At a Glance: The Best 1911 Magazines for Your Money
Comparison of The Best 1911 Magazines for Your Money
Our Top Pick
|Wilson Combat 1911 8RD 45 ACP Elite Tactical Magazines||
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Our Top Pick
|Wilson Combat 1911 8RD 45 ACP 47D Magazine Kit||
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Our Top Pick
|Wilson Combat 1911 Full Size 45ACP Magazine 10RD||
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The 1911 pistol is one of the most famous sidearms in American history, and for good reason: it was the standard-issue military pistol for decades on end. Even though it was eventually replaced with a Beretta pistol, the 1911 is still a popular pistol among hunters, target shooters, and firearm collectors for its unique aesthetic, stopping power, and overall accuracy.
But the best 1911 pistol is nothing without enough magazines to carry its cartridges. These days, you can find 1911 magazines for both .45 ACP ammunition (the classic cartridge with which the 1911 made its name) and 9 mm ammunition, which is an excellent cartridge for self-defense and civilian use.
Don’t know what to look for or aren’t sure which 1911 magazines are good choices for the money? Not a problem. We’ve already done the research so you don’t have to. Take a look at the eight best 1911 magazines for your money below and stick around for a breakdown of the top things you should keep in mind as you browse to secure a great pick. Let’s dive in!
The top 8 1911 magazines for your money
There are tons of 1911 magazine variations on the market. But we managed to narrow the list down to the top eight overall. Each magazine or magazine kit on this list made the cut for one reason or another, and you’ll see that some have standout features that clearly marked them as great choices for specific users or price ranges.
Wilson Combat 1911 8RD 45 ACP Elite Tactical Magazines
We’ll be seeing a lot of Wilson Combat in this list, starting with these tactical magazines that come in a pack of three. There’s a lot that makes them the perfect cartridge carriers for your 1911 pistol, starting with their tough and durable bodies that will keep them working perfectly even with lots of use, and even in inclement weather or dusty environments.
Each magazine’s body is made from extra thick and stainless steel. Even better, the manufacturer has designed the magazines with special curves that minimize stress points and practically eliminate all stress fatigue or feed lip cracking. Suffice it to say that these are some of the longest-lasting 1911 magazines on the market.
But we also really like how polished and super smooth each magazine is in this pack. This results in an easy, reliable feeding action so you can unload and reload your 1911 without any surprises. A polymer base keeps the overall magazine weight low but allows you to get a firm purchase when you need to remove the magazine, even with wet or slippery hands.
Don’t like the original aesthetic? You can also purchase these with a silver or black oxide finish that should protect the magazines from corrosive damage or disintegration. Each magazine regardless of finishing comes with capacity windows so you can easily discern how much ammunition is in a given magazine without having to unload it.
All in all, they’re phenomenal magazines and a perfect pack if price doesn’t matter as much to you as overall quality.
- Very durable overall
- Come with a polymer grip that’s easy to hold
- Has capacity indicators for easy cartridge recognition
- Each magazine has a corrosive resistant finish
- Multiple styles for different users’ needs
- A little pricier than average
Wilson Combat 1911 8RD 45 ACP 47D Magazine Kit
These magazines are pretty similar to the last, but with a few key differences that make them worth a separate look. Like the last kit, this purchase comes with three magazines in total, each of which is suitable for .45 ACP ammunition. However, you can purchase these with one of two pouch types; these will allow you to carry extra magazines on your belt for fast reloading during tactical practice sessions.
But more importantly, each of these magazines come with special tension screws that allow you to adjust their fit and sliding action to your liking. This, in turn, allows you to use the magazines even with older 1911 pistols that might have tighter fits in the grips or that might otherwise be a little more finicky than modern versions.
The magazine pouch as mentioned earlier comes with individually molded compartments, meaning you won’t have to deal with magazines falling from the pouch as you run after your target. Like the last kit, these magazines are made with stainless steel, though they only come in that variety rather than having a black oxide or silver finish option.
Still, they’re quality magazines through and through and are a little cheaper than the last, even though they come with excellent magazine pouches for added value.
- Has extra magazine pouch options
- If you get the magazine pouch, the magazines should securely fit inside
- Magazines made with stainless steel to resist corrosive damage
- Come with windows to see cartridge capacity
- Adjustable tension screws for a better fit
- Still pricier than average, and the bags add some cost overall
Wilson Combat 1911 Full Size 45ACP Magazine 10RD
Wilson Combat’s offerings finally drop in price to be more affordable for the budget-friendly shopper with this pick. This high-capacity magazine is a full-size model that can look to 10 rounds in total. It’s a perfect aftermarket magazine for 1911 enthusiasts because it has an extended base pad at the very bottom.
