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We've discussed recoil buffers before, especially in 1911s, but here's some new information.

This morning I gave my "house" 1911 its periodic function check. This gun hasn't been actually shot in years and years but had run 100% for years before I semi-retired it to home defender duty (which is the main reason it got the job). Last time I had it apart was 2-3 years ago; last time I function-checked it was 4-6 months ago and both times everything was fine. The gun had a Wilson Shok-Buff in it, with maybe 300-500 rounds on it--enough to be impressed but nowhere near enough to be swollen, peened, or cracked (as they'll do).

Today, the slide wouldn't lock back on an empty mag, as it always has. In fact, it was almost impossible to get it to lock back manually, either. Stripping it, I found that the Shok-Buff had completely deteriorated/disintegrated (presumably, from years of exposure to petro-lubricants) into many, many chunks of black polymer. Only one chunk was barely big enough to identify the item for what it had once been. The black chunks were all over the place. It was difficult to get the barrel out of the front of the slide.

Of course I cleaned all the crud out and reassembled it without a Shok-Buff in place.

If you use these things, check them for deterioration often. Note that I am still in favor of using them for practice, but for heaven's sake keep a SHARP eye on any you have in any of your "serious social work" guns.
 

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That experience really isn't rare. I've often stated my less than positive opinion of those things and they are all destined to fail sooner or later.

But the thing that bugs me is they are intended to prevent something that doesn't happen often anyhow.

I have looked at a lot of guns with huge round counts and hardly ever seen any serious battering that is likely to interfere with gun function
 

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I almost included these things in my "Gun Heresy" post. Like Charlie, I tend to view them as a solution to a non-existant problem. They don't even fall into the "doesn't hurt" category, as Snake notes. As they offer negligible benefits and have potentially serious side effects... nope. For me, a pistol's primary mission is to go "BANG" every time. Reliability trumps everything. Anything beyond that is up to me.

This really is my philosophy. Accuracy is a fine thing, and shot placement will be what actually works. But if the gun does not go Bang... none of that will matter.

I would actually rewrite the fabled 1st rule of a gunfight. Instead of just "Have a gun", I'd have it say "Have a gun that works"
 

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Snake, I believe you're supposed to replace those things every 1000 rounds or so or, yearly. I used one in Number 1. Figured it was cheap insurance but, with the stuff in the new Kimber, F-L guide-rod(Gun won't operate with a standard due to the bushless Bull-barrel), there's no place to put one.
 

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It's not a handgun, but years back I stuck an aftermarket recoil buffer in my Aimpointed Mini-14 (181 series). It had done well for years, but the Ranch Rifle included a buffer, so I figured this couldn't hurt. Low and behold, my rifle became plagued with a wandering zero. I rebedded the action and bedded the fore end ala M14 match rifle to no avail.

I got disgusted and didn't shoot the rifle for quite some time (years). With a need for the rifle, I decided to try what I been tempted to do before: throw the buffer away. Wonder of wonders, the wandering zero came home and stayed put! The Aimpoint that I'd been afraid might get shock damage is doing fine. Maybe the factory engineers know more than we give them credit for.
 
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