Full length guide rods, 1911's

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
Though a number of manufacturers produce them, including Kimber... And they're somehow supposed to be "better." I can't recommend the use of a full length recoil spring guide rod.

Why not? Good question... Many of them, most of them, are two-piece affairs, and CAN come unscrewed while shooting... first lengthening, then eventually even separating! The lengthening part is frustrating - when it comes time to take the pistol apart for cleaning... It won't come apart! The long guide rod now protrudes from the front of the pistol, interfering with barrel bushing removal. It must be tediously screwed back together, while fighting against the recoil spring... Just to take the pistol down for cleaning. Never saw one come completely apart while shooting, but that can't be much fun...

So - there ya go - I've had to deal with a few of these over the years, and consider it a weak point in an otherwise good design.

Solution is pretty inexpensive. Go back to the original 1911 design: short guide rod and a standard recoil spring plug. Moses handed it to us that way. :) It works.

*Note, this may not happen to you until your 1911 has seen considerable use...

Regards, Guy
I agree Guy.
Thank you for that reminder.

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I agree, keep it simple with a gun that is going to save your life or the life of another. My Rock River came with full length two piece guide rod. Not only did it occasionally shoot loose, you had to take it apart to disassemble the pistol. My S&W came with a full length guide rod but it is one piece. But you can't press load the pistol on your saddle horn with a full length guide rod. I've always had the notion of not second guessing Mr. Browning. I'm certain he knew more about the 1911 than me. I too have replaced all the full length guide rods with standard ones.
I put a full length guide rod on my Colt .45 Goverment model but it does not unscrew and I have no problem with it. I like the extra weight forward, I think it helps me shoot better. Key word think.