7rd vs. 8rd 1911 magazines...


April 24, 2003, 09:07 PM
There are a lot of manufacturers making 1911 magazines, and I've noticed that there seem to be two flavors of the standard size magazines. (By standard size, I mean those that don't stick out of the bottom of the pistol.)
The ones that hold 7 rounds, and the ones that hold 8.
Why the selection? It seems like everyone would go for the 8 round magazines, and that the 7's would fall by the wayside.
Is there some advantage to the 7 rounders that makes them better than the 8 rounders?

If you enjoyed reading about "7rd vs. 8rd 1911 magazines..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
April 24, 2003, 09:16 PM
Is there some advantage to the 7 rounders that makes them better than the 8 rounders?
Yeah, price and availability.

El Tejon
April 24, 2003, 09:20 PM
Justin, yes, reliability.

April 24, 2003, 09:40 PM
El T-

How so? Do the springs wear out faster because they're compressed more or something?

April 24, 2003, 11:20 PM
That's part of it Justin. It's the compression that's the problem. Not excess wear.

The 1911 was designed as a 7 shot pistol. The addition of the extra round changes the timing of the pistol, because of the extra spring tension. It can be done successfully, but it's a compromise.

Mark IV Series 80
April 24, 2003, 11:34 PM
In my experience, the 7-round magazines are much more reliable than the 8-rounders.

My Combat Commander and Government Model, which are 100% reliable with factory ammo and Wilson 7-round magazines, will choke when an 8-round magazine is introduced into the equation.

Many shooters find that they have to slam the magazine hard to get it to go home when fully loaded with 8 rounds.
Sometimes, the magazine doesn't go all the way home, and then the shooter has a 1-shot pistol rather than a 9-shot pistol.

The magazine springs do wear out more quickly with the 8 round mags, because the spring has to be under more compression to fit into a smaller area.

My advice..... If you want top reliability in your 1911-type, stay with the 7-round magazines.

April 24, 2003, 11:42 PM
Is there some advantage to the 7 rounders that makes them better than the 8 rounders?

Yes, reliability. The seven round magazines are more reliable. The follower angle is different on the eight round magazines to allow the extra round to fit in the magazine body. The magazine spring is also different. The eight round magazine follower has a shallower angle which can cause some hollow point bullet shapes to hang up on the barrel ramp.

I use eight, and ten, round magazines for practice and competition, but I only use seven round magazines when carrying a 1911 for protection.

Others may have different opinions.

They're wrong though.:neener:

April 25, 2003, 12:16 AM
I've used a bunch of different magazines in several different 1911s from several manufacturers and while some report positive experiences with the 8 rounders, the 7 rounders are just more reliable. Consistantly reliable. I have 5 Wilson 7 rounders, 5 8-round PowerMags and 5 7-round MetalForms. I admit that I use the PowerMags in my carry gun, when I carry a 45, but I replaced the split flat followers with the rounded followers from MetalForm rendering them as 7 rounders. 100% reliable, very firm spring and very positive feeding.

And you do generally need to give a bit of a slam to get the 8 rounders to seat into the gun, even with the slide locked back. Replacing the magazine when a round is in the chamber and the slide is dropped can be... challenging, sometimes. ;)

April 25, 2003, 12:27 AM
' never had a problem w/ 8 rounders. I only use McCormick mags. I had experienced nose dives w/ their 10 rounders though. :(

April 25, 2003, 04:34 AM
As for availability, you'll find more reliable 7rd mags than 8's.

For reliable 8rd mags, my experience shows you have to go for the more expensive brands - Wilsons and Chips.

With the 7rd mags, you can pick up a handful of any ol' grabbag of name brands and, chances are, 9 out of 10 of them will work reliably. Even then, the tenth mag that doesn't work might only need some minor tweaking on the feed lips.

As for having to slam the 8's into the magwell, I like to use a slightly extended basepad. Learned they are a necessity after my first IPSC match. Even 7's without a minor basepad are hard to seat under stress. You can do it all day back at the range, but put yourself under a timer and all bets are off.

I only use 8's - whether competition, carry, or plinking. Used Chips for quite awhile, but fell in love with Wilsons to the point where I ditched my Chips. Wilsons drop free faster than any 1911 mag I've run into, and I have yet to clean one past shaking the dirt out of it.

April 25, 2003, 08:17 AM
I use both, but keep the 8 rounders for carry, sticking with Wilson and McCormicks. Got a bunch of GI mags, dated in the early 90s, they work great.

