By Jeremy S.
I must admit that I had relatively strong preconceived notions about the whole “recoil buffer” product genre. And because of this, I nearly turned down the offer to test out this new product from Strike Industries. Gun owners have enough snake oil marketed to us on a daily basis, and that is squarely where I placed recoil buffers in the great scheme of things. Still, two things led me to give the Frame Shock Buffer a shot . . .
- I’ve been shooting my Glock 20SF more often, including with a lot of Underwood ammo, which is hotter than a bunch of IDF chicks. I figured if there was any difference to be had with a buffer, it would show up here. Additionally, I can see marks from where the slide strikes the frame at full recoil. This isn’t a concern to me and we’re within acceptable allowances for slide/frame contact here, but it’s visible proof of impact that I assume sends some amount of ‘shock’ into the shooter’s hands.
- It’s easy to install and completely reversible. It also sounded like it would be fun to do some slow-mo video and try to objectively show any difference with the buffer vs. without.
Cut to the chase: Did it work?
I wasn’t able to physically feel a difference in recoil or ‘shock’ in my hands.
I shot a tighter, rapid-fire 5-shot group with the buffer than without the buffer, but can’t say this is conclusive. Frankly, ammo (10mm especially) is too expensive and hard to get right now for me to shoot dozens of groups with a shot timer in the hopes of coming up with meaningful accuracy/time averages. Maybe I’ll revisit this in the future and run a 9mm through an IPSC stage a bunch of times and then review the scores.
Looking at the slow-mo video, though, there quite clearly is a reduction in muzzle rise with the buffer installed. Note where the front corner of the accessory rail is on the background before the shot and how far it moves from that point after the shot, and you’ll easily see it. What you see in the slow-mo was very consistent across a couple dozen shots with and without the buffer. So… yes, it actually does do something positive.
It wouldn’t stay in place in the frame. While this could be fixed with a tiny droplet of superglue or double-sided tape, the potential to have a loose piece in the moving parts of my pistol immediately relegated the Frame Shock Buffer to fun-use-only status. Meaning it’s not for use in a self-defense gun where ultimate reliability is paramount.
That’s just my preference, despite the fact that the buffer’s movement inside of the frame never caused a failure of any sort. I could see using it in a competition gun (with the buffer secured somehow) if further testing really showed better accuracy and/or split times.
Depending on your needs, this might be $7 well-spent. Strike Industries is making some pretty cool products these days, and their recoil buffers are probably decent sellers for them. I had always written recoil buffers off as gimmicks but, to my honest surprise, I think my limited testing actually shows that the idea really does have some merit.
There are very limited types of modifications that I would ever consider making to a defensive firearm, and I must say that a recoil buffer falls outside that group. But I have plenty of firearms that serve no purpose for me other than for various types of fun target shooting, and I can see a case for using a buffer product in some of those. More control and faster, more accurate follow-up shots, maybe less wear on the moving parts. Maybe, in other gun models, a discernible reduction in recoil/’shock,’ etc. All things considered, I’m glad I gave it a try.