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Old 12-22-2019, 11:03 AM
JonCombatCdr JonCombatCdr is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Auburn, Washington
Age: 63
Posts: 726
MK III .40 Refurbished With BH SS Springs

As many of you know, I've been a long-time High Power owner and user; all of mine have been .40s. The High Power (and info nugget: High Powers made, rollmarked and marketed by FN themselves are termed "High Power;" those made by FN, but rollmarked and marketed by Browning are termed "Hi Power." Guess it's an American advertising sorta thing...

Back on track. While the High Power is somewhat obsolescent in some key areas, it's hardly obselete, and still a very viable handgun, albeit one that can be improved in certain ways. I like the OEM profile of the gun, so the modifications I make tend to be internal, and grips, but there are certainly other very viable improvement options, as we've seen from Yost, Novak, Garthwaite, Williams, Sokol,and Nighthawk Custom et al.

Springs for the High Power are critical items. For years, I ran replacement recoil springs from Wolff, but over time I came to be highly suspect of them. Mine being a .40 necessitated the 20 lb spring, and the Wolff ones were suspiciously easy to install, and did not seem to maintain their tensility long; I strongly suspect that my first Hi Power (a polished blued Standard, upgraded by Kurt Wickmann at Novak's) suffered from battering incurred by a too-light Wolff recoil spring, resulting in hammer follow, necessitating a sear replacement from Browning Repair. Unfortunately, the action after the repair no longer had the superb triggerpull characteristics that Kurt Wickmann felt was the best he'd ever felt.

Until recently, I used only Browning's replacement .40 recoil springs, which were certainly up to snuff (and difficult to install, field-strip and remove...). However, I became familiar with a company called BH Spring Solutions LLC. In speaking at length with partner Mark Allen, I've pretty much ascertained the following:

BHSS seemingly came about in conjunction with the Bulgarian production of the Arcus 94, a Bulgarian clone/modification of the Mk III High Power. I suspect that they were the OEM spring producers for that gun, and then subsequently branched out, concerning themselves with replacement and improved springs for the High Power itself, CZ 75, Makarov and of course the Arcus 94s.

Essentially, they've concentrated on niche production of a better spring set for the platforms they're concerned with, and have correspondingly branched out into providing related tools, punches, grips and other similar components.

After procuring a replacement recoil spring for my Mk III .40, I was favorably impressed, and Mark Allen and I engaged in discussions. The upshot was this: They were interested my my testing and discussing their products (I was particularly interested in their new dual-stage recoil reduction buffering guide rod), but to establish a fair starting point, they felt that I should replace all the OEM springs with theirs, which I was willing to do (my original thought was just to replace the slide springs, but since everything interrelates, they really wanted me to go with the full program with the receiver as well). To facilitate this, Mark and Slav (his Bulgarian partner) provided me with the following:

-The complete BHSS .40 spring kit, providing me with a 20-24 lb recoil spring, a 30lb reduced power and a 32lb standard power mainspring, a safety lever spring, a sear lever spring, a magazine latch spring, a firing pin spring (light), and a Hi-Power trigger optimization spring kit (providing 2 strengths of trigger return springs and a reduced power disconnector spring).

-Their Master Tool Kit, which consisted of a complete set of Wilde punches, roll pin punches, a 2 punch trigger pin removal punch set, a mainspring removal/installation tool, a firing pin retaining plate removal/installation tool, a "third hand" tool (for hammer positioning facilitating both disassembly and reassembly), and a polishing cloth.

Additionally, I already had on hand a set of Lynman's standard and roll pin pistol punches, dual-headed gunsmithing hammer, and a Wheeler urethane Universal Bench Block. The bench block was essential for the project.

So, my long standing friend and shooting accomplice Rick gathered at my workshop (aka kitchen island granite countertop, with my wife's grudging acquiescence-she wisely departed on an extended shopping expedition once we were situated...) and with Stephen Camp's Hi Power disassembly guide, J.B. Wood's disassembly/reassembly guide, and BHSS's excellent YouTube guide, we proceeded onward. I'd previously field-stripped the gun, cleaned/de-lubed, and removed the grips from the receiver, so we were able to jump into things immediately.

