A ported barrel is a type of barrel that has small holes or ports drilled into it. These ports allow some of the gas that is produced when a bullet is fired to escape from the barrel, which can help to reduce the amount of recoil that the firearm produces. Ported barrels are often used in handguns and shotguns to make them easier to shoot and control.
Do they increase performance?
The easy answer is yes. A ported barrel will allow for less felt recoil in most pistols. In our experience this is most helpful in pistols with longer barrels (greater than 4”) and / or using +P ammunition.
Smaller barrels will see a decrease in felt recoil but can still be snappy simply due to their size.
Ported barrels or any recoil reduction device will not help fix improper grip and stance to mitigate recoil. It is best to have a good foundation to absorb recoil and then use a ported barrel, reduced strength recoil spring, compensator etc. to reduce recoil for maximum effectiveness.
Pros on using a ported barrel:
They do reduce felt recoil. Super easy to install.
May increase speed with follow up shots.
Effective with most calibers, while mostly used in 9mm.
Similar pricing to other barrels. Legal to use in states that do not allow threaded barrels. (Check your local laws always before ordering).
Cons to using ported barrels:
You MUST use a slide that supports ported barrels.
Which most likely adds significantly to cost.
Burning gases exiting ports will make slide dirtier and more cleaning is necessary.
Burning gases exiting ports WILL interfere with any night vision or thermal optics.
While there are many things to consider when purchasing a ported barrel, it can be a worthwhile investment especially in competition pistols. Reduced recoil equals less fatigue during longer duration shooting and more enjoyable.