Gear Review: CMC Products 1911 Railed Power Mags

CMC Products 10 round Railed Power Mag in Colt Combat Elite (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

A couple of years ago I met Bill Wilson of Wilson Combat. When I told him I was from Central Texas, he immediately exclaimed “That’s Chip McCormick country!” It is indeed.

I knew Wilson Combat was a direct competitor of the popular Chip McCormack 1911 magazine. What I didn’t know was that the two competitors were actually friends, and Bill had nothing but good things to say about Mr. McCormick himself as well as the quality of his products.

Less than a year later, Chip McCormick would retire, selling his company to Wilson Combat. Wilson is now producing the Chip McCormick products under the CMC Products name.

I recently got a few of the new Wilson Combat-owned CMC Products stainless steel magazines, specifically their Railed Power Mags. These come in both 8- and 10-round capacity versions. Based on the quality of these magazines, the good reputation Chip McCormick spent a lifetime developing is in excellent hands.

We can infer a lot about the long-term performance of a magazine by its materials and craftsmanship. Unless you’ve got a decade and many thousands of load and unload cycles, it’s hard to fully test a magazine’s longevity. The reality is that it’s not the spring that wears out in a magazine, at least not in magazines of any real quality.

CMC Products Railed Power Mag Follower (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

In my experience, if it runs for the first 20 cycles well, it will continue to run for a whole lot more, unless something damages it. Something like dropping it, or slamming the feed lips into the gun, or stepping on an empty one, or dropping something on them, all things which happen to magazines all the time in practice, duty use and competition.

The entire assembly of the Railed Power Mag feels rock-solid and sturdy. As in, the 10-rounder-could-double-as-an-impact-weapon kind of sturdy. The main body of the magazine is made of stainless steel and is laser-welded along the rear. You’ll note the coil wire spring firmly attaches to the bottom of the patented follower.

CMC Products Railed Power Mag Follower top (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

If you press down on the follower of a stock Colt 1911 magazine, you’ll likely find it wiggles around a good bit inside the magazine body. You’ll also find that the follower can tilt a great deal, allowing the nose to point drastically up if the rear of the follower or the spring catches on anything.

With the CMC Railed Power Magazine, there’s no wobble inside the magazine. You just can’t make the follower tilt upward much at all.

CMC Products Railed Power Mag rails on top magazine (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

Another big difference with the Railed Power Mags are the “rails” themselves. The CMC Products website refers to the feed lips of the Railed Power Mag as “Dual Wall Feed Rails.”

Essentially, the feed lips have been bent over at sharp angles, all the way back down to form, well, rails for the cartridges to slide under. A traditional magazine is simply bent over at a 90 degree angle. In the photo above, the CMC Products magazine is on top with a stock Colt magazine below.

The simple 90-degree bend usually works pretty well, but those feed lips are fairy thin and prone to bending and cracking. By doubling over the lips tightly down, the Railed Power Mag not only provides a rounded and smooth surface for feeding, but also doubles the strength of the feed lips.

CMC Products Railed Power Mag dissasembled (image courtesy JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com)

After a detent is pushed in the base, the polymer base pad of either size magazine slips off with ease, allowing for easy cleaning and lubrication.

When it comes to the 1911, the magazine can dramatically affect the reliable performance of the pistol. Take, for instance, my Kimber Ultra Covert II with a threaded Bar-Sto barrel. I got the firearm second-hand from someone willing to sell it cheap, because it wouldn’t cycle hollow point ammunition.

With the stock Kimber Magazines, they were right. It wasn’t reliable. The gun is all but worthless trying to run the 185gr Remington Golden Saber bullet. But load the exact same rounds in a Wilson Combat magazine and the gun runs without issue.

As a result, that gun has become my test case for all magazines. If it will run in that modified Kimber, it will run in anything. Both the 10-round extended and 8-round standard Railed Power Mags ran everything through the Kimber just fine. I also tried them in two STI single stacks, a Wilson Combat CQB, two Colt 1911s, one a Series 70 and the other a Combat Elite.

I had no issue loading any round in any gun with either CMC Products magazine. I could run the Wilson and the STI reliably as 8+1 or 10+1, but not the Colts. I have no idea why.

It’s great to see that, instead of shelving a great product to protect his own magazines, Bill Wilson chose to keep making and selling the CMC Products magazines. CMC Products hails the Railed Power Mag as the “Best 1911 Magazines ever made.” I’m inclined to agree with them.

CMC Products Railed Power Mags
8 Round Stainless Steel Railed Power Mag MSRP:$36.95
10 Round Stainless Steel Railed Power Mag MSRP: $39.95

Rating (out of five stars):

Overall * * * * *
Exceptionally well made and intelligently engineered. These are magazines to last lifetimes. They perform extremely well in a variety of firearms, surpassing the quality of the stock magazines. Worth every penny.

comments

  1. avatar Forward Assist says:

    “surpassing the quality of the stock magazines”

    That’s a pretty low bar for most 1911s.

