The M1911 is a semi-automatic, single-action pistol that is magazine fed, recoil operated and designed to use the .45 ACP cartridge.
This popular pistol is steeped in US history, having been the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 until as recent as 1985. It’s been used by U.S. forces in the Philippine-American War, as well as both the World Wars, the Korean War and Vietnam war. During those 74 years, the US government procured over 2.7 million of these pistols for military use. Despite, the Beretta M9 replacing the M1911 as the standard US sidearm in the 90’s, the M1911 remains incredibly popular with the civilian population. And it seems the military also still has affection for it, with modern variants still used by a few units within the U.S. Marine Corp, U.S. Navy, and the U.S. Army Special Forces.
The designer, John Browning, created in the M1911 one of his best ever designs, with the short recoil principle. This design was copied so much by other designers that it became the predominant type of pistol in the 20th Century.
KEEP THIS IN MIND
When purchasing a 1911 holster, the weight, functionality and size differs from one gun to the next. Keep the following in mind:
Weapon Size and Weight:
The M1911 has the following measurements:
Length: 8.25 in (210 mm)
Weight: 39 oz (1105g)
Barrel Length: This is different depending on model
Government model: 5.03 in (127 mm)
Commander model: 4.25 in (108 mm)
Officer’s ACP model: 3.5 in (89 mm)
From the above dimensions, you can see that the M1911 can be classed as a medium to large size gun. This makes it more difficult to conceal in general, and would be completely unsuitable for pocket holsters. Instead, when considering 1911 holster options you should look at shoulder holsters, over the waistband (OWB) holsters, and inside the waistband (IWB) holsters.
As explained before, the M1911 was designed to be used by the U.S. military. However, they have also become very popular with the civilian self-defence market too, mainly due to its slim design, which make them easy to conceal (especially the shorter barrelled Officer’s ACP model), as well as the power of the .45 ACP cartridge. Most civilians who carry the M1911 would ideally like to be able to conceal their gun. Shoulder holsters are a good option for concealed carry, if you live in colder climates where wearing a jacket all the time is common. But in warmer seasons or climates, concealing your weapon may become uncomfortable, and a jacket will also hamper draw speed and ease of draw. For self-defence concealed carry, good options are between OWB holsters and IWB holsters.
OUR REVIEW OF 5 1911 HOLSTER OPTIONS
Below we look at 5 1911 holster options that are available on Amazon. We look at the materials that the holsters are made from, the comfort of how it is worn, how it fits the 1911, and how easy it is to draw your weapon from the holster.
Here are our top 5 1911 holster options:
Blackhawk SERPA Level 2 Holster Matte Finish 410503BK-L
This 1911 holster is made from carbon fiber reinforced material, comes in left and right hand versions, and it’s main selling point is the fact that it has no thumb break or middle finger release which can slow down your draw. It boasts a design where you can get full firing grip when drawing, and immediate retention when reholstering the gun. Releasing the gun is via the SERPA auto-lock button release. There’s also a lot of versatility too as it supports a variety of magazines, and it attaches to drop leg platforms and shoulder harnesses with Picatinny Rails. It also comes with belt mount and paddle attachment for different ways of wearing the holster.
This 1911 holster is a winner when it comes to versatility. It has screws which can alter the holster orientation, so you can have it so the angle of draw is exactly perfect for you – fantastic for quick draw in self-defence situations. Also, the retention comes via a button and a small locking mechanism located around the trigger guard. This means that anyone who has modified the grip of their gun are not hindered in any way. It holds the 1911 very tightly so there are no worries with your firearm falling out, but you may find it a bit too tight for the longer 5” barrel ‘Government’ version (the more compact Commander and Officer’s ACP versions should be OK)
The main disadvantage of this 1911 holster seems to be the belt mount. The belt hooks can be a pain to get off your belt, with some users saying it was easier just to take the belt off. But some would say that this is a plus point; after all, the fact that the clips are so tight is what makes this holster so secure. Also, as firearm release is via a button, draw can be a little slow until you get the hang of always pressing the release when drawing. Some users have also mentioned that this holster had worn away the bluing on their steel when drawing and holstering, as well as wearing away the lining inside the holster. Concealment is very good, once you have managed to find out the configuration that works best for you.
