The 1911 platform has been around since, well, 1911. There have been so many tweaks and revisions over the years that today’s 1911 handgun might be the most well-polished and refined piece of ballistic equipment in existence. One area of the platform where that polish and refinement hasn’t necessarily been focused as much is the magazine. Most manufacturers ship their guns with mags identical to those that our grandparents took into battle against the Nazis. SIG SAUER’s R&D department likes to say “find a magazine that works and build a gun around it,” so old magazines might not be an issue in their eyes. For Gun Pro, instead of historic reliability they see something that can be improved . . .
Jeremy S. sent me this magazine to review because for some unknown reason the man doesn’t own a 1911. Needless to say we’re going to need to fix that. I had never heard of Gun Pro, so I went online and threw their name into the Googles. After a few minutes of research I found their website and came across the following paragraph that lays out their claims for the product:
Gun Pro™ SureFire™ Anti Nose-Dive Stainless magazines with removable base pads, are made right here in the USA of the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. The SureFire™ magazine, with the new “Nose-Dive Control Spring”, increases reliability in ALL single stack 1911 pistols using standard RN or HP FMJ bullets. Polished fitted tube, spring and follower provides smooth feeding while the newly patent pending Nose-Dive Control Spring offers reliable feeding angles from the first through the last round chambered. Our Gun Pro™ magazines are designed and manufactured to ensure the highest quality that you deserve in an essential part of your firearm.
In short, their claim is that this magazine makes all 1911 handguns more reliable. I fully admit that I have seen an occasional nose-dive in a 1911 handgun, and the usual culprit is an old fashioned mag. A good 1911 magazine is a thing to treasure and so I was excited to try out this brand new, high quality, finely crafted, highly reliable 1911 cartridge feeding system.
I went and picked up my Springfield 1911-A1 handgun — the gold standard when it comes to cheap yet reliable 1911s — and slammed the magazine into the magazine well. This is as far as the magazine got before it stopped and refused to budge anyfurther, about an inch and a half from being fully seated. This isn’t one of those fancy extended magazines either. It simply got stuck and the gun was effectively jammed. Getting the magazine in any farther (or even removing it for that matter) took considerable effort.
I went back and re-read the advertisement, specifically the claim that it “increases reliability in ALL single stack 1911 pistols.” I’d say their claim is accurate, since if you can’t even get the magazine into the gun it will reliably fail to fire. But I don’t think that’s what they were going for here. Looking through the materials, I found a small annotation which noted “will not work on some Springfield firearms without minor adjustments.” That minor adjustment they cite, as listed on their website, asks you to remove your magazine catch and file it down to work properly.
That does seem to be the culprit. The selling point of this magazine is a nifty feature which claims to keep the bullets from nose-diving into the magazine instead of feeding cleanly into the chamber. They accomplish this task by cutting a small spring into the side of the magazine that comes up under the round and should prevent the bullet from going anywhere but forward. Looking at the magazine after a few frustrating minutes with the Springfield, there’s definitely a gash on the front edge of the magazine where the magazine itself has come into contact with the magazine release.
To Gun Pro’s credit, I tried this same magazine in both my Wilson Combat Bill Wilson Carry and the Tisas Zig 1911 and it fit just fine without any issues. I guess I just take notice when a company claims the magazine will increase reliability with “ALL single stack 1911 pistols” and the magazine doesn’t even fit in the very first 1911 I try.
Out on the range, we ran hundreds of rounds through both Springfield and Tisas 1911 handguns. Overall the magazine works fine, but we did indeed have one instance where a round took a nosedive into the magazine instead of feeding into the chamber with the Tisas 1911. The failures were few and far between, but they still existed. I swapped to my usual Wilson Combat 1911 magazines after that and ran hundreds more rounds without any issue.
I honestly can’t say that I’m impressed. I give gun Pro points for a creative solution to a known issue, but I find their execution a little lacking. Incompatibility with one of the most popular manufacturers of 1911 handguns is a big issue, and to be frank I’m not going to go modifying my handgun just to suit my new whiz-bang magazine. If anything, I’d be happier doing the opposite. Even when inserted and running properly, the magazine doesn’t necessarily prevent the very thing it was designed to prevent. That’s a bit disappointing.
Let me put it in perspective this way. Gun Pro is asking $48 for their magazines, which don’t work in every 1911 (despite advertisement to the contrary) and don’t necessarily prevent the very thing they are trying to prevent. Wilson Combat is asking $34.95 for my favorite magazine of theirs, and after hundreds of rounds in multiple firearms (including the Tisas 1911) that magazine has never failed to function flawlessly. So Gun Pro is asking $13 more for a magazine that is less widely compatible and less reliable than a Wilson Combat magazine.
Does that make sense to you?
Specifications: Gun Pro Sure Fire 1911 Magazine
Ratings (out of five stars):
It doesn’t work in Springfield handguns without modifications to the gun. And even when inserted, it doesn’t always prevent the very thing it was designed to prevent.
Fit and Finish: * * *
I like the overall style of the magazine, and the baseplate is well designed.
With 100% reliable Wilson Combat magazines on offer for 73% the price of the Gun Pro mags, I really don’t see a compelling argument to buy this.