Choosing A 1911 Concealed Carry Holster
Due to it's unique shape and proportions, there are some types of 1911 concealed carry holster that are really well-suited to concealed carry and some that are a bit harder to really pull off.
For instance, an appendix carry holster can work...but an exposed hammer and beavertail can dig into the stomach (and not feel good!) and that 5-inch barrel extends further down than other guns that are popularly carried in this manner. Not that it can't be done, but it's harder to do with a 1911 pistol.
But what are the good starting points? What are the 1911 concealed carry holsters that most people have success with? Here are the three that tend to get most people the best results.
1911 IWB Holster: The Default 1911 Concealed Carry Holster
Naturally, a 1911 IWB holster makes concealed carry fairly easy despite it being such a lot of gun to tuck in the waistband. A full-size 1911 pistol, in a holster, occupies a lot of real estate and puts an awful lot of weight on the waistband...but not only can it be done, it's actually the easiest way to conceal and carry a 1911 pistol.
Top Tip: invest in a good belt. You'll need it.
With use of a decent IWB holster and with correct placement and dressing, concealing a 1911 becomes easier than it should be with a gun of that size. By now, everyone knows the slim width of the slide is beneficial for concealment, so even a big gun like a Gov't frame snugs up against the side better than blocky modern pistols. With the right IWB, the gun is close to the side, and is easily covered with modestly loose clothing.
However, proper selection is crucial for best results. You definitely want a holster with a sweat shield, so you aren't feeling the hammer and grip safety all day. It also helps to have a holster that's canted, so the point of the mainspring housing (the bottom of the grip) doesn't imprint as easily through clothing. Belt clips that spread the weight a bit are another boon to easy concealed carry with a 1911 pistol.
An IWB holster for 1911 concealed carry also needs to be comfortable, because carrying 40 oz of gun with a holster that you can't stand gets old right quick. With that said, however, a decent IWB makes even a gun as big and ungainly as you'd think a 1911 is to carry a whole lot easier.
1911 OWB Holster...With The Right Design
The other classic 1911 concealed carry holster is a high-ride OWB. However, holster selection becomes even more critical here, as the cover layers needed to effectively cover the gun go from a roomy shirt to needing to wear an actual jacket at all times.
You're looking to balance two aspects of the ride position, along with sufficient comfort to keep carrying the gun in this manner. Namely, the gun has to ride high enough and stay close enough to the body to be easily concealed, and - again - it must also be comfortable enough to carry.
The old-school leather pancake holster or Askins Avenger holster, high-ride OWB designs widely copied throughout the holster industry, were sort of the default 1911 holster for many years because they fit those requirements to a "T." They ride high on the belt and tight to the body.
Other materials have emerged in the fullness of time, of course, including hard polymer and hybrid designs. A high-riding hybrid holster, with a plush holster base, can be incredibly comfortable as well as concealable.
The hem of most shirts won't extend past the top of the pants pockets. If the bottom edge of the holster - or, if the muzzle is exposed, the bottom edge of the muzzle - doesn't protrude past that point when you fasten it to your side (or better yet, leaves some space) then it's going to be tenable for concealed carry.
While being able to cover the gun and holster with an untucked t-shirt is probably not going to happen, an untucked button-up is usually sufficient with the right choice of holster and positioning. In fact, it's kind of the classic outfit for concealed carry.
1911 Shoulder Holster
A shoulder holster is one of the classic choices of 1911 concealed carry holster and arguably is one of the best pistols for use with a shoulder holster.
With a vertical orientation, a 1911 hugs close to the side and can conceal fairly easily with light layers such as a light jacket or even an untucked button-up in some cases.
It helps to select a shoulder holster that can be oriented for vertical carry for one, and for two has belt hooks that help snug the holster to the body, making concealment easier. You'll also want to get a shoulder holster that spreads the weight around a bit. A lot of people buy a shoulder holster but abandon it rather quickly due to discomfort.