For those of you who actually carry a 1911...

For those of you who actually carry a 1911...

This is a discussion on For those of you who actually carry a 1911... within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I always carry mine cocked and locked. I did a quick search but didn't see a topic for my narrow question, which is: How long ...

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Thread: For those of you who actually carry a 1911...

  1. #1
    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    For those of you who actually carry a 1911...

    I always carry mine cocked and locked. I did a quick search but didn't see a topic for my narrow question, which is: How long can you leave your 1911 cocked before it will affect spring tension? There are times I may carry during the day, leave mine in a convenient place at night, pick it up the next day, and so on, at all times keeping it cocked and locked. At what point will keeping it cocked affect mainspring tension? One manufacturer I spoke to indicated it would be "a long time" before the spring was affected, without being more specific. Do actual users have any experience to relate regarding long term usage?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array dairycreek's Avatar
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    Leaving a spring under tension over time will not affect the spring per se. However, stretching and unstretching a spring will, eventually, weaken the spring.

    In direct answer to the OP's question leaving a 1911 in Condition 1 will not effect the spring.
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    Just about forever.

    I'll spare you the detailed engineering explanation, but springs typically have a deflection threshold; if they are loaded (stretched or compressed) beyond that limit, each cycle works to effectively weaken the spring. Below that threshold, the spring has infinite life (not really, but close enough).

    Also, depending on specific spring design and use, cycling a spring back and forth has a greater likelihood of "relaxing" the spring than simply loading a spring to a given deflection and leaving it there.

    In heavily used 1911s, the springs which are subject to the heaviest use (relative to their design capability) are the recoil spring, magazine springs and maybe the firing pin spring. Competitive shooters might correct me here, but it's rare to replace a mainspring due to wearout.

    Bottom line - weakening the mainspring by carrying your 1911 in the proper Condition One is simply not a concern.
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    Much depends on who made the mainspring.
    If you install a Wolff mainspring into your mainspring housing then you can leave it cocked forever if you want to.

    I should add that you should always "look over" all of your firearm springs closely and carefully.
    If any of your gun springs ever show any indication of rusting (even in just a tiny spot) or they are nicked even the slightest amount - they should be replaced.
    Because that creates a physical weak spot and then all bets are off as to how long any spring will last if even slightly or minutely damaged.

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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Good springs? If so, just about forever, up to well over 3000 cycles of being compressed. One of my 1911s stayed cocked for 5+ years, except for being fired for my annual qual, as it was my duty and daily carry piece for that long. It never reached 3000 cycles, as I had an identically set-up companion 1911 for training/practice/spare.

    1911s have been fired successfully after being left cocked for many years.

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    Member Array gmark340's Avatar
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    Thanks, all. This topic sounds like one that can be crossed off the list to be concerned about. I routinely replace the other springs so I don't have to concern myself with them, either.

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    Member Array bstrawse's Avatar
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    My carry weapon (Kimber Ultra CDP II) is usually cocked and locked except when I'm carrying something else -- for example, today it's the weekend and winter has hit MN, so I'm sporting a 5" 1911 rather than my usual 3" 1911... so I've unloaded the Ultra and secured it in the safe...
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    I understood this how they were designed to be used and I appreciate the question as I continue to learn more and more, I love my 1911 and enjoy all those with experience, thanks!

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    1911's are an obsession.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecbaatz View Post
    1911's are an obsession.

    That was one of the funniest thing I have read in a while Thanks!
    "The 280z, is more like a skittish, half broken bronco, that requires constant attention, challenges your driving ability and will literally ride the driver hard and put him away wet."
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  11. #11
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Bottom line - weakening the mainspring by carrying your 1911 in the proper Condition One is simply not a concern.
    Smitty is correct, don't worry about it.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, donít give them a tomorrow."

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    I have a Colt SS Series 80 Govt. model that sat in my safe cocked and locked, for over two years. I carried this as a duty weapon for years. Round count must be in the thousands, I have no idea. I normally shoot everything in the safe at least once a year, but back surgery threw off my schedule. I shot it about two weeks ago, no problems at all, didn't even clean it until after the range trip. For the record, I've never changed any springs in that gun.
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  13. #13
    OD*
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX-JB View Post
    I have a Colt SS Series 80 Govt. model that sat in my safe cocked and locked, for over two years. I carried this as a duty weapon for years. Round count must be in the thousands, I have no idea. I normally shoot everything in the safe at least once a year, but back surgery threw off my schedule. I shot it about two weeks ago, no problems at all, didn't even clean it until after the range trip. For the record, I've never changed any springs in that gun.
    I have a very early production Colt SS Series 80 Government Model that was cocked & locked nearly continuously for 20 years, no adverse effect on the factory mainspring (the pistol did received a Wolff Pack some years back ).

    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Terrorists: They hated you yesterday, they hate you today, and they will hate you tomorrow. End the cycle of hatred, donít give them a tomorrow."

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    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    Considering the high quality compnents used to make guns today, I wouldn't worry about it.
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    Carried my Springer 1911 for 19 years, cocked & locked. Only changed out the recoil and mag springs annually. No problems!
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