for your second question, look at this thread: http://handgunforum.net/showthread.php?t=20617
It shouldnt be a big deal, the notch the recoil spring sits in its only there for when you put the slide back on.
Dont really have an answer to your 1st question, sorry, my slide release is pretty easy though
also on my 19 the back plate is aligned with the frame..]
hope this helps! enjoy the 36!! i sure love my 19!