1911 Magazine Analysis


The Model 1911 pistol has a menagerie of magazines available, and it was great to get my hands on a small subset thereof. I mentioned earlier that the presence of so many different designs to perform the same function should raise flags. Feeding a cartridge into the chamber of a 1911 is not a matter of opinion; radically different magazine designs cannot all function equally well.

The Colt hybrid magazine turned out to be my favorite. I was worried that the widespread lauding of these mags would turn out to be hype or (worse yet) would bias me toward them, but I needn't have worried; they clearly provide controlled feed while reducing the jam-susceptible levering of more conventional wadcutter mags. I'll be using them for carry purposes, and I suggest you at least try one out and see if it doesn't make your gun feed more smoothly. They can be purchased directly from Check-Mate in blued or stainless finishes.

The Wilson 47D magazine worried me, too, but for a different reason: I'm something of a traditionalist when it comes to 1911s, and it would be a blow to my pride if a magazine lauded as the latest and greatest actually turned out to be superior to Browning's original specs. Still, I'd rather be proven wrong than be wrong, so I tested them with the same rigor and open mind I extended to the others. I needn't have worried. Wilson mags' reputation for reliability comes from the fact that they mask feed errors by sacrificing control of the round, basically chucking it the last half inch into the chamber. I'd rather correct a predictable feed problem than exchange it for the random whims of kinetics. The former will get you as close to guaranteed feeding as any mechanical device allows; the latter may never malfunction, or it might jam at any time, but nothing you can tweak or adjust will change your chances. I know a lot of people reading this will disagree with me, and that's fine. At the end of the day, you're the one who uses the gun, and you should choose whatever magazine makes you happiest.

Finally, I'd like to thank my benefactor for trusting me with his magazines. Any and all drool was wiped off before it could cause rust.