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Review: Never Unarmed .45 ACP 1911 Magazine

Magazines matter. A good magazine can make all the difference on how a 1911 — or practically any handgun — runs, or doesn’t run. You can usually trace back issues with a jammed-up 1911 to the magazine. And, as many of us know, good quality almost always seems to mean a high price. But is that always the case?

Never Unarmed is a new company that set out to create 100 percent reliable 1911 magazines at an affordable price. I’ve gone the route of inexpensive — ok, cheap — 1911 magazines before, hoping to find reliable performance at a fraction of the cost of brand-name mags. I mostly ended up getting burned.

So, when I heard about their 1911 magazines that are made of stainless steel, hold eight rounds, have a bumper pad, and cost just $17.99, I was skeptical. We all know the saying, “you get what you pay for,” but there are those rare occasions when you find a genuine bargain.


I will admit, they do exude a sense of quality as soon as you pick them up. The magazine body is made from a 0.6mm-thick sheet of SUS301 chromium-nickel stainless steel that’s bent four times into a rectangular shape, then laser welded together. The weld is nicely done. After welding, the weld marks are polished off and then it goes through stone wash tumbling, more shaping and final assembly.

The body has eight witness holes that align with the loaded rounds, so there is no guessing how many rounds are in the magazine. The spring is designed for high tensile strength and sag resistance.

The bumper and anti-tilt follower are molded from glass-reinforced nylon. The follower has a natural lubricity, so it slides easily inside the steel magazine body. Anti-tilt followers are perhaps the most significant improvement to the original 1911 magazine design, as original 1911 magazines used a bent piece of steel as a follower.

That worked for 230-gr. ball ammo with a large, rounded tip that easily maneuvered up the feed ramp of pistols. Load cartridges with hollow point bullets with a sharp profile and flat tips, and those can possibly cause a failure to feed (FTF) jam. This Never Unarmed magazine’s follower design appeared as though it would preclude that from happening.

In hand, the Never Unarmed 1911 magazine has a quality feel to it. The owner of the company, Lynn Thompson, told me he has run more than 5,000 rounds through the magazines and they still work perfectly. I had 500 rounds and a handful of different 1911s for my test, so I decided to see how the magazine would perform for me. Most of the shooting was with the Springfield Armory Loaded Marine Corp Operator.

Wringing It Out

During the testing, I also wanted to see just how much bump the bumper pad could take. Inferior magazines will spill cartridges when dropped from certain heights. I simulated a fumbled reload and dropped fully loaded Never Unarmed magazines from waist height, and then from chin height.

They slammed hard on the concrete floor, but never lost a round. I dropped them multiple times and they hung solidly onto the cartridges. That’s a good sign.

I had a few other 1911s in the shop along with the Marine Operator. One was an older Springfield TRP with an extended magwell. I had no issues seating the magazine with the magwell of that pistol. I’ve found some 1911 magazines’ bumper pads are not compatible with extended magwells, but no problems with this one. I also had a selection of 1911s from other makers on hand.

For ammo, I chose 230-gr. FMJ ball ammo, which any 1911 magazine should feed without issue. These rounds have bulbous bullet noses and usually feed easily in 1911 pistols. I also included some defense loads with 185-gr. and 220-gr. jacketed hollow points. These bullets have a sharp taper and a flat nose. These rounds can be the bane of a 1911, especially when fed through an inferior magazine.

I fully loaded the Never Unarmed 1911 magazine with eight rounds, and I found that the last round was as easy to load as the first. Shooting for speed at 7 yards on an D-1 Tombstone target, I loaded the magazines partially. I wanted to test reloads and check on slide lock with the mags.

The slides on the Marine Operator and the other 1911 pistols I used all locked back. Reloads were smooth and quick. The Never Unarmed mag tube is slick when inserted in the pistol, and that no doubt helped. The magazine seated every time with either a slap from the palm of my hand or a slow press with my fingers. In total, I estimate I put 500 rounds through the Never Unarmed magazines and didn’t experience a single hitch.

Are They Worth It?

From my perspective, Never Unarmed magazines perform as expected. Despite my initial concerns regarding the magazine’s very low cost, after having tested them I would not hesitate to use them in an EDC gun.

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