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Recoil buffers

Mar 13, 2005
Feedback: 4 / 0 / 0
I was thinking about putting recoil buffers in the following guns, P220, P226, 9VE and 2, 5 inch 1911'S. I'm a little hesitant because I've never known any one that has used them. Also they have to be replaced at certain intervals.

I'm also worried that putting them in the 1911's, will make it a lot harder to put the gun back together after cleaning it.

Has any one here used recoil buffers and liked them?
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I have used them on some of my Government and Commander-sized .45's. I have never had any problem with them but then I am very attentive to the proper cleaning and maintenance of my firearms to include visually checking on a regular basis items like these which I add.

The biggest problem I have heard about are those people who install them and then proceed to fire lots and lots (thousands?) of rounds without cleaning their firearms or checking the condition of things like the buffer pad.

I have also heard that the smaller the firearm (i.e., barrel length) the more recoil buffers can cause a problem because of the (larger) relative amount of space they take up in the recoil system.

But as the man once said, your mileage may vary.
For a range gun they are fine. For a carry gun, no. You never know when that extra rearward travel of the slide could have been enough to avoid that jam because the round wasn't properly seated in the magazine... On guns with a short slide you need to be careful because they can't afford to lose much travel from the recoil buffer. You can have issues slingshotting the slide when it is locked back.

On the 1911 I recommend installing an O/S firing pin stop and a 23lb mainspring to cushion the frame from recoil rather then a recoil buffer.
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You can clip some coils off the recoil spring to maintain the same slide travel. A lot of competitive shooters use them where the name of the game is reliability.
It's true that you can make them work reliably, but at the end of the day why create more maintenance issues for your carry gun? If you get the wrong shok-buff or a bad batch of em they can shred quickly. Because of this you will need to inspect them every time you clean, not a big deal but it is one more thing to do. The slide also loses a little more energy on the way back to chamber the next round because it doesn't bounce off the frame as hard, not a big deal, but in a sensitive gun like a sub-compact it can matter.

In my theory of things, if it's a carry gun then I shouldn't be banging out a thousand rounds a week on it anyways. I have a duplicate for the range work and training and a shok-buff is fine there (although not necessary), and serves no purpose on my low round count carry gun.

I don't usually look towards competitive shooting for reliability, the race guns and ammo are the ones that jam the most in my experience. They work hard to get their equipment to perform better then mine, but they struggle for reliability and any small issue in the magazine timing, follower, ammunition (OAL, powder charge, uniform bullet shape), can send things south. My 1911 may not cycle as fast nor shoot as accurately, but I'll wager it will feed under a larger variety of circumstances (underpowered ammo excluded, need a spring change for that).

My main issue with shok-buffs is that I think they are unnecessary. There are guns that have been run with a shok-buff since day one that experienced frame cracking. There are guns that have been run for +100,000 rounds without a shok-buff. I really think the buffer is not a determining factor. The metallurgy of the frame is what it is from day one, and if that crack is gonna develop the shok-buff will do little to change that.

Also, compare the cost of your average factory gun to the cost of the ammo it would take to wear it out. With Smiths warranty on small parts breakage you can shoot their 1911 indefinitely. Let's say the gun has a 30,000 round service life. At $22 a box of 100 that would be 6,000 dollars. I would be more concerned about reloading.

They are not difficult to put in the gun.

Are we talking about Wilson type Shok-buffs or funky spring thangs? The funky spring thangs are okay in theory, rarely in implementation. Another mechanism to break and they don't always send the slide back home well enough to feed well. Some micro-guns come with them standard, but they are really a special situation.
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I had an STI RecoilMaster in my 1911 for a very short time. Within ~2K rds, it cracked and separated around the base. Returned to Midway for a refund.

Jim Conway had the same device (he had recommended it) . . . his went flying downrange while shooting one day!

Thanks but no thanks. They knew what they were doing when they designed the 1911!
Stay away. If buffers were that good, the manufacturer would have
put it in the gun to begin with. Not that some guns cant be
improved, but thats one thing you don't mess around with, especially if you
want the thing to be reliable.

My friend "search this forum"[grin]
I saw the 1911 buffers on a few sights and since I use(d) poly buffers in my 10/22s...thought it my be a good idea for the Para...
Glad I looked....unlike the 10/22 buffers, these would change the dynamics of the action....NO THANKS, I'll keep is as the factory intended.
My only experience with buffers is in the 1911 design. I have had almost no problems with them in over 100,000 rounds.

I have only had a buffer "shred" once. This was in a new Para P-16. The cause was an overly long recoil spring that went solid before the slide was in full recoil. A call to Para confirmed that the spring was junk (their admission) and that a new spring would cure the problem. It has been my experience that when a gun eats buffers, there is somehting wrong with the gun. Buffers are a great diagnostic tool as they will tell you exactly what is going on between the slide and frame.
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