I noticed how the XD had that very small see through portion from the side view where the slide was higher than the frame. I got my hands on an M&P and notice that gap is a lot larger for some reason. Would this have any effect on the loudness of it?
Nah, the sound comes from the powder burning. The barrel and the chamber should lock up pretty tightly; that way, the pressure caused by the powder burn is contained, which is what propels the bullet. (Loss of pressure = bad gun.)
The sound comes from the muzzle and the muzzle only. That's why silencers work, because they attach to the end of the muzzle and deal with the gas and the noise that come out of the muzzle.
There is some mechanical noise from the slide and the chambering of the next round, but that's not affected by the frame/slide gap, and not something you'll notice unless you're running silenced.
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