1911 recoil buffer tech question

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by 45crittergitter, Aug 27, 2010.

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  1. 45crittergitter

    45crittergitter Member

    Sep 24, 2003
    OK, I have an aluminum framed 5" 1911 that I would like to use a recoil buffer in due to the aluminum frame. The buffers I've tried stop the slide a bit too soon, so that the slide doesn't quite come back far enough to release the slide stop. Otherwise, function is fine. I think what I may need is simply a thinner buffer, maybe half the typical thickness. Any ideas? Thanks!
  2. nalioth

    nalioth Member

    Jul 9, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    How about going to the next level recoil spring?

    Aftermarket buffers exist to separate fools from their money.
  3. highorder

    highorder Member

    Oct 7, 2007
    Absolute truth.
  4. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    If you just must, there is always sandpaper. You can thin a buffer right down.
  5. Thedub88

    Thedub88 Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    "'the slide doesn't quite come back far enough to release the slide stop" Thats what happens with them. I hear they break apart and jam your gun, so don't use them on your carry piece
  6. Drail

    Drail Member

    Jan 17, 2008
    I and many guys who compete in IPSC style shooting have used shok buffs for many years and never had a problem. If a buff comes apart and ties up your gun it's your own fault for not replacing it before it was worn to the point that it failed. You can't simply install it and forget about it. If the buff does not allow full slide travel then the slide's dust cover can be easily clearanced for the buff and give full travel. Thinning a buff kind of defeats the purpose. If installing a buff causes your gun to stop working then it was already on the ragged edge of not working before you installed the buff. If all they did was cause problems wouldn't you think Bill Wilson and others would stop producing them and using them? Wilson started selling these because he was seeing too many damaged frames come into his shop. So have I. He didn't dream this up simply to make a couple of bucks off of his customers. They do serve a purpose whether you want to believe it or not. Using a heavier than necessary recoil spring will cause other problems when the slide gets slammed forward. :banghead:
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  7. Demitrios

    Demitrios Member

    Aug 12, 2008
    Northern NJ
    I'm sorry Drail, while I do agree with most of what you say it doesn't always seem applicable. I had a brand new RIA .45 and one of the first things I did was install a shockbuff, the result was my slide would not lock open on the last round many times. However in my 10mm, which has both a shockbuff and a 22lb recoil spring, the problem has been non-existent. I believe you need to find a balance between recoil springs and the shockbuffs for them to work properly, just like anything else in life.

    . . . . . . . of course that's just my own experience which really isn't all that extensive so that what I have to say with a grain of salt.
  8. a5werkes

    a5werkes Member

    Apr 28, 2009
    I agree with the above about the importance of a properly maintained shok-buf. I have many custom 45's from Wilson and I have used Wilson's Shok-Buf's in all of them, all the time with thousands of flawless rounds. As mentioned, Bill Wilson designed his platforms to work with the devices and I am certain the match grade barrels are properly fitted and timed. Wilson recommends they are used in combination with a FULL length guide rod.

    However, not everyone is a fan of the device and apparently you can design your platform so closely that if you use the device in some guns it may screw things up.

    The following was lifted from Pistol Dynamics website:


    We Don’t Install Shok-Buffs in 1911s

    If you send a 1911 to us for any kind of service that requires a barrel installation, recoil system upgrade or timing adjustment please make sure to remove the little blue thing on your guide rod (if you have one) before shipping it to us. We discard these devices in order to properly tune the pistol and will not return them.

    Shok-Buffs reduce the slide travel on 1911s significantly enough to potentially interfere with how we do things. They reduce the dwell time at the end of the slide stroke and sometimes affect the ability of the magazine to deliver and settle a round to the lips of the mag in time to feed the next round effectively. This is particularly relevant to "Commander" length pistols where the slide stroke is already shortened by 080”-100” over a full size pistol. We have found that In some cases Shok-Buffs reduce the slide travel to such an extent that the slide either fails to lock back on the last round or damage occurs to the slide stop notch over time and the slide stop loses its ability to engage.

    A 1911 with a correctly fitted barrel, that is well timed, and matched to the recoil system does not benefit at all from these devices in our opinion. PLEASE DO NOT INSTALL A SHOK-BUFF IN ANY PISTOL DYNAMICS HANDGUN. Our guns are precisely timed and tuned for function and the materials of the slide, frame, and guide rod have been carefully chosen to absorb impact that is not enhanced by the installation of a Shock-Buff.

    From the Wilson Combat site:

    The SKOK-BUFF® Recoil System is a great value for the improved performance it gives your 1911 style Auto. The full length guide rod controls the recoil spring to keep it from kinking, which means smoother, more reliable functioning and longer spring life. The original SHOK-BUFF® recoil absorbing, poly fiber buffers prevent the slide from pounding the frame, giving longer gun life and softer recoil. The combined effect of the match grade Wilson springs together with the smooth functioning full length guide rod, facilitates a more consistent barrel lock up, resulting in improved accuracy.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  9. Old Shooter

    Old Shooter Member

    Feb 10, 2010
    New York
    I've used shock buffs and full length guide rods on a variety of 1911s and have had what I consider pretty consistent results...

    With the FLGR in my weapons I see no noticable improvement or any interference with the weapons operation. I use the shorter one piece Wilson rods and field stripping is just as easy with as without the rods. OF the two 45's by the desk now, one has the FLGR and the other does not, both run 100%. I'm in no big hurry to change either one, they both work.

    The shock buffs on the other hand have been a different issue. In every weapon I have installed them they seem to cause problems such as listed above at least several times in a 100 round shooting session. This is with new buffs, not ones that were worn to need of replacement. Every now and again I'll install one and try it for grins and the problems always return. Mayby it's just me.

    There are some accessories that I would consider slight modifications to my weapon to accomodate but the shock buff isn't one of them. When the buffs are installed I do notice a difference in the felt recoil impulse and for some this is probably reason to make them work in their weapon, it's just never been a big enough issue for me to make that change. YMMV
  10. DBR

    DBR Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    One thing not mentoned: if you do install a shock buffer make sure it doesn't cause the recoil spring to coil bind (all coils are bottomed out against each other) at full recoil. Besides causing the slide to short stroke it will over stress the barrel bushing.

    I've tried buffers in my 1911s and decided against them.

    Notwithstanding the things Bill Wilson says about the benefits of his buffers I have also heard he calls them his "cash cow".
  11. Full Metal Jacket

    Full Metal Jacket member

    Dec 11, 2009
    hiding in your bushes
    buffers only do two things:

    1. cause malfunctions

    2. increase bill wilson's profit margin.
  12. Mac's Precision

    Mac's Precision Member

    Jul 22, 2010
    Bellingham, WA
    I don't advocate the use of buffers. I have had a number of customers guns in with buffers in them. After a phone call...I remove them. I have seen many buffers ignored and self destruct in the gun. I will NOT under any circumstances put them in a defensive weapon. They are needless gun fluff. Save your money...and buy ammo with it.

  13. olyeller

    olyeller Member

    Jan 6, 2006
    Shock buff are what you win at match when you come in 80th place, not something you put in your gun. :)
    Trust the spring and the metal.
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