If you want to get the most from your handgun, and be able to get it into your hand when you need it, you have to have some way to keep it secure, protected and accessible. For most people that means a holster. There’s a wide range of those on the market, some generic and many designed for a specific model of handgun.
That’s good news for anyone with a 1911-type weapon; because it’s one of the most popular competition, survival and recreational pistols in the USA. This means that you have a huge selection of holsters to choose from.
Below we have laid out a comparison chart as we look at what we consider the top 10 best holsters for 1911’s on the market today. We’ve classified each holster into two categories, inside the waistband as well as outside the waist band (IWB or OWB).
Please note that while we’ve labeled these as IWB or OWB in our comparison chart, and all of them should still be considered “concealable” holsters depending on the type of clothing you wear.
Our Comparison Chart:
|User Reviews:||IWB or OWB:||Our Rating:||Price:|
|Galco Combat Master||OWB||$|
|Blackhawk! SERPA Concealment||OWB||$|
|Galco KT212B King Tuck IWB||IWB||$|
|Fobus Standard Holster C21||OWB||$|
|BLACKHAWK! Serpa CQC||OWB||$|
|Galco Jackass Shoulder Rig||OWB/Shoulder||$$$|
|Fobus Standard Holster Paddle||OWB||$|
|Galco IWB for 1911 Holster||IWB||$|
|1911 Full Size Phantom IWB||IWB||$|
Comparison Chart Key:
User Reviews = Reviews on the internet
IWB or OWB = If the holster is traditionally used in the waistband or outside the waistband
Our Rating = Our Rating up to 5 Stars
Price = $ = Up to 75.00, $$ = 75.00 to 100.00, $$$ = 100.00 & Up
So why do you need a good holster?
Every handgun owner should have a holster, because it protects your weapon from dust, knocks and scratches, but they’re particularly important if you carry concealed. Some people prefer to carry their pistol in a pocket or purse, but that can cause major difficulties if you need it in a hurry.
If you are in a hurry it can be likely to snag, or have turned itself round so you can’t get your hand on the grip quickly. A few just tuck it into their waistband holster-less, but that’s not as secure and can be extremely uncomfortable. It also means the weapon’s constantly exposed to perspiration, and that promotes rust.
If you plan to carry your 1911, finding the right holster is absolutely key.
Most carry holsters don’t tend to enclose as much of the weapon as a traditional military one. Usually the grip is completely exposed, allowing you to draw in a hurry.
That applies to traditional leather pancake holsters as well as more modern synthetic ones. Both types have advantages. A pancake holster is usually lower profile, making it easier to conceal.
That works very well with the 1911; it’s a big piece but flatter than most high-capacity nines, so with the right holster it can be very inconspicuous. On the other hand synthetics now often include a retention device and that has its benefits too.
Below we dig a little deeper into each model so you have the full picture of what to expect when finding the right holster for your 1911.
The Galco Combat Master:
Designed for use with a full-size 1911 (including Colt, Kimber, Para, and Springfield models), the Galco Combat Master Belt Holster is very well made and looks great. It holds your gun close to your body to reduce printing, making concealed carry easier. It covers the entire barrel of your gun, preventing scratching and snagging.
This is the most traditional holster here – a neat leather model on a large base with two belt slots. The holster itself is molded to hold a 1911 snugly, and it covers the trigger while leaving the grip free.
The Combat Master positions the weapon with the muzzle canted about 15° to the rear, so it’s ideally placed for a quick draw, and the wide base means it should stay exactly where you want it to with no wiggle or shifting.
The Combat Master is extremely well made from quality saddle leather, and it’s a US product too. It’s extremely low profile and great for concealment. Don’t worry if it seems too snug when it’s new; it will mold to a perfect fit as the leather wears in.
The Blackhawk SERPA Concealment Holster:
Created by a Navy SEAL in 1990, Blackhawk! has grown from an out-of-the-garage operation into one of the world’s leading suppliers of shooting, military, and law enforcement gear and equipment.
Like all of their other products, the Blackhawk! SERPA Concealment Holster is as stable, sturdy, and durable as any other on the market.
If you’re looking for an ultra-secure but concealable holster this Blackhawk is a great choice. The actual holster is molded from carbonfiber-reinforced plastic and holds pretty much any 1911-style pistol perfectly.
The SERPA retention device is very positive, and lets you know the weapon is properly holstered with a nice loud click. This is also a very fast holster to draw from thanks to the cutaway front, and it doesn’t take much practice to build up some real speed.
A nice touch is that it comes with both belt and paddle attachment options, so you can pick whatever suits you. If you’re looking for a tough and extremely secure holster you won’t go far wrong with this one. It’s not the cheapest but it’s very, very good.
The Galco King Tuck Tuckable IWB Holster:
The Galco King Tuck is one of our top choices for concealed carry when it comes to keeping your 1911 secure. The design is awesome, keeping it close to your body with adjustable belt loops to let you keep your 1911 in the position that keeps the firearm not only available but secure at the same time.
Galco has a few holsters on our list and there’s a good reason for that. It’s one of the top brands in firearm holster production and the King Tuck is another fine example of this.
One of the biggest benefits is the backer that’s lined with leather that sits between your body and your gun. This makes carrying your gun far easier and much more comfortable than other methods.
This holster also seems to fit a lot of other firearms that are not 1911’s, but that’s the gun that it was specifically created for and should be used for. Some reports show that the leather can be a little tough, but it gets a lot more pliable as it gets broken in.