  2. avatar little horn says:

    i will never understand the lure behind owning a gun that requires so much after market attention. fanboys.

    1. avatar Kahlil says:

      the same can be said for the AR/AK platforms. Real guns need just wood and metal, forget the plastic fantastics 😉

      1. avatar CA ST says:

        Wood furniture exists for the ar15 and most definitely exists for the ak.

    2. avatar Felix says:

      I have a scuba tank hanging in some trees 80 yards from my deck. My first shots with a 1911 were at that scuba tank, and I basically just shot without taking time to aim precisely, wanted to see what instinct would do. I hit it twice out of 7 rounds.

      It doesn’t mean the gun is better than others. I’m certainly not that good a shot and my eyes aren’t getting better. What it does mean is that my hands and eyes like the 1911, and I am not going to argue with them.

    3. avatar jwtaylor says:

      What gun are you talking about and what aftermarket support do you believe is required?

    4. avatar tdiinva says:

      I guess you aren’t a Glock guy either.

    5. avatar anonymoose says:

      Says the guy who has plastic sights.

  3. avatar Grace12 says:

    Everybody’s a critic. That’s a great price for a magazine I’ll put thousands of rounds thru and pass along to my daughter.

    1. avatar Bearpaw says:

      Please, let’s not cripple the next generation with the 1911. Let them move on. Give your mags to a museum or antique store, or recycle them as scrap, but let’s not subject another generation to a gun just because great grandpappy shot some (insert racial/ethnic slur here) in the face during (insert particular battle/war/conflict/covert operation here).

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Do you believe the 1911 is only popular because of its history?

        1. avatar Bearpaw says:

          Absolutely. There is no way a thousand dollar pistol that needs another five hundred in gunsmithing would fly today. With all the moving part, low capacity, high weight, and marginal reliability, the 1911 is riding history into the future.

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Bearpaw,
          But it does fly today, and that is exactly what flies for all of the more popular handgun platforms. No matter if you have a Glock, a Beretta, an M&P, or even a Ruger revolver, there’s lots of people that want to put enough money into them to make them exactly how they want them.
          The idea of the “unreliable 1911” is a myth promulgated by people who just don’t know what they are talking about.
          Tens of thousands of people are still buying 1911s, or their first 1911, not because of history, but because they shoot them well. That was certainly my experience. I carried a striker fired gun for years, until I ran the same qualification course with an Ed Brown Custom Kobra. My times and scores proved I was better with that gun, the first time I had ever shot it, than the guns I had put tens of thousands of rounds through. After that, I carried a 1911. Zero history involved.

        3. avatar Danny338 says:

          @Bearpaw,
          No one needs to spend $1000 on a 1911 and spend any more on it to make it a good gun. There are plenty of quality factory 1911’s in the thousand dollar range that are good out of the box. That being said, anyone wanting to spend more to make their gun exactly how they want it, is their business. It is a great thing that there is so much customization available for various platforms.

        4. avatar Bearpaw says:

          Ok, I’ll put my money where your mouth is and get another 1911 since I sold off my Colt Commander decades ago.

          So name one current new standard sized .45 1911, the best 1911 that my $1000 (+/- $200) willl buy. I don’t want a list or a direction or even just a brand. Point me towards the exact gun and I’ll take it from there.

        5. avatar Danny338 says:

          @Bearpaw
          Smith&Wesson
          SKU: 108482
          Model: SW1911 E-Series
          SRP: $979
          I have the TA version of this.
          If you are determined to hate the 1911, it is still a waste of money. It would be better to spend on something you like.

        6. avatar tdiinva says:

          SA Milspec, RIA TAC Ultra, Ruger SR1911.

        7. avatar Bearpaw says:

          Got a friend with the Ruger. It doesn’t make his simile.

          The Smith’s got promise. I’m a big Smith fan, auto, cylinder and long gun.

          I need a new project so I’m not kidding about dipping my toe into the 1911 waters again. Sorry, but Glock makes me smile. 100% reliability. Light. Simple. Cheap…er…inexpensive. Not a vegan or gluten intolerant. And the king of aftermarket.

          But a Glock is quite utilitarian. Lacks in joy and beauty. Like a good shovel.

      2. avatar tdiinva says:

        50 years from now nobody will remember what a Glock is but they will still be carrying 1911s.

        1. avatar lewl says:

          lmfao, false. But you won’t be around to see it, so no worries. Technically, you’ll die right. 🙂

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          I will be a spry 118 and will lamao at you. :):)

      3. avatar Mater says:

        Life is to short to use an ugly gun….

