By: Greg Chabot
As a dedicated 1911 shooter, I am always seeking ways to improve the performance of my weapon. A quick search on the internet will show hundreds of products promising to make a weapon “better.” I believe in keeping things simple and budget friendly. Back in 2015, I bought a product that met both those standards – the Wilson Combat flat wire spring kits.
Wilson Combat is synonymous with high-quality 1911s and parts. I had no qualms in taking a chance with this product. After my initial testing, I was impressed enough to equip all my personal 1911s with the kits. After seven years of using them, I’ll never go back to standard recoil springs.
The kit comes with either a GI or full-length guide rod and the recoil spring. For initial installation, you will need to purchase the kit as the flat wire springs have a smaller inside diameter and won’t work with the OEM guide rods. The Wilson guide rod is smaller with a .250 diameter. Installation is a simple affair, just field strip the weapon and replace the parts. The springs are made from chrome silicon steel, which can withstand high-load stresses and temperatures compared to standard coil springs. For testing, I used the 5-inch kit with the 17 lb. weight for .45 ACP and the 24 lb. kit in a Colt Delta Elite 10mm.
The first thing I noticed when I installed the kit was how smooth the pistol cycled. The flat wire eliminates stacking and binding that can happen with conventional springs. The slide cycled like it was on ball bearings. Another benefit was ease of manipulating the slide. For those with reduced hand strength, this will make a difference while at the range. While shooting, the smoother action made for reduced felt recoil and faster follow-up shots while shooting drills. I was impressed with how the springs held up over time. I noticed no reduction in length after 10,000 rounds. For the high-round count shooter, this is a plus.
For 10mm shooting, the kit outperformed the stock Colt setup. Normally, I’d get maybe 1,500 rounds before I would have to change the springs. I’m up to 6,000 now with no change in ejection pattern and no signs of frame battering. Overall, I personally believe the Wilson Combat flat wire recoil spring kits is a cost-effective upgrade for 1911s. I experienced no reduction in reliability while running this product. In fact, my Delta Elites reliability went up after installing this product. If you have hand injuries or arthritis, this product will help with IA drills and field stripping /function checks. I highly recommend this product, and I trust my life to my 1911s equipped with them. For the doubters, quite a few companies are now using flat wire recoil springs in their production guns. The Springfield EMP being one of them. If you are looking for a simple upgrade that works for your 1911, check out Wilson Combat flat wire spring kits.
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