Unveiling The All-Time Best 1911 Holster: Comprehensive Guide to 1911 Concealed Carry

As someone who has carried a 5-inch Ruger 1911 for years, I can attest that effectively concealing this full-size handgun is no small feat. It's a mission that demands dedication, practice, and a deep understanding of both your body and your gear. The 1911, with its larger frame and length, poses unique challenges for concealment, but with the right approach, knowledge, and tools, it can be done with surprising efficacy.

1911 Holster
1911 Holster

Choosing The Right Type of 1911 Holster

The key to concealing a 5-inch 1911 effectively lies in selecting the right holster and clothing, and understanding how your body type influences your carry options. Although this handgun is marked as full-size it is designed with a welcomed slim profile that helps with its concealment. For those with a larger build, a canted 1911 holster can be surprisingly effective, even with only a loose T-shirt on. However, for more slender frames the appendix IWB 1911 holster might be the better choice, offering faster draw and control over your handgun at all times. The choice of clothing is crucial. While colder temperatures allow easier concealment of your full-size 1911, because of multiple layers of clothing, the warmer environment asks for a better 1911 concealed carry holster that hides the robust grip of this pistol more effectively. Patterns can help break up the outline of a gun, and heavier fabrics can better mask the print of your 1911.

Experimentation with holster positioning is also vital. Some find that carrying at the 4 o'clock position on the waistband offers a good balance of accessibility and concealment regardless of body type. Others may prefer the 1911 SOB holster or appendix carry, which can be highly effective for quick access, though it might require more practice to master the art of drawing and reholstering safely. It's also worth considering the use of accessories like gun belts or undershirts designed for concealed carry, which can provide additional support and reduce printing. Above all, regular practice with your chosen setup is essential. It not only improves your comfort and confidence but also ensures that you can draw safely and efficiently when necessary. Remember, effectively concealing a 5-inch 1911 is an art as much as it is a science, and it's one that can be mastered with patience and persistence.

Choosing The Right 1911 Holster Material

Choosing the right material for your 1911 holster is a critical decision that can significantly impact your comfort, the holster's durability, and how effectively you can carry and access your firearm. We all know that good old 1911 should be worn in a good old leather holster, however, the material determines not only how the holster will feel against your body but also how it will wear over time and react to different environments. It is worth it to at least consider other options, before diving straight to the classic 1911 holster. From timeless leather to modern synthetics, each material offers unique advantages. In the upcoming sections, I will break up various holster materials, exploring their benefits and providing examples to help you make an informed decision tailored to your specific needs and lifestyle.

Hybrid 1911 Holster
Hybrid 1911 Holster

1911 Leather Holster

The classic choice for many, leather holsters offer a timeless aesthetic and a custom fit that complementes your 1911. They're known for their durability, silence when drawing & reholstering, and unseen comfort, especially after a break-in period. Leather also excels in retaining its shape if maintained regularly. However, they can be susceptible to humidity and require regular maintenance to keep the material in top condition. Additionally, leather is bio material, so with no care it may wear over time, potentially affecting retention.

1911 leather holster
1911 leather holster

1911 IWB Leather Holster - A112 Hawk

This 1911 IWB Leather holster made of full-grain Italian leather is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, specifically tailored for my 1911. It artfully combines the efficiency of IWB holsters with steel clips and the sleek, thin profile of a pancake design. The open top allows for a quick draw while the reinforced top ensures the holster remains open for easy reholstering, even without the gun inside. The level of detail extends to customization options, allowing for personalization such as color, preferred cant, hand option, sight, and even embossing initials. This holster, crafted by skilled artisans, is not just a carrying solution for your firearm but a statement piece that could potentially match the lifespan of your 1911.

IWB Leather Holster A112
IWB Leather Holster A112

Pros:

  • Premium quality full-grain Italian leather for durability and aesthetic appeal
  • The reinforced top keeps the holster open for easy reholstering
  • Available with and without cant
  • Sweat guard prevents moisture transfer between the body and the firearm
  • Custom hand-made fit for specific handguns enhances security and fit
  • A lot of personalization options
  • The pancake design ensures a thinner profile for better concealment

Cons:

  • Requires regular maintenance to maintain leather quality
  • Heavier compared to synthetic holsters like Kydex
  • May need a break-in period for optimal fit and comfort

1911 Kydex Holster

Kydex holsters are a modern alternative known for their ruggedness and low maintenance. This lightweight, synthetic material maintains its shape under various conditions, ensuring a consistent fit and draw for your 1911. Kydex holsters can feature adjustable retention and are generally more affordable. On the downside, they lack the traditional aesthetic of leather and can be less comfortable against the skin, especially in hot or humid conditions. Also, the rigid material may in some cases cause wear on the firearm's finish over time.

1911 Kydex Holster
1911 Kydex Holster

1911 IWB Kydex Holster - A903 2021

The A903 Kydex concealed carry holster is a custom, hand-made holster, ideal for the 2 o'clock or 3 o'clock position. It offers a tailored fit for my 1911 with a retention point in the trigger guard area. Drawing from this holster is very smooth, and reholstering is also flawless. The holster's durable construction from genuine 0.08-inch U.S. Kydex and its comfortable design make it suitable for everyday use. The featured claw is a game changer, and its ability to conceal the grip of a 1911 is better than that of a leather holster. Although I am more used to leather holsters and didn't really enjoy the sturdy nature of the Kydex, this is just my personal preference, which you might overlook.

