1911 mag questions.... Wilson vs McCormick vs....


January 8, 2004, 11:20 PM
I'm getting close to having a 1911 as a carry weapon, so I have a question....

I understand that Wilson Combat mags are considered the best 1911 mags. Are they really that much better than Chip McCormick or MecGar?

Whys & Details please.


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January 8, 2004, 11:43 PM
Depends on the pistol. I have a bunch of WC 47D mags and while they work great with most of my 1911's, they aren't 100% with my Colt 1991A1. So, WC is sending me three 7 round kits which consist of round follower and a different spring. Hopefully that will fix the issue. For my money in a 7 rond 1911 mag I'd go with Metalform with the round follower.

January 9, 2004, 12:09 AM
I have been shooting 1911 pistols for about 18 years and been carrying one almost every for past 15 years. During that time I have tried just about every mag available for this pistol some of which were total POS while others were excellent quality offering total reliability. One interesting thing about 1911 mags I have found is that a particular brand that is reliable for the full size is not necessarily reliable in “Officer” size.

Shooting Star 8 round mags are very reliable and durable but their spring needs to be replaced frequently (every year). Also, I recommend stoning sides of these mags on a flat stone to make sure the tube is true as I have seen some that would not drop free due to burrs. Their blued steel mags needs to be kept clean as they will rust easy.

8 round Wilson mags are considered to be the best made by many and yet I have never had one that was totally reliable for long period. This is based on 6 mags I have used in past 5 years. I have found their lip to be weaker than some others. They are usually very reliable when new but after being in use for some time they start to have problems and is usually related to spreading lips. Their fullsize 7 round mags are very reliable but mine are all over 10 years old… maybe they used to be better? However, I have found their Officer mags (I currently have 6) to be the most reliable IF the follower and spring are replaced periodically (every year).

Full size 7 round MecGar mags are reliable in my experience but their 8 round mags are not reliable when loaded with bullets with blunt shaped tip. Also, these mags will rust relatively quickly when not cleaned frequently. 6 shot Officer size MegGar mags are POS.

7 round full size Metalform mags with rounded followers are very reliable while their 8 round mags with flat followers are not very reliable. Don’t get their plastic follower.

Several 7 round Colt mags I have from 70’s and 80’s are very reliable and durable… maybe the best mags made for 1911 pistol.

My current favorite mags are 8 round Chip McCormick Power Mags. I currently have 12 of these mags and they are great. These mags have strong tube and spring and will feed all types of bullets reliably. Also, at about $18 each, they are relatively cheap. My only concern with these mags is the long term durability of the removable mag pad.

For IDPA, IPSC, Pin matches and general plinking I use CMC Power mags but for carry purpose I use my Colt 7 round mags in the full size 1911 while I only use Wilson 7 round mags in the compact size 1911 pistols.

This is only my humble opinion and is worth what you paid… $0.00

January 9, 2004, 12:12 AM
i've had my best luck, in my colt LW Officers ACP, with shooting star mags (yup CM). i know they are sorta "old school" but they worked so well, i never saw a need to try the WC mags

if i were getting another full sized 1911... i'm thinking valtro here...i think i would start out with a brace of mags from ACT-Mag (aka: Novak).

this is based on my experiences with them in my sig 220. great QC, heavy duty construction, reliable 8-round capacity, ploy bumper pad and follower for <$20

C. H. Luke
January 9, 2004, 01:26 AM
CMC Power Mags are Great as mentioned previously.
Also have had good luck with Les Baer's Mags.

January 9, 2004, 01:36 AM
I bought a few Wilsons years back and they have never failed, so I have continued to buy Wilson. I really have not had the need to try any others so I can't give you my opinion on them.

January 9, 2004, 03:10 AM
haven't had any problems with my CMC powermags, or my CMC stainless shooting star 8 rounders. That is if they are good from day one. I have one very slightly warped 10 round powermag. behaves like a non-drop-free mag. Did that since I bought it. Took me a while to figure out that was the problem though. One more common problem with the powermag line is the plastic tab poking up on the plastic base can sometimes be a little off and stick in the recess in the gun. judicial use of a file or exacto knife to narrow it (NOT SHORTEN IT) fixes it right up.

My friend has wilsons, and he's had relatively few problems with them from a malfunction standpoint. I'd more likely blame the shooter than the mags. The plastic followers seem to wear kind of quick for a mag of that price.

Have the 7 rounders that came with my TRP operator. They work great. However, they aren't what you get if you buy magazines from SA. Dunno if you can get them if you know what to ask for either.

January 9, 2004, 07:48 AM
The best mags I have ever used in my 1911's have been Metalform's competition grade 7 round mags. They have yet to fail or cause a jam. I cannot say that of all the other mags I have tried.

January 9, 2004, 08:04 AM
Every gun has mags that it "likes". You have to figure out which ones they are.

