Looking for advice


August 17, 2014, 03:54 PM
I have a fair amount of experience with handguns not so with holsters. I am looking for a practical way to carry a full size 1911. If it is outside the waistband I want it high and tight. I am 6ft. 2 in. and weigh 230, not slim but not obese yet.
I have heard good things about Milt Sparks summer special. I am looking for practical advice on IWB or OWB and products that you would recommend. I am also looking for GOOD holsters for sale. Any advice will be much appreciated. I value the real world opinion you guys can provide.

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August 17, 2014, 04:30 PM
I can tell you that the Cross Breed Supertuck is the most comfortable IWB holster I have used when it comes to concealing full size pistols. I contracted overseas for several years and concealed a G19 very well with one. I currently use a Supertuck everyday with a compact 1911.

August 17, 2014, 05:59 PM
I was just on their website and they do not list their most popular product for the 1911. Puzzles me.

August 17, 2014, 06:01 PM
I can see it right there in the drop down menu.

August 17, 2014, 06:21 PM
There are a lot of good makers, some GREAT makers, and so much variety your head will swim.

A "pancake" or "speed scabbard" style does a great job of tucking the gun in close against you. That type of holster is hard to beat if you want to choose an OWB to start with.


I've used one by DeSantis for a VERY long time and it isn't wearing out yet. For the price, hard to beat.

For IWBs, there are lots of choices. Great IWBs can be had from Alessi or Sparks (the Versa Max II is a mile better than the Summer Special which is just fine, itself) or lots of others and my own favorite holster for 1911s is a tuckable variation on that theme.


This is probably the most comfortable holster I own. It is actually MORE comfortable than some of my OWBs.

But the new hotness is the idea of a "hybrid" IWB like a CrossBreed (http://www.crossbreedholsters.com/IWB/tabid/158/Default.aspx). Great fit and rigidity from the kydex shell, great comfort and stability from the leather back piece. Usually great price, too, and generally available without the waiting from a semi-custom maker.

August 17, 2014, 10:34 PM
Pair a good gun belt with a Milt Sparks VM2. IMHO its the best, I've used it for years with a Govt Mdl 45. I'm also a big fan of DeSantis' Cozy Partner for my 1911.

August 17, 2014, 11:29 PM
1911s or 1911a1 models have dozens of holster makers & choices. :D

Depending on your tastes, budget, choice of security levels(I-IV), etc.
You can get leather, nylon, Kydex, polymer, exotics, etc.
What I or another member may like or buy, you might not want & visa-versa.
Id look into a modular type design you can switch from high ride to low ride, cross-draw or FBI carry(a slight forward cant). Kydex, Polymer & synthetic holsters offer these features mostly. These holsters can be purchased with belt loops/parts that fit different widths. ;)
Some gunners like "open top" concealment rigs, but I like holsters with a security system. If you run, bend over or turn, the 1911 won't slip out. :eek:
And yes, that can happen.
See these brands. Keep in mind that some firms take a few weeks or months due to backlogs. The rise in gun sales & firearm training have led to 1000s of new gun owners wanting gear.

Safariland, Blackhawk, Galco, Wright Leather Works, High Noon Holsters, Bianchi Intl, Kirkpatrick Leather, Ted Blocker, Don Hume, Hodges Custom Kydex, Alessi, Greg Kramer, Mitch Rosen, Milt Sparks, Mernickle, El Paso Saddlery, Gary Brommeland, R Grizzle, Blade-tech.
The Blackhawk SERPA is worth checking. It's safe & easy to convert. The Wright Leather Works Predator is good too. I like the side shield & front band to aid one-handed reholstering.
Author & training instructor, Massad Ayoob, www.MassadAyoobgroup.com advises only using holsters you can use one handed without effort or looking at it. ;)
The Safariland SFS holsters are popular with US military spec ops & SWAT.
Milt Sparks, Greg Kramer & Mitch Rosen are in use with many working cops and special agents.
Some gunners & cops buy horsehide holsters. They are hard wearing & last years. Some shops or custom makers dislike horsehide since it's tough to work with(and hard to obtain sometimes).
The G-Code polymer holsters are good. They can be purchased in a few colors and choices.

Don't forget a decent thick belt and a spare mag holder(duel holder). Concealment rigs are a system. Be ready to carry spare magazines & clean your holster/belt/gear. Dust, lint, crud, grit can seep into the holes and leather.

August 18, 2014, 08:04 AM
I won't mention a specific maker but my prefered way of carrying my big bore autos is the slide belt open bottom holster. I find they hold the gun close to the body with the gun positioned not too high nor too low. With a 30 degree cant, the draw is comfortable for my arm and wrist. I've decided to go with the slide belt open bottom for all my semi-autos.

