View Full Version : Recoil Springs, Striker Springs - Please help!

April 27, 2008, 09:23 PM
I own an S&W Sigma in 9mm (SW9VE). I use it for occasional target shooting, and will do some tactical shoots soon with a local IPSC group. I mention this because it may be relevant.

A company makes recoil springs for my handgun. They have them divided into three categories:
1) 15 & 17 pounds, which they call 'reduced power'
2) 18 pounds, which is 'factory standard' and
3) 19, 20, 22 and 24 pounds, which they call 'extra power'.

As the 'pounds' of the recoil spring go lighter, what is the effect on the handgun's operation & performance? Conversely, what's the effect of having a heavier recoil spring?

This same company also offers reduced power striker springs, (or firing pin springs). The factory standard is 4.75 pounds, and the aftermarket springs rate at 3.5 pounds. I guess this is meant to lighten trigger pull, but it says "For competition use only - not for duty use." So, is there a downside, or should I get one of these, too? As I said, I'm not dutying anywhere.

James K
April 27, 2008, 10:51 PM
First, why do you need to change springs? There are some "gun gurus" who lie awake at night worrying about recoil springs and whether to change them every 50 rounds or every 20 rounds. This is mainly nonsense. Unless you insist on reloading using the manual "absolute maximum" as a starting point, it will take many thousands of rounds to weaken that spring, and you can tell when it doesn't feed the ammunition properly.

Basically, when the spring is too light, it doesn't slow the slide enough and damage can result, as well as feeding becomes less positive. When it is too heavy it may work OK with heavy loads, but may cause malfuntions with standard loads. If you reload and go either the light route, for less recoil, or the heavy route for more power, you might want to tailor your recoil spring to the load. Otherwise, forget the gurus who, I suspect, work for the people who make after-market springs.

On the striker spring, a light spring lightens the trigger pull; this is usually good on the range in a target environment. With a carry gun, the problem is that in a tense situation, it is easy to pull off unintentionally, and the result could be real trouble. Note that in the event of a shooting, modifying your gun for a light trigger pull could be construed by a court as being reckless and without regard for danger to others.


April 28, 2008, 12:49 AM
Lightening the striker spring also reduces the force with which the firing pin/striker hits the primer which can make misfires more likely.

James K
April 28, 2008, 09:11 PM
Hi, JohnKSa,

Wow! Talk about how I missed the obvious!


April 28, 2008, 10:32 PM
And that's the reason I appreciate this forum being available.

I'm not worried about anything, and have put more or less 2,500 rounds through this handgun. I just heard changing springs could make the trigger better and the recoil lighter. However, I also know you don't get something for nothing, so that's the reason for asking.

As it turns out, you both gave me great reasons why I should save my money!