1911 Holster Buyer’s Guide

If you want to pack serious heat, for whatever reason, you need a great holster. A good one just won’t do for your primary sidearm. So, if you have a government 1911 or any other full-sized 1911 with up to a 5” barrel, then I recommend nothing short of the best 1911 holster you can afford. Here are some of our favorite options out there. 

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How to Pick the Best 1911 Holster

Although a 1911 gun is not very thick, getting a great holster for it is a must. You should put more thought into it than you would when picking out a holster for your backup piece or a small caliber handgun. To make this decision easier, here are some helpful tips.

Durability

When it comes to your 1911 sidearm, you need to understand one thing: It’s not only powerful but also a heavy handgun. When carrying this type of weapon, you need a high-quality, sturdy holster to do it justice and stay safe at all times.

So, the build quality is the first thing to look at. It needs to provide support but also be robust enough to shoulder the load of a 1911 gun.

Application

When and where you use the holster also factor into your decision-making. At first, I didn’t understand that some holsters are better than others in specific scenarios. Take duty holsters for example.

These holster designs don’t care about concealment. They need to allow officers to draw their weapon fast. They also have to allow proper support during physical activities such as running, jumping, crawling, and so on.

A similar type of holster is the competition holster. Fast-drawing is the name of the game, so it doesn’t matter if the design is bulky. Concealment holsters are built slimmer and don’t care too much about how fast you can draw your gun. It’s all about keeping your pistol tight to your body so that it doesn’t show through your clothes.

Style: IWB vs. OWB

IWB holsters are inside the waistband holsters. OWB models can be used outside the waistband. The former provides some benefits in terms of concealment. It’s a design that allows you to hide most of your gun with your pants, leaving only the grip exposed.

OWB holsters are more comfortable. The design doesn’t dig into your body and is less likely to wobble or move out of position during strenuous physical activities. It’s also very easy to draw from an OWB holster.

Again, choosing between the two types has to do with the application. It’s not just about personal preference here.

Materials

Unlike other holsters, a dedicated 1911 holster isn’t elastic. You won’t find high-quality neoprene 1911 holsters. Instead, you have classic leather shells or the more modern polymer holsters. The latter can also come in modular designs.

Leather can be a hit or miss. High-quality leather may last you a lifetime. But even that will deform over time. I lean towards polymer holsters due to their extended durability.

A polymer holster provides better wear and tear resistance as well as against the elements. This type of holster can also be thin and lightweight, thus very comfortable to use.

Depending on the application, you should consider either a non-modular or a modular holster. I like the latter because you can get a custom model that has room for pistol attachments. Apart from that, it’s also easier to position the holster wherever you want it.

Let’s face it. Not everyone keeps their gun on the waistband. With a modular design, you can adapt to your waist, shoulder, back, or even chest. Whichever makes you more comfortable and efficient when drawing your sidearm.

Sizing and Fit

You may notice that 1911 holsters don’t always fit all handguns in this category. Some have custom fits for specific gun manufacturers. If possible, I recommend you take this sizing route to ensure that you have excellent gun retention and trigger safety.

That’s why most gun owners stay away from nylon 1911 holsters. Especially those working in law enforcement, private security, and so on.

Retention

Think of retention as the way in which the holster clings to the gun. How well it keeps it fixed and secure, yet also easy enough to take out and shoot.

Extra Perks

Unlike other concealment holsters, a full size 1911 holster should support your gun – no more no less. There is no need to have room for a spare magazine slot. Most users carry their extra ammo in their waistband pouches for quick access and tons of storage room. This usually applies to 1911 concealed holsters too.

Reviews

Blade-Tech Industries Phantom IWB Holster

This is a very cool 1911 concealed carry holster. It fits even government-issued 5” pistols. It comes in a right-handed style and features dual loops for extra security and support.

I like the use of pull-the-dot snaps on this holster. Not only do they keep the gun in check, but they also allow you to draw your sidearm fast and in a smooth motion. There is no dragging or snagging to worry about.

The build features a .080 polymer construction. It’s thin and, although hard, not that uncomfortable to wear. The loops provide some adjustability and you can get them to fit belts of between 1.25” and 1.75” wide.

You may also appreciate the full-length sweat guard. This protects your gun and keeps it looking good and functioning properly.

The holster fits a variety of guns. The Remington 1911 R1 can work well with it but also the Rock Island 1911. You can even get away with a 15-degree angled position, if you don’t prefer a straight vertical draw.

