When the original 1911 Colt .45 ACP pistol was adopted by the U.S. Military in 1911 the service life of the pistol was considered to be 6,000 rounds. This was considered an excessive amount of shooting for any handgun of that era. The average GI 1911 pistol was carried a lot, and only fired occasionally.
As time passed, it was learned that by replacing the recoil spring on the 1911 pistol at regular intervals, the pistols would last far longer if shot extensively. For more than a century, common practice has been to replace the recoil spring on any 1911 pistol every 5,000 rounds or sooner. In today’s world of military Special Operations and civilian competition shooting events, 5,000 rounds can be a couple of months of practice.
In 2011 the engineers at Colt Firearms set out to design and produce an improved 1911 .45 ACP pistol for the USMC. The result was the M45A1.
One of the most critical changes in the design of this pistol was a Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™ that makes recoil spring service life good to 15,000 rounds. This is huge if you really practice/train with your sidearm beyond the normal couple of trips to the range each year.
The Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™ utilizes four parts: an outer recoil spring, an inner recoil spring, a special recoil spring guide, and a special recoil spring plug. Note that the inner and outer springs are wound in opposite directions to prevent spring bind when functioning in the normal spring flex process. The end result is a pistol that has a greatly improved service life and a much improved unlocking of the barrel that provides softer recoil impulse.
The inner recoil spring not only softens the last part of slide travel to the rear, but helps ensure positive feeding of rounds from the magazine. This is a real plus in an environment where the handgun may be subjected to dirt, sand, or other foreign debris. Shooting the M45A1 quickly impresses users with the ease of shooting fast, accurate follow up shots with this Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™.
In 2015 Colt Firearms started shipping all Colt ‘Rail Gun’ 1911 pistols with the Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™. New Colt Lightweight Commander® pistols introduced in November of 2015 have a Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™ added as well. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these new 9mm Colt Lightweight Commanders®.
As of January 2016, Colt will introduce the Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™ in the new Colt Competition Pistol™ 5” 1911 .45 ACP and 9mm, and the superb Colt Combat Unit™ 5” Rail Frame .45 ACP pistol. These new 1911 model pistols provide many enhanced features that will fire up any real 1911 pistol fan, but the Colt Dual Spring Recoil System™ promises to be a key feature in the way these pistols perform.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2016 issue of Modern Shooter magazine.