Exclusive: The Old Guard and the 1911

I really enjoy seeing and trying all the new holsters and new holster designs available today. But there are a few old (better: “classic”) holsters I love. One is the Galco Royal Guard. This rough-side-out horsehide holster regularly gets called on for concealed carry duty for the Nighthawk Custom T4 you see here.

Now in Generation 2, Galco’s Royal Guard has been around a long time and many holster makers have created a version of this design. The one you see here is from an earlier generation, lacking the raised sweat guard found on the Gen 2 models. But the key features — double belt loops, reinforced mouth, and tough-as-nails horsehide — remain. It retails for $129.95.


Why do I love it? Besides the three key features, the fit of this gun to the 1911 design is perfect. And with smooth-side leather on the inside of the holster, the retention and protection of the 1911 is perfect. That’s right, perfect. Maybe it’s because the 1911 has been around for a long time, too? Anyway, despite being a classic and relatively simple inside the waistband holster, it offers great concealment. The holster sends the stocks of the 1911 up and in (therefore, well-hidden), the bulge of the rig diminishes at 4 o’clock (position on waist — not time of day) and the whole thing remains relatively comfortable all day. Go for a draw and your 1911 is there. Easy out. And with the reinforced mouth, it’s easy back in, too.


While it takes  a bit more effort to install — the two belt holster loops go on either side of a pant loop but under your belt — you’re rewarded with a very stable rig and a fairly aggressive forward cant. Removing the holster is a snap; two, actually. And then you pull the rig up and off.


Galco offers two generations of this holster for many handgun makes and models, both new and old. But it’s such a great fit for the 1911, you too might prefer the old Guard.

— Mark Kakkuri


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9 thoughts on “Exclusive: The Old Guard and the 1911

    1. J. Rayburn

      Couple years ago, I bought a Summer Special II from Brownell’s. It looks and specs pretty much the same, but it does have the sweat shield, which I prefer, as it keeps the Bo-Mar and Swenson from gouging me at the belt line.

  1. Dan Sampsel

    Going to the Galco website, I found no reference to an “Old Guard” holster. Only the Royal Guard model (gen. 2). Hope this clarifies any issues for new buyers.

  2. NeedExperiencedAdvice

    For those of you that carry a 1911 in this holster daily, what’s the comfort level as compared to a Crossbreed or that style of IWB holster? The Crossbreed and that style is not at all comfortable to me. I drive a lot, and sitting in my truck the “extra” leather on the super-wide holsters tends to rub on my leg and thigh. I now only carry OWB because of this, but I’d really like the concealability of an IWB. The 1911 would be perfect in any flavor in the waistband without a holster, but I won’t carry without a holster. I’ve been carrying a 1911 for over 20 years on and off duty, Colt Defender for summer, Commander or full-size in winter, but all OWB.

    1. J. Rayburn

      I believe I read something in AH about Clint Smith preferring the Sparks Summer Special and a 1911 IWB. That’s about as expert as you’re gonna find.

      1. mark Post author

        Thanks, J. Rayburn, for your comment. For sure we should hear from the experts who’ve been carrying for a long, long time. But don’t minimize or dismiss the subjectivity of fit and feel and personal preference when it comes to guns and holsters available today. I too try to make certain guns and holsters work because I know they work for others. But sometimes I have to go with what works for me. I don’t readily disagree with the experts. I’m just saying there’s a case for making decisions based on personal preference. “Comfort” might be THE most subjective area of concealed carry…

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