Identify this: Gun Spring

I was cleaning my guns the other day and came to the end where I was packing away my tools, and throwing away dirty patches. When I was folding up my cleaning pad, to my dismay I saw a tiny spring and had no idea which gun it came from. A felt a small sinking feeling in my gut.

I’m turning to the TFB community to see if a sharp eye can identify this spring. Can you help?

Here’s the info I can provide regarding the circumstances:

– I was cleaning the following guns:

1) Noveske N4 AR-15: I pushed out the rear takedown pin and pulled the bolt carrier and charging handle. I took the bolt carrier down to the pin and bolt assembly, and no further. I snaked the barrel, and then reassembled everything.

2) Benelli M2 shotgun: I simply snaked the barrel.

3) Glock 34 pistol: I took the Glock down to the frame, slide, barrel, guide rod and spring. I cleaned those parts and reassembled the pistol.

I cleaned these guns in the same manner I have always cleaned them, and I’ve never seen any spring show up.  When I re-checked my guns, I didn’t see any obviously missing springs. My guess is that the spring is from my AR-15, but that’s just an educated guess.

The spring looks like it is uncompromised, meaning that it doesn’t look like it was sheared off or bent.

I eagerly await your comments, thank you!

10/2/13 UPDATE: I have function tested and fired all three weapons, and they are running like normal, so the mystery continues. At some point, I will probably strip everything down to try and identify the spring, and when I do I will provide another update. I appreciate everyone’s help!

Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.


  • Clint Notestine

    Looks like the take down spring I had to replace on one of my AR’s

    • Big Daddy

      That could be right also. It’s hard to tell from a picture on the web. I have been looking at pictures of ARs inside and out for 3 months trying to learn more about them and the first thing that came to my mind was lower receiver spring somewhere. I just bought a LPK and it had a lot of springs that look like that in the bag.

  • Joe Schmoe

    Does your safety on the AR-15 work? Looks like the safety selector spring (housed in the grip, pops out when you take off the grip) to me.

    • Big Daddy

      That’s what came to mind.

    • cmorrow

      I’m pretty sure the safety spring is significantly longer than the pictured one. I believe it should be longer than the entire width of a dime, and I’m not sure how it would come out without removing the grip of the gun. I would double check the Benelli or Glock.

      • Dan

        This is correct, the selector spring is at least twice as long as this.

    • Yup, my safety worked fine today!

  • Nadnerbus

    For the size, it seems like it could only be the bolt catch spring or the disconnector spring if it’s from the AR, but it has too many coils for that. Seems too small to be the buffer retainer spring.

    You would have to be messing with the receiver end plate or the pistol grip to have lost the selector detent spring or the rear take down pin detent spring.

    • nadnerbus

      I just dug through my replacement spring set and I don’t think it is from the AR. the Bolt catch spring is the only one that is even close, and even that is too large a diameter and not enough coils.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Exactly. The rear takedown pin spring can only be removed if one deliberately chooses to take apart the rear takedown pin assembly. This was not likely to have happened if Chris’ description of the bolt / bolt carrier disassembly and cleaning process he engaged in is true and correct.

  • Bob

    When you said you pushed out the rear take down pin did you mean you pushed it out of the receiver?

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      Unless I am missing something, the rear takedown pin on an AR is not normally pushed completely out of the lower receiver for the bolt carrier removal activity that Chris mentioned ; it is usually held in place as a captive pin after pushing it to the right to release the upper receiver. Since Chris did not mention otherwise, we will have to assume that this is all that happened. Only he can confirm or deny this.

    • I did not push it out, but thanks for inquiring.

  • Internet Browser

    If it’s a Hi Power mag safety spring, BOO HISS, toss it away!

  • Heespharm

    Looks like a take down pin retaining spring

  • Medic760

    Have you checked the Mag catch on the AR

  • GunApp

    I say its for the AR!

    Check out for the latest firearms, shooting, and sporting news!

  • Mike

    What doesn’t work on your AR?

    Or, I doubt it but, did you check the ejector

  • Lance

    Looks like a rear tack down pin retainer spring from a AR-15 or M-16/M-4. Be careful Chris you can loose them quick if you dont be careful.

  • Dave_FM

    Doesn’t look like an AR spring to me. Maybe a Glock extractor/depressor plunger spring?

