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Ed Brown Mag Exchange Program



About 10 years ago I was sitting in NRA Headquarters undergoing the necessary training to be promoted to Training Counselor. In the course sat a variety of instructors all of uniquely different backgrounds. While we all came from different places we all shared double-digit experience when it came to years of training students. In other words, we’ve witnessed a LOT of gunfire from thousands of different guns. Naturally, the debate opened up… know the one…..”1911, viable or unreliable”……instantly a round table discussion turned into an utter shit show. As the debate heated up our instructor decided to weigh in, and what he said was remarkable enough to silence the entire group. That golden statement was: 

“I can’t carry a gun that has an entire aftermarket based on making them function properly”

It hurt to hear that but he was right. Being the optimist that I am (eat a dick, 2020) I saw the other side of that coin and interpreted it as “put the work in and it will run”. So with that, I still use and recommend 1911s for certain defensive measures but I always advise folks to treat them like American cars; use good parts or they might not run right.

Anybody who owns a 1911 knows that the problems often lie in the magazine. After all, the original design was built to feed and fire 230-grain round-nose FMJ ammo. That’s all well and good if you are trying to play by the Hague convention but if you want your bullet to stop inside of the threat you’re likely running hollow points or even those crazy-looking Honey Badgers that hit like an outboard motor’s propeller. As such you need a better magazine and who better than Ed brown to make one. Even better they are offering an exchange program and we at Popular EDC think you ought to know about it.

Currently Ed Brown is running a program that allows you to swap out your tired, buggy mags for brand new ones made by the revered 1911 gunsmithing company. Shit, half the reason an Ed Brown runs so well is that it feeds off of these. The program allows you to swap up to 20 of your magazines for any Ed Brown magazine that is on the list for just $10 each (plus flat-rate shipping). Any mag for any mag means any mag for any mag too. Let’s say you ditched your full-sized 1911 for an officer-sized model, you can swap the big guys that you no longer have use for compact mags to go with your new gun. You can also use the program to up your capacity by sending in your 7-rounders for 8-rounders, and that is exactly what I did. 

For this piece, I sent in the two worst standard-capacity magazines that I had and requested two stainless steel 8-rounders. When they arrived I was instantly able to tell what makes these magazines cost $25 when the ones I sent in only cost me $8 at a gun show. For starters, that extra round was accommodated correctly by an elongated magazine body that is wrapped with a beefy base pad. The magazines featured heavy-duty springs and steel followers and both locked into place with far less wiggle than the ones they were replacing. It’s not often that something so seemingly insignificant gets me excited but these did and I got to the range the very next day. 

On my range day, I brought out a dinosaur of a gun, my first pistol – A Springfield M1911A1. This is about as box-stock of a 1911 that you can get and admittedly, it is limited to target work because it’s starting to show its round count. To make things tough on the old girl I ran nothing but poorly made that featured semi-wadcutter bullets and hollowpoints. These rounds were made while trying to get the dies set right on my Hornady Lock-N-Load ammo plant. That should read as variable-length ammunition of questionable crimp and/or powder charge. I sent close to 300 of these downrange with no rhyme or reason as to how they got stuffed into a magazine. Each mag swap offered a mixed bag of pills and they fed each and every one of them even to put to the gun into slide lock on the last round each time. In addition to working properly, I also enjoyed the more positive ejection that I experienced during mag swaps which takes a lot of the frustration out of the entire 1911 shooting experience. 

I wrapped things up for the day by picking up my brass (it’s on its 10 reload at least) and searching the sandpit for that last magazine that I tossed like it wasn’t mine during a reload. As I packed up my range bag I found two more magazines that I forgot that I had and with that, I smiled, knowing that these were going to get reincarnated as high-speed low-drag gear. Give the mag exchange program a try, you won’t be disappointed.

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