The original Colt M1911 had an influence that perhaps no one could have foreseen. It went on to be carried as a service pistol not only throughout the military but domestically in the hands of law enforcement officers and elsewhere, It was only officially retired in 1985, after serving with distinction for the better part of a century.
Of course, official figures can’t always be trusted. No one really knows who was carrying 1911 pistols for how long after that, and that’s only in America. There have been countless 1911 pistols produced and sent overseas, not to mention the number in domestic circulation.
Suffice it to say it is one of the most popular, most influential, and most copied handgun platforms of all time.
That means there are a lot of us out here that can help you troubleshoot basic issues, like cycling problems, failure to eject, unreliable resetting, and more.
With the right knowledge and the proper assortment of parts, you can fix issues like these. So let’s talk about a 1911 part that doesn’t get a lot of press, despite the fact that it significantly impacts cycling and reliability – the recoil spring (and guide).
If your 1911 is experiencing any of the following cycling issues, the problem may have something to do with a recoil spring that has seen better days:
● Failure to reset after ejection
● Stovepipe jams
● Failure to eject (not likely but possible)
● Failure to feed a new round from the magazine.
Though it’s more likely in some than in others, it’s conceivable that in these cases your issue may have been caused by a recoil spring that has fatigued.
Adding a new 1911 recoil spring and supporting it with a recoil spring guide may not only fix the issue but will also protect the life of the new spring you just installed.
Kinking: Not Good for Spring Life or Cycling
Weak springs and setups that lack recoil spring guides are a recipe for kinking. While you might not notice it between shots, if your recoil spring is getting compressed in an uneven fashion or kinking within the slide, that’s a recipe for “shorter spring life.”
The more you stress it, the faster it will wear out and the shorter you can expect its lifespan to be. A recoil spring guide will help ensure even compression and loading and will help prevent the spring from fatiguing before its time.
Improve Cycling Time and Fluidity
It’s the recoil spring and not the guide that really impacts reliable, quick cycling. If your 1911’s action is slugging then you should definitely look into getting a newer, tighter recoil spring – but don’t install it without a recoil spring guide.
Because the spring guide will help ensure even compression and will keep the spring from twisting or kinking, it will ensure faster, more fluid cycling and greater reliability as well. Plus, as mentioned in the last section, it’ll protect and extend the life of the recoil spring.
We would like to point out that it is the recoil spring itself that offers these benefits to cycling time and reliability – but that the guide will help the action remain limber for longer.
Are You Limp-Wristing?
There’s one more thing we address before we close the books on tuning up your 1911 with a new recoil spring and guide – limp-wristing.
Limp-wristing is when you don’t hold your pistol firmly enough to provide resistance for the slide to travel back against. If you limp-wrist while shooting, no amount of gun oil and no fancy new spring will fix the issue.