Short Barrel Rifle Accuracy Questions


Verified Military
Jul 30, 2008
Wrong side of heaven, righteous side of hell
My thoughts are in red in the quoted portion.

Now, be aware that public opinion may factor into your decision. You may get pushback from politicians, etc.

Also, we're talking SWAT here. SBRs excel in vehicles and inside buildings; an SBR with a suppressor is equal in length or longer than a 16" bbl M4. Mine is setup as a Mk18 and it's a hair longer than my long upper. Again, mission/gear train issue. Pick the right gear for the mission profile.

If the team is doing woodland ops, absolutely mount the long upper.

Silencers are a great thing, and go a long way towards reducing irreversible hearing damage (says the medic with tinnitus).

Also, a related issue is what kind of comms gear is the team using? Suppressors may be more of a safety issue (read: OSHA) for patrol than for SWAT with Peltors.

I personally think all LEOs should have the option of using a suppressor, and I'm working on developing research to show this is best practice.

These are just a few of my thoughts. I'm a doc, not a sniper so maybe one of our resident snipers will join in. My perspective is from the standpoint of someone in the stack. @Cabbage Head @Etype



Verified Military
Jan 22, 2018
pert near Lake Erie
Here's my patrol/swat rifle with Surefire suppressor the barrel is 10.5''. Using SBRs in homes (extremely confined hallways, stairs, everything) or in building searches, in general, is much, much easier. Also, weapons flow is much easier. "Weapons flow" is just a term I've heard used on our team, I'm not saying it's new, but it was new to me. When you have a shorter barrel it's easier to get into ready or carrier positions, depending on where you are in relation to your team. Barrel length has zero to do with accuracy and everything to do with velocity; so long as the shooter does his part. With the loss of velocity comes more manipulation of the system but, in LE distance is usually not a factor. If you've ever shot next to a dude in a shoot-house or in a confined place, you'd wish he would have been using a suppressor. Not only because it's loud, but because it's loud and maybe you weren't expecting it. That type of shit throws off your OODA LOOP, but the suppressor helps cut down on being startled. Suppressors also make communication easier for the patrol guys on the road. You'll have auditory execution during stress, but that doesn't mean your eardrums won't be f&^%ed up.

It was already said but just to reaffirm, SBR's have been dirt napping bad guys for a long time. They make the job easier, there's certainly a place for suppressors as well. I would lose the idea of switching out uppers in different environments. There's just no need for it, short barrels in rifles are just fine. Find a good length for the caliber you're using. I think 300 Blk might catch on for LE use, heavy bullet, bunch of energy, and extremely well suited in SBRs, especially suppressed ones.


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May 15, 2018
Older post, but I'll chime in here too.


Our Chief at my police department is seriously thinking about getting short barreled rifles and silencers. I do not have a lot of knowledge on silencers and accuracy for short barreled rifles. We would like to purchase just the uppers as we have lower receivers to use. These rifles would be for our SRT team who do entry and woodland ops in our area. So here is my list of questions:

1. On a 10 or 11 inch barrel, how accurate are they out to 300 yards?
2. Screw on or detachable silencers?
3. If we use silencers what issues do we need to be aware with a short barreled rifle?
4. Silencer recommendations (not looking for top of the line, looking for reliability at a decent price).

Any thoughts or advice is appreciated in advance.


1. I can hit out to 300yds with my suppressed SBR (11.3" bbl, eotech w/ magnifer, AAC 556SD, 62gr M855), it is not what I would deem precise but I can consistently achieve high-center mass hits, I average somewhere around 2.5-3" groups/horizontal spread (at a range, ideal conditions, supported, no Adrenalin spikes and precisely zero incoming rounds) and I don't have near the skill/training as others might (I'm not what you'd call a slouch either). I've never mounted a higher power optic to this rifle so I am unsure how that would translate into my personal accuracy, I would like to guess better, but you can't rock it 'till you've tried it.

However, I am noticeably more accurate with even just a marginally longer barrel. The 14.5" barrel with the AAC 556SD attached is only 3.2" longer than the SBR, but that increase in length is comprised of lands and grooves, solid math. With quality marksmanship, quality barrel/ammo combo, and a low powered fixed/variable optic (3x, 1-4 thru 1-8) the 14.5" rifle is lights out from 0-300 in skilled hands. I run a 1-8 Nightforce on my 14.5" rifle and it's more accurate than I am, at 300yds I average .75-1" groups. Conversely, I've seen another shoot a 3-shot group with this rifle at about 200yds, all through one raggedy hole, I did not measure it, but it was substantially tighter than mine which was close to dime sized.

The closest I shoot any rifle drill is 8yds, the SBR does drive a little better for me, but it is substantially lighter than the M4 and the difference in optic alters my cheek weld as I am higher up on the gun with the eotech. Point being, if I am twice as good with Gun 2 vs. Gun 1 at my needed maximum range of 300yds and I'm only half as good with Gun 2 vs. Gun 1 at 8yds then I am going with Gun 2.

2. Fast Attach (Surefire or Gemtech) or Ratchet Mount (AAC). Screw types need to be re-tightened occasionally as someone mentioned, and it has the added headache of thread wear/damage if you don't run a thread protector, which will in turn slow down attaching the can to the rifle.

3. Pros: As mentioned by others, increased accuracy, hearing protection/environmental concerns/safety. Cons: Short-cycling/over-gassing when suppressed on a direct impingement or poorly set up gas-piston weapon (each version is correctable), increased cleaning/maintenance, and a moderate decrease in the lifespan of parts. The gun is going to run hotter and dirtier period.

4. I like AAC: moderately priced, performs well (negligible point of impact shift when suppressed vs. un-suppressed and consistent suppression), they're durable and I have had good results with them for service after the sale.