newbie 1911 question


April 11, 2008, 08:11 AM
I plan to acquire my first 1911 soon and am having a comprehension problem concerning spare magazines. The standard 7 round .45 1911 magazines are ubiquitous (everywhere and generally interchangeable with most makes of 1911), are they not?

I took a look at CDNN's site trying to price some extra mags, and am not sure what to look for. Say I wanted to get some extra 1911 magazines for a Springfield Armory GI 1911 (7 rounders and maybe some extended single stack ones). When I go to CDNN's site and look under "Springfield Mags" all they show are magazines for XD series pistols. I didn't see a section just for generic 1911 mags.

Surely CDNN sells a variety of "plain" 1911 magazines that aren't mfr specific, do they not, like they have all kinds of 20 and 30 round AR magazines? Can anyone advise me on what to look for and what to avoid in buying just some cheap extra magazines for a 1911? My default plan for extra mags is to only buy them at a gun show from one of the cheap mags tables, when I can bring the pistol in question in and ensure the mags feed a snap cap or two before buying. I was hoping that say SA 1911s are so standard this level of caution isn't needed?

(I guess I could just call, didn't think of that before posting. But, hopefully this is an ok place to ask)

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April 11, 2008, 09:15 AM
I've had good success with Chip McCormick mags as an aftermarket magazine for both my .45 ACP and my 10mm 1911s.

I would NOT consider buying OEM / no-name, or "3rd-tier name" magazines. I tried that the first time around, and the magazines I got all had poorly-tempered lips. You could tune them, but they wouldn't hold.

Jim H.

April 11, 2008, 09:29 AM
Check-Mate ( mags.

CM45-7-S-H & CM45-8-S-H to be exact.

Chip McCormick mags and Wilson mags will work, and work well, in any good 1911, but the Check-Mate mags can turn a finicky gun into a reliable gun.

Here is some stuff I copied from several threads here at THR which led me to try Check-Mate mags. That and the fact that my old Colt mags would make finicky guns run.
Thread 1 (
Thread 2 (
Thread 3 (
Thread 4 (
Thread 5 (
I like USGI magazines...the real ones, and not gunshow fakes. The best aftermarket magazines I've found thus far are the ones that Check-Mate Industries and Metalform make for Colt. I refer to'em as "Hybrids" because they combine the gradual, later release of the GI hardball mags and the timed release point of the wadcutter-type magazines. Very often, using these magazines and doing nothing else to the gun has cured many a feeding/return to battery issue. Not on all guns...but on a large percentage. They're made by the vendors to Colt's specifications. OKAY Industries also supplies Colt with the same magazine, but their quality isn't quite up to the standards of the other two.

Metalform won't sell the magazines unless they have an overrun on a Colt contract. Check-Mate will...and they're a little cheaper than Metalform. They also offer a sizeable discount for orders of 50 or more...and the price per unit drops agains at a hundred, and again at 250. The springs are apparently as good as Wolff's 11-pounders.

Now for the 8-round fans:

Check-Mate has designed and redesigned a follower and spring that offers the best promise of a flush-fit, 8-round magazine that is as reliable as a 7-round stick...or at least it's seemed so in fairly extensive testing by myself and a few other people...and they're available with the hybrid type lips OR the early/abrupt release wadcutter type. The price is the same.

Testing hasn't proven to be definitive as yet. They haven't been on the market long enough to make that call...but it looks very promising so far.
My pistols are so utterly reliable that they really can't be a litmus test for the magazines...but many other people who have used them in off-the-rack pistols report the same things. Smoother feeding...completely reliable feeding with a variety of bullet shapes...reliable slidelock on empty...and only one has reported a failure of the magazine to drop free on release...and that was with one magazine. Check-Mate replaced it without question.

They enlisted my help in the follower design, and used my suggestions. If that sounds like a little braggin'...Guilty. I'm proud to have been a part of it, and my only payment was 6 free magazines to keep after my part of the evaluation was over. it was a completely fun, interesting, and satisfying endeavor...and even though I've scoffed at 8-round magazines since before WW1...I may be forced to eat my own words in another year. I sincerely hope so.

2. Tuner-mags (8-rounders, CM45-8-S-H) –

CheckMate 8-round magazines in stainless steel, with hybrid lips, welded, drilled and tapped floor plates, Tuner-approved, skirted, dimpled followers and high-performance springs.

