Three Budget Friendly 1911 Magazine Designs

Three Budget Friendly 1911 Magazine Designs
Three Budget Friendly 1911 Magazine Designs

USA – -( Old slab sides is over 100 years old and still has a loyal and ever-growing following. Perhaps there’s never been a better time to be a 1911 aficionado. There was a time when I would have scoffed at a 9mm 1911 but these days there are not only reliable 9mm 1911 options there are even budget-friendly 9mm 1911s out there. Like most firearms, the 1911’s reliability is inextricably tied to her magazine pairing.

Walk into many local gun stores and you’ll hear someone tell a customer to throw away the magazines that come with their new $1000+ handgun and buy some Wilson Combat mags. Wilson Combat magazines are undoubtedly excellent but there are other options to be considered. It’s important to find what works best in your particular handgun. Today I’d like to share some budget-friendly 1911 magazine options for 1911s chambered in .45 ACP and 9mm.

Mec-Gar 1911 45 ACP Magazines

Mec-Gar 1911 45 ACP Magazines
Mec-Gar 1911 45 ACP Magazines

Mec-Gar has been one of the industry standard magazine manufacturers since 1965. Situated in Gardone Val Trompia and Gussago in the province of Brescia sit three factories that boast more than 75,000 combined square feet. These manufacturing facilities produce magazines for several well-known major manufacture’s handguns.

When discussing 1911 magazines, Mec-Gar doesn’t typically come up. One normally hears names like Wilson Combat, Chip McCormick, Ed Brown, Springfield, Kimber, Rock Island, etc. However, especially if you’re budget-minded, Mec-Gar 1911 mags should be on your list. They are quality made products, in my experience have a high-reliability rate, and function well in a wide array of 1911 manufacturer’s products. I use the 8 round full size .45 magazines in nickel coated steel. They run about $25 compared to Wilson Combat’s comparable product at about $40. Don’t get me wrong, I love Wilson Combat Mags, but I like options too.

Brownells 9mm 1911 Magazine 

Brownells 1911 9mm 10 round gun Magazine
Brownells 1911 9mm 10 round gun Magazine

When it comes to 9mm 1911s, reliable magazines can be hard to come by. It can seem like Wilson Combat, Dawson Precision, and Rock Island are the only available options. In addition, the last option can seem well-suited for the guns they’re designed for, but are sometimes in question for other 9mm 1911s as some of Rock Island’s nicer magazine options are designed to be used with both 9mm and .22 TCM. Mec-Gar has a 9mm offering that’s worth mentioning in this category too.

However, Brownell’s 9mm 1911 mags are exceptional. I’m going to recommend you check them out first. They are stainless steel, heat treated and coated in a product called Xylan that makes them corrosion resistant. The nice black finish is said to reduce friction as well. I can attest to the fact that they wear very well. The even black finish is quite durable. I find the followers and springs to be more than satisfactory and the reliability to be 100% in the weapons I’ve tested them in. Give these mags a try, if they run well in your weapon, you can’t beat a 3 pack of 9mm 1911 mags for $75.

Another Option, Ed Brown Magazines

When one thinks Ed Brown the word budget doesn’t normally come to mind. However, if you peruse the local gun shop for 9mm 1911 mags you’ll notice that their 9mm 1911 mag weighs in at around $25 compared to many other offerings in the $35-45 range. So in this case, Ed Brown magazines qualify as a budget option.

9mm Magazine from Ed Brown

Ed Brown mags have a quality reputation and a consistent warranty. I think it’s a safe bet that they are quality made but if anybody’s grandma once went to church with someone who had an issue with them I’m sure we’ll hear about it in the comments section. I jest, but I really do think these magazines represent a valid option. I’m going to look for a sale opportunity to pick up some more for my range bag very soon.

Ed Brown 1911 45 caliber Magazine
Ed Brown 1911 45 caliber Magazine

Add Your 1911 Magazine Story

I often mention my limited sample size. In this particular case, I’d like to recruit the readers of AmmoLand to extend that sample size. If you choose to purchase new .45 1911 magazines from Mec-Gar or 9mm magazines from Brownells or Ed Brown, will you relay your experiences in the comments section below? With your help, we can keep the comments of this article alive for years to come. In this way, we can have a resource for those interested in reliable, budget-friendly, 1911 magazines.

About Brian (Rev) Norris:Brian (Rev) Norris

Brian (Rev) Norris, in addition to writing and talking guns and gear via video, is a pastor (hence the “Rev”) who specializes in mentoring young men in the urban context. If he catches a moment of free time, you’ll likely find him enjoying his family or heading to the range on his motorcycle. Brian has enjoyed the shooting sports since his father introduced them to him as a child. He’s an outdoorsman who enjoys life to the full.


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Bought 2 Wilson mags a few years ago. They had plastic followers and within 2 months one had split and the other was wearing badly. Neither mag would hold open after last round fired. Called Wilson and they sent plastic replacements out free of charge. Asked them why the follower was not metal and the response was because we have determined it’s what’s best. Both replacements split and I finally called Brownells and they helped me out with metal followers. Not impressed with the attitude from Wilson and their know it all, best mag comments. Plenty of folks making great… Read more »

Jim Boyd

Brownell’s 9mm 1911 mags are the Cats Meow ! I have six new ones feeding my new Colt but that holdopen is iffy on the blue beastie, my Series 70 super tuned gun has no problems; and at the usual sale price , $79 for three , they are a steal ! They also hold 10 rounds not 9. PS in modern usage 1911A1 refers more to the arched mainspring housing , rather than the tang or relief cuts behind the trigger etc. I have to replace all the 1911 flat housings on my i911s even the Les Baer TR… Read more »


Those Brownell’s magazines are on sale right now. I can attest they’ve been reliable in my Colt Competition.


Where r they on sale at??


Timing of this is article good as I’ve been wrestling with Springfield 10 round extended factory mags. Have 4 and all of them are unreliable in a 1911 45 Range Officer. 1st round jams (nosedives) regardless of how many rounds I load. Ramp is polished and I’ve put in an aftermarket magazine catch that holds it slightly higher, but same issue.

7 round mags run like they should. Looking for a reliable extended mag for this gun so appreciate feedback.

Edward A Allen

I have used MecGar 9mm Mags in my EMP and MecGar 9mm in the full size. No problems.

James M

Never really had an issue with 1911 .45 mags. Although I have only used Chip McCormick Power Mags and Ed Brown mags. Not sure what the flush fit mags are that usually come with a 1911, but even they have been reliable on the range. Must be good luck. (Probably the fact that over 100 years of quirks being ironed out).


Speaking of Wilson Combat magazines, I bought a couple of their 10-round 45 ACP magazines for my Rock Island. They feed fine but the slide will not lock open on the last round. It seems the magazines are loose, that is, if I push the magazine further into the well, the slide will lock open. There is noticable play.


I see the old colt reffered to as the “1911”. I assume that we really mean “A1” as the old first war 11s wacked your hand between the thumb and index of your hand. The A1s were designed to correct that.


They really mean they’re referring to 1911 Magazines, which fit both the original 1911, and the post 1920’s 1911A1. Like the vast majority of shooters, people refer to the modern A1 version as 1911’s as they are a 1911 design. And in this case with mags, it doesn’t matter at all. When I say I have two 1911’s, one a Para and one a Sig, nobody is confused. If I said I had two A1’s is that an M16A1, an M4A1, an M-10A1, an M3A1, or an MP5A1, etc.?