When it comes to optimizing your magazine selection, you're bound by your pistol choice—the 1911 you select will largely decide your magazine options for you. So picking a handgun can be a hard decision. If you’ve narrowed your choice down to a 1911 you’ve already accomplished a lot. Your next step is deciding what you want out of your 1911. Keep an eye on the spec sheet when you’re researching your options.
To help you out, here are a few details to look at when you’re shopping for a 1911.
One major consideration is magazine capacity. A lot of 1911s keep the original single-stack magazine design, which results in capacity being lower than most modern polymer pistols. However, there are some 1911s that use double-stack magazines, which place the capacity on par with popular polymer double-stack pistols.
Every caliber has pros and cons. The three most popular pistol calibers are traditionally 9mm, 45ACP and 40S&W. The 1911 was originally chambered in 45ACP, so many 1911 fans like to own a model that stays more true to the original design and chambering. It’s often known as the hard hitter that has the most recoil of the three. The 9mm cartridge is extremely popular, which has led to it becoming highly available and affordable to shoot. 40S&W is the least popular of the three, but fans of the round say it strikes a nice balance between power and controllability.
When taking sights into consideration, make note of how they are contoured and how well they stick out to your eyes. Fiber-optic front sights can be very easy to “find” when bringing the sights into view, whereas standard, three-dot sights can be difficult for those without sharp vision.
If you plan on using a 1911 for concealed carry, the contour of the sights can play a factor. Sharp, angled sights can snag on clothing either on the draw or holstered, so look for something with softer edges.
A standard 1911 pistol is quite large from a height and length standpoint. The upside to a 1911 is its slim width. Of course, this isn’t so much the case with the double-stack models, which feature a larger grip to accommodate double-stack magazines.
If you’re looking for a concealed-carry-friendly 1911, there are plenty of compact designs available as well.