From the onset, it became clear that a detailed disassembly of a High Power was of a significantly different magnitude of difficulty than that of a Glock (and not because a High Power has significantly more components-my .40 Mk III only has some 45 components). Some background: My High Power was obtained BNIB, and is a MX code Mk III .40, with a production date of 2003. The only changes I've applied have been recoil spring replacements, painting the sight blocks, and adding a Buffer Technologies polymer recoil spring buffer, and replacing the grips with a set of Hogue G10 checkered grips). Cleaning and lubrication was performed after each use, and my estimated roundcount on the gun is around 3,000 rounds, while I like it, it was used and carried most heavily during the last ammunition shortage, when .40 was pretty much the only quality factory stuff I could get consistently and in needed quantities at a reasonable price; this went on for about 6 months as I recall.

FN uses roll pins, which I generally despise, as they're relatively easily deformed in removal and installation-but they're pretty much the only game in town...The slide roll pins (for the sear and extractor) were very tightly installed, and difficult to remove. In fact, ALL the FN's pins, except ironically for the dreaded trigger pin, were extremely tight and difficult to remove-and that's with the proper tools on hand...(but I only needed to replace one pin in the process-the extractor pin, which fortunately I had a OEM spare on hand).

BHSS has an excellent video covering their design, intent, and replacement of all the High Power's springs-covering their philosophy, manufacturing design improvements, and the spring interrelationships. It's very helpful operationally, and in determination of the best combination of spring options to be used.

After (finally) getting successfully through the slide spring replacement process, (and I strongly appreciated and recommended their firing pin retention plate tool for firing pin, firing pin spring, and firing pin retention plate removal and re-installation a snap), we moved on the receiver.....

Last edited by JonCombatCdr; 12-22-2019 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:06 AM
JonCombatCdr JonCombatCdr is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Auburn, Washington
Age: 63
Posts: 726
The Receiver...

Moving on to the receiver, and using the BHSS third hand tool and mainspring tool we found that that portions of the disassembly process was actually easily accomplished-the sear pin, sear spring, hammer assembly, and (surprisingly) trigger assembly were all removed. The mainspring tool was exceptionally useful in dismounting the mainspring, which was replaced by the slightly lighter 30# BHSS (OEM mainspring was 32#; earlier High Powers originally came with 26# mainsprings, but FN had upgraded the mainspring weight to 32# some years ago), we'll see how the lighter mainspring performs; if there's an issue, I'll switch to the BHSS 32# one. While the trigger assembly came out (the BHSS trigger removal pin punch set was absolutely superb for this), I simply was unable to dislodge the trigger return spring pin and the disconnector retaining pin spring.

At that point, I determined that things needed to be presented to an experience gunsmith, so I went to C.a.R Firearms in Kent, WA, with whom I've been very pleased with previously with work they've provided to me on my Beretta 92D and 1911s. The gunsmith was very experienced on High Power vicissitudes, and was quickly able to take care of the trigger group for me (replacing the OEM trigger return spring with BHSS's 2-coil Tactical TRS (providing a more powerful reset), and recommending removal of the magazine disconnector/safety plunger mechanism. For years, I've run all of mine with it, but he felt that it would reduce trigger creep significantly, lighten the triggerpull weight by at least a half pound, and would not adversely effect the trigger return, so for the first time, I decided to try it (especially since IDPA rules were modified several years ago to allow for magazine disconnector/safety removals without penalization, and the late Stephen Camp's endorsement of the merits of the removal).

My thoughts on the completed package:

-If nothing else, BHSS's tool are exceptionally well thought out and executed, and are a huge advantage in expediting detailed disassembly and re-assembly.

-I'm impressed with BHSS'a intent and integrated philosophy regarding their spring design, execution, and synchronization. Now I'll see how they work; initially, I'm impressed with the improved triggerpull on my High Power

-The High Power's disassembly beyond basic field-stripping and firing pin/firing pin spring removal and replacement is not for the faint-hearted, and you really need proper tools to acomplish things. For me, after a certain point, as I discussed, I needed to turn things over to a professional gunsmith to finalize the spring replacement process, particularly for the trigger group assembly.

