What do you guys with experience recommend for additional mags for the 1911? The 2 factory mags that came w/ it have been working fine, but I'd like additional mags. (Of course, I want low cost AND perfect reliability)!
Magazines for 1911's are their own little world. I'm not convinced of any totally solid recommendations. Here's the common ones recommended and my thoughts:
Chip McCormick Shooting Star and Power mags: They are available in both finished kits and upgrade kits. The same basic follower design at just about everyone else out there. I tried some Shooting Star upgrade kits for some of my mags a while back. I wasn't impressed. I could have saved some money and just gotten some new springs. https://www.chipmccormickcorp.com/
Wilson Combat magazines: The supposed gold standard of 1911 magazines. I like some things about the designs but not others. However I should state that I have never tried any WC mags so this is just based on what I've read and seen. The follower design should not allow it to tip inside the mag body, however from what I know, all the followers are plastic and will wear much faster than a metal piece when contacting the slide stop to hold open the slide. However, I'd expect that the plastic will slide easier inside the mag body. http://www.wilsoncombat.com/
Tripp Research Cobra magazines or Upgrade kits: These are not cheap but appear to be one of the best designs out there. The follower is plastic but there is a metal reinforcing piece for the slide stop. This is available both in finished magzines and as Upgrade Kits for your existing magazines. I was getting out of 1911's when I heard about Tripp Research but if I had stayed I would have spent the money and upgraded all of my mags to this. http://www.trippresearch.com/
Now, after saying all this, the magazines I trusted completely for my Kimber was the factory mag (only came with 1) and 2 Army magazines (found in the arms room and given to me by the armorer who remembered that I had a gun they would fit). The Army mags never gave me any issues but were the same design as my other less-than-reliable magazines.
I did have one more mag that I used when I wanted a 3rd spare mag or if I was carrying more than 1 load (usually 45 Super FMJ for large critters with claws and teeth). It appears to be a clone of a Tripp Research Cobra Magazine but with an all metal follower. Its stamped ARMSCOR on the side and I haven't seen any since. I got it from CDNN a while back on a whim. Its an 8 rd mag so it sticks out a little from the butt of the gun.
It funny, I do have 1 more mag that was always reliable. It appeared to have a chrome finish but since it never locked back the slide I wasn't willing to use it for carry. I think it was a cheapo that I got at a show one time.
Another common thought is that the 7 rd magazines tend to be more reliable (without extending past the butt of the gun) than the 8 rd designs. If the magazine extends past the butt than they will hopefully be as reliable as the 7rders.
I suspect that your cheapest way might be to get a bunch of basic 7rd magazines with very good condition bodies and install the Tripp Research Upgrade kits. I used to be able to find used mags for $5-8 each at local gun shows. But you'll have to order quite a few to get the better prices (I was looking at getting 12+ to convert all mine). I tried gun shows but never found anything good, just used or cheap.
The strange thing with 1911's is that what works fine for one gun might choke every mag in an identical gun. You have to be sure that whatever you get works in your gun.
Also, the websites listed are for information. I'm sure that with a little shopping around you can find the stuff for less money.
If you'd like more info or just some pictures there is a nice write up on the Tripp Research site under the Upgrade Kit link. There are pics of various followers and springs with more info that I went into here.
I myself use Chip McCormick power mags, and so far have had very good luck with them. They have functioned flawlessly. The only gripe, the stainless finish. Blued to match the gun would have been better.
I have 10 Wilson 47D's, 6 Kimber protac mags and 6 Novak/Act mags that all function well in both of my PT1911's also in the mix are several GI 7 round mags that I have had no probs. with. That said when I carry this gun I take the Wilsons because I'm 99.9 % sure they will function every time.