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6 Best 1911 Magazines: .45 ACP and 9mm

From high-end to budget-friendly, get ready to stock up on 1911 accessories with our list of the best 1911 magazines on the market.

    You can never have too many magazines, especially for something like a 1911, which already has a relatively low capacity by modern standards.

    Extra magazines allow for faster and more convenient reloading while at the range and give you a backup should you need more rounds in a defensive situation.

    1911 Magazines Group Shot 2
    So many magazines…so little time.

    Of course, extra magazines are only helpful if they work

    1911 Firing diagram
    1911 Firing diagram

    The 1911 (our fav picks) is not exactly known as a paragon of reliability, so you definitely don’t want to exacerbate any potential issues with low-quality mags.

    But, with so many different mag makers out there, it can be hard to pick.

    9mm 1911 Magazines
    9mm 1911 Magazines

    But that’s why you have us.

    This list includes a number of mags that will serve you reliably for the traditional 1911s in .45 ACP, but also for 9mm and 10mm versions.

    By the end, you’ll be able to buy your next set of mags with utter confidence.

    Summary of Our Top Picks

    1. The OG

      Colt 1911 Magazine

      The original magazine that's affordable and comes in 7 and 8-round flavors.

    2. The "Generic" That Works

      Mec-Gar 9mm 1911 Magazine

      Psst...Mec-Gar makes most of the OEM magazines out there so they work.

    3. Runner-Up

      Ed Brown 1911 Magazine

      Great 1911 maker with great magazines.

    4. Editor's Pick

      Wilson Combat 1911 Magazine

      The gold standard of 1911 magazines.

    Table of Contents


    Why You Should Trust Us

    Input into this article came from the PPT editorial team and our writers. Together we have a combined shooting experience of 30+ years, including instruction, competition, and multiple shooting disciplines.

    PPT Team Staff

    We’ve spent countless hours researching and analyzing guns and gear to determine which is the best when it comes to features, reliability, ergonomics, and bang for your buck.

    We had to make some tough calls. If you don’t see your favorite magazine brand, it doesn’t mean we hate it, just that we couldn’t include it this time.

    Best 1911 Magazines

    1. Colt 1911 Factory Magazines

    Don’t dismiss factory mags!

    Colt’s 1911 Factory Mags are actually pretty great and will work with any 1911 — whether it’s made by Colt or not.

    Fortunately, they’re sold individually, so you don’t need to buy a Colt 1911 to get your hands on them.

    Colt 1911 Magazine
    Colt 1911 Magazine

    Available in both stainless steel and blued finishes, they come in versions for .45 ACP, 9mm, and 10mm. 

    The .45 ACP style can be found in either 7 or 8-round iterations. Though the former is more traditional and, according to some reviewers, slightly more reliable.

    While the 9mm has a 9-round capacity and the 10mm has an 8-round capacity.

    Colt 1911 Magazine Baseplate
    Colt 1911 Magazine Baseplate

    We like the very classic appearance of these magazines and how they resemble the military issue magazines for the 1911 — which makes sense since Colt developed those as well! 

    Colt M1911 from 1917
    Colt M1911 from 1917

    These budget-friendly mags aren’t anything fancy, but you can count on them to get the job done.

    Available Coupons

    2. Mec-Gar 1911 Magazines

    Despite making industry-standard magazines, Mec-Gar isn’t as familiar of a brand as some others.

    However, they are a great source of high-quality, yet budget-friendly, magazines.

    No to mention, they produce magazines for a number of high profile gun manufacturers, including Rock Island Armory. 

    Mec-Gar 1911 Magazine
    Mec-Gar 1911 Magazine

    They carry a wide range of magazines for .45 ACP, 9mm, 10mm, .38 Super, and .40 S&W.

    Most of their magazines come in your choice of either a blued steel finish or a nickel finish over steel. 

    Mec-Gar 1911 Magazine Floorplate
    Mec-Gar 1911 Magazine Floorplate

    Each one is highly reliable in pretty much any 1911, regardless of manufacturer, and with pretty much any load.

    They fit into virtually any 1911 smoothly and drop free with equal smoothness. 

    Mec-Gar mags hold onto rounds when dropped. But also feed them easily into the chamber when needed. 

    Mec-Gar 1911 Magazine Feed Lips
    Mec-Gar 1911 Magazine Feed Lips

    For the price, the value of Mec-Gar magazines is hard to beat — especially since you can find them on sale fairly frequently! 