  • Mystick

    It’s a detent spring…

  • Georgia boy

    I believe its from the Glock, the firing pin safety spring, which sits under the firing pin safety.

  • Mark

    Looks like a magazine catch spring to me.

  • Mark Fleser

    I first thought it was from the glock (plunger spring) but there’s no way that can get out from what you described. It doesn’t look like anything from an AR either, so it’s got to be from the benelli but I’m not familiar with that gun.

  • ArkhamInmate

    Looks almost identical to this:, However, this says it is for a VZ61 Scorpion bolt catch. Don’t suppose you’ve been playing around with one of those?

    • Thinker-1

      Reminds me of the safety detent spring on a FEG-P9R. A real beast to get back in, and prone to launch across the room. 1-gallon plastic bag recommended.

  • Matt

    My first thought was that little spring-loaded piece (forget what it’s called) hiding in the glock slide with the striker when you remove the rear slide plate.

  • D.

    It is the spring from a ball-point pen.

  • hami

    This post is embarrassingly out of place on this blog. You are using author privileges to try and find out where a spring goes? This couldn’t be a forum post over on

  • Arnold

    Charging Handle Latch Spring? The only spring I can think of that size that you may have touched.

  • Aaron E

    My first thought was also the Glock Extractor Depressor Plunger spring, but I wouldn’t think you would be able to reassemble and function check the Glock with it missing.

    My next guess is the AR-15 bolt catch spring, or the AR-15 extractor spring (although it may be too narrow and long for that). Last would be Joe’s suggestion in the safety selector spring.

    Hope that helps and hope you get the parts back to their home!

    • Ivan Relppa

      Agree with the ‘Glock Extractor Depressor Plunger Spring’ idea, did he function check BOTH 34s he was cleaning?

  • MaxPower515

    Did you take the firing pin safety out of the Glock? because that is what it looks like

  • RangerWolf

    Maybe it’s the rear takedown pin retainer spring of an AR15 (keeps the rear takedown pin from falling out and usually pushes a small bolt into a tiny hole in the rear takedown pin).
    I just recently lost this one myself and it looks pretty much the same as in the picture.

    • Joshua

      To short.

    • DiverEngrSL17K

      It isn’t likely ( though not impossible ) that one could lose the rear takedown pin retainer spring, which is a captive device like the pin assembly itself, without actually and very deliberately taking the takedown pin assembly apart, which probably did not happen based on Chris’ description of his bolt / bolt carrier cleaning activities ( if that is all he did, he had no reason whatsoever to disassemble the takedown pin ). However, if it turns out to be so, it would mean that he either missed telling us about how far he went, or else he has a problem with a defective takedown pin assembly.

  • Nathaniel

    There is one run-on sentence in this article.

  • RobC

    D) None of the above.

  • Hunter57dor

    its really weird, and i don’t know if this helps, but it looks almost exactly like a spring out of a door lock. i have tons of them lying around the house (dad was a lcoksmith for awhile) and they are about that size.

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    As someone who’s built and torn apart literally hundreds of AR’s, that spring doesn’t match anything on an AR. It looks like the right diameter for the takedown pin detent springs, but it’s way too short.

  • George Hill

    Doesn’t look like the Glock safety Spring to me… Not wide enough.

    Maybe it’s a Trigger Return Spring for a BlasTech E-11?

  • Spiff1

    U can eliminate the Glock…

  • NMesserschmidt

    Looks like the extractor spring on a Glock.

  • aride4ever

    looks like part of the 2 stage trigger.

  • Roy Batty

    I think its from your glock trigger mechanism that helps the sear pop back up to catch the striker after you fire.

    • Jordan Bear Pollard

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but, wouldn’t that give you a run-away?

  • Wes

    That is definately not a spring from any of those firearms.

  • gyrfalcon

    It’s spring to a decent blog post you couldn’t finish on time.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    Hi, Chris :

    Sorry to hear about your concerns — I can understand how disconcerting it must be to find an odd spring left over on your bench. If all you did with the AR was exactly as you described, it is unlikely to have come from that particular weapon, unless something completely inexplicable happened that you missed.

    As for the Benelli shotgun, again based on your description of activities, the answer is also “highly unlikely”.

    Which leaves us with the Glock 34. Based on your account, you might want to prioritize your investigation around the Glock first.