-Have spare OEM roll pins on hand, you'll likely need them. 'Nuff said

-There was amazingly little accumulated GSR in either slide and/or receiver, and/or on slide/receiver components; the High Power is a well designed and internally sealed platform; other than for routine replacements of firing pin and extractor springs, I don't see much of a need to go into those recesses at all.

-Spring wise, I've gone with the following:

BHSS 20-24# recoil spring;

BHSS light firing pin spring;

BHSS optimized sear lever spring (which is lighter than the OEM one);

BHSS extractor spring (significantly heavier than the OEM extractor spring);

BHSS magazine latch spring (which is heavier than the OEM one);

BHSS 30# mainspring (lighter than the OEM 32# one);

BHSS safety lever spring (heavier and product-improved compared to the OEM one);

BHSS Tactical 2-coil tactical trigger reset spring.

If I do decide to re-install the magazine safety/disconnector plunger, I'll use the BHSS reduced power plunger spring.

How long did things take? Until we were stymied by the trigger group's pins, about 2-2.5 hours, and that was moving slowly, deliberately, and with frequent referrals to the various disassembly media resources that we had on hand. If the trigger pins had been more cooperative, we probably could have easily finished the entire project within 3 hours.

As I mentioned earlier, I'll be running the High Power in this weekend's IDPA match, which should give me a pretty good test as to how things work out...but to be on the safe side, I'll probably bring one of my other .40 platforms as back-up if needed...

Is the project worthwhile? Ultimately, that remains to be seen, particularly through the empirical results of actual use. BHSS makes a compelling case for programmed spring replacement intervals, and for the superiority of their springs as replacements. I already agree on that regarding BHSS versus Wolff; now we'll see how things shake out empirically on BHSS versus OEM FN.

Other potentially worthwhile esoterica of interest:

Lubrication: Grease: Lucas Red "N" Tacky #2; Oil: Weapon Shield and Lucas Extreme Gun Oil

Ammunition: Sellier & Bellot 1809 gr ball

Gunsmith: C.a.R. Firearms, Kent, WA

Bench Block: Wheeler Engineering Universal

Punches: Lyman (regular and roll pin) Wilde (regular, roll pin, and concave (for trigger pin removal)

BHSS sites:


BHSS YouTube submissions:

As this project progressed, I'll continue to provide comments and my feedback (as well as welcoming that of others here on

It looks like 2020 will be significantly dedicated to the SIG P320 and the FN High Power for me....

Best, Jon

Last edited by JonCombatCdr; 12-22-2019 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:08 AM
JonCombatCdr JonCombatCdr is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Auburn, Washington
Age: 63
Posts: 726
And...The Essential Requisite Images Of My MK III AKA The Test Mule...

Best, Jon

Last edited by JonCombatCdr; 12-22-2019 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:17 AM
JonCombatCdr JonCombatCdr is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Auburn, Washington
Age: 63
Posts: 726
Update After 12/21 IDA Match

The spring refurbished, now magazine safety disconnect-less High Power shot superbly, with absolutely zero malfunctions, using harder-primered Sellier & Bellot 180 gr .40 ball ammunition throughout.

My overall match score was unimpressive, but that had everything to do with my skill-set and getting re-used to the High Power. Concurrently using the Buffer Tech buffer with the new BH SS springs, I found the trigerpull to be superb, and splits, in both freestyle and one-handed shooting to be excellent. I particularly noticed how well I was able to shoot support-handed in one stage, with excellent (and accurate) groups.

Shot for some 4 hours in a match characterized with continuous rain (and when not shooting, I was performing as a range safety officer), the High Power performed without any hiccups whatsoever. I'm very much looking forward to achieving significant personal improvements with continued practice and applications.

Best, Jon

Last edited by JonCombatCdr; 12-23-2019 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 12-22-2019, 11:32 AM
muzzleblast... muzzleblast... is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Obwat, Tennessee
Posts: 504
Thank you for sharing your results. I too am a fan of the .40 BHP. The BHP and the S&W 4006 are my two favorite .40s.
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Old 12-24-2019, 07:50 PM
drmordo drmordo is offline
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Miami, FL
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Beautiful. I've been thinking about getting a .40 BHP.
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Old 12-28-2019, 08:21 AM
gnappi gnappi is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 109
Jon, it sounds like you made the BHP work well for you.

