1911 45 Magazines: 7 or 8 rounds


The 2 leftmost springs and followers are brand new Wilson 8 round sets intended for their 47D magazines. The 2 on the right are Wolff 7 round springs with a Pachmayr (L) and Colt (R) follower. 

When discussing the original length magazines for the 1911, if the intended use is self defense with appropriate JHP ammunition, I strongly prefer the original 7 round capacity. My reasons are illustrated in the photo above.

The desire to carry more rounds in a 1911 is understandable. With the traditional or flush fitting magazines, extra rounds are accommodated only by using smaller, weaker springs and shorter followers.

For range use, this may be fine. For defensive use with JHP ammunition, I’ll take reliability over the extra round.


The proper way to carry 8 45 acp rounds in a magazine IMHO is with a modern, extended tube magazine like the Certac (Checkmate) shown on the left. These magazines utilize the extra length to fit a beefier spring and follower package.  The standard length magazine on the right is also a Checkmate.

The traditionalist in me prefers the looks of a 1911 loaded with a flush fitting magazine. The extended body magazines stick out farther and do not conceal as easily, but they are very reliable (in my experience) and the baseplate design makes them much easier to strip out of the magwell if needed.

They also should be more tolerant of being dropped, as the welded baseplates on the traditional magazines have cracked and broken off on plenty of match or other high volume shooters.

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