The World of Long-Slide Pistols

The world of handguns is primarily dominated by a few sizes of firearms. The main sizes of handguns are full-sized, compact, and subcompact. There are some outliers, including pocket pistols, and we have long-slide handguns on the opposite side of the spectrum. 

Let’s discuss long-slide firearms, their purposes, advantages, and downsides, and name a few of our favorite options. 

What does long-slide mean? 

With the full, compact, and subcompact sizes, we typically see a difference in both the frame and slide/barrel length. With a long-slide firearm, the slide and barrel expand and grow, but the frame typically remains that of a duty gun size. 

ls edge photo
Long Slides are beastly guns but very capable.

The length typically goes beyond full size. In the modern market, a full-sized firearm has a barrel length between 4.25 and 5 inches. That’s not always set in stone. A long slide option may deliver a barrel length of anywhere from five to seven inches of barrel and slide. 

Long slide is a term proportional to the length of the full-sized handgun in the same family. A long slide M1911 is like a six-inch barreled gun. A long-slide Glock might only be 5.43 inches. It really depends on the firearm’s maker and family of firearms. 

The Advantages of a Long-Slide Firearm 

The first advantage only applies to guns reliant on iron sights, and that’s sight radius. A longer sight radius makes a weapon easier to shoot accurately and allows the user to shoot with a higher degree of precision. In a day and age where red dots are aplenty, the sight radius advantage begins to disappear. 

remington r1 hunter
The Remington R1 Longslide Hunter is a 10mm chambered handgun that’s ideal for handgun hunting. (Photo: Remington)

Another immediate advantage is control. The gun weighs more, and the longer barrel and slide help reduce muzzle climb. This tends to make these guns easier to operate and handle. 

There is also a slight increase in velocity. The increase can be marginal with most calibers, but there are some instances where it can be beneficial. Calibers like 10mm with heavy-loaded projectiles can benefit from the longer barrels, giving them a little extra boost. 

Disadvantages of Long-Slide Handguns 

Long-slide handguns are heavier and longer, so they tend to be poor options for concealed carry. That’s not to say they couldn’t be carried. I’ve known a number of guys who carry RMRs and light-equipped Glock 34s. You’ll need a great holster and belt, but it can be done. 

SAR9 Sport
The SAR9 Sport has a slightly longer configuration than the SAR9 for IDPA and USPSA competitors. It’s a striker-fired 9mm x 19 with a 5.2-inch barrel, a slightly longer forged steel slide with cooling ports, and a lightweight black polymer frame. It takes steel magazines for 17 and 19 rounds, and a 10-round option is available for capacity-restricted states.

Another downside is the increased price. Long-slide handguns use more material, and you pay for it. You’re also paying for the lack of volume sales, as they tend to be specialty weapons rather than common police or concealed carry firearms. 

Common Uses For Long-Slide Handguns 

Long-slide handguns are very popular for competition use. Their primary advantage is the more control they offer, although those still using irons benefit from an increased sight radius. 

Long-sliding handguns in large calibers are often a popular option for hunting and bear defense. Hot 10mm loads are very potent for bear defense and medium-game hunting, and their greater ballistic potential shouldn’t be ignored. 

Another option is for home defense, where concealment isn’t required. Much like competition, the increase in control and ability to mount lights and optics is quite nice. 

The Best Long Slide Handguns 

There is a fairly decent crop of long-slide handguns currently on the market. Some are better than others and have distinct advantages worth noting. Let’s list a few of the more potent long-slide handguns. 

The Glock Series 

Yep, the whole Glock series of long-slide handguns deserves a mention. Glock makes long-slide 9mms, 40 S&Ws, 45 ACPs, 10mms, and likely some I’m missing. They don’t just stick to one length of long-slide barrel. For example, the 9mm Glock 34 has a 5.31-inch barrel, and the Glock 40 in 10mm has a 6.02-inch barrel. 

glock 34
The controls are standard Glock, and the grip is identical to that of the Glock 17. Photo: Jim Davis.

This just makes sense. The 9mm isn’t going to benefit from a 6-inch barrel like the 10mm. The G34 is also more likely to be used as a duty or defense pistol, so going too long would be an issue. Glock does pay attention to the ballistic needs of its shooters and tailors the barrel lengths to matter. 

The Glock series of handguns is the standard for reliability. They last forever and offer an excellent degree of accuracy, customization, and ease of use. 

SIG P320 XFive 

The XFive series from SIG Sauer has always been the SIG series for competition use. The P320 continued the tradition with the XFive P320. As the name implies, the XFive utilizes a five-inch barrel. The XFive slides also have optics cut and accommodate Leupold DPP, SIG optics, and Trijicon RMR optics. 

XFive profile portrait
This conversion takes your P320 from duty or carry ready to competition ready.

The big benefit of the XFive setup, in my opinion, is the ability to take your existing P320 and purchase an XFive kit to outfit it. The P320’s modular design makes it easy to customize your gun to an extreme degree. My P320 Compact became an XFive with the XFive conversion kit. 

This rig is clearly set up for competition. The polymer grip module features a tungsten-infused design to add additional weight, which reduces recoil even more. The sights are high visibility, but it absolutely demands a red dot to get the most out of it. 

CZ TS 2 

If I had to pick a favorite long-slide handgun, it would have to be the CZ TS 2. The TS 2, or Tactical Sport 2, is a competition-oriented handgun with a 5.28-inch barrel. I love the CZ series of handguns and am a big fan of the DA/SA design. 

CZ TS 2 SHOT Show 2022
The TS 2 is evolved from the CZ Tactical Sport, known for its crisp single-action trigger and long sight radius. It mimics the slide profile of the Shadow 2, focusing reciprocation weight as low as possible. With a redesigned frame and improved ergonomics, the muzzle flip is less pronounced than ever. Features front and rear cocking serrations, fixed target sights with a fiber optic front, aggressively checkered aluminum grips, and “healthy” magwell. The TS 2 will also accept the wide range of custom parts already available for the Tactical Sport. The barrel length is 5.28 inches, with an overall length of 8.86 inches. The gun weighs 48.5 ounces. Available in 9mm (17 or 10-round magazines) and .40 S7W (17-round magazines). (Photo: CZ USA)

The CZ TS 2 takes the classic CZ 75’s traditional DA/SA hammer-fired design and polishes it down to perfection. The trigger pull is outstanding, the ergonomics are downright glorious, and the weapon is a serious tack driver. 

The TS 2’s all-metal design makes it one of the softest-shooting handguns on the market. The long barrel makes it even softer and easier to handle. It’s hefty, and I wouldn’t want to carry AIWB, but if I want to reduce my split times, then the TS 2 is the gun I’d go with. 

Going Long 

Long-slide handguns are best looked at as special weapons. They don’t fill every niche or most niches well. Yet, if you have a need for an accurate and easy-to-control handgun without size restrictions, then a long-slide gun is the way to go. These don’t tend to be as useful as other, smaller guns, but they certainly have their place. 

What say the audience? Are long-slide handguns for you? If so, which one? And why? Let us know below. 

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine Gunner and a lifelong firearms enthusiast. Now that his days of working a 240B like Charlie Parker on the sax are over he's a regular guy who likes to shoot, write, and find ways to combine the two. He holds an NRA certification as a Basic Pistol Instructor and is probably most likely the world's Okayest firearm instructor. He is a simplicisist when it comes to talking about himself in the 3rd person and a self-professed tactical hipster. Hit him up on Instagram, @travis.l.pike, with story ideas.

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