I've been a .40 user since it was first available. From bowling pins to gun games, as long as I did my part the caliber never disappointed me when the 9 failed many times to do pins and steel as well.

The HP in .40 was always attractive to me but, like the HP in 9mm I stayed away because it was not available in stainless. Maybe now that the .40 has fallen out of favor by many if someday I stumble on a HP in chrome at a silly price I'll bite.
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Old 01-08-2020, 01:46 PM
JonCombatCdr JonCombatCdr is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Auburn, Washington
Age: 63
Posts: 726
Updates With RDIH Components From BH Spring Solutions

Mark Allan and Slav of BH Spring Solutions recently sent me several components to test; their Dual Stage Recoil Buffering Guide Rod Assembly (, RDIH Extended Slide Stop (, and RDIH polymer fingergroove grip (

I have been running my High Power with a Buffer Technologies polymer buffer, and been pretty pleased with it, but polymer buffers have a relatively limited lifespan (reportedly around 1K rounds), and will physically deteriorate with use, and can fragment/shred, potentially inducing operational issues. Additionally, I believe Buffer Technologies is currently out of business, although it's relatively easy to find their buffers BNIB at this point.

BH Spring Solutions worked in conjunction with EFK Firedragon on the component; apparently EFK had a similar earlier component, but there apparently were low sales and possibly some issues with it, so BH SS stepped in and re-engineered the component, providing 3 levels of buffering springs. The heaviest of the replaceable springs is apparently EFK's original, which provides optimal results from a buffering standpoint, but is the hardest to retract the slide with, and has a very limited lifespan, of only some 500 rounds; BH SS provides re-engineered and component optimized springs for the Medium and Light spring options; the Medium spring provides, according to BH SS, 90% for the buffering result, with a significantly longer spring replacement intervals (approximately every 2K rounds); doing the math, I chose the Medium spring.

BH SS provides a lengthy multi-page info/instruction sheet with each RSA; it's essential to 1) thoroughly read before tinkering with, 2) to have a new (or relatively new) BH SS recoil spring appropriate to your HP (my understanding is that now they're concurrently shipping an new BH SS recoil spring with each BH recoil spring guide rod assembly). BH SS is thoroughly meticulous in their guidance, instructions and philosophy in the multi-page packet provided. Two key take-outs: After experimenting and choosing your guide rod's spring strength, you then semi-permanently install and seal the end cap with either plumber's tape or blue Locktite. Once cured for 24 hours if Locktite is chosen, the plunger portion is lubricated, and the retaining ball inside the annular ring that the slide stop fits through is lubricated as well IAW BH SS instructions.

In conjunction with the new RSA, I also added the RDIH Extended Slide Stop. RDIH is the Belgian company of Leon Hubert, a long-time FN engineer who was significantly involved with the High Power in an engineering capacity, particularly in the latter stage of its history; I'm surmising from Mk III on. FN apparently allowed him to keep his patents, which have been resurrected in RDIH, and in partnership with BH SS. The Extended Slide Stop was originally designed to be used in conjunction with the SFS trigger system, but can be used with the standard High Power action. It provides two primary benefits: 1) Significantly improved ergonomics in terms of efficiently accessing and using the slide stop as a slide release, and 2) in simplifying the field-stripping procedure; with it, the slide does not need to be locked back first to effect separation of the slide from the receiver-you simply push slightly up on the ESS, and then push it out from right to left, freeing the two main components.

I found there to be several initial caveats to using the RDIH ESS: 1) It is designed primarily for 9mm Hi Powers, and if used with the larger cartridge/larger bullet .40, it's essential to file down the slide stop actuating tab, as was thoroughly explained to me by Mark Allen. It's easily done, and you simply file down the tab, retaining the OEM angle while filing, until actuating the ESS clears the bullet in the magazine. Your methodically determine this by placing a magazine with a cartridge in the magazine in the receiver (separated from the slide). You don't want to file too much of the tab down, or you'll lose the slide hold-open function, but there's plenty of material to work from-just proceed slowly and methodically. Hand-filing is recommended...