August 18, 2014, 09:06 AM
I won't mention a specific maker but my prefered way of carrying my big bore autos is the slide belt open bottom holster.
I've had problems with slide style holsters. When sitting down, I have smacked the muzzle of the gun on the arm of a chair, and nearly knocked the gun out of the holster. I've also torn the seam on the back pocket of my jeans as the muzzle invariably catches it when I reholster.

They are handy, in that they allow you to use the same holster for a variety of barrel lengths of the same gun, and are probably a little faster for range use, but I don't use them anymore.

For OWB concealment, a pancake is a good choice http://www.lobogunleather.com/8enhanced_pancake_model

Here is a slide holster, in the event we are talking about different holsters http://www.lobogunleather.com/10_belt_slide_style

Here is a slide worn, notice how it makes contact with the back pocket. My slide holster while from a different maker, rode much the same. http://sargesrollcall.blogspot.com/2008/08/cid-holster-from-simply-rugged-april-of.html

August 18, 2014, 10:25 AM
When sitting down, I have smacked the muzzle of the gun on the arm of a chair, and nearly knocked the gun out of the holster.

Yes, the Lobo belt slide holster in the link is exactly what I'm talking about, in fact, that's a really neat holster.

Smacking the arm of a chair does happen with the full sized autos but not so much with the medium sizes. I was looking for a belt slide for my Browning BDA 380 and Bersa M85 (older all steel Thunder 380) and wound up making my own. What I did was to scale down the larger belt slide that I have for my large autos and came up with a decent holster for the medium autos. By making my own, I am able to control the cant and fit of the gun. My guns sit snuggly with a cant that is comfortable for arm motion. I admit that I've been thinking about adding a loop/latch that will ensure the gun does not pop out, 'just in case'.

August 18, 2014, 01:28 PM
Is the one you like so well in the photo a Versa Max II?

August 18, 2014, 03:08 PM
Mine? No. It is similar in a lot of ways -- spread "wings" to help make it stable, nice flat, smooth back, wide-spaced belt loops -- but my pal made it with deep side cuts so it is very "tuckable."

With my shirt tucked in all that shows are the two leather straps which match my belt.

Here's a thread with "action" shots of how it works. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=743797

August 18, 2014, 04:27 PM
Member Eaglestroker does fantastic work!


August 18, 2014, 05:09 PM
That custom leather holster pic is very nice.
Is that elephant? Hippo? Rhino?
I like the body shield style too. ;)


August 18, 2014, 05:10 PM
It's black elephant. We're planning on doing another rig in an antique looking brown before too long.

Onward Allusion
August 18, 2014, 05:37 PM
I have brand name leather holsters but the one that I have been wearing pretty much every day with my 608 for the last couple of months is an el-cheapo no-name nylon/cordura pancake holster. It is the flattest and holds close to my body without any kind of flopping like other high riding outer waistband concealment holster.

I don't wear it the way most people do, by having the belt go under the holster using the holster's loops. My belt goes through my belt loops, then the holster's loop, then OVER the holster to the other holster loop. The belt gives the holster and gun additional support. Works great with nylon holsters. Not so good with the leather holsters, however. They are too bulky to have the belt go over.

August 18, 2014, 07:41 PM
Could you give me some information on the holster in your picture?

August 18, 2014, 07:58 PM
Well, sure. It was made by a personal friend of mine early in his holster making career. (He goes by screen name "Joel" here.) http://www.jrcustomleather.com/

He's a very talented guy who does amazing work, but he's moved recently and is still getting back into the swing of making holsters in his new place.

As I was saying before, it is similar in a lot of ways to a Sparks Versa Max, or others of that sort -- spread "wings" to help make it stable, nice flat, smooth back, wide-spaced belt loops -- but my pal made it with deep side cuts so it is very "tuckable."

With my shirt tucked in all that shows are the two leather straps which match my belt.

Here's a thread with "action" shots of how it works. http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=743797

The gun, in the holster: (Now you see it...)


Open the belt and pants, tuck the shirt in, and...now you don't!


(This always cracks me up.. I was checked out for injuries by an EMT in an ambulance after a rollover crash while wearing that gun and holster, and she didn't notice it! Now THAT's good concealment! :D)

1911 guy
August 19, 2014, 12:25 AM
You've gotten good advice on holsters. Buy a good belt, too. I carry a fullsize 1911 and find the Wilderness Instructor belt to be invaluable and worth every penny (and more). At 40 bucks, it as good a belt as ones costing twice as much.