It's a Colt design, and one that I've seen on OEM Colt 7-round magazines and 6-round OM-length magazines. Pictured below is a comparison between the hybrid's feed lips and the USGI design.

Dana...The "Hybrid" lips that are being described is the design that Colt went to after their supply of full-tapered "Hardball" or USGI-type magazines ran out. They have the taper of the GI mag, with a timed release point that occurs a little later than what we see on the aftermarket mags today.

And to clarify further...A comparison between the hybrid design and what we see today in the aftermarket magazines...which I refer to as the "Wadcutter" magazine. Note the earlier, more abrupt release point of the one in the middle...a Metalform. The two examples on the flanks are one each, produced by Check-Mate and Metalform.

FWIW...Full GI-spec magazine feed lips sometimes need adjusting for the correct release point. I've run into it in about 10% of the unused magazines I've bought over the years...and when I got a few of Check-Mate's end run of their last contract, I found the same to be true.

The "Hybrid" style lips provide the later, more gradual release of the GI mag, with a timed release point in the correct place. It's a Colt design, and CMI makes the magazines to Colt's specs. A little more versatile in most guns..and they come pre-tweaked. The price is the same.

Farscott...nope. By a happy coincidence, Metalform and Checkmate's 7-round mags made to Colt's specs actually provide the best of both worlds. Tapered lips that effect a more gradual release, and a timed release point that is more abrupt than the GI mag design, but still less so than the typical aftermarket wadcutter lips. Interestingly, some of the OEM magazines that come with Norinco pistols share that feature.

If the gun is within spec...and the magazine spring is up to the task...and the follower angle is correct...the round doesn't dive steeply into the ramp before making the upward turn toward the chamber. It should dip, strike the ramp high, glance off and glide over the corner of the barrel ramp rather than hitting it and again glancing up. The over-the-corner glide is important to smooth feeding because it holds the barrel down in the bed instead of pushing it forward. When the barrel moves forward, it also moves up...increasing the angle that the round has to overcome during the horizontal breakover.

The tapered lip magazine promotes that occurrence the round strikes the frame ramp and starts to angle up, it's moved forward far enough for the butt-end to start to move up, so that by the time the nose of the bullet starts to glide over the corner of the barrel ramp, the rim has also moved higher onto the breechface. The angle is shallower, so the breakover to horizontal is easier and smoother.

By the time the bullet ogive is on top of the barrel ramp, the barrel is trapped in the bed...the extractor has picked up the rim...and the case is nearly centered on the breechface. All that's left is for the round to finish straightening up in the chamber...and for the slide to strike the barrel hood, and move the barrel forward and up into battery.

The parallel lip, early/abrupt release holds the rim down until the last instant, and releases it during the angled transition. Works well for very short OAL SWC ammo...below 1.190 inch...but not at all for longer rounds from 1.200-1.260 inch, even though they work reasonably well with longer ammo in many guns...but not all the time in all the guns. does require that the springs are strong enough, and the followers are set at the correct angle to prevent nose-diving deep into the ramp.

In short...The tapered design works for the same reasons that the new "High Cartridge Presentation" magazines work. They lower the angle of entry into the chamber after striking the feed ramp. They just do it by a different method. Nothing new under the sun, it seems. Oftentimes, these wonderous, new inventions were already in place many years before the modern inventor was born. The problem lies in the fact that many have either forgotten...or they've been innundated for so long with the modern that they've neglected to consider why the old was done like it was. Simply not enough faith in the genius who gave us the gun. Think. If the early, abrupt release magazines had enhanced feed reliability...don't you think that he would implemented it long ago? I have no doubt that it didn't escape his attention, and was likely tried during the development process..."Just to see what would happen."

April 11, 2008, 10:00 PM
You need to look under Colt 1911, Springfield Armory (SA) guns take and will use any standard 1911 magazine, as long as its not one of the 6 round mags. Generally any of the standard 1911 clone manufacturers' guns are meant to work with all standard 1911 magazines (The only thing is make sure they are .45acp or whatever caliber you have...which I presume ((never assume anything ;) )) that your gun is a .45acp)

Now I prefer, Wilson Magazines, specifically 47D's they work good in my SA Mil-Spec but they are sort of pricey. If you want something cheaper, I would buy 7 round magazines without bumper pads, but make sure you buy a good brand such as Wilson, Chip McCormack, Ed Brown, Kimber, or just not one of the 3 for $5 deals at the gun show. I know that they are tempting, but generally are more headache then they are worth, especially if you should have to use the gun to protect yourself or loved ones. IMHO

I have added my 2 cents enough for one post :)

April 11, 2008, 10:23 PM

April 11, 2008, 11:41 PM
Thank You, I was thinking my spelling was off :o but wasn't sure.

