1911 7rd vs. 8rd. Mags


March 25, 2007, 01:34 AM
I'm sure it's been posted before but I can't find it and I hear conflicting reports...

Is there any benefit to a 7 round 1911 magazine over the 8 round? They are nearly the same price, and both fit flush with the bottom (with the magwell, at least) so I ponder if the 8rd. mags suffer less reliability than a 7rd. mag.

I am namely talking about Wilson Combat mags.

I am in the process of purching a few mags for my Kimber Gold Match I .45 1911 and when choosing between Wilson mags, is 8rd the obvious choice?


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March 25, 2007, 01:53 AM
Everything you want to know about 1911 Mags -

March 25, 2007, 12:21 PM
I use both at the range without problems. I see it this way. If you are not carrying a spare magazine stick an 8-rounder in the gun as if it jams on the last shot for lack of the dimple on the follower you are no worse off that you'd have been with a 7 round mag. If you carry a spare magazine I'd put a 7-rounder in the gun and carry the 8-rounder as the spare.


March 26, 2007, 10:33 AM
8 rounders are generally considered a bit less reliable than the 7 rounders.

1911tuner is considered a foremost authority on this and he has said he won't use 8 rounders on carry guns. If he had to use an 8 rounder it would be a McCormick Powermag.

There is such a variety of makers out there with different feed lip timing I believe it is matter of trying different mags in your gun to see what works best. I found cheap 7 round chinese mags work fine in a given 1911 and Wilsons didn't & McCormick Shooting Stars didn't. Defined a sporadic FTF or FTEs. I am going back to Metalform 7 rounders and get rid of the few 8 rounders I have.

March 26, 2007, 11:51 AM
After many years of using lots of different 'new & improved' 1911-style magazines I've reached a simple conclusion for my needs ...

In a standard length and size magazine body I prefer to have 7-round capacity, with a proven follower and robust spring.

If I want to use a magazine with an 8 round capacity I'll use one with a slightly longer body, so the extra round can be accomodated and still allow for the use of a robust spring.

Everyone else is free to choose whatever they desire for themselves.;)

January 16, 2008, 12:59 AM
Anyone else have an opinion on this? So the majority would suggest I stick with 7rd-ers for reliability reasons?

January 16, 2008, 01:11 AM
I've never had a prob with colt mags ( both 7 and 8) as long as I treated them right. I never keep them loaded for long peroids of time, I don't drop them( tact reloads) and I clean them every few trips. I've got atleast 2 that have 10k rounds on them, they still work as well as the ones that have a few hundred. Its like every thing else, you take care of them, they will take care of you.

I beleave leaving them loaded for long periods of time and droping them in the dirt/ hard surfaces is what kills mags.

Maybe I have just been lucky. Now aftermarket mags, thats another story.

January 16, 2008, 01:44 AM
+1 on the Mccormick powermags. Their 8 and 10rounders are ultra reliable.

January 16, 2008, 02:22 AM
I've transitioned completely to 8-rd Chip McCormick Powermags. They should still only be $16.99 from Midways.

In the past 100 years, I think that spring technology has advanced enough to add one more round to the 1911 magazine.

January 16, 2008, 02:26 AM
All of mine are 8 except for one mecgar i e 7 rder.

Mat, not doormat
January 16, 2008, 04:13 AM
McCormick Powermags are the only 8rders that I use. I had no end of trouble from the flush fit variety of 8s, before I discovered these.


Eric F
January 16, 2008, 07:59 AM
Out of all the mags I had in my .45 1911 days the most unreliable ones were 7 rounders. I have used megar mccormick metalform wilson ect ect in the 8 rounders and never had a problem. Some folks say diffrent but that is my experience.

Mad Magyar
January 16, 2008, 08:06 AM
In a standard length and size magazine body I prefer to have 7-round capacity, with a proven follower and robust spring.

My thoughts as well....

January 16, 2008, 10:43 AM
It depends. There are more variables then the number of rounds the mag fits. Usable tube length, spring design, follower design, feed lips design, heat treating. All of these things are a factor. Most flush fit eight round designs that put 8 rounds in the space of a 7 round tube are weak on the spring front. Most designs that use parallel early abrupt release feed lips will not feed as reliably in some guns. Most any mag out there is usable in some capacity.

January 16, 2008, 11:03 AM
Agreeing with posters above, the 7 rounders are considered the most reliable.
8 rounders will fatigue the mag springs sooner.

The biggest difference I found for reliable feeding is the feed lips. Hybrid feed lips (taper out to a slight flair) works in everything well. Wadcutter feed lips (straight then an abrupt flair) won't work in everything.

The hybrid feed lips are on Colt 7 rounders and Checkmate 7 and 8 rounders.
All other 8 rounders that I have seen or used have wadcutter feed lips. These just don't reliably work for my guns.

If you want the best reliability get 7 rounders with hybrid feed lips.

January 16, 2008, 11:08 AM
Depends on the ammo you use also IMO.

On "medium powered" ammo like IDPA, IPSC, etc and SWC's I've found the 8 rounders like CMC and Wilson to be very reliable and durable. No doubt you have to replace the springs more often on the 8 rounder, but I go many rounds before that happens.

