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Common 1911 Magazine Problems and How to Fix Them

A 1911 pistol is typically synonymous with reliability, but sometimes problems can arise. If you are a gun owner and having problems with your pistol’s magazine, you are probably not alone as everyone will face something sooner or later.

Some of the most common 1911 magazine problems include issues with the stovepipe and jams caused by a dirty gun or the need for repairs. Other magazine problems relate to manufacturer defects but tend to be less common.

When troubleshooting with your 1911 magazine problems, it is important to keep safety first and turn to the experts when you need to. However, there are usually many easy solutions that you can workout yourself. Keep reading to learn more about these typical problems and how you can start fixing them.

Common Problems for 1911 Magazines and Solutions

Normally, a 1911 pistol is one of the most reliable firearms on the market. You can trust it for its accuracy and ease. However, as with any gun, problems will naturally occur over the course of its lifespan. Especially when a gun is used frequently, it is not atypical for problems to arise over time.

It can still be frustrating though. Fortunately, problems with the magazine of a 1911 gun are fairly easy to solve and usually come from similar causes. The following sections will discuss these causes and some things you can do to get back out on the shooting range in good time.

Here’s a quick video explaining some common mag issues, with a lot more info below:

I use either Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, or Optics Planet to buy parts, that way I always know what I’m getting and that it will actually show up.

Magazine Stovepiping

One of the most typical magazine problems facing 1911 owners is stovepiping. This happens when your pistol doesn’t push the round to the slide in time. When this happens, the gun will not fire properly often at the end of its round.

This is a very common issue, and happens when the spring becomes weak and does not have the power anymore to push the round up. Whether it is due to an old spring or a malfunctioning one, this is fortunately an easy fix as all you will need to do is replace the spring.

Springs can be bought online or anywhere you usually go to for gun parts. You can usually replace the spring yourself, although you will need to make sure that you are doing it properly and aligning it well as otherwise the gun will continue to not work.

Magazine Jamming

The other frequent occurrence in 1911 pistols happens when the magazine jams. This is also very frustrating for anyone who has experienced the problem.

Most of the time this is caused because of a buildup in dirt or grime. However, do not feel like a bad gun owner because of this—it happens to everyone, especially when guns are often transported to gun ranges and used frequently.

Your best solution for this will be to thoroughly clean your magazine. Do so following these steps:

  • Follow safety protocol: Point the gun away from any living target before operating and wear safety glasses if needed.
  • Remove the magazine: As you likely already know, you can remove the magazine using the catch release and rotating the magazine. Make sure it is completely detached before you begin cleaning.
  • Clean the magazine: Carefully clean this part using a gun cleaning kit. Wipe away all grime or buildup of gunpowder and other residues.
  • Replace the magazine: You can then reinsert the magazine by reversing the process that you used to detach it.

Once you have cleaned your magazine, you can test the gun again to see if it works. If it doesn’t, this is a sign that a bigger issue may be at hand and you may need to consult a gunsmith or check the springs.

Push Feed Failure

The push feed is also a major source of trouble.

This happens when the round is not caught and is likely also an issue with the spring or the follower. When this happens, check both apparatuses and replace them depending on which one is causing the problem.

This most often happens when you use a smooth follower with your gun.

Can I Use Any Magazine With My 1911 Pistol?

If you are thinking about replacing or changing your magazine, you might wonder if different magazines can be used interchangeably. The short answer is that you cannot.

Although it is pretty flexible with different sizes, there are various differences, such as the following:

  • Caliber
  • Brand
  • Single-stack or double-stack
  • Baseplate
  • Model of gun

All of these things will have an effect on whether a magazine works properly. It is best to take into account the specific model of your gun to avoid any potential issues or unnecessary purchasing of magazines that are unsuitable.

Are Colt 1911 Magazines Any Good?

Colt 1911 magazines are pretty famous, and you might wonder if they live up to the hype. Usually they do.

Colt is considered a reliable brand in the gun world and you can use them with your 1911 pistol to good results.

Additionally, Colt 1911 magazines come in a variety of styles and versions that will allow you to try out new varieties. Plus, their ability to be bought individually means that you will not need to drop a ton of money on a lot of magazines. For this reason, many people like to use Colt magazines for their 1911 pistols.

I use either Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, or Optics Planet to buy parts, that way I always know what I’m getting and that it will actually show up.


As a gun owner, you know that problems can arise, and this is true even with pistols as reliable as a 1911. A lot of the time, the main issues with the magazine include jams, stovepiping, and push feed failure.

Most of these can be solved with simple fixes, but if you think a bigger problem is at hand, it is absolutely essential that you consult a gunsmith to avoid serious safety issues.

Additionally, you might need to replace the magazine altogether. This is not as daunting as it sounds, as there are many different magazines you can use, such as those made by Colt. However, not all will work so do your research beforehand. With a little troubleshooting, you will be back shooting your pistol in no time.