April 12, 2008, 07:05 AM
Take a look at this thread ( discussing this very subject. Avoid gun show special magazines like the plague. There is a 99.998% chance you will purchase a worthless magazine that way.

Seven round and eight round single stack magazines will fit any 1911 Government or Commander sized you are likely to purchase. They will even fit the "Officer's" size shortened grip, although they will protrude out the bottom. I actually carry a spare seven rounder to reload my Colt New Agent with if needed. (Slapping a seven rounder into a shortened grip frame can overstress the extended ejector, so do it judiciously. I carry such a magazine for the extra capacity. I figure if I need to reload, a couple of extra rounds sure won't hurt!)

My recommendation is always Wilson Combat 47CB magazines ( Yes, they are pricey. They will also feed ammo seemingly forever under any condition, they can be used to eliminate the magazine as a cause of feeding problems, and if you ever sell the 1911, you can sell the extra Wilson magazines separately for almost as much as you paid for them.

If you buy a Springfield 1911 pistol, you will get a coupon that will give you money off extra magazines direct from Springfield.

If you want to go with CDNN (a good, honest vendor in my experience) go to their Colt 1911 magazine page ( and have a look around. The reason they do not have "plain" magazines is people want to know exactly what they are buying by mail order. There are a lot of cheap, useless 1911 magazines out there, and knowing what you are buying is how you avoid them.

Mad Magyar
April 12, 2008, 07:42 AM
My recommendation is always Wilson Combat 47CB magazines. Yes, they are pricey. They will also feed ammo seemingly forever under any condition, they can be used to eliminate the magazine as a cause of feeding problems, and if you ever sell the 1911, you can sell the extra Wilson magazines separately for almost as much as you paid for them.


April 12, 2008, 09:46 AM
Great, thank you everyone for all of this information. Turned out I didn't even know what I didn't know about 1911 mags, now I'm in better shape to go get what I need. Thanks again.

April 12, 2008, 09:59 AM
Rather than going into the "this manufacturer is...." better/worse than any other, I'd just say to get the same capacity in ALL of the ones you get.

When you really get into practice, AND you have the same capacity in all of them, you learn to subconsciously count. In other words, you know when to reload, without thinking about it.

For general range work it doesn't matter. For down and dirty, it's nice to know you need to reload before the next one goes at the BG (learned that from some LEOs). I was skeptical until one day at the range I did some 9mm after shooting several seven round .45 mag's. I did a reload after seven, without thinking about it. :eek:

June 17, 2009, 04:21 PM
I tried to lookup checkmate's web site & they do not show any pricing or a contact to order any of their magazines, can someone help me out on this ?

June 17, 2009, 06:01 PM
For me, I've been happy with the Wilson 47Ds and the Tripp Research Cobramags. There are cheaper mags out there, but there are NOT any better mags out there.

June 17, 2009, 06:27 PM
I buy the 'tapered lip' magazines that Checkmate sells to Colt, from either Brownells or Impact Guns. They're a bit pricier for having Colt's logo on 'em, but they're still quite reasonable.

June 17, 2009, 07:31 PM
For the most part, there is the Wilson Combat .45acp 1911a1 model magazine then there is everything else...;).

Wilson Combat pistol mags are in use by "quiet professionals"(US military special operations IE: Combat Applications Group or CAG ;)) law enforcement SWAT units, firearms-tactics trainers like Ray Chapman & Massad Ayoob, and serious 1911a1 users.

Other well made .45acp/1911a1 mags are on the market but for regular duty use or CC I'd go with the Wilson Combat pistol mags.

Rusty S

PS: I do not work for Wilson Combat and I'm not a big fan of the 1911a1. :D

June 17, 2009, 11:28 PM
take the advice of the guys above me and then look on for prices. wilson combat makes an eight-round conversion kit for all standard .45 mags. cheap mags can be the source of many problems.

June 20, 2009, 09:16 AM
Has anyone had experience with the less expensive Wilson model 46 - what they call "service magazines"?

It is a little difficult to see what the differences are on the Wilson site - other than there is only one color choice and a rubber pad is an extra cost option that you get to put on yourself.

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