View Full Version : full-lenght recoil spring guides

gary thornbury
02-23-2004, 11:43 AM
for the 1911 .45acp, how many of you use the full- lenght recoil guide, in place of the the shorter one? Does it make the pistol more reliable? Kunhhausen says on page 153 it keeps the spring supported in the middle ,and prevents binding.Gives consitent recoils. Anyone usinging them?

02-23-2004, 01:17 PM
I have an Ed Brown one-piece FLGR in my Springfield and I like it.

I don't know if it affects recoil or accuracy per say but I'm just anal and like the thought of the spring being supported and not rubbing against the frame needlessly. The weight may help a little with muzzle flip, but I never did any before and after tests with it. I did notice an improvement when I installed a recoil buffer through, the slide recoiling back feels better now that it is cushioned but again thatís just me being anal.

I do like the fact that now I can pull off my slide and everything is together and like a Glock or Beretta won't fly apart...

As silly as this may sound, I also like the way it looks when it goes to slide lock.

02-23-2004, 08:43 PM
I have a Springfield that doesn't have one and a Para Ordinance that has one. All it seems to do is make the Para harder to disassemble. The Springfield is absolutely reliable and although it is not a match gun it is accurate enough for me. I don't even know if a recoil spring guide even helps accuracy. I would rather not have one on a 1911.

02-23-2004, 09:08 PM
I have never been realy sure about them, have used them, and don't now, I think maybe in a target pistol they may be worth it, but I don't see the advantage of them in a pure self defense weapon, especaily one I may have to strip in less than desireable conditions

02-23-2004, 10:10 PM
The extra weight up front helps with muzzle flip (or at least feels like it). The tungsten ones do add quite a bit of weight up front and reduces muzzle flip in my experience, whether the regular steel ones do or not, I dunno, like I said, the seem like they do to me but I don't think you can actually test it in any valid scientific manner.

Depending on how you take your 1911 apart, it can make it harder or easier. If you wanna do it quickly, the Full Length guide rod helps tremendously (pop your slide release pin out, pull your slide off), if you use your bushing wrench, then you won't be taking your gun apart in any combat anyways.

Supposedly the FL rods also help stop spring bind and wear, but I haven't seen any real documentation to prove that.

The supposed accuracy improvement also has never been documented in slow fire. I have seen improvements in my groups when I added the heavier rod, but that only tightened up my quick shooting groups, not my slow fire.

A neat bit of supposed trivia (as passed down to me by a well respected member of the gunsmithing community and Korean War vet) - Browning's original design called for a FL rod, the army decided they wanted a short one for the reason that if a jam does occur - place the front of your gun, where the FL rod would extend from, on something solid, and put your muscles into it. If the slide doesn't cycle backwards then, throw it at the BG's and run like hell cause it ain't never gonna work.

There has been a lot of debate on the FL guide rods over the years, and it all comes down to what you like. I do like it myself for the reasons stated above.

John Silver
02-24-2004, 07:23 PM
My motto is to stick with original internal design specs for almost all defensive applications.

Back in the day when I lived and breathed 1911's, the full length guide rods where for the gamesmen, and the "real" ones were for social work. But, then I always kept a 16lb recoil spring in it instead of the trendy 18.5lb and used 7 round mags, too.

IMHO (and experience), full length guide rods make things less reliable in a 1911. Lots of theories both ways to be sure, but the guys who seemed to need them the most, most often left them out.

Never heard the bit about JMB putting in a full length guide rod before. He wasn't too keen on them as a whole, so I'd be curious to see where that gunsmith got his reference.

02-27-2004, 04:11 PM
DF, I asked him where he'd heard it, he said it was in an article or book he'd read. I wasn't sure that's why I put in the "supposed" bit.

I've been playing with FL guide rods for a few years now, and have yet to have a malfunction with one.

I am kind of intrigued by your statement earlier about gamesmen vs the "social work," the purpose of most of these games was originally to determine what worked in (as close to) real combat situations. Hence the modifications of shooting stances (modified weaver, mod iso etc), the emphasis more being on the grip, trigger control, and sight alignment. Now I know a lot of the firearms used out there today don't even vaguely resemble what most people would carry (futuristic looking space guns designed for low recoil and extreme accuracy), but a lot of the guys still shoot production or stock competitions. I'm seeing a lot more FL guide rods in 1911's for these comp's, and I'm not seeing any adverse effects.

It seems like most companies have gone to a FL guide rod in their standard guns, with the only ones available with the shorty being Springfields Milspec, and some of the ultra compact models.

The LAPD swat team is supposed to be carrying Kimbers now, and they have full length GR's.

While I am leary of modifying too much of my carry firearms, many of the experts out there recommend a lighter trigger pull, night sights and some other changes. If your FLGR doesn't cause your gun to jam when you try to make it jam on the range, it won't when you need it.

What have you seen the FLGR's do that caused the firearm(s) to become less reliable? I'm not baiting, or arguing, I honestly want to know. Our expereinces differ and since you probably have a lot more expereience than I do (civilian, limited competition shooting), I want to hear about it.

02-27-2004, 04:33 PM
I'd just like to add that I've had my Ed Brown FLGR for almost 10 years in my Springfield and it has never reduced the reliability in any way.

gary thornbury
02-27-2004, 05:34 PM
From what I'm seeing is that --either will be ok,my pistol has a short one and was thinking about getting the longer recoil guide. After reading the posts, I called Wilson Combat, and asked the guy if I should put one in my pistol and he said "It wont make it more accurate or reliable. save your $26.00 ." I give Wilson credit for being honest and will buy all of my parts from them.
Thank you all for helping answer this for me.
It's a nice bunch of peole here

John Silver
02-27-2004, 08:50 PM
The LAPD swat team is supposed to be carrying Kimbers now, and they have full length GR's.