Pros

  • Ideal for vertical and angled draws
  • Very secure and sturdy holster
  • Full-length barrel coverage
  • Thin polymer build for easy concealment

Cons

  • Not compatible with the Colt 1911
  • The straps are of average quality

ComfortTac Ultimate Belly Band Holster

This is a one-size-fits-all type of holster for all sidearms. It holds a tiny revolver just as well as a 1911. However, it’s made of neoprene and may not be as durable in the long run, especially with the added weight of a full-size pistol.

That said, I like the OWB style for training purposes or when on the move. It provides a secure fit and a lot more comfort than a holster that’s digging into your skin. The belly band allows multiple carry positions and also features a magazine pouch.

You can draw your weapon swiftly out of this holster. And, it comes in models for left- and right-handed users. The list of compatible sidearms ranges from subcompact to full-size. And, you can get a band that fits up to a 54” belly circumference.

All things considered, the ComfortTac does a great job of appeasing a wider audience. One of my favorite features is the trigger guard. It’s a hard plastic guard that guarantees an even better fit.

Pros

  • Useful for a variety of firearms
  • Protects most of the barrel of a government 1911 pistol
  • Magazine pouch included
  • Allows drawing from multiple positions

Cons

  • Not as long-lasting as classic 1911 holsters

Galco Kingtuk 1911 4” RH

Galco is one of the top sidearm holster manufacturers. The Kingtuk is a special take on the classic 1911 IWB holster. This model provides comfort and security, as well as a good amount of drawing speed for a variety of applications.

The holster pocket is quite rigid with a Kydex and leather build. The part that goes against the skin is lined with saddle leather. This provides some comfort and minimizes the risk of chafing. What’s also cool is that you can set your ideal carry height.

You can do this by adjusting the position of the metal belt clips. This feature does a lot to help with the concealment of already big pistols. What is interesting is that the Kydex holster pocket won’t properly fit a California-compliant S&W M&P Shield.

I recommend this for other 1911 series of pistols with barrels up to 5”. A thinner model like the Para-Ordnance P14.45 would make a better choice. It also works beautifully with a Ruger Commander. Yet I do stress that you may be slightly uncomfortable if you wear this holster while driving.

Pros

  • Very sturdy Kydex holster
  • Leather component with soft inside lining
  • Adjustable carry height through belt loops
  • Supports up to 5” barrels

Cons

  • May not fit some of the more popular government-issued 1911s
  • Poses some discomfort when in a seated position

Blackhawk SERPA Concealment Holster

This model comes highly recommended for the Springfield XD compact pistols. But it has more going for it than that. It provides a better grip and quick retention after re-holstering.

It also comes with a paddle platform for better weight support and stability. The SERPA auto lock release is a cool design feature. It allows you to draw your weapon fast and also secures it automatically when you holster it.

This system also has a detent adjustment screw, so you can make custom changes depending on the gun used. You may also appreciate the compatibility with popular platforms such as Tactical Holster, S.T.R.I.K.E, and Shoulder.

This is not only a sturdy holster but also a complex and modern model. With that in mind, it doesn’t seem to have the most precise belt loops. Adjustments aside, they still leave some wiggle room on a 1.5” belt.

Pros

  • High-end build quality
  • SERPA auto-locking system
  • Fits most popular platforms
  • Effortless sliding action

Cons

  • Doesn’t fit modded sidearms
  • The belt spacer is not always accurate

Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0

For many, the Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 3.0 may be the best 1911 holster especially for those who are into leather IWB models.

The holster slot is very sturdy, and fits barrels up to 4” very well. The compact design conceals the sidearm just fine. When it comes to comfort, there’s nothing bad to bring up. The leather is high-quality but not too rough or hard.

The lining does a good job of preventing chafing. I have to say that I really like the fully exposed grip design. From a drawing standpoint, this allows for maximum drawing speeds. And the action isn’t bad either. There’s nothing to push or pull when you have to take out your gun in one swift motion.

Even the straps are of the highest quality, something that not many manufacturers offer these days. Although it’s understandable if you might find the Cloak Tuck 3.0 too rugged, keep in mind that there’s a break-in period. It does make a difference.

Pros

  • Screwed-in straps for added support
  • High-end leather
  • Good concealment properties
  • Ideal fit for the S&W M&P Shield

Cons

  • Potential inconsistencies with the quality of the strap screws

Final Thoughts and Recommendation

All the 1911 holsters on this list have their own advantages and minor drawbacks. But with all things considered, the Blackhawk SERPA does get the edge. It’s a very sturdy holster that supports platform and belt installation.

Furthermore, the patented SERPA system allows for automatic retention when you re-holster your sidearm. This allows for more maneuverability and fluid drawing motion. Despite its minor inconsistencies with the belt loops, it still offers more security to a broad range of 1911 firearms. And considering all of the utility and unique design, it doesn’t cost as much as you might expect.

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