The Fobus Standard Holster RH Paddle C21:
The Fobus is a bit of a hybrid; it’s styled like a pancake holster but it’s molded from plastic and it doesn’t use belt slots; instead it has a rubberized paddle that fits inside your waistband or a wider belt. It’s a stable design and, while not quite as flat as the Galco, still highly concealable.
A big benefit is that it’s very light, adding only two ounces to the weight of your weapon. It’s also virtually maintenance-free; unlike leather it’s never going to need oiled, and if it gets dirty you can wash it with soap and water.
Another great thing about this holster is its price – it’s about $30 without discounts, and for that you get most of the features of a much more expensive model.
The Outbags OB-04SC:
This is a pretty conventional-looking holster made from a Cordura-type heavyweight nylon. Unlike the Galco and Fobus it doesn’t rely on friction to hold your pistol; it has a retaining strap with a press stud, which can be quickly flicked open as you draw.
There’s also a sturdy steel clip for attaching it to your belt. This is the only holster in the list that also includes a magazine pouch, which is a nice touch. The pouch is on the leading edge of the holster and fits one magazine secured with a Velcro flap.
It’s a very well made holster and feels extremely tough. It’s also low maintenance and easily cleaned. Be aware that it’s not ambidextrous, but it’s available in left and right hand versions.
The OB-04SC isn’t as low profile as some holsters and might print on light clothing, but under a coat or for open carry it’s ideal. The magazine pouch is a very handy feature too.
The Blackhawk SERPA CQC Sportster:
Another highly secure option, this uses the same excellent retention system as the Concealment. It also has the same cutaway profile, allowing for a very fast draw.
It’s a much more affordable option though because it’s molded from standard polymer instead of carbon fiber, and only comes with the paddle attachment.
If you’re happy with the paddle, and looking for most of the features of the Concealment at a third of the price, this is probably just what you need.
The polymer seems very tough and shouldn’t be an issue for most shooters, so this holster is also highly recommended.
The Galco Jackass Rig Shoulder System:
Yet another great quality holster from Galco, their Jackass Rig Shoulder System is different from others on this list. Instead of holding your gun at your belt, it holds them at chest height, on the side underneath the shoulder.
If you have ever used a shoulder holster before, then you know they are one of the most comfortable options for conceal carry but it’s a shoulder holster and only falls into the OWB carrying category.
The Galco Jackass Rig Shoulder System fits a variety of 1911 model handguns. It offers a snug fit for your gun, almost perfect in fact. It’s important to note that it takes nearly a week to break-in your holster to your particular pistol.
This is because it is constructed from true-to-earth saddle leather. Though the break-in period can be slightly inconvenient, it pays off in a holster with a perfect fit.
You also have the option of breaking in your holster to your body. This results in a secure and comfortable fit. As you might suspect, it also improves concealed carry. You can carry this holster with only a light coat on top and no one will know you’re carrying.
As for function, the Galco Jackass Rig Shoulder System holster is as high quality as they come. You might notice that it appears to use a few plastic parts.
Note that this isn’t your standard plastic, it’s actually “Flexilon,” a stronger than plastic material. Galco uses it in place of metal because it is just as strong and doesn’t corrode in moisture.
The Fobus Standard Holster:
Looking for a holster to wear on a daily basis? The Fobus Standard Holster might be for you. It is a comfortable holster that does not wear down with age. After the initial break-in process, both the fit to your gun and the fit to your body remain the same with minimal wear and tear.
Beyond comfort, the Fobus Standard Holster is a solid option for those that prefer to conceal carry their 1911 pistol. It’s a paddle-style holster that holds your gun close and comfortably your body. It is quick and easy to remove both your gun and your gun/holster when needed.
All in all, the Fobus Standard Holster is a great overall value product. It is comfortable, functional, and durable. It fits most 1911 model handguns and offers a number of different carry options. It’s a solid holster at an affordable price.
The Galco Waistband IWB Holster:
A functional and economical option, the Galco Waistband IWB Holster will fit just about any 1911 handgun. Because it is constructed primarily from leather, the fit can be quite tight at first. But it will break in to a comfortable degree with minimal use.
The Waistband IWB carries your handgun in a vertical orientation. There is no cant or angle. This allows you to use the holster in a variety of positions including strong side, cross draw, and appendix carry.
An injection-molded nylon clip locks the holster firmly to your belt. Both of these things make for a very comfortable carry.
When it comes down to it, this holster is a solid option for concealed carry. Though it is near impossible to fully conceal any 1911, the Galco Waistband IWB does a good job at it. Best of all, it is very quick and easy to draw and re-holster your gun.
As anyone that has concealed carried for a long time knows, this is extremely important, especially if you are ever forced to use your gun in a public setting.
The 1911 Full Size Phantom Inside the Waistband Holster:
The 1911 Full Size Phantom made by Blade-Tech is a great option for those looking for a minimalist type design that will also not break the bank at the same time. The Phantom is countoured to reduce certain types of wear spots for those that like to carry their firearm on a daily basis.
The holster has a full length sweat guard to protect your firearm from the sweat that generates from your body near the gun and it’s thin lines make it perfect for keeping your gun hidden from sight.
While the Galco holsters typically get the nod due to having some of the highest production quality standards, this holster won’t let you down if you are on a budget. The belt loops are also a nice touch to keep the holster more stable.
Holsters are a very personal choice and there’s no design that everyone’s going to like, but you’re almost certainly going to be happy with one of the top 10 choices we’ve mentioned here.
Any one of them will make an excellent home for your 1911, and they’re all secure and accessible enough to be ideal for concealed carry.