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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was wondering if there is really any advantage to a 5" barrel when compared to a 4.25" barrel for practical shooting. Is the 5" lower recoil? Is the 5" more accurate when shooting IDPA, USPSA, Bowling Pins etc? I love the look of the 4.25" Commander more than the 5" Gov but just wondered if there is any real advantage?

Thanks!!!

David
 

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The difference in accuracy from a ransom rest will be nominal. But the longer sight radius and faster recovery from the longer slide will make a difference. I still love my commanders though. People that compete will be able to list some other advantages.
 

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Aye as a non competitor the argument is largely made due to the 4" having problems. It's compounded by people calling the 4" barrels commander length, thus the 2 get intertwined.

The Commander length barrel is a couple decades younger than the original 1911, but has been through the ringer enough that there is little problems if any.

Given the same craftsmanship on both guns I believe Torque hit it on the head. As I am sure others will tell you there are more bonuses or negatives that is just my view point.

One thing you might find is that accuracy parts are more available for the 5" as it is more common to have a 5" bulls eye gun. I know at the stores here there are more upgrades in stock this way.
 

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I have owned 2 different 5" 1911's, one 3" 1911 and right now own a 4 1/4" (Dan Wesson commander Bobtail) and a Springfield GI, LW, 4"
I do not, and have never shot competition with any of these guns.
For me the 4 1/4" Commander is the easiest to shoot and I am more accurate with it than any other.
All 1911's that I may own in the future will be true commander, 4 1/2":biglaugh:
 

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If you search "commander vs. full size" you will find a lot of discussions weighing the merits of both.

If carry/concealment is a goal, then a Commander makes a lot of sense. I carry my Commander concealed (sometimes, usually a revolver), but never a full size. However for sheer shooting pleasure or open carry, I always grab a full size. It balances better in the hand and has less felt recoil. If you are debating what to buy and only have funds/desire for one, I would say get a full size unless you want to carry. And if in that case get a Commander.
 

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Great discussion about the barrel length. I love the looks of the full size, but I carry the Commander. I will also wind up carrying an Officer's size if it ever gets back from the factory. All in all, the Commander is the one I lean to the most for carry. They also shoot wonderfully.
 

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A 1911's carry advantage is mostly in the thiness of the frame. The slide length is secondary...for most people. Some it is an issue.

All of the statements above about perceived recoil, sight-radius, etc are true.

But only a few world-class shooters can really see the difference at 50 yards. Which might be a 1/2 inch. Note: You shoot someone at 50 yards, Lucy, you gonna have some splanin to do. :biglaugh:

The upside to a Commander length pistol (4.25") is many people like how it "points". Meaning the feeling of balance and quickness of bringing it on target.

Regards,
Greyson
 

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The upside to a Commander length pistol (4.25") is many people like how it "points". Meaning the feeling of balance and quickness of bringing it on target.
Greyson, you have articulated this point very nicely here. I don't think I have ever thought about the issue of "pointability" much, but your post caused me to pull out a commander and a full size. By golly, this is exactly how the differences in the two guns work for me.

The Govt model handles well, but the Commander just seems to stay on target a little better for me.
 

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Commander for Practical Shooting

This thread addressed the commander length gun for practical shooting, not self defense. With that said, the 5" gun is the usual favorite for practical shooting. Practical shooting is a combination of close and long targets. The 5" gun has the advantage of the longer sight radius for accurate shooting on the longer shots. Although the Commander has great "pointability" and is a few ounces lighter, it gives up faster recovery due to lighter weight. Some folks can muscle the gun and still shoot a lighter gun very well. I shoot a light gun, which is the STI 9mm 2011 hi-cap with a full length slide. To help with faster recovery and better tracking of the sights, I use a full length steel guide rod. The gun is muzzle heavy, but I prefer this, and shoot it fairly well. There is no mechanical accuracy gain or loss from a 5" vs. a 4.25" commander barrel. Competitor accuracy is helped by a longer sight radius.
 

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I have a S&W and Ed Brown, both with the 4.25" inch barrel. As mentioned in another post, the balance feels perfect on these commander size 1911's.
No need to split hairs here ...... and if you have a quality 1911 you will not notice a big difference having the shorter barrel, except the overall size. :D
 

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The all steel (Combat) Commander does weigh 2 ounces less, points a tad quicker but does have just a tad more muzzle flip than a 5" Govt. (it does feel better when sitting with an IWB, however!)

