It was February 2014 and Chip McCormick was unable to sleep. The wheels of his mind were churning and since he was unable to stop them, he turned his attention to a problem that he had been trying to solve for 20 years. When the feed lips of a 1911 magazine are stressed they warp. Slam a fully loaded 10-round, .45 ACP magazine into a 1911-style pistol that has the slide locked back the magazine comes to a sudden halt. Inertia throws all of the weight of the ten rounds of .45 ACP ammunition against the thin walled lips of the magazine. Do it repeatedly and the lips deform.
Ten rounds of 230-grain .45 ACP ammunition weigh 42.8% more than seven rounds of the same hardball ammunition that fill a standard 1911 magazine. Those thin-walled feed lips of the old G.I. issue magazines also take a beating when they are dropped on the ground.
Chip long ago had addressed all of the issues of prevalent in old style 1911 magazines. He used premium steel and space-age design and manufacturing processes to produce the highest quality magazines available for 1911-style pistols. CMC magazines are “combat proven” to last longer than any of the cheap 1911 magazines available to the inexperienced shooter.
Always looking to provide the 1911 shooter with an edge, from having an 8th live saving round in a standard length magazine or 10 rounds in an extra capacity magazine, Chip’s goal has always been to give the 1911-user the ultimate feeding device. Ironically his development of the 10-round 1911 magazine in 1995 created a problem for anyone who abused their magazines, especially by slamming them when practicing “slide-lock” reloads and dropping them on concrete. Under such abuse it is only a matter of time before any 1911 magazine’s feed lips will fatigue and deform making them unreliable or inoperable.
The most obvious solution would seem to be simple, just increase the thickness of the magazine tube material. However, John Browning never envisioned such abuse and his original design for the 1911 pistol did not leave any extra space in the magazine well for using a heavier gauge material.
On that February night, the idea finally came to Chip, add extra material on the end of the feed lips and form that material inward to construct a dual walled feed rail™ system. His rails would replace the 105-year old thin walled feed lips design and make it obsolete.
The Patented Feed Rails™ technology is the first durability enhancement to the feeding device of the 1911 pistol. It is the most recent improvement to magazine design to come from Chip in over 30 years. Chip’s magazine innovations started with his extra capacity 8-round .45 ACP Shooting Star magazine and his 10-round .38 Super Match Grade CMC 1911 magazines.
The Railed Power Magazine™ or RPM™ is a truly revolutionary new design for 1911-style pistols. It is the new ultimate in 1911 ammunition feeding devices. But great ideas need to be backed up with design and manufacturing processes. The concept of creating “Feed Rails” inside the tube of a 1911 magazine required complex tooling and manufacturing process that in themselves have turned out to be so unique and novel that they are patent pending as well as the design of the RPM.
After many months of research and development the complex engineering task of creating a cost effective process for producing the dual-walled Feed Rails, the first proof of concept prototypes were finally ready. It was time for Chip and his team to begin the task of testing prototypes of the RPM in .45 ACP.
During the evaluation period several important features were learned about the patent pending Feed Rails. First, it was thought that the doubling of the material would double the strength of the feed lips. Instead according to the engineers on the project they felt the elliptical cross section of the Feed Rails were substantially stronger. They predicted that the feed rails could be four times or more durable than feed lips. And in testing the RPM prototypes, in some cases the increased durability exceeded four times the strength of feed lips.
Another discovery was the radius of the Feed Rails engages the radius of the cartridge case with less friction than sharp edge of common feed lips. Gone were any deep scratches imparted by cheap feed lips on the cartridge case. With the new RPM magazine the .45 ACP cartridge glides out of the tube and the Feed Rails releases the cartridge with unparalleled smoothness.
The results of the prototype testing were simply amazing.
With the massive durability of the Feed Rails being tested and proven out, Chip next turned his attention to increasing the strength, service life and reliability of the spring in the RPM. Fatigued springs account for about 15% of the stoppages in most magazines. By redesigning the follower and the interface of the integral base pad/base plate of the RPM, Chip was able to use 19 coils of rocket wire spring in the 10-round extra capacity model. The 8-round RPM has 18 coils of rocket wire in it, more than any other 8-round magazine on the market. These increases in spring strength and service life are an appropriate match up with the durability and service life of the Feed Rails.
Chip McCormick is a name that most shooters in the past three decades associate with outstanding 1911 magazines and with good reason. Tens of thousands of law enforcement and military customers such as FBI, Marine RECON, Army Special Ops, and LAPD SWAT require reliability and service life second to none in their 1911 magazines and they have used them from war zones around the globe to the streets they patrol in America. CMC magazines have proven their durability for these public servants and it is no wonder that Chip McCormick magazines are also trusted by some of the finest athletes in the shooting sports world.
What many do not know is that those magazines are the result of a relentless pursuit of excellence and maximizing reliability and durability under all conditions.
Because the military and law enforcement loves CMC mags, Chip never forgets that they might be used in all sorts of harsh environments. Because of that, he designed his follower with the least amount of surface contact with the inside of the tube. Unlike other followers, steel or plastic, that require front and back downward extending guides and/or downward extending skirts for stabilization, a CMC magazine is as near impossible to be locked up by dirt, sand, or grime as it gets.
But innovator that he is, Chip took it a step farther. The already Patented RPM follower is also patent-pending for another innovative design function for flexing the top and bottom halves of the RPM follower from side to side to further induce positive engagement of the slide stop upon last shot fired. Anyone with law enforcement, military or competition training knows how critical it is for the 1911-style pistol to lock open upon the last shot being fired. For law enforcement and military operators it can mean life or death in a lethal confrontation. For the shooting competitor it can mean winning or losing a local match, a national or world championship.
In addition to having had an amazing professional shooting career, Chip is a brilliant inventor. He is the inventor of the drop-in match AR trigger; he has conceptualized a world class competition holster and created several other innovations in the manufacturing world. The later includes ushering Kimber into the 1911 market and changing the way that most 1911s are manufactured. The point is that his mind never stops. The revolutionary new RPM magazine is the most recent result of his persistent focus on excellence.