“You are what you eat”, they say. They say that cows fed on this grass or that grass make the best beef. What you feed yourself, you animals, is important, they say.
It’s also important when it comes to semi-automatic pistols. More importantly even than “what” you feed your semi-auto pistol is how you feed it, namely the type and quality of the magazines you use. Ask someone who has done a serious amount of shooting with modern handguns what the most common failure point of semi-automatic pistols is, and they’ll all say the same thing: “the magazine”. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use cheap magazines. In fact, I think that you should buy several cheap magazines for your defensive pistol, especially if you carry a 1911. If you have cheap mags, use them in practice only, because it will create an opportunity for spontaneous malfunction clearance drills. Learning how to clear malfs is always a good thing, so those $5/10 mags gun show specials do have a place in the galaxy.
They don’t have a place on your belt for serious matches, or for defensive use though. Magazines, like any other gun part need to be maintained, inspected, and changed. I’ve always been amazed by people who will go and buy a $500-$900 defensive pistol, and then go out and buy the cheapest magazines possible to feed their pistol. Seriously, if you go out and buy a spanking new Beretta 92FS, and then run out and buy some wretched gun show specials for magazines, do not be surprised when your 92 will only feed reliably from the factory mags.
Just like holsters, you get what you pay for with magazines. If you buy a cheap mag, make sure you test it thoroughly. Sometimes you will get a gem that works, but until you’ve ran upwards of 100 rounds through a single magazine you don’t really know if it’s reliable or not.