Kimber 1911 Recoil Spring Replacement.
The recoil spring on your Kimber 1911 or any 1911 is critical to the proper functioning and performance of your firearm. However, just like any other spring, it eventually wears out and becomes weaker.
When this happens, your firearm will not cycle properly and you will start to experience malfunctions such as a failure to completely load a new round into the chamber. This happened to me when my Kimber recoil spring was starting to wear out.
When the spring gets weak, the slide may not move at the correct speed. The spring may not have enough forced to strip a round off the top of the magazine, load it into the chamber and place the gun back into battery.
For most 1911 pistols, your ejected brass should land 6-8 feet to your right and slightly to the rear. If it travels further than this, your recoil spring may be getting weak.
Fortunately, this can easily be remedied by replacing the recoil spring with a new one, typically at a cost of under $10.
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Can I replace a 1911 recoil spring myself?
Yes, on most 1911 pistols, the replacement of the recoil spring can be done by the user. 1911’s with a barrel bushing can be very easily replaced. After field stripping the gun, the recoil spring simply pulls off of the guide rod and can be replaced at that time. Replacing the spring on the Kimber Pro models is a bit harder to do, but you can do it by following the steps below.
You can also purchase quality recoil springs by type:
The manufacturer recommends sending the guide rod and recoil spring assembly to them for replacement on Kimber Ultra Carry models. Alternatively you can purchase a new assembly from Kimber by following this link. Kimber Springs.
When should I replace my recoil spring?
General guidelines recommend 500-1500 rounds for a 1911. This will vary by manufacturer and size of the pistol. Shorter barrels tend to be harder on springs than the full size 5″ barrel models. If you want to be proactive, you should replace the recoil spring on the manufacturer’s schedule.
However, if you are like me and you do not have any idea how many rounds you have fired through your gun, you will probably end up starting to get a lot of malfunctions, and replacing the recoil spring will be the first thing to try to resolve these issues.
Here are some books on 1911 Pistols you may want to check out.
If this is your carry gun we are talking about, do not wait to replace the recoil spring! If you even think you may have 500 rounds through it, REPLACE IT!! You do not want it to malfunction when you need it to save your life. It is easy and inexpensive, so do not neglect this important maintenance requirement.
I always have a spare recoils spring on hand for all of my guns and keep it in my range bag. If I experience any malfunctions out on the range, I have a spare so I can take care of it right away.
Kimber 1911 Recoil Spring Replacement Schedule
Kimber 5″ Barrel Custom Models in .45 ACP should be replaced every 1,500 rounds.
Kimber Pro Carry Models should have the recoil spring replaced every 800 Rounds.
I can attest to this as I have had to replace mine several times and although I do not count my rounds, I am certain that I did not yet have 1,000 rounds through my Kimber Pro Carry when I started experiencing recoil spring related malfunctions.
Are 1911 recoil springs all the same?
No, you will need a specific spring for each kind of gun. Springs are rated by weight in pounds. This specification is critical to the proper operation of the gun. The Kimber Pro Carry and all other Pro models use a 22 lb. spring.
All 5″ Kimber Custom models use a 16 lb. spring. Colt and Springfield 5″ 1911 models also use a 16 lb recoil spring as the factory standard.
1911 .45 ACP pistols generally use 16 lb springs on 5″ models, 18 lb springs on 4.25″ models and 22 lb springs on 3.5″ models.
There are springs with higher and lower ratings available for special purposes, such as if you are using more powerful loads (+P for example). For detailed information on reduced power and extra power springs, go to this link from Wolff springs.
Where can I buy a replacement a recoil spring?
You can get the spring you need at your local gun shop. Amazon does not have much in the way of gun parts, and I did a search and came up with next to nothing. Amazon as a general rule does not knowingly sell gun parts, although you can find some that slipped in between the cracks.
Here are some links to reputable companies that sell recoil springs. The link will take you directly to the spring page:
Optics Planet: 1911 Recoil Springs
Wolff springs @Midway: 1911 Wolff Recoil Springs
How to replace the recoil spring in a Kimber 1911
In this tutorial I will show you how to replace the recoil spring on your Kimber Pro Carry II. This will work for any of these other Kimber Pro models:
- Master Carry Pro
- Pro Raptor II
- Pro Crimson Carry II
- Pro CDP
- Pro Covert
- Master Carry Pro
- Pro TLE II
- Aegis Elite Pro
- KHX Pro
For complete disassembly (Field Strip) and reassembly of this firearm, see my tutorial on: Disassembly of a Kimber Pro Carry II.
Steps to replace the recoil spring on Kimber Pro Carry Models:
**Always wear safety eye protection while working with springs!!
Field Strip the gun and remove the guide rod assembly and barrel from the slide.
Place the guide rod assembly back into the spring tunnel of the slide with the take down tool still in place.
Firmly grasp the slide assembly with the ejection port facing the palm of your hand.
Using one or both thumbs, push the guide rod forward, increasing pressure on the spring. This will relieve pressure on the take down pin and so it can be removed. Alternatively, use both hands and both thumbs to apply pressure and the tool will fall out.
Now slowly and carefully allow the guide rod to back out, relieving pressure on the spring until it is fully relieved. Then remove the spring from the guide rod.
Clean and lubricate the guide rod and spring sleeve.
Slide the new recoil spring onto the guide rod, closed end first until fully seated.
Place the assembly back into the spring tunnel on the slide just as you did to remove the take down tool.
Using one or both thumbs, push the guide rod forward until the take down pin hole is visible.
Place the short end of the take down tool into the take down hole. (the easiest way is to have someone do this while you hold pressure on the spring)
Once the tool is inserted, the guide rod and recoil spring can be removed and the gun can be reassembled.
1911 Recoil Spring Replacement Video tutorial
Recoil spring FAQ
What is the standard recoil spring for a 1911?
The standard spring weight for a Colt or Kimber 5″ barrel 1911 in .45 ACP for a is 16 lbs. The standard recoil spring for .38 Super or 9 mm is 14 lbs. Please check the Recoil Spring chart for your gun if it is not a Colt or Kimber.
What is the recoil spring for?
The recoil spring is one of the most critical components of a semi-automatic pistol. The recoil spring is responsible for the proper cycling of your firearm. When the gun is fired, the pressure from the burning gunpowder pushes the slide rapidly to the rear against the recoil spring. As it travels backward, the empty brass cartridge is ejected from the gun. When the slide reaches the end of it’s travel, the recoil spring pushes it forward, causing the slide to push a new cartridge from the magazine into the chamber in order to be fired.
What does a 1911 mainspring do?
The mainspring on a 1911 is located inside the grip part of the frame. It is responsible for causing the hammer to forcefully contact the firing pin to force it into the primer of the cartridge in the chamber, causing the gun to fire a round.
How long do recoil springs last?
The life of a recoil spring depends on the number of “cycles” the gun performs. This is the same as rounds fired, so a particular manufacturer will usually recommend that a recoil spring be replaced after a certain number or rounds fired. For example, a Kimber Pro Carry .45 ACP has a recommendation to replace the recoil spring after 800 rounds. See the chart for other manufacturer’s recommendations.
If you need assistance reassembling your Kimber Pro Carry, See my tutorial on how to clean a Kimber 1911.
I hope this tutorial has helped you to easily replace the recoil spring on your Kimber Pro series 1911 pistol.
Please leave any questions or comments below!