Big Ones Short Ones Tall Ones By: Jeremy Clough


Less BBs

Keep in mind also that the shorter grip frame means you have a shorter magazine, and therefore fewer bullets — usually six or seven rounds of .45 ACP, as opposed to the eight we expect in a Government Model magazine. Because of this, many people carry full-size magazines for their reload. There are two problems with this, but both are easily remedied.

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The first is Government-size mags may not have sufficient spring pressure to keep up with the faster-cycling slide of the short gun. Solution? Test yours to make sure they work, then keep fresh springs in them. The second problem is over-insertion. Unless the mag has some kind of a stop on it, if your pistol is at slide lock and you slam in a full-size mag, the odds are good that you’ll drive it up the magwell, past the mag catch, and into the path of the slide. It will stay there until you strip it out, and it will keep the slide from traveling forward, locking down the gun.

Since really short guns were their specialty, Detonics USA solved this problem by creating a special ejector that limited magazine insertion. On other pistols, you have to modify the magazine in some way. Wilson 8-round mags are available with a stop in place on the mag body. Wilson also offers an upward-extending floorplate that lets you retrofit existing Government-sized mags. Freed Designs offers a product called the X-Grip that similarly fits over the existing floorplate of Novak and Mec-Gar style magazines, and has the added benefit of being molded in the shape of the gun’s grip, effectively giving you more to hang on to as well.

While we’re on the topic of more to hang on to, it’s time to talk about add-on magazine funnels. While most dismiss funnels as something of a gimmick (and they really aren’t a necessity), they make it much easier to hit your magwell when you’re doing a fast reload. Unfortunately, the most common ones, such as the ubiquitous Smith & Alexander, add about a quarter inch to the bottom of the gun, making it both longer and more butt-heavy. On a Government Model, this makes the gun harder to hide and, for some, more difficult to handle. On the shorter Officer’s sized frame, however, the extra 1/4? gives you more to hang on to, in effect giving you a mid-size grip halfway between the big and small frames. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished. The gun is still readily concealable, but the added weight helps tame recoil, the added length gives you a better grip, and the huge funnel makes it faster to reload. All in all, not a bad trade-off, and one I’ve made on my personal Officer’s .45.