My Kimber (series 1) likes Chip McCormick PowerMags, but Wilsons will do in a pinch. My Charles Daly is picky. It will only function reliably with Wilsons.

I've got the factory mags, a few Mec-Gars, and a Metalform around, but they're not 100% reliable so they don't see much use.


January 9, 2004, 03:07 PM
I'll second 9mmepiphany's recommendation of the ACT-Mags from Cope's Dist. They are made for Novak and are marked as such. I ordered 2 of the stainless versions from them. They have worked flawlessly for me with all types of ammo in a S&W1911. I like the fact that they have metal followers and removeable floorplates. Novak sells them for ~$6 more than Cope's.



silent one
January 9, 2004, 04:46 PM
I use Chip McCormick 8 and 10 round mags for the most part. They are very reliable and durable. I have recently bought 2 Wilson 10 round combat mags and they work fine also. MY Kimber mags are also very good. The only problem I encountered with the Kimbers was when they were new, I had to tweak the feed lips very slightly so the slide would lock open after the last shot was fired. Other than that they too are fine.
I recently read on one of the forums where Chip McCormick mags were having a problem with the followers gouging the feed ramps on aluminum frames. Someone posted pictures of the gouging. What these people were doing was to buy Wilson followers and springs, and putting them in their mags.Some were just buying Wilson mags because their followers are not steel. I personally don't own any aluminum framed 45's, so I haven't encountered the problem.
Another thing to take into account is cost. I buy most of my mags from CDNN. Their prices are very reasonable. I think I paid 15.00 for the 10 round Chip McCormick, and 12.00 for the 8 rounder. It cost approx 30.00 each for the Wilsons from another source. I guess it all boils down to what works for you. As for myself, I'm pretty much happy with what I have.
Good Luck, and be safe.


Black Majik
January 9, 2004, 04:48 PM
My 1911's run 8 rd. Chip McCormick Powermags w/ great results :cool:

who me
January 9, 2004, 07:19 PM
CMC 8rd Power Mags here. No problems and I just added the concealment bases to them.

El Tejon
January 9, 2004, 09:48 PM
Bill, I had problems with Wilson and McCormicks burning out in gun skuls. I went over to Metalform. I had problems with them activating the slide stop after a few sessions.

I now use Les Baer mags (7 rounders). Have not had any problems and going on year 2 with exclusively L.B. mags.

You have to experiment. Wear your lab coat!

January 9, 2004, 10:57 PM
I have five Wilson 8-rounders and two configured as 7-rounders. All have been very reliable though I prefer the PowerMags.

My absolute favorite combination is the PowerMags with rounded MetalForm followers. This results in a butter smooth-feeding seven round magazine. When I carried (or on the rare times I still carry) a 45ACP 1911, these are the magazines I use.

The Metalforms are very decent as well. I have two MecGars and, while some report positive findings, in my personal opinion, they are only worthy as practice magazines and then I don't like to use them.

The Metalforms and the PowerMags are relatively inexpensive compared to the price of a decent 1911 and I think anyone considering carrying a 1911 should have at the very least three top quality magazines. Five or ten is even better but three at the minimum.

January 9, 2004, 11:05 PM
Most of the 7 round mags seem to do fine - I can't ever recall a 7 round .45 ACP mag with a problem, and I have probably 20 of them scattered around.

I HAVE had some problems with Wilson 8 round, actually have had better luck with the 8 rd Colt/Sooting Star mags. The ones sold through Colt seem better - I probably have 6 of them and they're all good.

In the other calibers/styles. Wilson 7 rounds Officers mags seem best in my Defender - I have 3. In the .38 Super, no preference, they all run.

In the 10mm the high slide velocities demand a strong spring - either Colt 8 round or CMC 9 round work flawlessly in my Delta.

Captain Bligh
January 10, 2004, 04:38 PM
I prefer Chip McCormick shooting stars for my Kimber Compact. Wilson gets lots of praise but I've never owned one and never missed having one. The shooting stars are great, IMHO.


January 11, 2004, 12:54 AM
For my Gov't size Kimber, I have three McCormick 8rd power mags for carry purposes, and six 10rd power mags for IPSC competition. For my Kimber Compact, I'm using three Kimber factory mags. This will be my new carry gun once I've got it broken in. Haven't had any problems with any of them.
I went with the McCormicks because of recommendations from several people I shoot with, plus they're cheaper than the Wilsons.

January 11, 2004, 01:01 AM
A while back I picked up a stack of MecGar blued 8 round mags to feed a government model. I've always equated MecGar with high-quality, so now that I have a carry-sized 1911 I thought I'd use them.

Sure, I haven't run more than a few loads through them yet, but so far they seem to run.

Do 1911 mags exhibit any specific types of failures that I should watch out for?

January 11, 2004, 09:58 AM
Common failures of 1911 mags, first round nose dives and/or the follower fails to activate the slide stop. Both of these failures are usually the result of weak springs. I have also seen mags that would not feed at all, these are usually the really cheap mags, you know, mirror polished stainless and the mag bodies are so thin that they flex if you breathe on them, usually seen at gunshows for $10.