April 25, 2003, 08:41 AM
I've got two 8 rounders, an older Wilson-Rogers and a Mag-pac and haven't had problems with either one.

April 25, 2003, 08:52 AM
I have found the "reliability" the same on 7 and 8 shot magazines of high quality, given new springs in both.
But, the 8 round mags need their springs changed more often to maintain their reliability.

As mentioned earlier, it's much easier to "slam" home a 7 shot mag than a 8 shot. If not practiced consistently, I would stick with 7 rounders.
Or, if a mag is something that you don't want to think about, I would buy the best quality 7 rounder available.

Good luck

April 25, 2003, 10:01 AM
i use wilson 8 rd mags w/ 7 rds in it.
also a stack of 230's is gonna wear the spring faster than a stack of 185's.

April 25, 2003, 02:04 PM
I've used both.
My current favorite are the $6 7 round Israeli GI mags. Very strong springs, well formed and limited markings. ".45ACP 7RDS" on the side - blank base-plate. Good blued steel body that is far more rust-resistant than the WWII USGI mil-surps (accidentally left one outside for a week and it had minor surface rust in a few spots whereas the WWII mil-surps seem to rust wherever they are). 100% function.
Did I mention that they're $6? I don't feel bad at all if I dump 'em on the ground. How many of you don't bat an eye when you drop a $30 Wilson or even a half as expensive McCormick?

The extra round is nice, but I think I'm going to stick with the 7's for a while.

While we're on the subject, I thought I'd throw out a warning.
I recently purchased a few Colt prancing pony mags marked with an M. The factory Colt mag that came with my Commander is marked with a C. Half of the magazines I bought fail to lock the slide back due - I think - to inadequate spring tension. I tried replacing the spring and follower with one from the Israeli mag I left outside and it works like a charm.

Just FYI.
also a stack of 230's is gonna wear the spring faster than a stack of 185's.
*laugh* Not measurably so, if at all.

April 25, 2003, 02:11 PM
I have used Chip McCormick (sp?) 8 round mags for the last three-four years in a variety of Colt 1911's to include two commanders and have NEVER had a feed problem with them. I usually get them on sale when they go for $12-13 and love them.


April 25, 2003, 02:45 PM
I dont think 7 rounders are too much more reliable than 8 rounders especialy if you are using good quality mags like Wilson and McCormick.
Maybe its just me but I have only had a few magazine related malfunctions in my 1911s.
The suspect mags were
1. Kimber factory mag. What a piece of Junk.
2. Some very beaten CMC 10 rounders that had bent fed lips from being dropped on concrete floors to many times(IPSC indoors)

I usually carry with wilson 8 rounders.

April 25, 2003, 03:38 PM
I have had excellent results out my 8 round Wilson mags. Recommend them highly (if you can find them ;) )

April 25, 2003, 05:08 PM
I am with FPrice. Ive got 3 shooting star 8 rounders with about 1500 rounds through them in a colt commander with zero, zip, nada problems. I would stake my life and my families life on them.
Dont hesitate with eight.

Byron Quick
April 25, 2003, 05:27 PM
I haven't had a problem with the 8 rounders.

April 25, 2003, 07:49 PM
Like others here I use Wilson 8-rounders without any problems in my Kimber

April 25, 2003, 09:29 PM
Is there some advantage to the 7 rounders that makes them better than the 8 rounders?Reliability. I've got half a dozen 8-rd Wilson mags. Not cheap. But they tended to not lock open now and then. Also had a failure to feed on occasion. I've since changed those mags to 7 round mags using Wilson's 7rd follower and spring. No more failures. YMMV.

April 25, 2003, 09:50 PM
I have the 7 rounder that came with my Kimber & two 8 round CMC Shooting stars, 1000 rounds, no problems with any of the mags. Too soon to tell?

April 26, 2003, 02:32 AM
Standard-length 1911 magazines that hold 8 rounds have shorter followers, thinner springs, and/or a slightly longer mag body that's capped off with a baseplate to conceal the length. In the past the followers were always too short or the springs too weak, which led to problems like tipsy followers (causing jams) and failures to engage the slide lock. Standard 7-round mags have longer followers and stronger springs, making them more reliable (although a few makers have indeed figured out how to make a crappy 7-round mag as well). So far the best 8-rounders I've found have been the Wilsons, which use a slightly longer mag body and a stronger spring to help eliminate problems. For pure defensive use however I use only 7-rounders. Maybe it's just me, but stuff of mine that works just fine under controlled conditions has a habit of flaking out when the heat is on.

If you enjoyed reading about "7rd vs. 8rd 1911 magazines..." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!