The lender said the third-quarter haul, which was up from £1.1 billion a year ago but down from £2.6 billion in the previous three months, brought year-to-date profits to a record £6.9 billion.
Most analysts had been expecting third-quarter profits of £1.6 billion in the three months to September 30.
It comes after the group released £622 million of cash set aside in the first nine months of the year last year to cover expected defaults amid the pandemic.
The bank booked net charges of £120 million in the third quarter after a £797 million release in the previous three months.
Barclays chief executive Jes Staley said: “On top of a good first half, a strong third-quarter performance means Barclays has delivered its highest third quarter year-to-date pre-tax profit on record in 2021.”
He said the investment banking business “continues to be an area of strength for the group”, with profits in the division surging 49% to £4.8 billion in the first nine months of the year.
He added: “We are also seeing evidence of a consumer recovery and the early signs of a more favourable rate environment.
“Against that backdrop, we are focused on balancing cost efficiencies with further investment into high-returning growth opportunities.”