What about putting a buffer in my Hi Power? Does this really do anything and can it affect reliability? The plastic buffers became popular in 1911 pistols several years ago, but have not been without controversy. Some believe that they are a key player in a heavily shot handgun's longevity while others believe that they're not at all necessary and others opine that they decrease reliability. Several companies manufacture the buffs for the 1911. To the best of my knowledge, only one company, Buffer Technology (www.buffertech.com) makes these for Hi Powers. Speaking only for myself, results have been positive for me using these in Hi Powers compared to when I tried synthetic buffers in 1911-type pistols.
These polymer buffs fit around the recoil spring guide and are dimensioned such that their fit in the frame's dust cover is tight. This keeps them from being able to move during recoil. I have suffered zero reliability problems with these in any 9mm Hi Power I've tried them in. Unlike some 1911 handguns fitted with buffs, you can drop the slide with one installed by either pulling the slide rearward and releasing or by simply depressing the slide stop lever.
You can see the Buffer Technology buffer in the position it should be in when you go to install it. When you attempt to put the barrel assembly on the frame, expect initial resistance, but it will force on with a bit more pressure than normal. Cycle the slide by hand and it will seat. The only "problem" I've experienced with these has not been with reliability, but not being able to lock the slide back with the thumb safety lever for disassembly. Frequently, as the buff is used, this problem solves itself. If not, there are two ways to get around this minor difficulty. You can sand a very small amount off of the buffer face so that the thumb safety can be used to hold the slide back for disassembly or you can place the front end of the slide below the barrel against your gun bench and push until it's flush with the frame's dust cover. At that point, disassemble as normal.
I have used these in all of my Hi Powers. I've noted no decrease in reliability and believe that these do reduce battering of the slide and frame against each other. These buffers cost more than those for the 1911, but they last longer, too. Still, I replace them at about 1500 rounds of standard velocity 115 and 124-grain 9mm and a bit less if +P ammunition's used. From the looks of them when replacement is necessary, they do appear to have done something in cushioning the slide's impact with the frame shot after shot.
If concerns for reliability in a life or death situation weigh heavily on your mind, I'd still suggest that you use them for the range and remove them for carry. I use new ones with but a few "test rounds" under their belt in carry Hi Powers.