Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wilson Combat v. Tripp Research

Awhile back Wilson Combat announced the development of the "Elite Tactical Magazine".

Wilson CombatbElite Tactical Magazine

From the description in the press release, and the images on the web site, I had the notion that maybe Wilson Combat was working with Tripp Research on their magazines. It appeared very similar to the "CobraMag"

Tripp Research Cobra Mag

The CobraMags are my magazine of choice, and being the inquisitive kind of guy that I am, I wrote Wilson Combat and asked if Tripp Research had anything to do with the design. Mr. Doyle DeWoody responded:

Mr. JR,
Thanks for the note. No, the fine folks at Tripp didn't have anything to do with the design of this magazine, or have any influence of any kind on it. This magazine was designed solely by Bill Wilson and a couple of our engineers, every facet was decided on based on past performance, real experience by Bill and other company shooters, and by extensive feedback from thousands of users of our previous magazines. Any similarities between the appearance of the ETM and any one else's magazine are the result of one thing - they have to look similar to fit in a 1911 pistol.

Our website lists most of the improvements we made, from thicker steel to an all-new spring to a smarter base pad to better positioning of the observation holes to a proprietary honing process for both the inside and outside of the tube, and more...
We traded a couple of emails and it became obvious that a comparison between these two top of the line 1911 magazines was in order. It turns out that Tripp Research has come out with a second generation of CobraMags, so to be sure I was comparing apples to apples, I needed to get a couple of the new CobraMags also.

So here we are, a half a year later and I finally am able to purchase these magazines. I ordered the CobraMags direct from Tripp Research and the Elite Tactical Magazines from Mike at Dallas Tactical Supplies.

MSRP for the CobraMag is $32.95, and for the Elite Tactical Magazine is $34.95. I purchased two of each and all four arrived yesterday.

You will have to forgive my images. I tried something new and it did not work out so well.

On the left is one of my older CobraMags, the center is new CobraMag and on the right is the Elite Tactical Magazine (ETM). Note that both of the new magazines have numbered tell tales to help quickly determine round count. The ETM's stamping is deeper and more pronounced than on the CobraMag and the ETM has the full round count on both sides of the magazine where the CobraMag staggers the count on both sides of the mag. The ETM base pad is similar in appearance to the CobraMag but there are some pretty significant differences that I will go in to later. From this image you can see a major difference between the two magazines. The CobraMag has a steel insert in the follower where it contacts the slide stop, the ETM does not.

The fit and finish of the CobraMag if of a higher quality than the ETM. Under 10X magnification, the feed lips of the CobraMag were nice and smooth, the ETM not so much so. The welded seam on the back of the ETM was very obvious, the CobraMag was finished to where it was hardly noticeable. The fit and finish should not effect function, but since one of my work duties is the supervision of a machine shop, fit and finish is important to me.

Both magazines have removable base plates.

The ETM has a metal spring plate that is secured in the magazine by lips in the base of the magazine. This make it so that the follower has to be removed through the top of the magazine, but makes for a very sturdy and secure magazine base. The CobraMag has a plastic spring plate and the base pad is secured via a slot in the magazine tube. Tripp does offer an alloy base pad as an option.

The above is all fine and dandy, but how do they work?

Ease of loading?

The Elite Tactical Magazine loads the full eight round easier than the CobraMag.

Ease of seating a full magazine against a forward slide?

The Elite Tactical Magazine much easier than the CobraMag and even a little easier than my used CobraMags. I had V do a second check and she picked the ETM for it's ease of seating also.

So where do we stand at the moment?

The CobraMag has a better follower, is easier to disassemble and clean, and has a better fit and finish than the ETM.

The Elite Tactical Magazine has a sturdier base pad/spring plate assembly, is easier to load and easier to seat against a forward slide.

All that is left to do is hit the range. I will write up a range report after I put a few rounds through them and run them through a match or two.

Both of these magazines come from quality manufacturers and I have no doubts that they will each function flawlessly.


Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I'll be following this with interest--I've been considering getting a few ETM's.

NotClauswitz said...

Thanks for that! Sheesh, I have Risdon and a Scovill Mfg. mags for my '43 1911A1... I need to upgrade!

Anonymous said...

I have 6 of the previous issue of "the save the world" Wilson mags. Thousands of rounds, no malfunctions. Now they want ten bucks more for no improvment in performance. As Uncle Jeff said all the salesman is trying to do is make you dissatisfied with what you've got.

coolbus18 said...

my springfield m1911 a-1 likes the wilsom 47 and the new etm. never a ftf with them and they do load easily. keep those barrels warm and enjoy!--Alan
Portland, OR

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I just bought a pair of Wilson ETM's--I like the looks of them.

By the way, JR, do you have any experience with the 10 round CobraMags (10R-45-RG)? I'm considering getting a couple.

Anonymous said...

I have used both and now only have cobra mags