A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, July 18, 2008

Full Length Guide Rods

"I just bought a new 1911, and my friend told me I should put a full length guide rod in it. Nobody can tell me why."
Nobody can tell you why because there is not a good reason to do so.

Some shooters who advocate full length guide rods cite recoil spring binding as a reason, as well as the increased weight at the muzzle that a FLGR provides. Those against the FLGR list increased difficulty of field stripping and fewer options for clearing malfunctions as reasons to avoid them. Those that like them find a reason for them. Those who despise them find reasons as well.

On both my Gold Cup and Combat Elite I run a solid full length guide rod. I think they were made by Ed Brown or maybe EGW. One of my SW1911s has a FLGR as well. The common thread between these three 1911s is they all have adjustable sights. They are range guns.

I have not noticed any difference in cycling, in accuracy, in reliability, or the weather when I shoot these pistols. They are all more accurate than me, and stone reliable. Women still find me charming, my dog still loves me, and the milk in the refrigerator has not gone sour. However, the air conditioner in my house went kaput for two Summers in a row, and the air conditioner in my Grand Cherokee had to be repaired as well.

I run a GI set up in all my other 1911s, except the Kimber Pro Carry which is bushingless, and the Colt New Agent and Colt Compact. The GI set-up guns run reliably and accurately.

I've found that I need a bushing wrench (I use a Kings wrench) to strip the FLGR guns. The edge of the recoil plug hole is just too narrow to comfortably press it back to turn the bushing for me.

Some folks have asked me why, if I do not advocate FLGRs, do I run them in my three target 1911s. The answer is quite simple. The pistols came to me that way, and I see no reason to change the FLGR out.

Out of curiosity, on each pistol with a FLGR, I swapped in a GI set-up from another gun. I saw no difference in the pistol's performance, or in my own. I saw no reason to order a GI set-up for the FLGR guns, or a FLGR for the GI set-up guns. The FLGRs went back into the target guns. Perhaps I'm just not shooting at the level that a FLGR makes a difference, but that was what I found.

If you want a full length guide rod, Nighthawk Custom makes a good one for a 1911. They are $36.95. Ed Brown makes GI style recoil guides and plugs are a fair price. $23-$24 for the swap. Buy what you like and install it. Or, you could just spend your money on ammunition.

Matt's Thoughts

Chris Byrne's Thoughts



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think a FLGR can accomplish anything that a GI setup can't. However, a GI setup allows easier takedown with no tools as well as the ability on Government models to chamber a round by pressing the lower portion of the slide against a doorframe or desktop (a rather obscure benefit that will hopefully never be of use to anyone reading this).

It may be splitting hairs, but I fieldstrip my pistol pretty often to clean it, so for convenience puroposes it's nothing but GI setups for me.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Eric Shelton said...

THANK YOU!!! I've got a FLGR in my Kimber as well, and while I'll never trash something that doesn't have an adverse effect on the gun, it just doesn't truly add anything either. I've gone so far as to consider putting in a standard recoil rod and plug so I don't need a wrench to take my gun down, but since it still operates just fine...

This is one of the most reasoned write-ups I've read on the topic. Thanks, Xavier!

11:17 AM  
Blogger Joe Allen said...

I've always preferred GI setups, and whenever I get a 1911 with a FLGR, I swap it out just on general principle.

It paid off in spades recently when my Springfield 9mm had a misfeed. The way the 9mm cartridge sits in the magazine leave plenty of opportunity to get wiggled around all cockeyed in there and I ended up with a double feed that locked the gun closed. Not quite in battery, but unable to open or close by hand.

Keeping the muzzle downrange, we placed the bottom of the muzzle against a wood barrier and gave it a couple good solid whacks, popping it open. A quick visual inspection to determine the problem - followed by reseating the rest of my loaded mags - and I finished shooting the match. Down time: less than 5 minutes.

With a FLGR I would likely have had to transport a gun with a live round in it to a gunsmith to get it squared away at JMB only knows what cost and wait.


1:19 PM  
Blogger nature223 said...

I've never experianced anything requiring a fix for a non problem before,and my 1911's work just fine set up G.I.,the take down alone makes carrying ANOTHER tool unneeded,1911's are field stripped with only God Given tools,namely your hands.
John Moses Browning's crowning glory,doenst need bells and whistles to work reliably,just good ammo,and a couple of squirts of decent lube...that's all they need to be happy,in my personal experiance.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slightly OT - and I thought my son would ask this question. He has a CZ97B [.45] on order. He's been told it has a plastic guide rod and it should be replaced with a steel rod. Comments are welcome! Olde Force

10:16 PM  
Blogger Matt G said...

I've been saying this for years, except that I simply won't have one in a pistol of mine.

The ONLY reasons that I can conceive of a person wanting a FLGR on their gun would be: Muzzle weight. There is a tiny amount of extra weight put toward the muzzle if there is an FLGR on board.

And also, there's a slightly tighter feeling about the pistol, leaving inexperienced persons with the illusion of a more accurate pistol.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

I saw that thread and stayed out of it on THR.

Anyone ever explain why nearly all competition 1911's and 2011's use FLGRs? These smiths & folks run enough rounds to typically settle on the best solution.

I have 1911s both ways and don't personally see too much benefit either way.

10:12 AM  
Blogger BobG said...

If it needed a full length rod, Browning would have designed it with one.
'Nuff said...

12:03 PM  
Blogger Weer'd Beard said...

The only argument for FLGR is for heavy-recoil cartridges like 10mm Auto that might push the gun a little harder than it might like to go.

Otherwise I strongly dislike them. Makes stripping a LOT harder, and you have an opening for dirt and lint to get into your gun.

Both my 1911s are S&Ws, and I've already swapped out one FLGR for a GI, I'll be getting around to getting one for my Commander-lenth 1911Sc too.

Any recomendations where I should buy one? And anything I should look out for?

6:45 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

If possible, I would get a genuine GI recoil plug.....They have a notch that captures the recoil spring end, preventing the plug from launching across the room.

An Ed Brown GI style recoil plug and guide can be purchased from Brownells. I updated the post with a link. Sorry 'bout that!

7:09 PM  
Blogger Jereme said...

My S&W 1911 45 is my 1st handgun. I love the look, feel, and the single stack column the 1911 offers. I also like the way a GI setup looks with just the barrel showing when the slide is locked to the rear.

However my S&W 1911 came with a FLGR. It took a little getting used to cosmetically, but I'm not willing to spend extra money on something thats not broke.

I pump 400 - 600 rounds a week through it and I hit my mark every time with no problem from the gun.

Sounds to me that the 1911 is just a good gun either way, GI or FLGR. At the end of the day, the 1911 gets the job done FLGR or not.

You don't need a wrench to take down your 1911. Use the bottom of your magazine, it is always with the gun. Right

11:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link