The Truth About Pistol Barrel Porting!
Here we go:
THE NUMBER ONE REASON TO USE A PORTED PISTOL BARREL IS TO SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE YOUR FRONT SIGHT RECAPTURE TIME BETWEEN RAPIDLY FIRED REPEAT SHOTS!
Second, all powders do NOT, 'flash' the same. Some flash more, and many flash less. (Most high quality self-defense ammo barely flashes at all.)
Third, my muzzle ports are directly ahead of my front sight; and, know what? I never have a problem with, either muzzle flash, OR a dirty front sight. (I'm not talking about firing a few shots; I'm talking about firing THOUSANDS OF SHOTS!)
Fourth, muzzle flash, itself, is a very short term event and, usually, occurs while the muzzle and front sight, themselves, are moving through upward recoil. If you're, 'target focused' in the way that you should be you're, probably, not going to even notice whatever small amount of flash might be present.
Fifth, I've done a considerable amount of pistol shooting in dim light. One of the indoor ranges I use lights the targets, but not the shooting ports. You can see flash whenever it occurs; and, if muzzle flash were a real problem then I would have often heard about it; AND, other than an occasional comment about, 'a real flash' I never have. We, all, seem to just, 'shoot through it'.
(That famous advertising picture - VERY ill-advised, by the way - showing a slide-ported Glock belching a double, 'V' of flame is a gimmick. Black powder was used in order to produce that enormous flash.)
Could I go out today and produce photos of some spectacular appearing muzzle flashes? Sure I could; however, what the viewer wouldn't get a decent sense-of-appreciation for is, (1) the incredibly brief duration of the pistol flash, and (2) just how much these occasional flashes actually DO NOT disrupt either your front sight, 'picture' or, 'night vision'.
Normally, I have excellent night vision; I can, in fact, count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I remember, ever, losing it. Through thousands and thousands of rounds fired in dim light I have never lost my ability to watch a target; my so-called, 'night vision' has always stayed with me. Now, shine a tac light in my face and THAT will destroy my night vision! (But NOT usual semiautomatic muzzle flash.)
Sixth, with typical ammunition you ain't going to see enough muzzle flash; and you're not going to see it for a long enough period of time, or while you're actually, 'on the front sight', so to speak, for you to have anything to worry about. If you're watching your front sight correctly and shooting right, then, you shouldn't have any sort of, 'flash problem'.
(A Glock is NOT an M-4 with a, 'bird cage' flash hider/muzzle brake running on full auto - THAT will give you some muzzle flash!)
Here's a picture of one of my muzzle-ported barrels shown shortly after firing 100 rounds of filthy dirty WWB. As you can see the front sight is immaculate! In all fairness, though, this might not have happened if I'd been using a slide-ported pistol (OK).
Now, with all this said, I would be less than fair to the OP were I not to include that: I HATE USING slide-ported semiautomatic pistols. The front sights get too dirty, too fast; and whatever flash does exist is, indeed, much more noticeable to me. (Maybe if I worked more with slide-ported pistols I wouldn’t feel this way; but I don’t; and I do.)
The big (Internet) objection to ALL ported pistols is that they do not fire well while being held-in close to the body, or directly under the face, as they are fired, ‘from close retention’.
Far be it from me to disagree with either conventional firearm wisdom or any of the, ‘internet gun forum experts’; but, two thoughts come to mind: (1) A pistolero doesn’t need to be a, ‘rocket scientist’ in order to learn, ‘How’ to cant his muzzle AWAY FROM his body while firing down low and from close retention; (No, Priscilla, you will NOT set your clothes on fire.) and, (2) when firing from high retention and, ‘right under your nose’, so to speak, a ported barrel will NOT do anything to your face that a normal pistol is not ALSO capable of doing.
Personally, I have always wondered what idiot introduced pistol shooting from high retention into handgun self-defense? Are the shooting schools actually THAT desperate to encourage novice pistol shooters to acquire some totally unrealistic false sense of competence with a handgun? No pistol is designed to fire either safely or effectively from high center-chest retention. I’ve had 44 Magnum pistols with 8 inch barrels, fired from normal shooting positions, occasionally splash my face with muzzle splatter. If this can happen with an 8 inch barrel then dangerous face splatter can occur with ANY other pistol barrel when it is used IMPROPERLY from a high center-chest firing position.
(Deflect and get him off ya! THAT is what the rest of your body is for.)
Pistol shooting is BOTH an art, and a science. Done correctly it should be approached that way, too. The reasons I don’t normally see muzzle flash when I shoot a pistol are because (1) I know better than to look directly at it; and, (2) consequently, I don’t have my eyes focused, either, where they shouldn’t be or while they shouldn’t be there.
There’s a split-second pause between watching the top of your front sight, the pistol firing, and the muzzle starting to rise in recoil. Proper, rapid-fire front sight focus is, at least to my mind, a lot like watching an old movie. Done right you can almost watch the individual picture frames go by. The trick? You watch the, ‘pictures’ and not the, ‘frames’. As for any perceptible muzzle flash? That’s the, ‘frame’; and you don’t focus on it.