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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?
 

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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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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...
b
 

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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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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. :wink:
 

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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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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 :wink:).

 

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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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Carrying Cocked and Locked

It depends on how old your firearm is? and, How old are your magazines? If both are 1980 or newer, the spring steel used in modern firearms and mags has much better metallurgy than firearms made during WWII or earlier. I have carried my 1911's in condition one for years at a stretch, only de-cocking them while cleaning or changing ammo. They fed and fired everytime.
 

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Doesn't sound like there is a definitive answer ... I carry in condition one as you and most everyone else does. When/if the day comes when ol' faithful starts to have hiccups the first thing I'll do is get new springs. I don't have to know when because the gun will start telling me that it's time.
 

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I have been carying a 1911 for 40 years. I change the springs every 4000 to 5000 rounds. I have never had a spring failure by leaving them cocked and locked. I currently carry a WC - CQB LT and it has been cocked for over a year ( I do practce with it) and it is just as good as new.
 

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A 1911 is Not an obsession, it's simply a recognition that it's THE Gun. :) All others are runner ups. And hey, if all else fails, aim for the nose and fling it to knock out your foe. Let's see y'all do that with a kel-Tec. ;-)
 

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A 1911 is Not an obsession, it's simply a recognition that it's THE Gun. :) All others are runner ups. And hey, if all else fails, aim for the nose and fling it to knock out your foe. Let's see y'all do that with a kel-Tec. ;-)

Thats funny....lol. My 1911 has been cocked and locked for a year now. No problems so far.
 
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