January 11, 2004, 10:27 AM
FWIW, the Wilson #47 mags definitely have stronger springs than the 47D's. Three of Wilson's "Replacement 7rd follower/spg" arrived yesterday and I swapped out the springs and followers in my three oldest 47D magazines to function test on the range with my problem Colt.

The 47 mag uses a round polymer follower and a longer spring with thicker, stiffer wire. This takes up more space in the tube so it only takes 7 rounds vs the 47D's concave follower and weaker springs allowing 8 rounds. Tomorrow is range day and we'll see if the change to the #47 configuration fixes my lock-back problem. If it does, I'm changing all my Wilson mags to that configuration. That 47D's extra round doesn't do a bit of good if it induces malfunctions and reduces confidence. JMO, YMMV

El Tejon
January 11, 2004, 12:03 PM
1911 specific mag failures? No, Bill, I've broken them in many varied and unique ways.:D

I've had: springs wear out from gun skul classes, followers eject out of the weapon like the clip in an M1 Garand, the followers catch at bottom somehow when mag dropped and ammo spills out like Pez, etc.

If you can imagine a way in which the mag will malf, El Tejon has broken it.:p

January 11, 2004, 04:00 PM
I prefer Metalform mags.
Metalform is the OEM for Springfield, which is what I have!!

January 11, 2004, 04:13 PM
I've got six CMC shooting star mags I use in my Custom II, no problems to report.
For more info on the CMC's and aluminum frames follow this link

January 11, 2004, 04:23 PM
I have most of my experience w/ the Wilsons. They have been 100% reliable in both the 7 & 8 round configuration. The high end McCormick mags work well too & are a little less expensive. I have no knowledge of the MecGars except that I know they make the stock mags for other gun makers.

January 11, 2004, 07:31 PM
Wilson's latest in 8 and 10 round versions work fine for me. A number of people in the local IDPA circuit have had problems with McCormick mags and have described them in terms not appropriate for this forum. (However, they DO work fine for some people.)

January 11, 2004, 09:04 PM
Have lost some faith in the 8 round Wilsons. Failure to feed on handloads slightly shorter than normal OAL. 7 rounders didn't have that problem. Spring is definitely tired after staying loaded for 1+ years, fully stoked, contrary to what all internet experts would tell me.

That said, it was a combination of problems:

1) handloads out of spec
2) dirty mags
3) weakened spring

Switched back to 7 rounders for Home Defense and we fixed the load issues - 8 rounders work again, but I definitely need new springs and to clean these out. Follower will stick down sometimes when pressed down on unloaded mag.

January 12, 2004, 10:02 AM
I have used a number of CMC 8 round .45 mags in a Colt and a Baer, with complete success. I also have a couple of new 8 round Power Mags that I have used only in the Baer. They work fine so far. The Colt 8 round factory mag has always worked. The only problem I have ever had with any of the above mags is that the Baer pistol (ramped barrel) will not feed ratshot loads from any of them, but the Colt will.

Under no circumstance can I recommend a Baer 8 round mag - the ones I have had have been a constant subject of irritation because they won't keep working.

Sean Smith
January 12, 2004, 10:33 AM
In 10mm guns I've had the best results with Colt and Metalform 8-rounders. Oddly enough, the quality of the old Colt magazines seemed better than the new Metalforms, even though they are almost identical design-wise, but both kinds have worked for me. For replacement mag springs I use Wolff XPs.

For .45 ACP guns, I've gotten the best results with either stock Colt 7-rounders or Wilson #47DC 8-rounders. Tried one CMC PowerMag-8 that worked well too.

January 12, 2004, 08:31 PM
My favorite mags are the CMC Powermags. I swap out the stock follower and spring for a Metalform round follower and an ISMI SSCS-2 spring. This combo is 100% reliable on every gun I've tried it on.

My IPSC gun has been running with the same 8-10 8rd stainless Shooting Stars for the past 12+ years. I give 'em new ISMI springs every year or so and they're 100% reliable.

I've tried Wilson #47's and 47D's several times over they years and not had good luck with them. The plastic followers wear quickly and start giving failure to lock the slid problems pretty quickly and the springs need replacing often. Sure, Wilson'll send new parts for free but why should you have to worry about rebuilding your mags on a regular basis?

C. H. Luke
January 13, 2004, 11:42 AM
"...why should you have to worry about rebuilding your mags on a regular basis?"

Good Point!

January 20, 2004, 01:07 PM
Has anyone tried the 1911 $44 Cobramags (http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/Store/ProductDetail.aspx?p=19475&s=43297#43297) at Brownells, for that price, they should clean and fix themselves... :barf:

Though it sounds like an idea to fix problems in the gun (by getting around other problems) for the price, no way.

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