    The "Generic" That Works
    at GunMag Warehouse

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    3. Brownells 1911 Magazines

    In terms of value, Brownells mags are Mec-Gar’s biggest competitor. And let’s be real, it doesn’t hurt that you can frequently find them on sale.

    Brownells 1911 magazines come in versions for .45 ACP, 9mm, and .22 LR (sorry, 10mm shooters).

    The first two are also available in sets of three for even greater savings.

    Brownells 1911 Magazine
    Brownells 1911 Magazine

    The .45 ACP version has an 8-round capacity. And the 9mm and .22 LR versions each boast a 10-round capacity.

    Mags use a heat-treated stainless steel body and follower with a durable, even matte black finish that reduces friction.

    What does this mean for you?

    Smooth, clean loading and release.

    cat dancing
    Sooooo smooth

    Our favorite feature?

    The witness holes along the length of the magazine body allow you to check how full the mag is on sight. This is a really nice feature for defensive purposes.

    Brownells’ mags are heat-treated for toughness. Then they’re finished with an anti-corrosion coating called Xylan. This coating stands up against oil, sweat, and moisture without rusting or losing shine.

    Brownells 1911 Magazine with a polymer base plate
    Brownells 1911 Magazine with a polymer base plate

    In our experience, the mags are extremely reliable.

    The only real issue is that you may have to sand around the feed lips to ensure they reliably drop free from your particular 1911.

    Finally, these mags use a replaceable polymer base plate that easily comes off.

    This feature allows you to clean the mag or even replace the base plate after it gets dropped or beaten up during training or competition.

    So, the Brownells mags make a great choice for something like IDPA single-stack competition or similar. 

    at Brownells

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    4. Ed Brown 1911 Magazines

    If you’ve investigated upgrading or tweaking your 1911, you’re likely familiar with the Ed Brown name.

    Ed Brown 1911 Magazine
    Ed Brown 1911 Magazine

    Ed Brown produces a variety of 1911 accessories.

    The company also developed a reputation for quality and affordability over the years.

    Like some other manufacturers on this list, they’ve put their own spin on the 1911 magazine to help ensure reliability. 

    First and foremost, they use a tried-and-true follower design that’s been tested and proven to work.

    This improved follower is specific to Ed Brown mags, and in our experience has been very good at preventing feeding issues.

    Ed Brown 1911 Magazine, Black
    Ed Brown 1911 Magazine, Black

    To aid that follower, they use a super heavy-duty spring that stays…well, springy, for the entire life of the magazine.

    It can be a little bit difficult to load the mags to capacity, especially if you don’t have the best hand strength.

    So, you may want to invest in a mag loader.

    Editor's Pick
    at Gunmag Warehouse

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Beyond that, the inside of the magazine is coated with a special surface finish designed to prevent powder residue and other gunk causing corrosion.

    So, the inside stays super slick even when the mag is dirty.

    Ed Brown 1911 Magazines
    Ed Brown 1911 Magazines

    These mags are available in 9mm, 10mm, .38 Super, in either short-frame or standard frame lengths, and include a wrap-around-style polymer base pad.

    This is the perfect option if you know you want a lot of spares!

    at The Mag Shack

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    5. Wilson Combat Elite Tactical Magazines

    Want a brand with an excellent reputation for not only its 1911s but also 1911 magazines?

    Look no further than Wilson Combat. They’re arguably the best in the industry!

    Wilson Combat 1911 Mag
    Wilson Combat 1911 Mag

    These magazines benefit from the same care and attention in manufacturing and machining that makes Wilson Combat’s 1911s so very good.

    Wilson Combat has developed its own end-to-end process that is nearly all proprietary processes.

    That includes developing a new type of industrial welding system that’s more precise and introduces less heat into the thin magazine material! 

    Wilson Combat 1911 Mag Floorplate
    Wilson Combat 1911 Mag Floorplate

    “Thin” is relative, however, because they actually use the thickest material in the industry for their mags, making them more resistant to deformation and wear.

    Wilson Combat also developed its own automated deburring process and a proprietary multi-step tumbling and finishing process. These processes keep magazines smooth and eliminate friction.

    All in all, this makes mags easier to load, as well as more reliable when it comes to feeding and dropping free.

    Wilson Combat 1911 Magazine Feed Lips
    Wilson Combat 1911 Magazine Feed Lips

    The mags also include a self-lubricating polymer follower that virtually eliminates snagging and magazine-related feeding problems.