When you get to full-powered hardball and more, it seems "opinions" really start to split on durability and reliability, etc and, of course, opinions on what's reliable. Is it 1 per 1,000 round "issue" or 1 per 5,000?
I don't shoot enough hardball+ to comment, but it "seems" that's where problems start to occur with 8 rounds...don't know though!

It is harder to seat a full 8 round mag on a "tactical" reload IMHO...more room for error.

January 16, 2008, 12:29 PM
Read the Stickies at the top of the forum written by 1911Tuner. FWIW, he helped Checkmate with the design of their N&I 8-rd mag.

Beware of "GI" mags. Just because they have GI markings does not make them true GI mags. There are a ton of crappy "GI" mags floating around as well as counterfeit Colt mags. Generally, if it costs less than $10, it's junk.

January 16, 2008, 01:27 PM
Test any magazine with your particular gun.

Personally, I use CMC PowerMags in my carry 1911- I've never once had any kind of failure with those; they're every bit as reliable as the stock Metalform mags Springfield Armory uses. My new Taurus PT1911 has 8 rounders, but I'm not sure about their reliability yet; they don't seem as nice as the PowerMags, so I may just set those aside and get more PowerMags to feed it once I see how it works with them.

January 16, 2008, 01:37 PM
I don't want to change the purpose of what was originally my own post, but...

There is a lot of talk about springs. I'll admit my ignorance when it comes to magazine maintenance, which I know is an underappreciated art that I, sadly, have not familiarized myself with-- yet.

I've heard from reputable sources that it is perfectly acceptable to leave mags lying loaded and ready. I've also heard of the "fatigue" this causes, and that mags should only be loaded when at the range or, obviously, in your carry piece and unloaded at the end of the day.

These are both two extremes that I've known respectable gunslingers to swear by. Anyone care to put in your two cents, especially regarding this issue of 1911 mags?

January 16, 2008, 01:48 PM
I have a pair of 8 round Novak mags that have been 100% in my Colt. I don't carry this gun as it is my plinking gun, but after an unknown (so many I have lost count) number of rounds I have never had a stoppage.

January 16, 2008, 03:44 PM
Springs don't wear out from being confined. They wear out from full compression/expansion cycles. Sure, leaving a mag loaded will cause the mag spring to take a set. That's not a problem. Keep in mind, your gun has a number of springs inside it that are never fully relaxed. You don't release the recoil spring at the end of the day, do you?

Same with your car, recliner, and many other things. We never worry about those springs, do we?

I leave my magazines loaded and I don't fret. In a few more years I may order a bunch of springs and redo all of them, but until then, I'm not going to obsess over them.

January 16, 2008, 05:28 PM
the only 8 rd mags that i have used are the chip mc cormick powr ags and never had any issues, other than that i have used mostly 7rd mags.

January 16, 2008, 06:26 PM
I've only read a few of these post's but really have to agree with 10x. It used to be that the 8-rounders were really unreliable no matter who made em. Now-a-days Chip McCormick 8-rounders are highly reliable and I would have to rate Wilson combat 8-rounders as at least just as good....

January 16, 2008, 06:38 PM
The 7 round GI 1911 mags can be stored fully loaded for decades with no damage to the springs.

I have bought two WWII guns from estates with fully loaded mags, still full of 1945 GI ammo, that still work perfectly to this day.

The spring is compressed 1/2"+ further in the new 8-round mags, and I don't know what the jury will say about leaving them loaded 65+ years, 65+ years from now. :confused:

I do know that the ones you shoot all the time (load & unload) wear out springs way sooner then ones you just leave loaded forever.


February 19, 2008, 01:33 AM
This may have been covered elsewhere, but... I have a 1911 magazine (unsure of the manufacture) that is supposed to be an 8rd-er. There are six viewports on the side, but obviously enough space for 8 rounds. In fact, the bottom port displays the spring but cannot be filled to capacity.

In other words, the bottom viewport is never able to show a round because it will not fill to capacity.

There is a lot of leeway, almost permitting the 8th round but simply will not give way. What should I do to get it able to accept the last round? The viewports indicate it is an 8rd mag, yet only holds 7. Any suggestions?

February 19, 2008, 01:52 AM
My 8 round Wilson 47D's have been just as reliable for me as standard factory 7 round mags. No mag problems.

February 19, 2008, 07:53 AM
The new Wilson 8 rounder looks interesting. It addresses a couple of the problems of 8 round mags. I would be interested to see the feed lips.

February 19, 2008, 10:26 AM
I have Wilson 8rd mags and they are boringly reliable.

February 19, 2008, 11:00 AM
i have used many 7rd mags from different makers, as far a as 8rd mags i have never had an issue with the cmc powermags. they are g2g in my book.

Harold Mayo
February 19, 2008, 09:24 PM
Have used a variety of magazines over the years but use nothing but CMC 8-rd magazines at this point. Have used them in all sorts of shooting conditions and they have never, ever failed. While some people say Wilson mags are best, I've found them to be less reliable and have preached this for 15 or so years with few people listening to me, so I have no idea why I'm even writing this....

February 22, 2008, 11:58 AM
Any ideas on what could be wrong with an 8rd mag thats only fitting 7?

February 22, 2008, 12:17 PM
I didnt even know they made 7 rounders :D

HMMurdock Im guessing it has the wrong follower in it.

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