2 SBR Myths & Misconceptions Debunked by Aaron Cowan

The SBR is surrounded by myths – Aaron Cowan takes a look at two of the most common myths.

The entire firearms world is full of legends, myths, and misconceptions – especially around popular firearms and restricted firearms. Put those two together and you have an AR-15 SBR which is absolutely enveloped in myths and misconceptions.

Aaron Cowan of Sage Dynamics is a firearms instructor, LEO, and is retired from the US Army. He is experienced and very knowledgeable about many applications of firearms.

In this long and thorough video, Aaron examines two of the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding SBRs (short barrel rifles) in a rather quantifiable manner.

The .223/5.56 intermediate centerfire rifle round was designed to be fired out of longer barrels for optimal performance. That doesn’t mean it can’t be fired out of shorter barrels, it simply means the round sacrifices velocity when put through a short barrel. The loss in velocity does result in a more compact and maneuverable rifle.

Like most everything in life, each decision has pros and cons.

Aaron advocates that 10 inches is the shortest barrel choice practical for .223/5.56. In this test, Aaron uses 77 grain .223 out of a 10.3″ AR-15 and a 12.75″ AR-15 round.

Myth: SBRs are inaccurate at distance

This is one of the most common myths. SBRs aren’t inaccurate because the barrel is shorter – they simply have less velocity than their longer barrel counterparts. This means SBRs have more drop to deal with, but they still are very capable out to several hundred yards. The caliber the SBR is chambered in and the quality of the bullets put through the rifle is much more important than the length of the barrel.

Myth: SBRs aren’t as lethal as full length rifles

This myth’s answer is quite simple. The bullet choice itself is much more important to how “lethal” a bullet is than the barrel length. Remember, the barrel length is sacrificing velocity – minimal velocity at that.

There is a performance fall off with all firearms as the distance increases, but it is quite minimal when comparing the two barrel lengths used in the video. Aaron provides some very specific ballistic gel comparisons between

More tests to come

Aaron will be coming out with more videos on this topic, diving into topics such as maneuverability and the like. Be sure to subscribe to the Sage Dynamics YouTube channel for more info on this topic in the future.

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Brian Purkiss
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Brian Purkiss is a firearms instructor, competitive shooter, proponent for individual liberty and Second Amendment rights, and a web developer. He enjoys competing in and organizing Run and Gun Competitions, as well as shooting in USPSA, Outlaw matches, and 3 Gun.