    Overall, these magazines drop free, feed, and lock back on empty reliably.

    They are expensive, make no mistake, but the reliability and extra attention to detail may be worth it if you’re looking for some of the best 1911 mags.

    Available Coupons

    What do you think of Wilson Combat magazines? Share your rating below.

    Readers' Ratings

    4.99/5 (824)

    Your Rating?

    6. CM Products Railed Power Mags

    For a long time, Chip McCormick was the chief competitor of Wilson Combat in the 1911 world.

    Well, a while back Chip sold his company to his competitor (and friend) Bill Wilson of Wilson Combat, so while they are no longer rivals, both companies still make outstanding products.

    Chip McCormick 1911 Railed Power Magazine
    Chip McCormick 1911 Railed Power Magazine

    The number one offering from CM is probably its Railed Power Mags — designed specifically to feed almost flawlessly.

    Any mag is subject to have issues, but these are some of the most reliable around.

    Anyways, the “railed” part of the name comes from the way the feed lips are bent over and rolled to form rails for the cartridge to slide over.

    If you know anything about mags, you know that the feed lips are the most common source of issues.

    The strengthening you get with this design helps prevent feeding hiccups.

    CMC Railed Power Magazine Feed Lips Closeup
    CMC Railed Power Magazine Feed Lips Closeup

    A polymer base plate rests on all these mags. You also have the option of a stainless or black fluoropolymer finish.

    Mags ship in either and in 8 or 10-round versions.

    They’ve also got Chip McCormick’s patented follower that helps to feed hollow points and semi-wadcutters — both of which tend to be temperamental in 1911s with lower-quality magazines.

    CMC 1911 Follower
    CMC 1911 Follower

    The numbered witness holes let you quickly know how many rounds you have remaining, while the polymer baseplates slide off easily for cleaning and maintenance.

    Overall, Wilson Combat and Chip McCormick/CM Products mags are the two standards of the 1911 magazine industry, and you can’t go wrong with either.

    at The Mag Shack

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Prices accurate at time of writing

    Available Coupons

    Caring for Your 1911 Magazine

    Just like cleaning and caring for your 1911 is important to keep it working optimally, it’s important to clean and care for your magazines as well.

    Most 1911 magazines on this list come apart easily when it comes time to clean them, so you won’t have any problems there.

    But beware: the base plate is essentially spring-loaded, so use caution when you’re removing that. 

    1911 Magazine Spring
    Farewell to all our magazine springs launched into the ether. We hardly knew you.

    Ask us how we know…

    Beyond that, clean them about as often as you clean your guns, or whenever you note a problem.

    If you want to make things especially easy, pick up an ultrasonic cleaner and some cleaning solution to get them quickly back to that factory shine! 

    Lyman and Hornady Ultrasonic Cleaners
    Lyman and Hornady Ultrasonic Cleaners

    (Check out the Best Ultrasonic Cleaners for our full, hands-on review!)

    Just make sure your cleaning solution is okay to use with any polymer parts, or remove those parts and clean them manually.

    Finally, you should inspect your magazines frequently to check for dents, feed lip deformation, and other issues that could keep them from functioning reliably. 

    Jim Carrey Inspecting
    Me examining all the nooks and crannies on my mags.

    You really don’t want your gun to malfunction when you need it most. But you especially don’t want it to go down and then find out (or have your loved ones find out from the police report) that you could have prevented it.

    Final Thoughts

    From Wilson Combat to factory Colt mag, the mags that made our list have all been hands-on tested for reliability and function…even in the most adverse conditions.

    Wilson Combat, Vickers Tactical, Mec-Gar, Kimber 1911 Mags
    Wilson Combat, Vickers Tactical, Mec-Gar, Kimber 1911 Mags

    Whether you’re after budget-friendly mags that we’d call good for range or competition use, or high-quality mags we’d carry to war if we had to, there are plenty of 1911 mags to choose from.

    Which of these mags do you like the best? Do you own any or are you thinking about getting any? Let us know in the comments! Looking to own a 1911? We’re sharing the Best 1911s for the Money! To stock up on ammo, head over to Best .45 ACP Ammo.