        1. avatar tinhats says:

          +1000

      4. avatar New Continental Army says:

        In 2111 there will be a two hundred year bi centennial edition of 1911s. Wanna bet?

        1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

          Alongside a 2111 model made by STI – a quad-stacked 1911 with magazines designed by Jim Sullivan’s brain in a glass jar and iGun fanbois will still be bitching about it.

      5. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Bearpaw, Colt Combat Elite. About 1k. Mine has tens of thousands of rounds logged through it.

  4. avatar el Possum Guapo Herr Standartenfuher" they think we're making pizza' " von Burn says:

    McCormick may produce a fine magazine, but I will pass on their whiskey, the McCormick vodka isn’t to bad,

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

      “McCormick vodka isn’t to bad,”

      McCormick spices are stale…

  5. avatar M1Lou says:

    I used CMC mags when I had a 1911. They worked very well, and I got them on sale at Midway for $12.99 each a few years ago. I kept the mags and will eventually get another 1911.

  6. avatar Ryan says:

    I love that the glock vs 1911 guys come out in the comments of a mag review.

    “1911s suck because they need aftermarket mags”

    “Glocks suck because they’re ugly”

    Haters gonna hate, everyone have a great Labor Day weekend

  7. I’d sure like to see this mag produced for other pistols, especially the Browning Hi-Power of which I’m a shameless fanboi. And a number of my friends/acquaintances would pay premium prices for premium magazines for their pistols.

    1. avatar Bearpaw says:

      I’m stunned that there is even a thing called a “premium magazine.”

      The implications, no matter how you look at it, are mindboggling.

      1. The magazine is an integral part of a semi-auto pistol, and I use the word “integral” even though they are removable. Without the mag, you can fire from zero to one round. A mag that may appear to be compatible may not be reliable, as JWT discusses: follower tilt, lip position, susceptibility to damage. I would pay extra for a robust mag designed to eliminate or minimize those conditions that could result in FTF.

      2. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Bearpaw, why? The same weaknesses that exist in the 1911 magazine exist in most others. Have you really never seen a broken Glock magazine? Have you never seen a bad one? Have you never seen a bent feed lip on a 92? I’ve broken HK mags just by dropping them. If you haven’t seen any of these problems, you should be shooting a lot more.
        The aftermarket magazine market is huge, for good reason.

        1. avatar Bearpaw says:

          I’m with you on the aftermarket magazines. I got plenty, and nobody was happier when Magpul jumped into the pistol mag game. But you’re right. I should have addressed my comment in the other direction. I can hardly believe all the bum magazines for sale. True crap that may or may not function, and break under even the mildest of a workout.

          So a so-called premium magazine seems to make it ok that the majority of non-premium mags are a risk to personal life and limb. They should be outlawed. I just don’t understand why gun owners have such a tolerance or crap guns and parts. I’ve had some serious dud guns, and when through a whole case of revolvers till I found one that wasn’t swimming in cylinder play. So a new 1911 that misfires, doesn’t feed, fails to eject, and breaks after a few hundred shots should be grounds for a class action lawsuit. Not grounds for a second version and woe those early adopters (I’m pointing at you Remington and Springfield!).

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Completely agree.

  8. avatar Randbo says:

    Every Chip McCormick mag I’ve bought for the last 28 years is still in use. Other than changing the spring occasionally (the mags stay loaded most of the time), they work flawlessly. I wouldn’t have any other mag for a 1911. On the other hand, I have yet to see a stock Springfield 1911 magazine that actually works. You tell them how the cookie crumbles, JWT!

  9. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    I’m jelly af of those magazine prices. I use CZ-75 series mags – original shadow 18-rounders run just under $50 stock. Add an extended base for another ~$30 plus Wolff springs/followers for another ~$20 and you’re over $100 – EACH – and you haven’t even paid any shipping yet. CZ-TS (TacSport) mags are even rarer and can cost even more. Plus, the newer (and somewhat less expensive) CZ-75 “19-round” versions are actually 17-round tubes with +2 plastic bases, so you lose a round trying to save $15. What’s weird is Mec-Gar makes them all – the originals as well as the aftermarkets, whatever size you get.

  10. avatar Marc Haughaboo says:

    A great “as sold” 1911? Look no further than a Desert Eagle 1911G. Ready to roll out of the box for 700-800.

  11. avatar David Rockwell says:

    Sig Nightmare 1911. Has been flawless right out of the box for 4K rds now. Very little signs of wear and no parts replacement.
    Trigger is not 1911 perfection, but not much of detriment either.
    I have many plastic guns and have been trying to learn to love them, (the dual sirens of light weight and high capacity), but none shoot as instinctively as my 1911’s.

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