2) Once installed, the ESS is VERY stiff to initially operate. You need to ensure that you've properly lubricated the retaining ball in the RSA annular ring that the ESS fits through, and you'll need to reciprocate and release the slide some 20-25 tines before things loosen up to the point where one-handed/thumb operation is possible.

Some images of the RDIH ESS: The tab requiring filing for .40 High Powers is the shorter one:

Conclusion regarding the RDIH Extended Slide Stop: The RDIH ESS offers a significant improvement in the ergonomics involved in actuating the slide release when the gun is at slidelock needing to get back into battery; additionally, the ESS simplifies field stripping.

RDIH Grips:

While I was very satisfied with the Hogue G10 checkered grips on my High Power. BH SS wanted me to also try two of their grips; the polymer RDIH fingergroove offering, and one of their sculpted wood grips; as the wood ones were temporarily out of stock, the RDIH ones became first by default.

Looking at them on both the BH SS and RDIH websites, I was initially pretty underwhelmed; my fiorst though they were kind of a European variation of the Hogue rubber fingergroove grip, which I'd previously run for many years, and my first thoughts were analogous-ugly but probably operationally efficient.

The RDIH ones are available in black, FDE and white; when Mark Allen of BH SS threatened to send me a white set, I told him my testing would be fairly brief, and what part of "Mutiny On The Bounty" didn't he understand?...he relented and sent me a black set. Wise man...

The grips are designed by Leon Hubert as an ergonomic/tactical improvement over the OEM High Power grips. They're also a nice value at around $22; mine also included gratis a set of screws.

They feature aggressive/pronounced frontstrap finger grooves (or, probably more accurately, protruding finger separation strakes) and left and right abbreviated thumb shelves and are moderately, but not excessively thick:

The inset concave dot depressions appear to be aesthetic, as I couldn't derive any actual operational advantage or purpose for them otherwise. The grip polymer is an even matte in appearance, and are very nicely molded, slipping easily on the frame, with screw holes matching and no perceptible gaps present once secured. I use red computer fiber washers to help anchor the screws, preventing unscrewing from recoil vibration. Immediately underneath the lowest frontstrap fingergroove there was a bit of irritating mold flash, easily removed with an X-Acto knife. For the hipsters amongst us, think "Hogue meets Trausch" and you've got the theme.

Operationally, I'm more impressed with these than I thought I'd be. The pronounced fingergrooves provide good vertical control-the rubber Hogues may be more comfortable, but these seem to be very effective when firing, particularly at speed. The primary benefit of the vestigial grip side shelves seems to be best realized in strong-hand and support-hand only firing; for freestyle/two-handed firing, I prefer for my strong-side thumb to rest on top of the left safety lever, not the shelf. In fact, at least for my hands, the only real way to utilize the side shelf in two-handed firing is with a thumb-over-thumb grip; years ago I converted to thumbs forward positioning, and intend to remain with it-but some of you might prefer the alternative. Aesthetically, the grips provide a very business-like appearance that goes nicely with my MK III's black matte epoxy finish, for whatever that's worth. I'll definitely be running these for a period, and it'll be interesting comparing them to the to the sculpted BH SS master grips (which come in various flavors of sculpting, wood aesthetics, and checkering/artistic embellishments) (and to compare with the Hogue G10s).

My thoughts so far on the BH SS offerings is that while some aspects of their offerings are stand-alone in nature, they're better approached holistically, with first performing base-line respringing (and, as much of a pain that it can be, a complete respringing), and then adding or layering on other BH SS components. BH SS has very extensive marketing information and links to their YouTube videos on their website that I've found worthwhile (and, in some cases, frankly necessary) to delve into.; similarly, the RDIH website is also worth a trip (but be prepared for somewhat dated style graphics and colors, at least to my jaded eye...)

Best, Jon

Last edited by JonCombatCdr; 01-08-2020 at 01:55 PM.
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Old 01-26-2020, 06:40 PM
JonCombatCdr JonCombatCdr is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Auburn, Washington
Age: 63
Posts: 726
Update After 25 Jan IDPA Match

January 26th Update, Following IDPA Match
Yesterday, the High Power was fired in a 6 stage IDPA match, with a final round count of 123 rounds expended.

