There are many types of magazines made these days. Some are very well made and function as they should. You get what you pay for and buying a cheap magazine for a high dollar gun is not a good way to save money! The illustration shows most of the types of magazine followers in use today. Most experienced shooters prefer the magazine with the flat follower with a dimple in the center of the follower. These seem to be the most reliable and the oldest design. Top brands are Wilson combat 47d’s, Tripp magazines, Metalform. In my opinion these are the best. There are other good magazines of course but they are to numerous to mention. A good magazine will run about $25 each. I would strongly suggest you stay away from mags in the $10 to $12 range. The quality control is not very good with poorly made mag bodies and cheaper springs. A good magazine will allow you to keep the magazine loaded for a long period of time without wearing the spring out. This can’t be said for the cheaper mags.
In short buy quality. A 1911 is particularly susceptible to poorly constructed mags. probably more so than any other gun. With quality mags you get reliability and isn’t that what we all want especially in a gun you are betting your life on! Good sources are MidwayUsa, Brownells, Metalform and Tripp research. Of course you can buy Wilson mags directly from the company at Wilson Combat
Wilson Combat has recently released a new magazine for the 1911, the Tactical Elite. It’s a brand new magazine but you’ll see similarities between others in the line. One nice feature is the addition of a magazine number on the bottom of the base pad. When you order one or more just tell them the number you would like on the bottom. No more using a dremel to engrave a number on the mag. I like many others mark each magazine on the bottom so we can keep track of how many rounds have gone through a particular magazine and quickly identify mags that start to give you problems. Of course this is an unlikely occurrence with a Wilson mag. This is a great new mag. I’ve tried one and will be getting more. I bought mine from MidwayUsa. I’m sure you’ll like them. The following is the description of the new mag reprinted with the permission of Wilson Combat.
THE WILSON COMBAT® ELITE TACTICAL MAGAZINE
The ETM started with a blank sheet of paper and 30+ years of 1911 and 1911 magazine experience. The ETM is no re-design of a 7 round magazine which has been reconfigured for 8 round capacity; it’s a totally NEW product designed from the ground-up as a premium 8 round tactical magazine. It WILL set a new standard in 1911 magazines while redefining state-of-the-art. We’ve blended the latest improvements in manufacturing and materials technology with our own real-world shooting experience to provide quality, quality, and more quality. From material selection to manufacturing process to final testing – this magazine is built like your life, and ours, depended on it, as someday it may. No compromises, just stone-cold reliability you can depend on. The ETM is primarily a combat magazine, but if you’re a competition shooter, you just may gain that critical advantage that will move you past the competition.
The real world for a combat pistol isn’t always in a dry, protected environment. So we built the ETM to be impervious to the elements. Every component is manufactured from either a high-grade stainless steel or super tough nylon. We worried about grime and corrosion when we designed the ETM, so you will never have to.
The ETM has the strongest magazine tube yet developed, virtually eliminating feed lip cracking, tube spread and cracking, and general fatigue, – some of the most common manufacturing and/or age-related defects in other magazines. The engineers working on the ETM have a combined 110+ years of firearms experience – the ETM is a showcase of their knowledge. They refined the radius for each bend in the tube to take advantage of the strength in the stainless steel they selected – and then devised a manufacturing process to provide the tight tolerances required to make those exact radius bends. The observation slots, moved to the rear of the tube, are located exactly where they need to be to maintain the structural integrity of the tube for years and years of use. After extensive testing we selected a grade and thickness of stainless steel optimized to provide superior stiffness without brittleness. No matter how many times you empty this magazine through your pistol, you can be assured the engineering expertise, design, material selection, manufacturing, and the quality control behind the ETM promises a lifetime of smooth and reliable operation.
ETM tubes are manufactured with a proprietary, custom designed welding process followed by a proprietary multi-step tumbling and finishing process. The internal and external finish, critical to smooth follower operation and insertion into the weapon, are the result of selecting the proper media and media-sequence in the tumbling and finishing process. We expended a lot of engineering time and expertise in developing the finishing process; when you get your hands on an ETM you’ll be able to see and feel for yourself, we think you will agree it was time well spent.
The improvements made to the ETM’s follower and base pad have not previously been seen in a pistol magazine. This design combines advanced manufacturing technology with absolutely precise dimension control, assuring positive slide-lock after the last round has been fired. The innovative follower design with its extended skirt ensures stability in operation and minimizes creep from the tube when the magazine is empty. Super tough nylon was selected as the optimum material for the new ETM follower due to its proven durability and slick surface finish. This slick finish and the super smooth internal finish of the magazine tube result in the smoothest follower operation possible. Experienced shooters will notice this ultra-smooth performance when loading and firing.
We’ve found a space-age stainless steel spring wire that is phenomenal for spring life. Have you ever worried about leaving your fully-loaded magazines for long periods of time? This spring, designed exclusively for our new ETM, will do its job longer than the cartridges will remain suitable for combat use. Another factor in spring life is the degree of compression when the magazine is loaded. Our engineers designed the ETM’s base pad to allow a longer tube. Although the ETM is not appreciably longer than a typical 7 round magazine, it has more space for the spring to work without complete compression or excessive stress on the spring.
The ETM seats and locks in the weapon with the slide down – fully loaded with 8 rounds – as easily and surely as a typical 7 round magazine and much easier than any other 8 round magazine on the market.
The ETM’s new almost indestructible base pad provides a sure grip when pulling a magazine from a pistol or a tight pouch – especially in a combat or competitive situation when seconds count in reloading. If you have ever been in the rain, trying to get a traditional magazine from a wet, tight pouch, you’ll really appreciate this feature – and it might save your life.
The ETM has numbers 1 through 10 included on the bottom surface of the base pad to make it easy to mark and identify your individual magazines to track usage and performance.
The ETM has observation ports clearly labeled for rounds 2 through 8, on both sides of the magazine. It’s easy to see at a glance how many rounds are remaining. The ports are moved to the rear third of the tube to maintain the tube’s strength in the sides and prevent the tube from spreading over time.