This is made of polymer, which means you don’t need to add another over-insertion tab to make grasping of the magazine during reloading or unloading easier. The magazines are available in either stainless steel or black finishes depending on your aesthetic preferences and your need for corrosion resistance.
On the inside, these magazines have a lot to like. The walls are made of stainless steel for added durability, but each magazine purchased also uses a self-lubricating nylon follower, plus is made with stainless steel and high-quality springs. The result? Very few jams or issues when loading the magazine into a 1911 pistol.
Ultimately, each one of these magazines should last for a long time and provide top-tier performance when in the field or when practicing. Consider it heavily if you only need one or two magazines for your collection instead of a kit of three.
- Made mostly of stainless steel for durability
- Has an extended polymer base pad for easy gripping
- Comes with a self-lubricating follower and high-quality springs
- Comes in stainless steel or black finishes
- Only a single magazine in the purchase
- No big viewing windows to discern capacity
Wilson Combat 1911 10-Round Elite Tactical Magazines
Here’s another high-quality, 10 round magazine option. This redesigned magazine is a tactical option chambered for 9 mm ammunition as opposed to the more common .45 ACP: a key difference if your 1911 pistol is chambered for the same type of ammunition.
These 9 mm magazines feature a redesigned tube and a small front ramp. In a nutshell, this will prevent nose down feeding, which can be all too common with hollow point or short rounds like many 1911 variations use. Furthermore, it comes with a redesigned backspacer. This allows it to work with long loaded ammunition instead. A stainless steel follower, plus a powerful spring, guarantee slide lock back even with janky pistols.
We really like the observation slots that are at the rear of the tube. These allow you to, at a glance, figure out how much ammunition is in a given magazine. All in all, it’s a quality piece of equipment and every individual pick doesn’t cost too much. A pack of three can be a bit pricy, but it’s worthwhile when you consider how long-lasting and functional each magazine should be.
- Made with very durable materials
- Chambered for 9 mm ammunition, a rarity for 1911 pistols
- Comes with well-positioned observation windows
- Has a powerful spring and stainless steel follower
- Features a redesigned tube to stop nose down feeding
- Pack of three can be a bit expensive
- Not a lot of corrosive damage resistance on the outside
Brownells 1911 9mm Magazines
This Brownell’s magazine is also set up for 9 mm ammunition, and it’s one of the more affordable choices on this list. It features a particularly heavy-duty construction since the body and follower both are constructed from heat-treated stainless steel. Additional witness holes for a quick round count are drilled into the front and rear of the tube, allowing for accurate counting even a glance.
The exterior is bolstered by a special coating that can reduce corrosive damage. Another friction-reducing finish means you’ll be able to pull the magazine from your 1911 without having to struggle.
But the inside also features a lot of excellent design choices. For instance, the interior features an anti-tilt follower to prevent jams, plus an extra powerful spring that should ensure fast and consistent loading of another cartridge as soon as the old bullet has left the chamber.
There’s also a removable polymer base pad that allows you to quickly disassemble the magazine for maintenance and cleaning. As a bonus, this base pad works well as drop protection in case you need to change magazines on the fly – just let it drop in the magazine should be fine when you retrieve it later!
- Good price both individually and for a pack
- Has window holes all down the sides
- Features a durable and removable base pad for added integrity and easy maintenance
- Comes with excellent exterior coatings
- Has an anti-tilt follower to reduce jamming
- Black aesthetic is locked, may not go with certain 1911 pistols
Wilson Combat 1911 45ACP Wilson-Rogers Magazines
These magazines represent more high-quality manufacturing from Wilson Combat, and they come in either black or silver varieties depending on your aesthetic preferences and what matches your 1911 pistol.
Regardless, both versions are made with heat-treated and aircraft-grade stainless steel. This allows the magazines to stand up to rigorous competitive or defensive shooting needs. You’ll get many years of service from these, provided you perform the requisite maintenance. The bodies are made with precision engineering and forging techniques and are designed to universally fit almost every .45 ACP 1911 pistol on the market.