At top levels of competition, most opt for 5" (or even 6") slides/barrels.

Can a 4.25" pistol be competitive at local matches? Certainly! But is it 'ideal'? If it were, more would be using them. Great for actual carry and more than 'good enough' for local matches, IMO...
 

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The upside to a Commander length pistol (4.25") is many people like how it "points". Meaning the feeling of balance and quickness of bringing it on target.
This has been my experience as well. I own examples of both and enjoy shooting them equally, but I have found that for me the commander length guns feel a bit more balanced.
 

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Commander length guns

I love the feel and balance of a Commander 1911 and use one for concealed carry. I also use an even smaller 1911 style gun, a 9mm Firestar for concealed carrry also, for the ultimate concealability. It is so small it is difficult to see a "print" when wearing a golf shirt.

However, for action pistol shooting competition, I use full size, 5" guns to include an STI Hi-cap in 9mm, a Paraordnance P-14, and a Colt Gold Cup in 9mm.
 

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I'm a bit at odds between 'subjective' vs 'objective' performance on the Commander vs Full length 1911.

While I like the 'feel' and 'pointability' of the Combat Commander, as well as carrying more pleasantly.....I find the scores on paper and steel are actually a notch better with the 5" versions....regardless of what I think I like more....
 

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I shot a Wilson Professional (4”) for about a year in both local Steel Challenge and Practical Pistol matches… I didn’t really feel it was any detriment in shooting. I found the slightly shorter sight radius of the 4” made it a little quicker to get a line on the target… but I also found that the longer sight radius of the 5” got me on target a little more accurately (i.e. being slightly off in sight focus on the 4” makes a little more difference than on a 5”). The only reason I switched to the 5” was because I found a good deal on a SuperGrade and decided to use that one instead.

Having said all that – I shot the matches to improve my firearm handling for defensive carry and wasn’t shooting the matches to necessarily win (though I am usually in the top 5% when the results post)… I prefer to shoot in these matches the same type of firearm I carry because that is the most important aspect for me (for example, I may shoot an all steel frame 4” in the matches… but carry a LW frame).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I shot a Wilson Professional (4”) for about a year in both local Steel Challenge and Practical Pistol matches… I didn’t really feel it was any detriment in shooting. I found the slightly shorter sight radius of the 4” made it a little quicker to get a line on the target… but I also found that the longer sight radius of the 5” got me on target a little more accurately (i.e. being slightly off in sight focus on the 4” makes a little more difference than on a 5”). The only reason I switched to the 5” was because I found a good deal on a SuperGrade and decided to use that one instead.

Having said all that – I shot the matches to improve my firearm handling for defensive carry and wasn’t shooting the matches to necessarily win (though I am usually in the top 5% when the results post)… I prefer to shoot in these matches the same type of firearm I carry because that is the most important aspect for me (for example, I may shoot an all steel frame 4” in the matches… but carry a LW frame).
I have the same approach to the practical shooting sports as you do.
 

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So I was wondering if there is really any advantage to a 5" barrel when compared to a 4.25" barrel for practical shooting. Is the 5" lower recoil? Is the 5" more accurate when shooting IDPA, USPSA, Bowling Pins etc? I love the look of the 4.25" Commander more than the 5" Gov but just wondered if there is any real advantage?

Thanks!!!

David
Hey, Dave, fancy meeting you over here! Great question- I love my S&W Gunsite, but have a S&W 1911 DK on my wish list. Or is it a 1911 Pro? Or a 1911 Pro 9mm? Or...
 

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The Commander will be a little quicker out of the holster and onto the target, but will be a little slower on the second shot, and you'll have to work a bit harder to get the same hits at any kind of distance versus a 5" gun.
 

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Remember, 95% of all guns are more accurate then 95% of all shooters.

The vast majority of the time improvements to handguns deal not so much with MECHANICAL accuracy but making it easier for the shooter to use.

That's the difference between 4.25 and 5 in guns. The longer guns have longer sight radius and more muzzle weight which decreases recoil. For most Joe Average shooters its not that big a deal. But for top shooters who can tell the difference, then the longer gun does offer an advantage.
 
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