A Review of Check-Mate Industries Extended Eight-Round 1911 Magazines

Reviewed by Richard B. McCleery, Sr. (Rick McC.) for M1911.ORG

M1911.ORG. received a pair of Check Mate 1911 magazines for our evaluation and review, which we'll get to presently. But first, a little information about 1911 magazines in general is in order.

1911 magazines have been around, well, since about 1911, which is a long time. And for a long time, you could get them basically one way; blued, and with a seven round capacity.

As time passed and ammunition choices expanded, manufacturers began developing magazines with different feed lip profiles. The original military and commercial magazines were designed to feed 230-grain ball ammunition (like the Colt seven round magazines). Those had tapered feed lips, which release the round relatively late in the feed cycle.

One of the ammunition types favored in bullseye competition is the wadcutter bullet design, which has a flat “point.” Wadcutter bullets cut nice, clean holes in the target, making scoring easier and more accurate. However, wadcutter bullets don’t feed well from the GI-standard magazines with tapered feed lips. A new design was developed, which is cleverly referred to as “wadcutter” feed lips. The wadcutter magazine features parallel feed lipds that open comparatively abruptly to full width, providing release of the cartridge earlier in the feed cycle than the traditional GI magazines.

A third variant is a hybrid of the first two, featuring tapered feed lips at the back of the magazine but also incorporating the early flare-out and release of the wadcutter syle magazines. The newer designs were developed to release the round earlier, which allowed newer ammunition designs such as semi-wad cutters and some hollow-point designs to feed more reliably.

Below is a photograph showing the three basic magazine designs found in 1911 magazines:

Other magazine design changes made have been to increase the magazine capacity, like the Check-Mate eight-round magazines that are the subject of this article.

The picture below shows, from left to right, one of the Check-Mate magazines, followed by an older design seven-round magazine. Next is a newer design seven-round magazine with a hybrid composite/steel follower, with an eight-round magazine (also utilizing a hybrid follower) on the far right.

The two magazines received are very good looking, well designed magazines, with a number of features. These include numbered witness holes on both sides of the stainless steel magazine bodies; robust, removable bases that both protect the magazines when dropped and allow for positive seating of the magazine when used in 1911s with extended magazine wells. They also include Check Mate's patented bullnose follower, a design that has both a "collapsing" top and a skirted front. That design (along with it's corresponding magazine spring) allows for an eight round capacity due to the "collapsing" feature, while the front skirt is an improvement over some earlier eight-round follower designs (such as the Devel style follower), which can rock forward as the last round in the magazine is fed. This may bind up the magazine, requiring that it be pulled out of the pistol, rather than dropping free. It also allows the front edge of the follower to impact the frame feed ramp, which can cause damage when used in alloy-frames (aluminum) pistols.

The picture below features an original style follower from a seven-round magazine on the left, followed by a hybrid composite/steel follower, and the patented Check-Mate bullnose follower on the right.

The next picture shows a top view of the followers, with the Check-Mate on the left, composite in the middle, and original style on the right.

The magazine body length is also a bit longer than that found on some other magazines. That feature allows for some of the extra capacity to be accommodated by allowing the bottom of the spring to extend below the bottom of the magazine tube, into the polymer base, while still allowing the magazine to be seated easily. The design of the mag base accounts for that extra length, while ensuring that the magazine can't be over-inserted when the slide is locked to the rear.

All that is fine, but how did they perform?

Handsome is as handsome does

I took the two magazines, along with a Colt Combat Elite, which is one of the few 1911's I own that is still in "original" condition (except for the grips), to my local outdoor range, and got down to business.

I'm pleased to report that, with 48 rounds through each mag (six full magazines each) there were no functional issues. The gun shot and shot as the magazines performed flawlessly, feeding round after round during both slow fire and rapid fire (3-4 rounds fired per second), seating easily, and dropping free when the mag release was depressed.

The ammo used during the testing was my own reloads; cast, 230-grain round nose lead over 4.8 grains of 700-X.

Overall, I was very pleased with the magazines’ performance, the quality of materials used, and their fit and finish.

I also own several magazines of my own with the Check-Mate patented bullnose followers, and have used them extensively over the last few years with 200gr LSWC, 230gr HP, and 230gr ball ammo without issue.

I have no problem recommending them for both range use and carry.

Another view of the Check-Mate follower:

Another view of the Check-Mate follower

Side view of the magazines showing the witness holes and magazine bases

The welded-base design found on magazines such as the seven-round Kimber magazine shown below, requires that all the magazine parts be installed and removed from the top of the magazine, which is somewhat constricted by the feed lips.

”Standard,” welded-base magazine, spring, and follower

The Check-Mate design incorporates an easily removed, separate, composite magazine base. The use of a removable magazine base allows for an easier disassembly/reassembly process through the bottom of the magazine tube, and is shown disassembled below:

Check-Mate extended magazine, disassembled

I'd like to thank Check Mate Industries for providing the magazines that were used in this review.

Please go to this thread on the M1911 Pistols Organization discussion forum to discuss this article: http://forum.m1911.org/showthread.ph...665#post989665

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Check-Mate Industries, Inc.
370 Wyandanch Avenue
West Babylon, NY 11704

Toll Free: 1 800-229-6467
Tel: (631) 491-1777
Fax: (631) 491-1745

Web: http://www.checkmateindustries.com/