While I am leary of modifying too much of my carry firearms, many of the experts out there recommend a lighter trigger pull, night sights and some other changes. If your FLGR doesn't cause your gun to jam when you try to make it jam on the range, it won't when you need it.

What have you seen the FLGR's do that caused the firearm(s) to become less reliable? I'm not baiting, or arguing, I honestly want to know. Our expereinces differ and since you probably have a lot more expereience than I do (civilian, limited competition shooting), I want to hear about it.

I don't take it as baiting at all. Really, I base a lot of my opinions on guys I know who have "been there/done that" as much as on my limited personal experience. I'm a "civilian" (non-LE, non-military) as well, but I've had a bit of trigger time over the years. I knew one of the ex-Gunsite/Cooper era gunsmiths, and he wouldn't use the full lenght guide rods, swore at them instead of by them, and scorned their very existance. Ditto for a number of other folks whose knowledge I respect and used these things as the weapons they were intended to be used as.

The idea against FLGR's is that springs can bind and not move as JMB intended them to move. The more movement at that time was actually seen as a positive thing - let it have room to move around and it will find it's way to where it needs to go. Over all, the guns with FLGR's have had more malfuntions and run rougher in my experience. Now, these also tend to be guns with more doo-dads and whiz-bangs than the non-FLGR pistols, so take that with a grain of salt. Really, they were designed for a shorty, work great with a shorty, and the FLGR really doesn't give any perceptable advantage, so I ask why risk it? If you insist on having one, use a one piece and not the two piece screw together type.

Yes, LAPD went to Kimbers (not a bad choice for off the shelf 1911's), but my Kimber functioned more smoothly with a shorty guide rod and was miserable with the shok-buff that came with it, so how do I take that?

The one thing I will speak out on is the idea that just because a gun functions on the range, it will function when you need it. The range is the ideal, perfect sceneario. Even competition isn't that far off. You start with a clean/lubed gun, a firm grip, and knowing you are going to shoot and what you are going to shoot. Items which may make cycling marginal are often hidden by such conditions. Throw in the dirt and grime of a duty/carry gun that maybe hasn't been lubed as well as it should have been and a weak/off center grip taken in haste under the shock and surprise of a fight to the death - well, those little things that caused excess but unnoticed friction on the range can raise their ugly heads.

Also, historically, those "realistic" competitions didn't stay too real for too long. Don't get me wrong - shoot in them, have fun, all trigger time is good time, just don't take them as a crucibale of fire for testing reliability of street gear.

(Disclaimer - I don't hate everyone who uses FLGR's, so no need to flame. If a pistol was designed with oneand it's not a 1911, great, but I make sure it's a factory part. I've seen lots of after market guide rods make otherwise perfectly fine pistols malfunction.)

02-28-2004, 05:27 AM
Minor bone to pick.....None of us really know what JMB, would have done with the 1911 if he did not have to follow a bunch of specifications set down by a comittee, we can not say for sure what he may have done, but based upon his other projects and designs, it sure would have had an interesting end result.

As far a FGR, I have one in my pistol and have had zero problems and I have subjected it to use and abuse (not intentional) and have had it full of sand and mud and in the extremes of weather and it has functioned reliably. That is not to say that it will work for everyone or that every pistol will like it, this is what works for me.

The thing that you have to do, is fit the rod to the pistol, same as installing any new part, it has to be fitted properly, just dropping it in and running with it just isn't going to cut it.

It comes down to your personal comfort level and what is acceptable, if you like and want it or not is totally up to you.

John Silver
02-28-2004, 07:23 AM
In the grand scheme of things, FLGR's are awfully minor items. If you want one - run with it. It's your gun and I really don't think that it's one of those things that is going to raise it's ugly head that often.

I'd concern myself with more common failures of the 1911 - improper throating, improper contouring and tensioning of the extractor, over aggressive trigger jobs, and loose plunger tubes.

To touch on one point - guide rods are not precision items. They do not need to be hand fit like many other parts (safetys, triggers, sears, etc...), and I'd go back to the gunsmith who charged you for it and ask for your money back.

Dave T
02-28-2004, 01:06 PM
For those of you who have or like the FL guide rod, more power to you.

This April will mark 30 years since I first qualified for my department with a MKIV Series 70 Government Model. Prior to that I carried one for about 6 months in Vietnam. In that time I have never experienced, seen or heard of this binding of the recoil spring that a FL guide rod is supposed to cure. It just isn't a problem. From that perspective I just don't see the need for the FL rod. But if you like it and it works, pay your money and have fun.

02-29-2004, 08:22 AM
My Wilson CQB has the standard guide rod, easy to clear one handed, no malfunctions will shoot the advertised 1 inch at 25 yards. My Kimber has the full length giude rod and have had no problems with it, but have a difficult time doing malfunction drill one handed.

I looked closely at the space where the the guide rod and spring lays, not a lot of room for a spring to kink, it has to stack properly.

The full length guide rod in my humble opinion is a want no where near a neccessity.

03-01-2004, 08:30 AM
Gotta agree with the "no need" crowd on this issue. Of course, I have a FLGR in my 1991, but that's just the way it came when I got it off the original owner. I epoxied the two halves together and have never experienced any kinds of problems with it.

It does make the pistol heavier at the muzzle, but that doesn't factor into recoil unless someone out there is very sensitive to minute weight changes.

Reliability has never been a problem, but I can't see how spring kink would occur without the FLGR.

Overall, I don't specify them in my weapons, but I don't cry if the weapon comes with one. I'm far from hispeed-lowdrag so you might want to take my opinion with a grain of salt.