1911 IWB Kydex Holster A903
1911 IWB Kydex Holster A903

Pros:

  • Custom molded for a perfect fit and excellent gun retention.
  • Made from durable, genuine U.S. Kydex.
  • Optional claw makes concealed carry very effective
  • Strong & durable polymer clip

Cons:

  • Kydex might not be comfortable for everyone
  • Less customization options

1911 Hybrid Holster

Hybrid holsters combine the best features of both previous materials. The comfort & silence of leather and the durability and precision fit of Kydex. These holsters typically feature a leather backing that sits against the body for comfort, with a Kydex shell that encases the gun. This combination provides a balance of comfort and functionality. However, the varying materials may require different maintenance routines, and with the wrong care, the leather part may lose its form faster than the Kydex.

1911 Leather Kydex Holster
1911 Leather Kydex Holster

1911 IWB Hybrid Holster - A908

The A908 holster is a remarkable blend of comfort and functionality, making it an ideal choice for concealed carry. This hybrid holster pairs the stability and quick draw of Kydex with the comfort of airflow leather, resulting in an impressive, high-quality holster. Custom-fitted to my Ruger 1911, the holster provides a perfect fit. The leather platform is perforated, allowing the skin to breathe, which makes long carry periods more comfortable. Strong polymer grip hook belt clips placed on the edges of the leather platform are easy to work with and stabilize the holster with 1911 quite well. The only real flaw I can see with this holster is that it does not feature a canted configuration, which makes it suitable only for the appendix or 2 o'clock position.

1911 IWB Hybrid Holster A908
1911 IWB Hybrid Holster A908

Pros:

  • Comfortable for long periods due to breathable leather.
  • Stable & easy to take on and off thanks to the polymer grip hook belt clips
  • Excellent concealment of 1911 in the appendix position

Cons:

  • Suitable only for appendix or 2 o'clock position
  • Varying materials may require different maintenance routines

1911 Nylon Holster

Nylon holsters are valued for their affordability and versatility. They are lightweight, easy to clean, and often very comfortable. Nylon is also more resistant to moisture compared to leather. These holsters offer the same level of durability as leather or Kydex. However, they may be a little more bulky which makes concealed carry more difficult.

1911 Nylon Holster
1911 Nylon Holster

1911 IWB Nylon Holster - A812 Hensley

This 1911 IWB holster offers a similar sleek platform design as its leather counterpart, the A112. Although the design is almost identical, it is crafted from different materials. The A812 is expertly made from ballistic nylon, with black leather used to reinforce the top of the holster and the far edges of the platform. Its reinforced leather top keeps the holster open for easy reholstering, while the sturdy nylon body maintains its shape. Unlike the A112, the A812 features an integrated plastic sights rail that not only protects the top sights but also helps prolong the lifespan of the holster by protecting the side prone to damage. A sweat guard keeps the gun separated from the body, enhancing comfort. However, a clear flaw of this holster, especially compared to the A112, is that it has thicker walls, adding a bit more bulk. If you opt for this holster, I recommend pairing it with additional layers of clothing or looser wardrobe options to accommodate its size.

1911 IWB Nylon Holster A812
1911 IWB Nylon Holster A812

Pros:

  • The reinforced top keeps the holster open for easy reholstering
  • Available with and without cant
  • Sweat guard prevents moisture transfer between the body and the firearm
  • Custom hand-made fit for specific handguns enhances security and fit
  • Sights rail that protects the 1911 and also prolongs the lifespan of the holster itself

Cons:

  • Nylon is a little bulkier and requires larger clothing
  • Lack of personalization options

1911 Shoulder Holster

I simply couldn't complete this article without mentioning shoulder holster carry. Shoulder holsters are a very popular concealed carry option among 1911 owners. The primary method of concealing them requires wearing a jacket, coat, suit, or any other additional layer of clothing over them. A significant advantage of 1911 shoulder holsters is that they distribute the weight of your 1911 evenly across your body, making them ideal for those who carry larger or heavier handguns. This even weight distribution can reduce strain on the hips and lower back, which is common with waistband holsters. Additionally, shoulder holsters keep the firearm within easy reach, especially when seated, making them a preferred choice for drivers or individuals who spend a lot of time in vehicles. Their placement also allows for more natural and swift drawing motion compared to some other carry styles.

1911 Shoulder Holster
1911 Shoulder Holster

1911 Shoulder Holster - D108 Gazelle

This roto premium leather shoulder holster is a paragon of craftsmanship and functionality. It features a steel-reinforced forefinger security strap to ensure your firearm remains securely in place. The groundbreaking roto design of this holster allows the gun to rest vertically, but when it's time to draw, the holster rotates to an angle that promotes a more ergonomic and fast draw. It is available with multiple harness options & counterbalance options to your needs.

1911 Shoulder Holster D108
1911 Shoulder Holster D108

Pros:

  • Roto design allows for ergonomic and rapid drawing
  • Customizable for a perfect fit for over 3000 handgun models
  • Made of full-grain Italian leather
  • Personalization options available for a unique touch

Cons:

  • The shoulder holster may not be as discreet as other concealed carry options during warmer months
  • Requires maintenance to preserve the quality of the leather
  • The initial adjustment period needed for comfort and fit

Conclusion

Ultimately, the best holster for your 1911 is one that aligns with your personal needs, lifestyle, and the environments in which you carry. Regular practice and familiarization with your chosen holster are crucial for ensuring safety and efficiency in draw and reholstering.

1911 Shoulder Holster Roto System
1911 Shoulder Holster Roto System

Remember, the art of concealed carry with 1911 is a journey – one that evolves with experience and preference, ensuring that you are always prepared, comfortable, and confident in your choice.

Andrew Miller

Writer

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