The key to keeping any semi-automatic firearm that feeds from a magazine running is to have extra magazines. With a pistol in particular, magazines tend to hit the ground during reloads and get shot more than rifles, leading to wear. One of the takeaways to my first range session of Living a 2011 Life was to pick up additional magazines to go with the few that came with the pistol.
Historically, one of the essentials to owning a 9mm 2011 was tuning magazines. Knowing this, STI redesigned their magazines to the “Gen 2” variety for much improved reliability, including the ability to lock back on the last round. When shooting USPSA or IPSC this might not be essential, but for a duty/carry or serious use gun it should be considered. Thus, many aftermarket replacement followers or magazines are designed to NOT lock the slide back, leaving STI as the primary option.
After receiving my extra magazines, I started inserting them and cycling the slide to test function. I quickly found that the slide was not staying back reliably when changing magazines. Upon a quick inspection to the ones that came with the pistol, I noticed the followers looked different. With a little internet sleuthing I found that there was indeed a Gen 2 follower as well. The newer design has a slightly different cutout for the slide release, as well as a flare on the bottom. This flare is designed to reduce follower tilt, which could create issues with locking back.
Doing a little more internet searching, I found the amount I needed in stock at Atlas Gunworks and placed an order. Once the few day wait was over, disassembling the magazines was as easy as pushing in the locking plate on the basepad, then sliding the basepad off. Spring tension forced the spring and follower out the bottom. Installation of the new followers was as easy as reversing the disassembly process, no fitting or anything required.
As a quick check, the new followers held the slide back of my Staccato P,p and the magazines worked as they should with dummy rounds. At the next range session, all of the magazines worked 100%, including locking the slide to the rear when the magazine was empty.