Skip to main content

Tested Tough

Tested Tough

These Esmeralda grips are fashioned out of a rare black-and-white ebony from Southeast Asia.

Like many 1911 devotees, I've used Wilson Combat's legendary 47D magazines forever. I've never found them lacking but have heard from some pretty serious users that they wish they were just a bit tougher. Wilson's new Elite Tactical Magazines were designed to address that concern, as well as make a few minor improvements to the classic 47D. I've actually had a dozen of the new magazines for six months or so, but I wanted to test them thoroughly before I reviewed them here.

Unlike other magazines, which are basically seven-round mags reconfigured to hold eight rounds, the new ETM was designed from the ground up to hold eight. The tube is constructed from a high-grade, stainless steel and finished to a high polish to ensure smooth, reliable feeding. The slightly thicker, stronger steel resists feed lip cracking and tube spread, ensuring a longer service life.


The magazine tube has observation ports numbered two through eight so you can see your remaining rounds at a glance. To further ensure its structural integrity, the ports are located toward the rear on each side of the magazine body.


The other significant improvements were in the ETM's follower and base pad. The follower has an extended skirt to ensure stability and smooth, even feeding. It was also designed to precise dimensions to virtually assure slide lock on an empty magazine. The nylon used for both parts is durable and very slick.

The base pad has a slight recess to accommodate the longer magazine body without increasing the overall length of the magazine. Each pad is designed to cushion the blow of even a fully loaded magazine dropped on concrete during rapid reloads. The pads are also numbered one through 10 to aid in identifying specific magazines.


The final component, the magazine spring, also got a little attention. Wilson Combat selected a space-age, stainless steel spring wire to ensure the magazine would not take a set when left loaded for extended periods. The extended magazine tube also allowed them to compress the spring even less with a fully loaded magazine, further ensuring reliability by reducing the strain on the spring.


Now all that information is great, but anyone can read a press release. So rather than rushing to write a short review of an untested product, I used a dozen ETM magazines for all my training and 1911 tests over a six-month period.

As a long-time Wilson Combat magazine user, I wasn't expecting any problems, but you never know. So I left those magazines fully loaded for every minute of those six months that they were not in use. On the range, I ran thousands of rounds through each one, dropping fully loaded and empty magazines on the concrete over and over again. Through it all, I did not clean them once, yet I never experienced a magazine-related malfunction.

After testing them as thoroughly as I could, I would have to say Wilson Combat's Elite Tactical Magazines are as good as they get. If you're in the market for a reliable, durable magazine that won't let you down, I can recommend them without hesitation.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Handguns editor Scott Rupp fires some Federal Punch .380 defensive handgun ammo into ballistics gel the range for a performance test run.

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Taurus G3c

Taurus G3c

Taurus introduces the compact version of their wildly successful 9mm pistol; the G3.

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 10mm

The Kodiak is a long slide 1911-style semi-auto complete with 6-inch bull barrels and chambered in 10mm.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Walther's Q4 Steel Frame is a carry-friendly version of its popular Q5 Match SF.Walther Q4 Steel Frame Pistol Review Reviews

Walther Q4 Steel Frame Pistol Review

James Tarr - January 08, 2021

Walther's Q4 Steel Frame is a carry-friendly version of its popular Q5 Match SF.

Korth's new NXR .44 Magnum is the crème de la crème of revolvers, and it fetches a high price. Is it worth it?Korth NXR .44 Magnum Revolver Review Reviews

Korth NXR .44 Magnum Revolver Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - December 18, 2020

Korth's new NXR .44 Magnum is the crème de la crème of revolvers, and it fetches a high price....

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but these six compact high-capacity 9mm pistols stand out from the rest of the field.6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns Compact

6 Best Compact High-Capacity 9mm Handguns

Jeff John - July 08, 2020

The defensive handgun market is ripe with affordable, accurate and dependable choices, but...

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want one.Ruger 57 Pistol Review Reviews

Ruger 57 Pistol Review

James Tarr - June 05, 2020

The new Ruger-57 looks to put a charge into the 5.7x28mm pistol market—and you know you want...

See More Trending Articles

More Accessories

Two simple, inexpensive DIY upgrades made this Ruger GP100 feel like a new gun.Ruger GP100 DIY Upgrade Accessories

Ruger GP100 DIY Upgrade

J. Scott Rupp - December 05, 2019

Two simple, inexpensive DIY upgrades made this Ruger GP100 feel like a new gun.

Looking for a Father's Day gift for Dad? Check out these offerings from 3m, Streamlight, Hornady and more.2020 Father's Day Gift Guide Accessories

2020 Father's Day Gift Guide

J. Scott Rupp - April 28, 2020

Looking for a Father's Day gift for Dad? Check out these offerings from 3m, Streamlight,...

The new Streamlight TLR-8 G is a rail-mounted green-laser/light version of the popular compact TLR-8 red-laser/light.Streamlight TLR-8 G Laser Sight Review Sights

Streamlight TLR-8 G Laser Sight Review

James Tarr - July 24, 2019

The new Streamlight TLR-8 G is a rail-mounted green-laser/light version of the popular compact...

The new Streamlight TLR-6 light/laser is specifically designed for the SIG P365.Streamlight TLR-6 for SIG P365 Accessories

Streamlight TLR-6 for SIG P365

J. Scott Rupp - August 28, 2019

The new Streamlight TLR-6 light/laser is specifically designed for the SIG P365.

See More Accessories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now