Even better, each magazine is designed with a self-lubricating follower. This should ensure fantastic and reliable feeding over the long-term, plus side stop operation for more user control. A proprietary “Wolff” spring adds extra power to every loading cycle, and every piece on the inside is removable so you can quickly and thoroughly clean every component for longevity.
The black versions do have a slight edge over their stainless steel counterparts in that they feature a removable steel base pad for even easier maintenance.
- Black magazines feature a removable base pad
- All magazines, they self-medicating follower
- Good slide stop operation
- Wolff spring ensures reliable feeding
- Each magazine has viewing windows for capacity counting
- Stainless steel version doesn’t come with a removable base pad
Brownells 1911 45 ACP Magazine
This Brownells 1911 magazine is affordable and durable. As a second-generation variant of the last Brownells magazine, you’ll find that this pick also uses heat-treated stainless steel; the same durability and longevity seen before returns here. Furthermore, the same style of alternating witness holes up and down both sides of the magazine are back as well, allowing for quick bullet counting in a hurry.
A Xylan exterior coating adds additional corrosion protection, even compared to many other magazines on the market. This also provides a little friction reduction, so every magazine insertion or removal should be quick and smooth. The anti-tilt follower returns as well, offering better loading and cartridge feeding without the risk of jams.
We also really like the removable polymer base pad so you can quickly disassemble and perform maintenance on these magazines over the long term. It helps that the base pad also provides a little extra drop protection in case you need to swap magazines in a hurry!
Ultimately, these are pretty similar to the earlier Brownells magazines, but they’re a little cheaper and feature slightly better durability.
- Very durable over the long-term
- Can easily be disassembled and cleaned for more longevity
- Comes with good viewing holes for quick counting
- Has corrosion resistance and friction-reducing finish
- Made with a powerful spring
- No silver or stainless steel finish available
Ed Brown 1911 45ACP Stainless Steel Magazines 8 Round
These last 1911 magazines are stainless steel varieties with only 8-round capacities, but don’t let that fool you into thinking that they aren’t worth your time. For instance, each magazine comes with a durable steel follower and heavy-duty spring, both of which should ensure jam-less operation for your 1911.
Furthermore, magazines are designed with super-tough base pads for added durability and easy gripping to remove the magazine in a hurry. The base pad can also be removed for maintenance work. Each magazine’s tube has been lengthened to accommodate the .45 ACP cartridge.
On the outside, the magazine is bolstered by a special finish that can reduce friction to make it really easy to insert or remove the magazine from your 1911. At the same time, it works to repel dirt and gunpowder so your 1911 works better for longer instead of jamming up the insides.
Plus, the magazines come in either stainless steel and black nitrite finishes – the latter of the two reduces the likelihood that the magazine will glare in the sun, giving away your position. These might be a great choice if you want something super affordable and easy to use.
- Comes in stainless steel or black nitrite versions
- Each magazine comes with an excellent follower and spring
- Base pad can be removed for easy maintenance
- Finish on the outside repels dirt and reduces friction
- Black nitrite finish reduces the likelihood of the magazine glaring in the sun
- Only 8-round capacity, many magazines go higher
How to Choose the Best 1911 Magazine
There are several things you should consider when selecting a 1911 magazine. Focusing on these major aspects will help you pick up a magazine (or several) that’s perfect for your needs and unique pistol model.
The pressure of a magazine refers to how much pressure the springs hold. Higher pressure generally means better performance since it means rounds have a lower chance of jamming or otherwise not entering the receiver as they should.
Durability and Finish
Naturally, some magazines are made with more of a priority placed on durability than others. We’d strongly recommend looking for 1911 magazines made with stainless steel and that have either friction-reducing finishes or black oxide finishes. The latter type will reduce sun glare and prevent corrosive damage.
But stainless steel overall is quite durable and is also corrosion-resistant. Friction reducing finishes are great since they allow you to insert and remove magazines more quickly and easily without them getting caught.
Many magazines will have either dots or cut out windows along the side. These allow you to gauge or estimate how many cartridges are in a magazine without having to totally empty it and count them by hand. This is great if you want to reload a magazine or if you want to only load a magazine partway for training purposes.
Many of the best 1911 magazines will feature removable base pads or other parts that will make them easy to take apart and maintain. This is crucial if you want your 1911, and the magazines that go with it, to last for a long time to come.
Lastly, don’t discount price as a key part of your deciding process. Some 1911 magazines are more affordable than others, and this doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t good choices. Budget-friendly magazines may be a good choice if you want multiple instead of just one or two.
