View Full Version : 1911 full length guide rod or not?

October 11, 2006, 02:56 PM
I want to know the advantages to a full length guide rod...

1 piece or 2?


October 11, 2006, 03:42 PM
Lack of spring binding and smoother cycling. Some may argue that there are no advantages.

October 11, 2006, 03:49 PM
What would John Browning do :)?


October 11, 2006, 04:29 PM
Define 1911 - taking it as a 1911 or 1911A1 then no advantage. However with modifications, especially long slide or compensators of various kinds there may be advantages. There is a good discussion in Layne Simpson's book on the Custom 1911.

FREX Ed Brown says:

Our Classic Custom pistols are furnished with two-piece guide rods. They smooth out the cycling slightly, add a bit of weight to the muzzle, and may increase the life of the recoil spring. They do not enhance the accuracy or reliability of the gun, therefore we do not include one with the Executive series or Kobra series. If you would like to have a guide rod, they are a simple part to install as they drop right in. The two piece design is recommended, because it is so easy to disassemble and reassemble.

Make the long guide rod out of heavy metal and extra weight is definitely added and the balance is changed. Notice that many people find the balance of a steel frame commander with less weight forward suits them best of all. Others object to easy disassembly fearing it will happen at the wrong time. YMMV.

James K
October 11, 2006, 08:59 PM
There are dozens of advantages to full length guide rods and here they are:

1. They make money for the people who make full length guide rods.

2. Err... Well... Could be...

(Maybe I will think of the others some time.)


October 12, 2006, 06:10 AM
"I happen to like using them for adding muzzle weight in mine (Tungsten...);
beyond that; people constantly have me order/ install them 'cause they look good..."
That's about it..!

(I suggest a 2 piece if you're gonna use full length; it's easier to take apart again later..
(w/ just the "TINIEST" drop of "Blue...L.T."); Do Not over - tighten..!;
"You CAN "bulge" the frame rails if you put too much pressure on your Allen wrench;
believe it or not..!"


October 12, 2006, 01:33 PM
Do Not use a 2 piece. They sometimes come apart at the worst time.
I find field stripping my FLGR as easy as doing the GI plug.
Is one better than the other? Beats me and I've had both.


October 12, 2006, 03:15 PM
Jim....don't forget another "advantage".....

It allows Midway to charge $20.00 for an assembly tool to people like me who were frustrated with trying to disassemble/reassemble due to the full length guide rod.

I've shot 1911's with guide rods, and without. The guns without shoot just as reliably and accurately as those with guide rods.

My next 1911 won't have a guide rod. :)

October 12, 2006, 04:38 PM
Well, my story is that I bought a brand new Colt Commander XSE LW that came standard with the FLGR.
It's the first 1911 I ever handled that had it, and breaking it down for the first time was a hassle but only because I'd never done it before.

However, once I figured out how to do it (I went slow because I didn't want to force anything for fear of scratching something), I realized that it works just like a standard 1911 as far as teardown.
The only "trick" for me is that I use an unsharpened wooden pencil end (not the eraser end) to push down on the bottom end of the cap so that the bushing will clear the pencil when I swing the bushing over to the side. When the spring retainer is all the way down, the bushing will just barely clear it and the end of the guide rod.
After the bushing clears the retainer, just gently allow the spring to relax tension and then continue as normal. I don't understand about why some people need a "special" tool to disassemble a pistol with the FLGR because the only special tool I use is the unsharpened wooden pencil.

So my final opinion is that I have no reason to NOT like the FLGR, and if it keeps the spring captive and improves cycling and makes the spring last longer and all that other stuff, then great.
So I wouldn't even think of replacing it with a standard guide rod. On the other hand, I don't see any reason to replace the standard guide rods on my other SS Commander or SS Government with FLGR's.

It is a one piece FLGR which is great because I've seen where other people who have 2 piece FLGR's have them loosen up and cause reliability problems.
So in my case, Colt put it in brand new at the factory so I figure I'll just leave things alone.


October 12, 2006, 05:02 PM
I don't understand about why some people need a "special" tool to disassemble a pistol with the FLGR because the only special tool I use is the unsharpened wooden pencil.

You outta see the dent in my forehead from that darn plug.....:D

I like the tool because it captures the spring and plug, and it is easier to use than a pencil. I just have a lot more control with the tool.

I do understand why you keep the guide rod on your Colt -- I presume it is for the same reason I keep the guide rod on the Kimber: the gun just runs so well that I don't want to mess with changing parts.

Oh yeah, and I spent all my money on the tool, so I can't afford to buy the standard set-up. :D

October 12, 2006, 05:24 PM
SOme have claimed that it keeps the recoil spring from kinking, but I have read that a certain writer observed x rays of the funtioning pistol, and the spring does not kink in a normal 45, just moves straight back. So that claim may be bogus. I have put them in guns in the past, but no longer use them. Just makes for a more complicated takedown of a easily field stripped firearm. Maybe one of the guide rods that has a laser in it might be useful, as it does not hang off the gun, but otherwise, it is something for tweakers and competition shooters, in my opinion. Not an advantage in a combat pistol. Does add weight if you need it I guess. I am not sure how it could improve spring life. Lot of small pistols use them so there might be designs where it is needed. Not the 45 though.

James K
October 12, 2006, 08:49 PM
One downside of the FLGR is that it is probably the cause of all those firing pin safeties, and light weight firing pins and attendant problems.

In the old pistols, it was unknown (I don't say impossible) for a gun dropped on the muzzle to fire because the slide moved back and the recoil spring absorbed a lot of the shock; the firing pin never retained enough inertia to fire a chambered round.

But with an FLGR, the slide cannot move back, the shock is not absorbed and inertia causes the firing pin to have a good solid whack at the primer. So a cop was killed and we have more laws and more complicated guns, thanks to a useless gadget.


October 13, 2006, 09:10 AM
thanks to a useless gadget.

What is more useless? A FLGR or a FPS?

Harry Bonar
October 14, 2006, 08:47 PM
Dear Shooter:
There is NO advantage except to wear the bottom of the bbl (even smoothed) and tie your pistol up in a gun-fight!
Harry B.

James K
October 14, 2006, 08:59 PM
Hi, Nephilim-777,

How about a useless gadget to solve a problem that was created by another useless gadget.