Magazine Swaps

I learned something yesterday at the range. I was trying out the 50 round drill described here: Training with only 50 rounds

I have been carrying a sub-compact 1911 style, and practice magazine swaps with snap caps at home - never a problem. I have been transitioning to carrying a compact/commander size 1911 every now and then. I have not done magazine swap drills with the compact 1911 at home - just didn’t think it would be that different. I was wrong! When I came to the part of the drill where you drop a magazine I had a rude surprise - I can’t reach the magazine release button with my thumb.

I am guessing the solution is to use the off hand to release it prior to the off hand grabbing the “spare” magazine? How does everybody else drop a magazine?

Maybe I should re-watch the video to see how she does it :thinking:


I’m not a huge fan of her grip - but if it works and is safe for her…

As far as dropping the magazine, you want to be able to do it one handed, especially in case of injury. On larger guns, my hand sifts ever so slightly to be able to hit the magazine release.


Have you tried installing grips with a magazine release cutout? The grips on a compact/officer are slightly shorter than GI and Commander grips, so keep that in mind if you order them. I think the Magpuls here were $12 or so - pretty cheap if you want to see if it helps. It made a huge difference for me.


That’s a good idea. I should be able to see if would help by removing the left grip. If my thumb is still too short, then the cutout ain’t gonna help :smiley:


I have a friend that physically rotates the hand gun in his hand to get to the mag release in competition. Than is also why I like the S & W M & P’s, you can have the mag release on either side. I am right handed and also My hands are small so I use my trigger finger to release the mag without the rotation.


I totally agree, however I spent a little more for my G10 Grips, manipulations with thumb depressions make life and death situations more manageable. These are installed on every 1911 I own!


I know the problem you’re having. I have small span hands as well. First I bought the thinnest grip panels I could find. Can’t remember off hand who made them but it helps make the reach closer. As Dawn stated, a shift in the grip will afford you the ability of reaching the release. With practice it can be quick and efficient. I shoot IDPA and USPSA with compact and full size 1911s with no real problem but perhaps not quite as fast to reload. That I can blame on age. :smile:


The width of the grip on an officers model, commander and full size are identical the only difference is the length of the officers model, the commander and full size are identical. If you are used to running an officers model with no issues then get the same grips for your commander. I have “paws” (my wife’s term) and at full push I can barely dump the mag but when I rotate the gun and pull it in my thumb is all over the button. Just the rotation part is what brings it together. My grip does not shift on the pistol. I’m running Houge finger grove grips that have only a modest thumb relief.

My youngest son has hands like his mother’s and he runs a double stack 1911 and drops the mag with his off hand thumb as he rotates in. That was a trick I learned when the military went to the M-9 Beretta. Not the greatest fix but it has worked for 10’s of thousands of shooters.

Not a big fan of over sized buttons on a carry gun as I tried it once and I kept finding my magazine in the chair. That being said at one point there was a mag button that was oval and that seemed to work well as it was also tapered down towards the frame. It would JUST clear a set of 1911 plastic slabs similar to @Scott52 's G10’s and bought you an additional 1/8th to 3/16’s of thumb contact. Of course it was “some fitting required” mostly to relieve the underside enough not to scratch the frame when you mashed it down.




We all should be practicing with our non dominant hand as well. I for one have not started those yet but know I need to. I will be doing tons of dry fire before I ever go the range and do it.

We need to make sure we can rack, shoot and reload with the non dominant hand. Keep in mind if we have to do this in real life it will mean something bad has happened and made the dominant hand non usable.

Make sure any accessories like lights, lasers or sights don’t make it virtually impossible to rack with the use of a table, door frame, etc.