I think the popular barrel length if pretty regional. People in the west "seem" to like the shorter easier to carry guns. The farther back east you go people "seem" to like the longer barrels and don't seem as inclined to be concerned about how easy they are to carry. Not sure why that is but just an observation. Prior to the 4" coming out I "preferred" the 5-1/2" although I wished for a 4". I gave up on the Smif 4" 629 long ago as a couple I had didn't hold up. Now that I have the 4" I vastly prefer that.