Howdy all! Long-time lurker, 1st post after having finally joined those celebrating the 2nd Ammendment. I recently came upon a good deal for a Hi-Point .45. Nothing fancy, just something that I could trust upon to aid in protecting myself and my loved ones should someone choose the wrong house to break into. I've put a few boxes of ammo through it, and have taken a liking to it. It shoots slightly low, but consistently so, and makes a nice little pile at my feet with the spent brass - I'll someday reload. I come to the boards with a question. I was stripping the gun down to clean it the other day and the spring went flying. I found the spring, but the little plastic piece that sits in the front-end of the spring was lost somewhere amid the corner of the room. I'll not spend any range time until I find that plastic piece, but my question is, should push come to shove, would I be safe in firing a few rounds through it to stop any would-be baddies, or should I disregard that idea entirely until the plastic piece is found? I'm assuming that its there to keep the spring from bunching up during the recoil movement of the slide, but with me just using normal (non +p) ammo it might be alright. Any thoughts, comments, suggestions would be appreciated! PS any general cleaning practices that should be followed? I'm completely new to firearms ownership; CCL course is on the to-do list, time and money allowing, but I'm always searching for wisdom. Thanks!