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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.

Any Downsides?
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.


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  1. Some of the same reasons most of the top 1911 pistolsmiths don’t recommend using them.

    Seems like a good idea; but in practice, too many potential issues for real-life use.

  2. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Glocks are stone cold reliable until you start dicking with them, adding titanium firing pins, lighter springs, tactical toaster ovens, ect.

  3. I will say my glock 20 shows a lot of wear in that area (i shoot pretty hot handloads), but is it detrimental to the gun? who knows. But if the recoil area cracks on my gun ever i will probably get it replaced by glock and start using one of these

  4. I am still a bit fuzzy on how this damper is supposed to work… Does the polymer dissipate the KE from the slide? What’s the cycle life? Deformation limits? It seems to me like you’re just shoving a piece of polymer into your weapon’s action. Why would we think this is a good idea?

    • The soft polymer compresses under impact, increasing the time interval over which the momentum of the slide reverses, and decreasing recoil impulse.


  5. If you retest, make it a blind. Let someone else put or not put in the buffer so you don’t know which your are shooting.

  6. Cool videos, but I’m not comfortable with a buffer moving around between the frame and slide on my otherwise reliable Glocks.

  7. One possibly advantage I could see, if you had the time and inclination to tinker, is that a recoil buffer could increase the speed/rate-of-fire by shortening the overall stroke of the firearm. Could you tell this from your test?

    • Maybe you could tell from the slow-mo… count frames or something. It’s not like one could pull the trigger as quickly as the gun can cycle anyway (or anywhere even close), so the limiting factor on rate of fire is me, not the gun.

      For instance, a full-auto Glock 18 has a cyclic rate of about 21 rounds per second. Nobody’s finger can approach that. Jerry Miculek, “world’s fastest shooter,” has done 8 rounds in 1 second.

    • More likely limit to rate of fire is how quickly the magazine can serve up the next round to be chambered. Pistol with shortened slide travel are much more likely to malfunction because of limp wristing. I’ve seen too many problems with plastic buffers to ever want one.

  8. I’ve tried these over the years and have always concluded, be I right or be I wrong, that they are useless.

  9. The only problem with a part like this is that there’s really no truly scientific way for most of us, except maybe Glock itself, to determine if it’s effective or not. The best way to tell would be to take 10 G20’s, shoot about 20,000 to 50,000 rounds through each pistol (at least 20k!), strip and visually, microscopically and probably ultrasonically inspect for signs of metal and polymer fatigue, throughout each weapon at 5,000rd intervals. Needless to say that would be beyond most of our means. CAD/CAM helps a lot but sometimes there’s just no substitute for good old-fashioned endurance testing.

    • Very good point. I would only add that a Glock would most likely do just fine in the 20-50k range, with maybe a few mainspring swaps, with our without this device.

  10. Not a good safety picture. Looking into the top of the pistol that has the slide remove and seeing a round in the gun. Makes you wonder if he cleans his gun without removing the bullets and wonders why he shot himself.

    • Me thinks it’s not the same pistol. Note the difference in the rear sight… The writer’s pistol is different than the one pictured.

    • That photo is a stock photo from Strike Industry’s website. I also thought it was a touch odd.

      BTW — inserting a loaded magazine into a slideless frame is a common thing to do to check for possible interference with the slide lock or other things. I have seen certain types/brands of ammo contact the slide lock on some guns, and this is the best way to test for that possibility. Inserting an empty mag allows you to visually see the function of the follower pushing up on the slide lock, too.

  11. my concern would be failure causing a problem with the gun properly functioning in a life or death situation…maybe for idpa but a no go for EDC in my opinion.

  12. All I learned was not to buy a glock 20. I got a glock 17 with a lone wolf extended ported barrel, steel guide rod, and pyramid trigger. I can shoot that all day off handed with a bullet in my other shoulder. Stop crying about ammo pricing and recoil

  13. This thing is junk. Even glued in it broke two different times. Can’t even get a response from strike industries. Looks like they quit selling it

  14. Stay AWAY from these “POS” they slow down your slide and cause the gun to FAIL TO FEED. I shot everything from hand loads to P+P ammo. And it keep giving me FTF in 3 different guns. Someone above mentioned snake oil. Thats mild of what i would like to say.

  15. I tried one in my XDM 40 after 60 rounds I could not get the slide back far enough to lock it up o strip the pistol.
    Ended up sending it back to Springfiels where the buffer was removed as it was causing the problem.

  16. Have one in my 1911 colt for years. Just keep replacing it as they get worn out. Just replaced the main spring. I think it saves wear and tear on the pistol. I do not want to break the frame on my colt. Never had any problems with them. The gun has always cycled

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