Part of the perceived 1911 reliability problem is the wide variety of aftermarket 1911 magazines. Colt factory magazines are reliable. There are, however, artisans on Cat Street in Hong Kong who make Colt magazine knockoffs from melted down bottlecaps that would fool the most discriminating eye. In the land of counterfeit reality, they are even packaged in Colt packaging. The only way to insure you are buying a genuine Colt magazine is to either buy it from Hartford, or buy the gun as well. All other Colt magazines, no matter how they are packaged, no matter what is stamped on the bottom, are suspect, until you test their reliability. I have had good luck with both Colt and Springfield magazines that came with pistols I bought new.
Wilson Combat makes the magazines I prefer. Specifically, I like the Wilson 47D. I have a collection of Wilson magazines that I purchased from friends as they were liquidating their 1911s. Some had the plastic base pad, which I immediately replaced with a metal low profile pad. Bill Wilson, in designing his magazines specifically for reliability in severe conditions, did the obvious. He developed a polymer follower to provide exact feed geometry rather than use the traditional metal leaf. The design works. These are the only magazines that I will use in a carry 1911. I believe in them that much. They cost a bit more, but they are the best.
When I bought my Gold Cup used, it came with a Chip McCormick Shooting Star magazine. This magazine proved itself to be reliable, and I later had the opportunity to buy several more used CMC mags for a pittance. I bought, and they all fed reliably. The Shooting Star mags have a metal follower that can damage an aluminum framed 1911's feed ramp, however. If your 1911 has an aluminum frame, stick with Wilson magazines.
Finally, when I acquired a 9mm Colt Commander, I ordered two 9mm magazines from CDNN. These turned out to be Metalform magazines, although they were advertised as Colt factory mags. Metalform is a supplier of magazines to Colt, so I suppose the description was somewhat accurate. At any rate, the two Metalform magazines have functioned flawlessly in my Colt 9mm Commander. CDNN has a plethora of magazines available, and they stand behind their products. The only problem with CDNN is $10 shipping, no matter what you order. It works out great if you are ordering three pistols, awful if you are ordering one magazine.
I suppose I should mention a bit about the care of magazines. Often, when a gun is cleaned, the magazine is ignored. I use only powdered graphite inside my magazines if I feel a lubricant is needed. Oil inside a magazine will only attract dirt and debris, in addition to possibly seeping into the ammo and causing poor ignition. I lean towards stainless magazines if I can get them. If I need a black magazine I will Gun-Kote a stainless mag black. It is my belief that magazines can be stored fully loaded for an extended time with no adverse results. It is the expansion and compression of the spring that wears it out, not simply remaining in storage compressed. Thus, I do not routinely rotate out magazines and ammo.
I am sure there may be a decent magazine that I have not listed. Those depicted are simply the magazines that I, personally, have used and have had good luck with. Because I have bought cheap, shoddy magazines in the past, I believe I save money by simply purchasing the right brand. Anything else is a gamble.
1911 Magazine Analysis