    Another thought : Is it possible that the spring was already on the bench, or came to arrive on the bench, from another source that you may have overlooked? More often than not, the simplest and most obvious reasons are the cause of an incident like this.

    If all else fails, you could resolve the issue by a painstaking process of elimination, i.e., taking all three guns apart ( slowly, and one at a time ) while accounting for all individual components, then matching said components to a checklist based on a manufacturer’s exploded diagram until you come up with a positive I.D. on the missing piece. If you don’t find anything untoward, repeat the procedure a couple more times just to be sure, taking your time to examine every step of the process carefully.

    Best of luck with your search!

    • Hi DiverEngrSL17K,

      It’s completely possible that it was from a previous clean or from another source, but I don’t recall handling any springs or having my cleaning pad near any springs, so it’s all still a mystery.

      I also forgot to mention that I was cleaning two Glock 34s. I shot six stages today at a match with one of them and it ran fine. I’ll have to check the other Glock when I get home.

      I may have to take your advice and tear down all the guns! Cheers!

      • DiverEngrSL17K

        I sincerely hopes it works out so that you can get your peace of mind back. As and when the situation is finally settled to your satisfaction, would it be too much to ask if you could let us know what it turned out to be? It might make for a good learning experience for all concerned. Thanks very much in advance.

        • Hi DiverEngrSL17K,

          I posted an update at the end of the main article.

          Short version: I still don’t know what the spring is from 🙁


          • DiverEngrSL17K

            Hi, Chris :

            Thanks for letting me know. I think the only real course of action left to resolve this once and for all would be the process of elimination I had first suggested — the step-by-step disassembly of each weapon and inspection / inventory of each part.

  • Brandon Montville

    This spring looks identical to the FS2000 charging handle spring. Any chance of that?

  • Liberator

    bolt release spring for the AR maybe?

  • Butter

    Striker block spring from your glock. Looks a little long for that, but maybe it is the stock spring and not some competition spring.

  • Butter

    Thought about it more. Charging handle latch spring.

  • It looks like a detente spring on an AR, so check your safety selector and your receiver extension

  • dan ditizen

    Trick question! Obviously this spring is not from any of these guns. It is from a weapon the author is to ashamed or afraid to admit owning. I know, you all are thinking a raven or maybe a hi-point… but no.

    It is from a very rare civilian semi auto chauchat, specifically it is for the small diesel powered red dot sight available only on the weapons sold in Tasmania. Furthermore because this spring is metal versus whalebone it is obviously from one in 44/40 caliber.

  • Gregory Markle

    Using the dime for scale was a good idea, it doesn’t look like any AR spring. The only AR springs that would be that thin are much longer than this spring. Even without the dime, you can go by the number of coils in the spring and all of the springs on the AR platform that are even remotely comparable are either shorter or longer than this spring (and the shorter springs would appear to be wider than this one.)

    Here is a handy general reference to pin and spring size for the AR.

  • Bubba

    Looking at a drawing of an M2 trigger group, I’d say there is 2 springs that it could be.

    It could be the disconnected spring.
    Or it could be the safety plunger spring.

    All the other springs look too large.

  • Casey Gunn

    Is your buffer tube retainer still there? My gun ran for some time without one. Some companies don’t even use them anymore

  • Shannon

    Do you own a Beretta Nano? It has a spring about that size that fits between the plastic frame and the trigger guts, real easy to misplace.

  • Lukas

    the glock shell extractor spring?

  • Redchrome

    I’ve been looking for that spring for years! It’s a double-action sear spring from a Smith & Wesson revolver which went ‘sproing’ in the basement of a house I lived in about 10 years ago. Even after removing every single item and speck of dirt from that basement, right down to the concrete floor (when I moved out) I never found that spring again. I *knew* the sock-eating demons took it! They must have lost it as well, and it found its way into your basement! You don’t happen to have found any extra socks in your dryer at the same time, have you?

  • Tpa Gunslinger

    Charging handle catch spring.

  • Jon

    Looks like a Glock striker block plunger spring to me. Field strip your glocks and see if the striker block plunger springs back when you press on it…

  • Doctor Shades

    It looks like either a plunger spring or a small trigger spring to a double action trigger mechanism.

  • Vaughan

    I’m thinking it is a firing pin spring from a Raven .25 semi auto

  • Jordan Bear Pollard

    I believe that is a trigger detent spring from your AR.