August 19, 2014, 09:46 AM
I switch out holsters based on my need for the day. My honest to goodness favorite 1911 holster for cool weather is a do it yourself OWB kit I picked up from Tandy Leather. I dabble in leatherwork and make my own holsters and gun belts. I've got a process where I lightly bake my finished leather so that it sets up very firm and rigid. It holds the gun firmly without any kind of retention strap to get in the way, and it holds the gun high and tight against the body. I like this set up the most because I find the long 5" barrel of a 1911 a little uncomfortable to wear IWB. About the only thing I don't like about the minimalist OWB holster is that it allows the gun and sights to potentially get knocked around getting up and down out of a chair. Cost: About $35 plus my time and dye.

I have a cheap-ish IWB clip on holster made by Bianchi that is comfortable enough to wear around when I need to conceal my pistol but don't plan on doing a lot of sitting. It's got a soft leather backing and a pretty deep profile. Luckily for me, for now, my shoulders are broader than my love handles. A plain untucked shirt hides the hand cannon very easily. Cost: About $40 online or $49 from a brick and mortar sporting goods store.

If I'm knocking around the woods or at the range, I usually just slip a Fobus paddle holster in my belt. I can take it on and off fairly easily, and it does the job of retaining the gun enough to keep it secure yet handy. Cost: About $30.

I'd actually like to pick up an Uncle Mike's Tactical for it sooner of later. I bought one for my 92fs, and it's a really comfortable range holster with adjustable fit. Cost: About $42 from a sporting goods store.

August 19, 2014, 12:55 PM
I like the new Safariland AS7(I think it's the name but check the site).
It's available yet for 1911/Government models or Commander size 1911a1s but Safariland says they will roll out new versions soon. ;)
The firm says the new style has a special polymer that will retain it's shape even when wet, won't scuff, mar or nick firearm surfaces. :D
It limits the amount of contact points with the weapon which can speed up draws but retains the firearm securely.
I like the belt version but the AS7 comes in drop leg/SAS styles, duty holsters & low ride styles.

Another good holster firm with Kydex holsters is www.Hodgescustomkydex.com . They have decent holsters that come in many add on color & camo choices. ;)
I may buy a "back-pack" mini holster in safety orange for my Glock 21 .45acp to keep in my 5.11 PUSH bag or SUV center console. It has Kydex material that just covers the Glock(or other model that you can choose) trigger guard.
The Kydex OWB holster that has a Blade-tech modular belt loop is good looking too. This custom rig can be adjusted for height & cant. It can also fit different belt widths. The price is $65-70.00 USD which seems high for a plastic type holster but the color choices & engineering make it worth it.
NOTE; Hodges Custom Kydex says the shop & workers are now moving so Id suggest contacting them before any order or maybe waiting until early Sept 2014 before you purchase any items. ;)

August 19, 2014, 04:01 PM
Milt Sparks every day of the week man. Plan on buying some new jeans though or it will be snug. If you spend a lot of your day seated in a vehicle consider a cross draw setup.

August 19, 2014, 10:42 PM
I really like this Bianchi IWB holster for my Commander 1911s:


August 24, 2014, 02:59 AM
No matter what sidearm I'm carrying I carry IWB. I find it the best for comfort and concealment. I'm 5'9" and built about like the OP (going by weight/height ratio). I suppose one potential problem is that when asked for advice most of us will just tell you what works for us; that may or may not work for you. Personally I don't really like hybrid holsters that much. They are a bit hot against my side and the large sheet of leather pokes me in the gun when I move.

My favorite rigs are the Silent Thunder IWBs from Garrett Industries. They can be had with an incredible array of belt fastening hardware from leather loops to kydex clips of various sizes and types. I have CCW'd guns as small as a Ruger LCR and as large as a full frame HK USP in a Garrett IWB and all are very comfortable.

August 24, 2014, 11:04 AM
I'll side with the OWB proponents. I have a Milt Sparks VersaMax for my (slim) Sig P239, and it's probably one of the best made holsters I own, but OWB is always more comfortable. There aren't many places where I feel such deep concealment is necessary, so IWB for me is very rare.

I recently picked up a Galco Miami Classic off craigslist for my 1911 to try out- different but not uncomfortable. Under an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt it's invisible unless the wind exposes it.

I have several pancake holsters for my 1911s and some other guns, they hold the gun high and tight to the body. I like cross-draw carry for my 1911s too. Again, an unbuttoned shirt or jacket conceals very well and presentation is fast and fumble-proof.

Crossbreed has a 'seconds' website where they sell their blems- a great way to try them out on the cheap. I have several including one for my XDs and it's very worn from frequent carry but completely functional.

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