BLACKHAWK! Serpa CQC Gun Metal Grey Sportster Holster
This 1911 holster is a budget holster made from non-reinforced Kydex, an injection-molded plastic, instead of the tougher carbon fiber version above. The benefits of this material is that it moulds itself to your body, giving superior comfort and fit. As a disadvantage, this 1911 holster can become malformed if accidentally placed near high heat. It boasts all the same features as its tougher cousin above, such as the lack of thumb break, excellent retention, and versatility with holster orientation. Disadvantages are also similar; a little too tight on 5” barrel government version of the 1911, a bit of getting use to with draw (via pressing a release), issues with lining damage when drawing and holstering, and the holster rubbing the finish of the gun slide. It only comes in paddle attachment version, so those who prefer belt mount will be disappointed. Fit for the 1911 is very snug and the paddle does not wiggle about when you walk or sit down. Concealment is good, although many users have said that it takes a while before you work out how to wear your holster for good concealment. A great entry level holster for your 1911, but one we would recommend for occasional use or use at a range, rather than everyday use.
UTG Adjustable Right Handed Leg Holster for Pistol
This 1911 leg holster is made from polyester composite padding with tough Velcro straps. It makes this holster completely modular, enabling custom use for all leg sizes, as well as adjusting to most sizes of pistols. It also boasts ‘tactical design’, allowing you adjust the height and tension so your pistol is kept in the ‘ready position’. It has a quick release buckle system too, for fast draw, and an extra magazine pouch.
Advantages are how concealable the pistol is when wearing this 1911 holster. This holster is completely adjustable, so regardless of whether you are male or female, well or slightly built, you can adjust this holster to fit perfectly. In addition, one end of the buckle has an elastic component to ensure a very snug and comfortable fit. The flap covering the magazine pouch is also adjustable Velcro, which means this holster should be able to fit extended capacity magazines without issues. Additionally, there are 2 rubberized seams that run along the entire holster length which keep the straps in place. There is next to no movement on the leg, which is great for those who plan on being in the great outdoors, hiking, backpacking etc.
There are few disadvantages to this 1911 holster. Some people simply don’t like leg holsters. Valuable seconds are taken to kneel down and unholster your gun, seconds that can make a huge difference in a self-defence situation. A few users have mentioned that when the snap button to release the gun is correctly aligned, the Velcro tabs can get in the way, which also slows down draw. This is likely to be in the way someone has customised the holster. It takes a bit of fiddling around to get the holster to fit you securely, but this is to be expected with a holster designed to be customisable to each and every user. Taking half an hour to adjust seems a small price to pay when you can create a snug, comfortable and secure holster personalised to you.
Galco KT218B King Tuck IWB Holster 3.5″-3″ 1911’s
This is a hybrid Napa leather and Kydex 1911 holster which boasts ‘the best of both worlds’; the saddled leather backing plate makes the holster comfortable to wear, whilst the rigid Kydex pocket allows for fast draw and easy holstering. This is an inside the waistband holster which has Kingtuk’s removable belt clips, that can be moved up and down corresponding holes in the leather. This allows the user to choose the angle and height to suit them. If you don’t like metal clips, you can buy separate injection-molded nylon c-hooks. Both types of clips fit belts up to 1 ¼” width. The main advantage of the nylon c-hooks is that it offers an even lower profile, making the holster and the gun even more concealable. Retention is good, after the standard break-in period expected for all leather holsters.
Concerns with this 1911 holster is with retention, with a number of users mentioning that their 1911 does not feel secure. This holster fits the longer 5” Government model well and it’s likely that users complaining about the holster being loose are using it in conjunction with the Commander or the Officer’s ACP versions of the 1911. Other issues are that the holster rides a little too high at times, and it does have a somewhat ‘forward lean’ which may create an awkward draw position for some people. It’s a shame the makers did not make this aspect as adjustable as the height.
