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My colleague and I are arguing about a fluted barrel on pistols whether it does anything or not. Background, he's a mechanical engineer, I spend way too much money on defense equipment and we are working on a race gun build based on either a g34 or 17L. My argument is that on a pistol it is mainly for aesthetic purposes since heat dissipation between fluted and non fluted is virtually impossible to see a difference.
My colleague says fluted barrels have greater durability because of the heat dispersing better especially if it is a work gun with heavy round counts.
 

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Welcome to the forum! Please do stop into introductions and tell us a bit about yourself, we like getting to know folks.

I am no engineer. In regard to your question/debate, to my knowledge fluting accomplishes the following. It reduces the weight of the barrel while it adds strength and it helps dissipate heat. However, to my understanding the lighter fluted barrel heats up faster too just because it is less material overall. So, it would seem to me your friend is correct, however, since the barrel spends most of its time sheathed in the slide and frame there is essentially no place for heat to go. So, this would, in my opinion, reduce the efficacy of fluting for cooling in my opinion, but it still reduces a little weight.
 

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RE a given parts difference doing "anything" ... I suppose it'd come down to whether there would be a given measurable difference in accuracy under varying conditions. Else there wouldn't be much beyond aesthetic benefit.

I don't think I've ever seen any detailed evaluation of a given gun, compared in terms of performance with and without fluting.

I suppose it comes down to this: IIRC fluting does create more surface area, and at least theoretically that does generally result in increased rate of cooling for a hot barrel. But, whether it'd result in any measurable impact on accuracy would depend on the specific characteristics of the gun+barrel and shooting, I would think.

Consider a machine gun. Anything that can be done, with the design, to slow the rate of heat generation would be a good thing, given how machine guns are used. But outside such heavy use, it's hard to imagine a barrel heating up so dramatically that it'd negatively impact accuracy, or reliability. In a EDC pistol, I can't imagine there'd ever be much likelihood of shooting more than a couple magazines' worth of rounds in quick succession. A "race" (competition) gun might be different, but then a competitor isn't likely to be shooting for more than a minute straight. A rifle isn't shot rapidly all that often, even at a range in a competition situation, but even then it's only a couple magazines' worth of rounds.

For me, the way I use guns, fluting would be wasted on me. If I wanted to be shooting a rifle at a range without regard to heat, I suppose I might appreciate fluting's difference; but I can easily shoot more slowly and allow the barrel to cool reasonably before the next handful of rounds is fired, so it doesn't much matter to me whether fluting might show up in accuracy since I'll never stress the heat sufficiently to matter.
 

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I do not think fluting on a pistol barrel will accomplish any more than a slight weight deduction.
Now, having said that about a pistol, well, my AR's are a different matter indeed. I have a few, shall we say, of both types of heavy barrels in my 223Wylde AR's. The fluted barrels not only cool faster, but also are more accurate and do not string shots with heat like my conventional figured barrels do at some point. I have many times tested this.
Rapid fire of say 60-90 rounds consecutively tell a definite story to me.
 

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I do not think fluting on a pistol barrel will accomplish any more than a slight weight deduction.
Now, having said that about a pistol, well, my AR's are a different matter indeed. I have a few, shall we say, of both types of heavy barrels in my 223Wylde AR's. The fluted barrels not only cool faster, but also are more accurate and do not string shots with heat like my conventional figured barrels do at some point. I have many times tested this.
Rapid fire of say 60-90 rounds consecutively tell a definite story to me.
Doesn’t seem like suppressive fire needs to be all that accurate.
 
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