D&L Sports™, Inc.
1911 Full Length Guide Rods
1911 Full Length Guide Rods
The long V.S. short spring guide rod in 1911 auto pistols seems to be an unending controversy with strong opinions on both sides of the debate.
D&L Sports™ Inc. offers custom 1911s with your choice of spring guide rod lengths to satisfy those committed to either side of the issue. However, Dave Lauck offers the following information to those interested in considering their spring guide rod options further.
We have all probably heard the saying: "If John Browning wanted a full length guide rod in the 1911, he would have designed the 1911 with a full length guide rod." There are few, if any, knowledgeable firearm design people that will dispute the opinion that John Browning was a genius of his time. Many people are very grateful for his contributions to the firearm design field. However, to say firearms design work started and ended with John Browning, is like saying automobile design started and ended with Henry Ford. We now have generations more time and experience with firearms. It is simply foolish to say there can be no improvements to the original design.
Better sights on the 1911 allow for better and faster sighting. A well designed beavertail grip safety improves handling, distributes recoil, and eliminates hammer bite. These upgrades are well accepted as practical performance enhancements to the 1911 design. There is no reason not to consider other areas for improvements as long as they are field practical, and don't adversely affect our number one concern - reliability.
Short guide rod supporters like the simplicity of field stripping without a bushing wrench and the ability to pinch check the pistol with thumb and forefinger. Some short guide rod users like to chamber a round by pushing the front underside of the slide against a solid object.
Knowledgeable shooters using full length guide rod can still field strip without a bushing wrench, and can still chamber check using an under or over the slide grip. Hooking the slide and chambering a round one handed is also possible with a full length guide rod in place. So there really are no disadvantages to using a full length guide rod.

What are the advantages? The pistol runs smoother and stays snug longer (many, many 1000s of rounds) because the slide is guided straight back and forward on the guide rod, rather than depending so much on the frame rails for guidance.
Take a look at other firearm designs such as the 63A, AR-18, AR-180, SA80, and G36. You will notice spring guide rods and bolts also operating on the rods as tracks to minimize wear on the receiver. The same concept applies to the 1911. Operating the slide on the spring guide rod minimizes uneven wear on the frame rails, and allows the pistol to operate smoother. Again, please keep in mind these lessons are learned through firing literally millions of rounds. The casual shooter may overlook various benefits due to the limited number of rounds fired.
Another important benefit of the full length guide rod is that it stops rearward travel of the slide during front slide impacts. Why is this important? Here's one reason from operational experience: When a shooter slides in behind a cover position, and aggressively stabs his pistol past the cover object to fire, it is possible to catch the front underside of the slide on the cover object. This makes it possible for the slide to be pushed back enough to kick out the chambered cartridge on to the ground. It is possible for the slide to snap back forward as it skids past the cover object without chambering another cartridge. In other words, click, instead of bang. This problem does not happen with a full length guide rod in place because it stops the slide from being pushed back.
What does Dave Lauck use in his personal full size carry pistols? A full length guide rod.
The final choice is yours, as 1911s can be constructed either way. This information is simply made available for your consideration.
Price: $45

Note: There can be variations in recoil spring internal coil size, as well as poundage weights. Also, sometimes the open end of recoil springs can have a sharp edge that drags between the full length guide rod and spring plug. If you are using a full length guide rod, be sure that both ends of the recoil spring slide smoothly and drag free over the entire length of the FLGR. For 5 and 6 inch 1911 pistols firing full power 230 grain ball ammo, 18.5 pound Wolf brand variable recoil springs are recommended. If you have a FLGR in your pistol, install the recoil spring with closed end of the recoil spring at the muzzle end of the pistol. If you have a pistol with a short guide rod, about 2 inches long, install the recoil spring with the open end at the muzzle end of the pistol.

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