There are more accessories for 1911 style pistols than for probably any other firearm, and many are of a practical nature, evolved from combat or competition shooting. One popular modification found often on custom grade pistols that came from competitive target shooting is the beveled magazine well. Proponents hold that a deeper and at least slightly beveled mag well opening can speed up inserting new mag, as there is a larger area to “aim for” that might require less time and precision to “hit”. These mag well alterations would be either machined in or welded on a true competition pistol – or a custom 1911 – but there are ways to get this effect without making a permanent and costly change to the frame.
There are grips available that form a mag well bevel, and also front strap replacement pieces than can add both a mag well and checking to your pistol. The replacement mag wells developed by Wilson Combat, however, are the easiest of all to add, simply remove the grips, slide the beveled piece on the butt of the handgrip and fit the “hook” on each side around the grip screw bushings, then replace and screw down the grips.Some grips might require a little fitting, but I put these pieces on both my Taurus and Springfield 1911’s with no fitting. On my Taurus, the factory mags were difficult to seat in the deeper mag well, while those on the Springfield worked fine. The problem was the Taurus “bumpers” at the base of the magazine were wider, and had to be seated with fingers, rather than bumped with a heel. On these, I merely shaved the pad down, but I will probably replace them at some point with Wilson Combat base pads, which I have on the Springfield mags that came without pads.
They are available in either blued finish or stainless steel to match fairly closely the metal finish on the rest of the pistol, and do not add much length to the grip area.
As for function, they definitely DO make magazine replacement easy and I suppose faster – although I have yet to have a need for a speedy mag change. Your initial thrust of the magazine can be a little off, and the beveled well will help it slide in, without the possibility of “hanging” on an edge. They also add an attractive, custom look to the pistol that few things any owner able to turn a screwdriver can do for $30 will equal!