1911 Recoil Springs
Old versus New
(Click for bigger)

… for your wadder’s recoil spring.

Here are two 1911 recoil springs, one heavily used and the other brand new. The difference is obvious – the old spring has “taken a set” and is visibly shorter.

In my wad 1911, this old spring was failing to seat about one in twenty (1:20) rounds. In Rapid Fire, that’s an alibi, perhaps even a second malfunction in that same match*. In Slow Fire, while a misfeed can probably be dealt with, it is still a distraction; it will throw you off your shooting plan. Consequently, your score may suffer from lack of concentration. Remember, “Matches may be lost in Timed and Rapid, but they are won in Slow Fire.” You need every point, every X to win.

A new spring for a full-size 1911 is 6.75″ long. I installed this one during a match and the misfeeds stopped immediately. No more alibis.

And while the best measure of a recoil spring is its resistance during recoil — this is a 13 pound Wolff spring, by the way — a simple ruler may be all you need.

How long is long enough? That’s a tougher call because it really is that resistance to recoil that stores up energy in recoil and then uses it to strip the next round from the magazine, “ker-chunk” it fully into the chamber, drive the slide forward so the barrel link is drawn fully to the rear and, finally, to fully mate the barrel and slide locking lugs. Anything short of that and the recoil spring has failed to do its job.

But too short?

That’s easy.

Six inches is not enough, guys!


* Note:
In a typical 900, there are four matches: the Slow Fire match (two targets), the National Match Course (three targets), the Timed Fire match (two targets) and the Rapid Fire match (two targets). The rules state you can have one alibi in a match but that’s all. If your gun malfunctions a second time in that same match, or during the alibi string itself, you’re out of luck.

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