Operationally, the High Power as currently equipped was excellent, save two observations:

On two separate occasions on different stages, I had not allowed the trigger to go fully forward as necessary for fully reset. My thoughts are:

1. I'm still building up muscle memory on trigger control; on a High Power, reset is consonant with "trigger fully forward..."

2. While the 2 coil Tactical trigger return spring is certainly crisp and efficient, there's a chance that the removal of the magazine safety plunger concurrently removed some ideal trigger return pressure, which is nice to have as insurance that the reset point is expeditiously reached. I'm chalking things up to a "My Bad" on action protocol fulfillment, but its' something I'll continue to watch carefully. While I don't currently plan on re-installing the magazine safety plunder assembly, the two hiccups do lend some credence to the secondary function of the magazine safety as providing some propulsive force providing for a more forceful/positive automatic trigger reset.

The RHID grips, as suspected really came into their own on the Single-handed stages, where both strong hand and support hand skills needed to applied. The vestigial thumb shelf levers are excellent for this.

Additionally, the RDIH Extended Slide Stop significantly aids in expediting returning the slide from slide-lock back into battery; this component alone constitutes a significant product improvement for the High Power.

For a duty/carry holster, I've switched from my Galco Royal Guard IWB horsehide as primary to my Safariland 5181 OWB paddle, for one simple reason: Blocking rear safety levers. I've noticed on the Galco Royal Guard, if I brush or rub up against a hard vertical surface on my strong side, there's a good chance that the right hand safety lever will be dislodged to disengage the safety, while it can be re-applied when the High Power is still in the holster, a simpler solution is to move to a holster with higher protective wings built into the construction of the holster's sides-which the Safariland does. Unfortunately, the Mk III banana-shaped and splayed out safety levers are significantly protrusive that more effectively shielding them is a necessity when carrying the High Power; the Safariland holster's wings do an excellent job, is eminently comfortable to carry , and very effectively in shielding the safety levers.

My match score was pretty low; the majority of my time as an SO was spent in watching like a hawk and exceptionally group of out of town gamer-oriented shooters. Nice guys, but requiring pretty total engagement with for the entire match as they were seemingly devoted individually and collectively into rules arcania. So my High Power efforts seemed to represent more of a task saturated SO then a competitive shooter.... so arguably what I performed was more of a 123 round gun proficiency exam than a truly competitive performance. Ah well...

Spoiler alert: David Barnes of VCD Grips has textured/stippled a set of RHIP grips for me; they're enroute, and I look forward to using them-I'll keep my efforts, results, and suggestions posted here.

Dave Barnes and Mark Allen, thanks for your support-Mark/Slav for providing me with a second set of the grips for the test, and Dave, for contributing your work. When they arrive, I'll post images.

Best, Jon

Last edited by JonCombatCdr; 01-26-2020 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 02-09-2020, 10:37 AM
JonCombatCdr JonCombatCdr is offline
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Combined Benefits of BH SS Buffering RSA and RDIH Grips With VCD Treatment

Once I move upstream from 9mm, control of recoil forces becomes more essential-especially with .40 and .45 ACP. While .40 is hardly uncontrollable, it is significantly more difficult to harness and circumvent (or use beneficially to assist in moving the gun). It's not just a higher pressure cartridge, it's pressure spike occurs very quickly upon ignition. More lackadaisical or somewhat slipshod techniques that you might be able to get away with with 9mm becomes glaringly obvious with .40. The .40 that I use is 180 grain across the board; my carry cartridges are Federal HST, Remington Golden Sabre and Speer Gold Dot; practice/competition/range cartridge is Sellier & Bellot (with American Eagle as a fall-back if my FFL can't get me the S&B). The S&B is clean and accurate, but tends to be on the spicy side-which is just fine with me, as it makes for an excellent analog cartridge for my carry loads.

So-my Mk III High Power is .40, so by definition I'm challenging myself intrinsically a bit, as I got a higher-power/quick pressure spiking recoil impulse to deal with However, I really like how the Hgh Power handles the .40, and the balance is excellent, particularly useful in single-handed shooting in particular. Since I'm not making things easier with my cartridge choices, I need to focus on both technique and some specific hardware choices that can materially assist me.

This falls into two items of kit: First the BH Spring Solutions Buffering Recoil Guide Rod, and second (and third), the RDIH polymer fingergroove grip-and then the RDIH grip subject to treatment by David Barnes of VCD Grips.

