Exclusive: How do you carry a 1911 concealed?

Just got one of Ruger’s new SR1911’s in hand — be sure to check out Mas Ayoob’s review — and I’m having one of those nostalgic throwback moments where I want to ditch the single stack nine and carry this .45 ACP 1911 concealed. But it’s not all nostalgia. A 1911, especially a lightweight commander, is a great choice for a concealed carry gun. Has been for decades. And, right out of the box, Ruger’s latest SR1911 feels like an old friend. The question for today is which holster to carry it in.

I’ve got a few choices but I’m going to kick this one over to you for insight and comment. Check out the holsters I’ve pictured below and let me know your preference for OWB, IWB, and which types of OWB’s and IWB’s. Or, if your preference isn’t here, let us know what it is. Remember, this is simply a discussion about what type of holster you prefer, not necessarily which brand. We will discuss holster brands later, so, for now, just stick to the matter of holster type and why you like it.


Smooth and slim, a 1911 makes OWB carry easy and an open-top holster offers super fast access. Retention is friction and you gotta have a good gun belt to make this work well. Your thoughts?


Multiple belt slots offer a couple different cants and the thumb break offers a bit more security. You shouldn’t have any hang-up about the exposed, cocked hammer of a loaded 1911, but if you do, the extra piece of leather around the back of the slide can bring some extra peace of mind. You like?


Here’s the Ruger in a classic IWB where the slide width — or lack thereof — really helps with comfort. Open-top with a reinforced mouth, there’s a reason this style of holster has been around for a long time. Is it the right one for you?


IWB again, this time with a lot of leather and a couple of steel clips to keep it in place. And Ruger rests perfectly in a form-fitting Kydex carrier. Tuck it in if you want to, this holster excels at stability and comfort. What do you think?


All plastic and hardly any of it, it’s IWB again with this simple rig. Kydex holsters like this offer a perfect fit, with a confident click as the holster grabs the gun — usually with two pieces of molded plastic holding the trigger guard. A strong plastic clip makes it easy-on, easy-off for concealed carry. Do you carry with one of these?


And, really minimal, this “holster” just offers enough plastic to cover the trigger of the Ruger and secures it IWB with a single loop and snap. Technically, it does what a holster is supposed to do: offer a means of safely carrying a gun while covering the trigger. Would this holster style offer enough cover for you?

There you go: a few options for holstering a 1911 such as the Ruger SR1911. What’s your preference when holstering your 1911? How do you carry this gun concealed?

— Mark Kakkuri

PS: Once we enjoy some discussion on this, I’ll reveal the manufacturers of all the holsters here. Some may be obvious…

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5 thoughts on “Exclusive: How do you carry a 1911 concealed?

  1. Bill Crowe

    For my 1911, it’s carried in a Milt Sparks versa max IWB. Comfortable (Yea, I know its comforting first , but comfortable is an added bonus). The sweat panel on the inside keeps the pistol from digging into my ribs and also from tearing up my undershirt. Quality craftsmanship, signed by the maker. What’s not to like ?

    1. mark Post author

      Great feedback, Bill — thanks! We’d love to hear how long you’ve been carrying a 1911 and how long you’ve used that Milt Sparks holster…

  2. Walter

    For all five of my 1911’s (three 5in, one 4.25in, and a 3in Kimber I use the same make of IWB the Alien Gear original and I hardly notice anything with the full sized ones and absolutely nothing with my Kimber or my Commander!

    1. mark Post author

      Thanks for the feedback, Steve! If you would, please let us know which 1911 you carry and which Mernickle holster you use…

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