One of the longest continuing battles in the police precision rifle world is the one over barrel length. It is simply amazing that this argument persists to this day. You will still hear experts decry the officer with a 19-inch barrel as somehow defeating the purpose of the 7.62mm rifle. Some still insist 26 inches is the “ideal length” for a police precision rifle. Even better, many will insist you need 175-grain bullets to truly “wring all the distance out of the cartridge.” Or a larger bullet at full velocity is required in order to “penetrate hardened targets.” Of course, longer barrels will get rounds out to 1,000 yards, and through barriers, but they aren’t exactly required for a police precision rifle.
Granted, those cries are growing faint with time, but they are still far more prominent than you would think. In fact, many agencies are moving to suppressed rifles, making longer barrels about impossible to deal with. Take a 26-inch-barreled rifle and add a 10-inch suppressor—you can use it as a step stool in a pinch. These rifles won’t fit in a drag bag and can be unwieldy, often not even fitting in your trunk with the suppressor attached. With a 19-inch barrel or even shorter, it is easier to deploy and the suppressor can stay on the rifle.
When it comes to range, let’s face it, 1,000-yard shots in the police world are pure fantasy. Although an occasional shot is taken in the 300-yard range, it is rare. Truly long range is likely limited to 500 yards for a myriad of reasons and 19 inches is plenty of tube for that range.