Outbags OB-04SC Nylon OWB Belt Gun Holster with Mag Pouch
This budget, over the waistband 1911 holster is made from 600 Denier Nylon, and boasts a fully adjustable thumb break, which is said to make fast draw possible, a removable belt clip which allows mounting to belt or waistband, and a belt loop for those who want a more permanent, secure mount. It also boasts the Outbags signature ‘webbed spine’ which allows the holster to bend and create a personalised fit. Lastly, it has a magazine pouch.
When using it with the 1911, be aware that, as it is a heavier gun, you may need more than one belt clip, unless your belt is quite thick. It’s a great fit for the larger Government version of the 1911 and could work with the smaller Commander version. It’s likely to be too big for the compact Officer’s ACP version. Also, the magazine holder will not fit the 1911 magazine holder. Main disadvantage is the same issue with most Outbags holsters, with seams unravelling very easily. However, this is a budget holster.
OUR TOP 1911 HOLSTER CHOICE
There are really some great 1911 holster options available today. So which 1911 holster would we choose if we were looking for a holster to fit a 1911. Let’s recap the top options available:
The Blackhawk Serpa Level 2 Holster is made from a carbon fiber reinforced material and is a great fit for the 1911, although a bit too tight for the longer Government model. Retention is fantastic, although there are issues with the holster causing the bluing on the steel to wear off. Draw is fast once you get used to the release button. This 1911 holster option also is comfortable to wear, and easy to conceal, once you get the configurations right.
The Blackhawk Serpa CQC Sportster Holster is almost identical to its more expensive brother above, and therefore has the same great concealability and comfort. Main drawback is that this holster is really for out on the range use, or occasional wear, so may not be ideal for those who want to carry a weapon regularly for self-defence reasons.
The UTG Adjustable Leg Holster is made from polyester and is possibly the most adaptable holster on our list when it comes to customisation. Fantastic comfort, and great concealment, (of course, you would need to wear trousers!) Fit for the 1911 is fantastic, as this holster is so adjustable it will fit all versions of the 1911 (and most other guns too.) There are very few disadvantages to this 1911 holster option, apart from the simple fact that it is a leg holster, and does add valuable seconds to draw speed.
The Galco King Tuck IWB Holster is made from Napa leather and Kydex. Concealability is good, especially with the nylon c-hooks (which is a shame that these have to be bought separately), and comfort is also good. There are problems with retention, mainly with the smaller 1911 Commander and Officer’s ACP models. Also, draw speed is hampered by an awkward draw position.
The Outbags OB-04SC Nylon OWB Belt Gun Holster is made from 600 denier nylon and is a good fit for the larger Government version of the 1911, but too big for the compact versions. Concealability and comfort is good, but there are issues with durability.
So which 1911 holster option would we choose?
Making it to first place in our 1911 holster options list……and it’s a tie! We couldn’t decide between the Blackhawk Serpa Level 2 Holster and the UTG Adjustable Leg Holster. We were very impressed with the UTG leg holster as it will fit all models of the 1911, and it is unbeatable when it comes to customisation. Bearing in mind it is almost half the price of our other winner, you can see why we love this holster. The only reason it didn’t win outright is that leg holsters by their very nature do hamper draw speed, which can be extremely important in a self-defence situation.
If this is not an issue for you, then we definitely recommend this 1911 holster option above the Blackhawk Serpa Level 2 Holster. The Blackhawk is our most expensive holster on the list, and it does prove that sometimes you do get what you pay for. Its adjustable holster orientation is an absolute winner when it comes to draw speed, although practice is needed with the Serpa auto-lock button release.
WHAT DO YOU THINK -WHAT IS THE BEST 1911 HOLSTER OPTION?
What do you think of the 1911 holster options we covered? Do you think there are better 1911 holster options out there that we did not list? If so, send us a message and tell us what holster you think is the ultimate 1911 holster!
We hope you find the best 1911 holster for your needs! If you have any thoughts on the topic, we would love to hear it. So please, share your thoughts with us in the comments section!
Disclaimer: www.smokingbarrelusa.com does not manufacture, sell or distribute any of the holsters described above. All information is based on descriptions provided for the product by the relevant sellers’ product page for the holster on Amazon.com.