Imagine a handgun barrel with a twist. That’s precisely what a threaded barrel offers the firearms community. With threaded grooves at the muzzle end, shooters can connect multiple accessories, from compensators to suppressors. This lets them explore customization options to fit their specific shooting preferences and improve recoil management. Besides this, the groves can also reduce the shooting noise, making the experience more comfortable. Discover more about the pros and cons of this sought-after handgun barrel feature in the guide below.
What Does Threaded Barrel Mean?
A threaded barrel is a specific type of barrel that includes threads on the end of the muzzle. The spiral grooves cut into the barrel’s exterior allow shooters to attach numerous muzzle accessories. The term “threaded” originates from these grooves forming a helical pattern, like the threading on a screw. They come in various configurations to accommodate different firearms and their applications.
Common types of threaded barrels include but aren’t limited to the following.
Handgun Threaded Barrels like those designed for Glock pistols and other semi-automatic handguns feature threads at the end of the barrel. They allow shooters to attach muzzle brakes, compensators and suppressors.
Shotgun Threaded Barrels. Many shotguns have threads on the inside of the end of the barrel so choke tubes can be used. Choke tubes can effect shot pattern spread, and typically the further you are shooting the tighter the choke should be.
Rifle Threaded Barrels. As the name suggests, these threaded barrels are found on rifles, enabling the attachment of various muzzle devices. However, it is worth noting that threaded barrels on rifles have a unique thread pattern that is different than those on handguns, and can change depending on the firearm’s design and caliber.
What Does a Threaded Barrel Do?
The primary purpose of threaded barrels is to allow attachment of various muzzle devices. For rifles, flash hiders are the most common and often come stock on most AR platform rifles. Muzzle breaks and compensators are also common muzzle attachments for rifles. Handguns with threaded barrels also alow attachment of muzzle compensators, with muzzle breaks being not as common on handguns.
For both handguns and rifles, threaded barrels allow direct threading of suppressors onto the barrel. Direct thread is the safest and most secure way to attach a suppressor to your firearm, as it is almost certain to be perfectly aligned with the bullets path and thus have almost no chance for a baffle strike.
Benefits of a Threaded Barrel
A threaded barrel offers numerous advantages, especially for those interested in specific shooting applications and customization.
A few are listed below.
Muzzle Brake or Compensator
Muzzle brakes and compensators are connected to the threaded barrel for high-recoil firearms. Here’s how they both level up the shooting experience.
Muzzle Brake. This is designed to decrease muzzle rise and felt recoil. For instance, the bullet in the barrel creates an equal force in the opposite direction. Muzzle brakes counteract the recoil forces by redirecting the gases to the sides and in the upward direction. As a result, the muzzle rise reduces, making up for quick follow-up shots and enhanced control.
Compensator. The compensator offers a purpose similar to muzzle brakes but with an added perk - it reduces muzzle flip during rapid firing. The compensator forces the muzzle down by using the expelled gas. This keeps the barrel on target for accurate follow-up shots.
A threaded barrel also allows the shooter to attach a suppressor, also called a silencer. They aim to minimize the flash signature when a firearm is discharged.
A suppressor successfully traps and dissipates the expanding gases produced by the fired bullet. As a result, the noise is reduced to a manageable level. Here’s how it helps.
First off, it gives hearing protection. This means shooters and people nearby are exposed to reduced noise levels, keeping them from hearing loss.
Suppressors reduce recoil and allow for better follow up shots.
Did you know suppressors are commonly used in the military for enhanced stealth? They help minimize the risk of revealing the shooter’s position due to reduced noise.
A flash hider is yet another device that can be attached to a threaded barrel, typically on rifles. As the name implies, it helps reduce the visible flash produced when a gun is fired.
It generally works by scattering and cooling the gases when they exit the muzzle. This makes the flash less apparent, typically in low-light conditions.
Here’s how it helps.
One of the biggest benefits of a flash hider is concealment. It keeps the shooter from revealing their position or being spotted.
It also preserves the shooter’s night vision by reducing the sudden bright light typical with an unmodified barrel. This feature comes in handy during nighttime shooting.
How to Tell If a Gun Has a Threaded Barrel?
Identifying whether a gun has a threaded barrel is not challenging for experienced shooters. Here are a few steps you can take to find out.
Look for barrel markings. Numerous manufacturers indicate the presence of a threaded barrel using specific markings. To determine that, you can look for terms like THD (Threaded) or TB (Threaded Barrel). A few guns also represent it with the symbol “+.”
Inspect it visually. You can look for spiral-like grooves in the barrel’s exterior. These threads are generally covered in a protective cap.
Check the manufacturer’s website. You can also check the product’s documentation by visiting the manufacturer's official website. In the specifications, you’ll most likely find whether a gun includes a threaded barrel.
Ask the seller. If you’re purchasing from a retailer or a dealer, you can ask them whether the firearm has a threaded barrel.
What Is the Difference Between a Threaded and Rifled Barrel?
A threaded barrel has threads at the muzzle end for attaching muzzle devices. A rifled barrel features spiral grooves inside, which add spin to the bullet for precision. The former facilitates device attachment, while the latter boosts bullet stability.
Can You Thread a Regular Barrel?
It may be possible, but it is best to buy a threaded barrel. A machine shop can help thread a regular barrel by carefully cutting threads on the muzzle end. However, it is worth noting that not all barrels can be threaded, and it depends on factors like the thickness and material of the barrel.