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You missed another, with the long polymer seat and shorter strut, that came before the current short polymer seat with longer strut.
 
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I really can鈥檛 tell the difference between one from the other, even while staging a slow double action pull. I suppose the reason is to refine the pull weight and feel.
I don't know the reason for changing the all metal struts. Would be interesting to know.

I think the different polymer seats were an attempt at making them less expensive to manufacture. They came out with the long polymer seat and short strut as their first attempt at a cost reduction. But that no longer worked when they introduced the one-piece ergonomic grip. They needed a smaller seat than the long polymer one to have room for the ergonomic grip to provide a smaller circumference, higher on the grip.
 
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Remember, the early pinned designs were originally made, when "user" maintenance was basically field stripping for cleaning, and any further was for trained personnel. Any further disassembly was performed by factory trained personnel (armorers) or knowledgeable gunsmiths. Anyone who has swapped Mainsprings on the older pinned assemblies, have always needed more than 2 hands, as they are tiresome. While they can be smoothed up, there is a lot of possible metal to metal contact, which can lead to friction. The plastic Seat does lessen metal to metal contact with the Seat, but still allows contact of the Strut with the Mainsprings coils.

While doubtful, the heel magazine catch designs will work any other way, than they currently are, the side magazine catch allowed "change".

The pinned assembly allowed a longer Mainspring, giving a reasonable mechanical advantage. When changed to the "New Style" for easier Mainspring changes, the Mainspring was mounted higher and raised the base, making for a reduced mechanical advantage, so the improvement to the "E2" style strut, moved the Mainspring lower by lengthening the strut, regaining the mechanical advantage.

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