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    10 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      Great review. About 20 years ago, I bought my first full size .45 cal 1911. Make and model aren’t relevant. I set this weapon’s 7 round factory mags aside and have used 8 round single stack stainless steel Wilson Combat (WC) 47D mags in this weapon from the get-go. You’ll find that the WC website calls the 47D the Full-Size 8 Round Standard Base Plate magazine. I have always run economically priced brass cased factory loaded FMJ rounds from a range of reputable manufacturers in these mags. I have never had this weapon smithed to improve its performance, and I have never had a failure to feed. After about 15 years of use, the original plastic base pads in my WC 47D mags did crack, and I replaced them with WC metal base plates. This setup - the combination of 47D mags and stock FMJ rounds running in a full-size grip 1911, is 100% reliable for me.

      August 16, 2023 6:46 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Rattlesnake James

      Hey! Good article.

      Was looking for a 1911 45 jacketed hollow point, failure to feed article + mag recommendations. Specifically, info related to a Kimber 1911 Pro CDP II, chambered for 45.
      Yours is pretty close to what I was looking except with 9mm. My two cents...

      JHP's grind everything to a stop on my gun whenever they hang up at the slide which is every mag. I polished it up until it was shiny like a holiday. Still, it FTF.

      Gunsmith polished it. Same thing. He says it's the mags and recommends Act. Right now they're not available after an extensive search, especially in 8 round flush varieties.

      Have been running Chip McCormick flush 8 rounders. And ball ammo works fine in all of them, just like with everyone else's K45 and 1911.

      Looking only for flush mags because that little thing hanging off the end makes a great looking gun look cheap + it prints sometimes when concealed, just like Glock mags with that plastic outrigger thing on them do.

      Don't want to buy one mag at a time to test and then bet my life on the result. Except for more research - and I'm getting pretty tired of the dead-ends, buying to test seems to be the one thing left.

      Your article and comments helped. Got a colt 8R and a mec-gar 7R on the way. Thank you.
      Any positive comments would be appreciated!

      November 17, 2022 11:20 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Christopher Buemi

      Megan nice review. Only thing I disagree with is your generalistic view of 1911 reliabilty. You know not what you talk about. However, your young and will realize not all 1911's are equal.
      God bless you. Enjoy your youth and be safe.

      August 24, 2022 2:47 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      J.L. Horton

      Thank you Megan. My training was old school revolvers as a security officer. Now learning the semi auto world. You have been helpful.

      August 14, 2022 12:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Brad Azevedo

      I just bought a Dan Wesson Commander Classic. The gun is perfection. The mags seem sloppy. I just bought a couple Wilson Combat mags. The difference is night and day. Why would a high end manufacturer NOT include the best magazines?

      July 31, 2022 5:56 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kurtis Hughes

      Tripp Research Cobra's is what my SIG C3 .45 1911 seems to run the best with. I plan on seeing if my Colt Officers Enhanced likes them also. As soon as I get it back from a "Customizing" job at Brubaker Arms Manufacturing in Yakima WA. :-)

      October 26, 2021 10:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mr Fawkes

      I use the Tripp Industries follower/spring kit in colt factory mags for flawless performance.

      October 25, 2021 12:23 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Javier Him

      I shoot a Springfield mil spec 1911 I have the Wilson combat magazines and also have a couple of KCI mags that work really well in my gun and of course the Wilson is the best you can get

      August 5, 2021 5:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Ok. I would agree with the choices here for 1911 mags and what could be proven to be the best. But Mec-Gars? Over CMC or Wilson? The Mec-Gar mags I have are loose fitting in 3 of my 1911’s. All 3 pistols are from different manufacturers. While they were cheap, they rattle and don’t actually “seat” as good as the other brands I have.

      Now you should have mentioned the Act-Mag 1911 magazines. The 4 I have and use are all stamped with Rock Island Armory on them. But they’re Act-Mag brand, from Italy, and probably the best fitting and feeding mags, of the 20 or so mags I have from different brands. I prefer the Act-Mag over others, even though the Colt’s are tried and true, for a steel magazine that has a polymer base that fits great and doesn’t rattle and drops free easily, then now you know.

      April 9, 2021 7:35 pm
      • Commenter Avatar

        You’re probably the only person I’ve ever heard that’s had a “problem” with Mec-Gar mags. Despite your issue with them rattling, how do they run? New mag springs will likely solve that rattling issue. Every Mec-Gar mag that I own for any of my pistols whether it be my 1911s, my SIGs, my CZs, my Walthers, or my Caniks; the factory and aftermarket Mec-gar mags that I run in all of these (and I have a lot) just work and I never think twice about running anything else.

        July 23, 2021 9:28 pm
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