The guide rod simply helps to keep the spring from binding up as it gets compressed. If your spring is in good shape and is not binding any, the rod may not help anything. It will not hurt anything either. Another advantage is that it adds some weight in the front. Some like the feel of the forward weight. They also come in tungsten for even more weight.Which is better: the factory short or the after-market full length rod? Will the full length add anything in the performance area? I've read and heard different stuff but don't know where to draw the line between fact & hype.
You mean like the front cocking serration's?Assuming the short (standard) guide rod has the normal rounded end so it won't catch on the spring coils, the pistol should run just as smoothly with the standard rod. I think it's largely a marketing feature to "catch the fisherman," while having very little real value.
I have a lightweight Officers Model with the stock spring plunger. Several years ago I tried installing the reverse plug and it wouldn't fit. I was later told that this requires some machining on the underside of the slide to make proper clearance for it. Was yours machined or is there a newer style that dosen't require it anymore?The only guide rod I've installed on a 1911 was in my little Colt Compact (Officers, but steel frame). It came from the factory with a short rod, a double spring setup, and a spring plunger with a tiny tab waiting to break. The whole setup was a ticking timebomb IMO. I replaced it an Ed Brown reverse plug two piece guide rod and heavier spring and it's been a gem ever since.