Today I shot a six stage ASI match; ASI (Action Shooting International) is kind of a Pacific NW "IDPA Light," with some of the leading Pacific NW IDPA shooters creating a new venue, both to provide a introduction to the action shooting sports in a less intensive and (less initially intimidating) than IDPA or USPSA, as well as an offshoot from some frustration with the incessant and sometimes arcane rules changes IDPA ventured upon several years ago. Here's a link, for those interested:

It was a great venue where it was easier for me to concentrate on results and technique more than getting caught up in stage strategy.

The VCD's RDIH Grips:

I became familiar with VCD Grips, as I suspect many did from Todd Green's development and testing of of his Jason Burton 1911 Commander, which is archived at He discussed them at several points, but his comments here nicely encapsulate them:
Due to Todd's comments, I several year ago got 2 sets from David Barnes; one for my SIGARMS GSR XO, and one for My Nighthawk Custom Talon II, and was (and remain) extremely impressed-my shooting is nowhere near Todd's skill level (but I can equal him on sarcasm and snarkiness, as we enjoyed on our email and p-f interplay), but I clearly achieved highly beneficial results with the VCD grips. A slight downside to them is that as they come, the stipping craters have fairly sharp aggressive edgs which can wreak havoc on sweaters and similar if used as a concealment garment, but they can be lightly sanded to achieve more fabric-friendly surfacing. Here's a link to VCD:

The RDIH grips I discussed earlier are excellent, but I thought that they could be improved upon. Discussing first with David Barnes of VCD, and then with Mark Allen of BH SS, Mark provided another set of the RDIH's for David to apply the VCD texturing on; we all agreed that it was a "nothing ventured, nothing gained" sort of thing, with the possibility that the RDIH polymer, contours and thicknesses might or might not be susceptible and amenable to the VCD treatment. Essentially, we wanted to preserve the excellent pronounced fingergrooves and vestigial thumb strakes that are the essential stabilizing features of the grips, but thinking that the application of VCD texturing would provide increased grippiness and stability.

The original RDIH grip:

The RDIH With VCD Treatment:

Short version: They work superbly, and provided increased control and stability, but still facilitating grip acquisition and finger positioning/repositioning as needed without hindrance. They provide a nice co-existing support component to the BH SS Buffering Guide Rod, working nicely in conjunction.

And they're an excellent value; the RDIH itself is only $23, and David Barnes will apply his treatment to a set of the RDI grips for $29, including shipping back to you (You get the RDIH grip from BH SS, than ship it to VCD, he applies the treatment, and then he'll ship it back to you when finished). So basically, for less than $55, you're getting an excellent grip, one that I personally consider superior to Hogue's rubber fingergroove model, and easily equal to, if not exceeding the performance of G10 grips available for the High Power, most of which are around the $80 price point. One caveat: The RDIH/VCD'd grips are all about performance, with aesthetics taking a far second seat. If you're looking for a barbecue gun-worthy set of knock 'em dead appearing grips, these aren't likely to raise your interest; however for increasing High Power shooting performance, I think they're a huge value-especially in conjunction with the BH SS improved buffering shock-absorber-ish guide rod-both just flat-out work;

Here are a couple more images of the "VCD'd" RDIH grips:

David Barnes' attention to detail in applying his treatment is exemplified in how the treatment wraps around to the back of the grips, providing increased effective grip grasping surface areas:

Basically, the combination of the BH Spring Solutions' Dual Stage Buffering Recoil Spring Guide
and the RDIH grips, particularly with the VCD treatment significantly tame the .40 recoil impulse. I was able to fire 2 and 3 shot groups quickly in a very controlled fashion, with tight groups on target.

As I mentioned before, I chose the "medium" strength BH SS spring option for my guide rod, and have been pleased with the choice, and the increased spring longevity inherent to that spring.

I did experience one failure of the trigger to reset yesterday-my bad, I failed to let it go far enough forward, and then short-stroking; the problem was immediately resolved. Increased dry-fire is building up finger positioning muscle memory to eliminate this.

Best, Jon

Last edited by JonCombatCdr; 02-09-2020 at 11:19 AM.
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