vent some of the gases upward, which helps reduce muzzle rise (or “muzzle flip”) and recoil.
Some believe this process is necessary to achieve better shooting performance, while others may be opposed. So, in this blog, we’ll look at the benefits of ported barrels, their impacts on performance, and why they may be worth it for you in the long run.
How Ported Barrels Affect Shooting Performance
There are pros and cons to barrel porting when it comes to performance. So, should we start with the good or the potentially ugly? We heard start with the cons.
Con #1: Increased Muzzle Flash
If you like your firearms to be a little more on the quiet side, a ported barrel may not be your best option. The reason? The upward redirection of gases can lead to an increase in noise and muzzle flash, which could be disorienting in low-light conditions or indoor shooting. The redirected gases are also very hot, so fair warning.
Con #2: Fouling of Sights or Optics
Barrel porting allows residue to accumulate on your firearm’s front sights, so you’d have to keep a close eye out for any fouling. As a result, more frequent cleaning may be necessary, which nobody really enjoys, right?
Con #3: Potential Decrease in Bullet Velocity
Slower bullets? Boring. Some argue that because some gases escape through the ports before the bullet has left the barrel, porting can cause a slight decrease in bullet velocity. However, this is often considered negligible in most practical shooting scenarios, so you will most likely notice no difference whatsoever. In fact, a review of ported barrels from The Armory Life found that there were certain instances where velocity actually went up with a ported barrel. Food for thought indeed.
Alright, we didn’t scare anyone off, did we? Now it’s time to break down the pros of using a ported barrel on your firearm.
Pro #1: Reduced Recoil
One of the best things about a ported barrel is that it can help reduce the recoil that your firearm produces, which is obviously a good thing if accuracy is on your mind. As the high-pressure gases are expelled through the ports, they exert a downward force on the muzzle of the gun. This helps counteract the recoil and can make the firearm more comfortable to shoot, especially in the case of high-recoil firearms.
Pro #2: Potential for Improved Accuracy
Unfortunately, a ported barrel won’t do all of the work. However, they can help gun owners, including those just starting out, maintain a higher level of accuracy over time. By reducing the “muzzle flip” and recoil, porting can help shooters maintain their sight picture between shots. This can improve accuracy, particularly in rapid-fire situations where the shooter has less time to reacquire the target after each shot.
Pro #3: Faster Follow-Up Shots
Because the gun is more stable and the sights return to the target more quickly, the shooter can typically fire follow-up shots faster with a ported barrel. And let’s be honest, that’s never a bad thing when you’re trying to show off your skills at the shooting range.
The Grand Finale: Are Ported Barrels Worth It?
Drumroll, please. We’ll start by saying (don’t hate us), whether or not you go for a ported barrel truly comes down to personal preference. If the benefits outweigh the potential downsides, we say go for it. Not only can ported barrels give you an added bonus to performance, but they can also be customized to give your firearm a unique style. If you’d prefer to have a more old-school shooting experience, maybe you’ll want to skip the ported barrel altogether. It’s like deciding on a gun compensator, for example, which we wrote about recently on our blog Shooting the Sh!t.
If you are in the market for a new ported barrel, however, we produce high-quality, customizable aftermarket parts that will give your Glock or Sig firearm a sleek look that stands out from the traditional crowd of all-black ones. Our parts, including our selection of ported barrels, are 100% Made in the U.S. at our facility in Largo, FL, and can be conveniently delivered to your door. To learn more, you can visit our resource center or contact our team to discuss which parts may be best for your firearm.
What is a ported barrel good for?
Apart from giving your firearm a new look and feel, a ported barrel can help reduce recoil by counteracting muzzle rise.
Does porting a barrel make a difference?
Yes. Ported barrels can affect your gun’s performance in a number of ways. On one hand, they can reduce recoil and help you improve accuracy, and on the other hand, they may lead to increased muzzle flash and fouling on the front sights if not cleaned properly.
Is a ported barrel worth it?
It depends on whether or not you’re comfortable with your firearm’s current shooting performance. If you’re looking to add a new element to your experience, a ported barrel may be an excellent choice.
Do ported barrels reduce bullet velocity?
A ported barrel can reduce the velocity of your bullets, however, it’s widely regarded that the difference in speed would be negligible for most shooters.