Over the past twenty years there has been an increasing interest in concealable handguns. Many states now allow concealed carry and the demand for firearms is at an all-time high. The consumer tendency seems to be toward big calibers in small guns. That’s a problem. Big loads need barrel length to burn the entire charge of powder. Otherwise, the excess powder is simply blown out the end of the barrel, having no positive effect on ballistics. What that means to the shooter is a big bore round or a hot load may be less powerful than a smaller caliber or milder load that was propelled by its entire charge of powder.  It is worthwhile to check your ammunition manufacturer”s website for ballistic information and suggested barrel lengths for individual loads. Also, balls of fire, powder spray and heavy fouling of the barrel may be indicators of too much load. The good news is smaller calibers and milder loads are less expensive and easier to shoot.