Types of 1911 Magazines
There are three main permutations of 1911 magazines that could influence their performance or suitability for your 1911 pistol.
- G.I. magazines are the type most heavily based on the original magazines used by American soldiers. Remember, the 1911 was originally designed for use throughout the US military. These magazines usually have a relatively low capacity of seven rather than eight-ten rounds, and are usually designed to work with full metal jacket ammunition alone.
- Hybrid magazines are reliable and easy-to-use. They enable a faster feeding cycle since they allow any contained rounds to spring free from the control more quickly than other magazine types. As a result, they’re a great choice if you want to use jacketed hollow point ammunition.
- Wadcutter magazines can function with JHP ammo and are particularly good at preventing jamming during the feeding cycle. That’s because they use shorter rounds inside, plus copy the same type of feeding angle that a rifle magazine would utilize.
Cleaning a 1911 Magazine
Like your 1911 pistol, you’ll also need to frequently clean your magazines. It’s all too easy for gunpowder and other dirt and debris to gunk up the interior of your magazine, increasing the likelihood of jams or other technical malfunctions. In fact, maintenance is overall unavoidable since some exhaust from every cartridge you fire will get pushed into the magazine.
Even worse, chances are you’ll eventually drop your 1911 magazine, possibly causing dirt and grime to get to the interior.
Fortunately, cleaning your 1911 magazines isn’t too difficult or time-intensive. We’d recommend:
- Using a toothbrush to get rid of carbon buildup on the outside and inside. Take your magazine apart to get at all the interior components
- Wipe the magazine with a cleaning patch to get rid of any dirt your toothbrush didn’t remove
- Wear eye protection when you clean your magazine to prevent dirt from flying out and getting into your eye
- Clean and oil the magazine’s spring to ensure it bounces back smoothly and cleanly every time
- If you use a magazine that doesn’t have a removable base pad or floorplate, purchase a specific magazine cleaning brush. These T-shaped tools can usually be found at gun stores and are relatively inexpensive
How to Carry a Spare 1911 Magazine
What are you supposed to do with your spare 1911 magazines? After all, a 1911 pistol can only fit one in the grip at a time!
The first thing you should do is check your state laws. Some states require your pistol to be unloaded, meaning you’ll have multiple spare magazines to carry. But if you have a concealed carry permit, or if your state allows you to open carry, you can just carry a magazine inside your pistol.
Regardless, here’s a few good ideas for carrying your spare 1911 magazines:
- Purchase a spare magazine pouch or carrier. These can be small belts or belt attachments that allow you to carry extra magazines within easy reach.
- Buy a range bag that holds multiple pistols with plenty of room for ammo.
- If you have a concealed carry and inside the waistband (IWB) holster, you might consider keeping a spare magazine in your pocket next to your holster
- Think about a tactical vest such as a Galati Gear Deluxe Tactical Vest. These vests usually have plenty of pockets in which you can store magazines
The main thing to keep in mind is this: you never want to be unable to reach your spare magazines when you need them most. So wherever you decide to store your spare magazines, make sure they are within easy reach and won’t get confused with other accessories, like your wallet or phone.
Why spring tension is important in a 1911 magazine
As you browse through different 1911 magazines, be sure to consider spring tension. Spring tension refers to the build quality and overall weight of the spring that holds the magazine follower in place. Lower quality magazines usually have weak springs or springs with low tension. This means they may not properly load another round into the receiver when the time comes.
High-quality magazines will have excellent spring tension, so the springs will be heavier and expand with more power.
How can you tell whether the spring tension is at an appropriate level? Try to load the magazine fully. If the spring tension is at an acceptable level, the last few cartridges should be difficult to load, particularly when the magazine is fresh from the factory.
If the last few cartridges are too easy to load, consider replacing the spring, performing maintenance, or picking up some replacement 1911 magazines.
Ultimately, the Wilson Combat 1911 8RD 45 ACP Elite Tactical Magazines described above takes the cake when it comes to providing phenomenal value for money and excellent performance. Since you can only get them in a pack of three, these are a little pricey compared to some of the other single magazine picks we checked out.
We’re confident that these are among the best for 1911 enthusiasts or anyone who wants their 1911 pistol to always have the ammunition needed to get the job done. However, we didn’t include the other magazines for fluff – they’re great choices in and of themselves, and they may be a better fit for your budget level or 1911 pistol’s aesthetic.
Take a look at each choice and go with your gut. Good luck and good hunting!