Full length guide rod: whats the Pros & Cons?

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by kcin75, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. kcin75

    kcin75 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    So what are the advantages and disadvantages of a full length guide rod in a compact with a 4" barrel? Other than the fact that most full length guide rods need a tool to field strip?
  2. Well....one con for a full length guide rod is your 1911 doesn't need it, not at all; it is an answer to a problem that doesn't exist. The regular guide rod works fine.

    The only reason full length guide rods come with some new 1911's is that decades of advertising has convinced people they are necessary or better, so manufacturers put them in their higher-end 1911's to be able to say it has one in it.

  3. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    The only (perceived) advantage, for a full-length guide rod is it prevents the recoil spring from bending too much/jumping out of its track. Bought my first 1911 in 1980. Been shootin' them for a while. Never had a spring bend too much or jump out of the track. Barrel above it and frame below it seem to keep it in place real good.

    Disadvantage is, as you said, it needs a tool to disassemble it. My Kimber requires a bent paper clip. My Springfield required an allen wrench (I say "required", because it no longer has a full-length guide rod). Without the tool, you cannot field strip the gun, WHICH IS A DIRECT VIOLATION OF THE DESIGN OF THE GUN.

    You may get the opinion that I don't think too much of full-length guide rods. You would be correct.
  4. kcin75

    kcin75 New Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Alpo, when you went to the short guide rod in your springfield were there any noticeable affects such as it cycled smoother or rougher?

    Something else that I have heard is that the full length guide rod adds a little bit of wieght to the front of the pistol so it some what lowers the felt recoil? Is there any truth to this or is horse feathers?
  5. To get enough weight to feel a difference in muzzle flip, you may need to get a tungsten guide rod, especially on a commander sized slide.
  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Saw no change in the way the gun worked. Neither smoother nor rougher. Much easier to field strip, though.
  7. Oldeyes

    Oldeyes Active Member

    Oct 13, 2006
    I totally agree that a guide rod is not really a functional necessity in a 1911. However, when you start to get into issues such as the control of muzzle flip and the reduction of potential frame battering, I recommend the use of dual spring type recoil reducing guide rods. I stumbled onto such things long ago with a Colt Delta Elite 10mm which had lots of muzzle flip and some incipient frame battering going on. I found that one of the very best manufacturers of high quality dual spring recoil reducers is Sprinco (http://www.sprinco.com/) who sells direct from their web site. I have used their 1911 style and S&W style recoil reduction units for years with excellent results in terms of accuracy improvement, faster subsequent shots, muzzle flip reduction, reliability and elimination of potential frame battering. And no, I have no relationship with Sprinco other than being a totally satisfied long term customer.
  8. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    I have no idea.

    The rod that was in my gun was in two pieces. The back half of the rod replaced the recoil spring guide, and was approximately the same length. The front half screwed into the back half, and had an allen-wrench hole in the front end. You put the gun together, like normal, locked the slide back, put the front half down the hole and screwed it into the back half, then used the allen wrench to tighten it up. To disassemble, first use the allen wrench to unscrew the front half and remove it, then take down like normal.

    Pain in the butt.
  9. Brian48

    Brian48 New Member

    Dec 14, 2008
    I used to use FLGRs in my 1911s years ago. Don't bother any more. I understand the theoretical benefits they might offer, but I've never seen any advantages in practical use. The only sure thing is that they make field stripping harder.

    My new SW1911 (sku #108284) comes with a FLGR as factory default, but I plan on swapping it out eventually. I don't like having to use a bushing wrench just to field strip at the range.
  10. daveinvegas

    daveinvegas New Member

    Nov 10, 2009
    I was using a 1911 for USPSA matches. After a while I noticed some odd marks on the insise of the dust cover. Turned out they were dings. I also noticed that the recoil spring was curved, not straight. The recoil spring was kinking and was battering the dust cover.

    I installed FLGR which stopped the problem.

    I built a 1911 using a Caspian receiver and Colt slide. The slide was rubbing on the dust cover. I installed a FLGR. No more slide rubbing. Why would that be? huh?

    It just seems intuitive to me that if the recoil spring is being compressed in a straight line along the FLGR it's better for the spring and the gun.

    I have heard some folks say that the 1911 is just fine the way J.M. Browning designed it and we don't need FLGRs. The 1911 is my favorite gun and I own several, but if JMB was happy with the design why did he design the hi-power?

    Also, if there is nothing wrong with the original 1911 design why did the army request changes and why do we install beavertail grip safeties, extended thumb safeties, better sights, checkering, etc?

    Also, no one ever complains about a FLGR on S&W autos. Why is that?
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