1911 concealed carry

If You're Going To Get Into 1911 Concealed Carry, You Might As Well Do It Right

Most of the time, people who rubbish 1911 concealed carry don't know what they're talking about. It's actually not as hard as you'd think. Well...it is a big, heavy gun. And it doesn't hold as many bullets as other pistols. That much is true.

However, it isn't the easiest thing either. Carrying a 1911 every day requires commitment; unless you're going to dedicate yourself in certain regards...you should probably find a different gun.

It isn't that it's an "expert's gun" like so many people say, but it is the case that the 1911 is not for casuals. However, it can also pay dividends. It's the preferred platform for many of the top level of competitive shooters for a reason.

It could be that you bought a 1911 and you're wondering what you're going to need in terms of equipment and knowledge. It could be that it was the only gun available in your local gun store and you want to carry something.

It could be that you already carry one everyday and wanted to see just what those turkeys at Alien Gear Holsters think they know about 1911 concealed carry.

Let's get these bases covered. We're going to go over the basics of what a person needs to conceal and carry a 1911 pistol comfortably and effectively.

1911 Concealed Carry Requires The Right 1911 Holster

1911 holster

If you don't invest in the right gear, 1911 concealed carry is going to make you miserable.

For starters, you need a solid belt. Otherwise, your gun and holster are going to sag; what causes a lot of people discomfort is having to cinch the belt down to the point where they lose circulation in their legs. Avoid that issue by investing in a solid belt.

Then you have the holster. A quality 1911 holster is key.

To start with, a good 1911 holster has to be comfortable to wear. It's a big, heavy, metal pistol, so it had better not drive you crazy wearing it.

A 1911 holster should have a full sweat guard, or at least enough to put material between your body and the thumb safety. When you're carrying the gun as it's intended, the hammer is back and the safety is engaged. What can't happen is for the safety to be disengaged by your gear.
It's not a Glock! Therefore, this aspect of 1911 concealed carry is important. 

If the hammer is exposed, it will poke you in the side, which gets annoying. Take care to check the sweat guard when the hammer is back, not when it's forward. If the sweat guard doesn't cover the grip safety, it will poke you and that's annoying.

Again, since you're carrying in Condition One - and you should, because it's the only sensible way to carry a 1911; more on that later - the holster has to protect the controls. Even though there's the redundancy of the grip safety, the thumb safety has to be totally covered to keep anything from rubbing it or allowing it to be deactivated.

Given the 1911 has a grip safety, getting a proper grip when drawing the pistol is critical. Therefore, the cut of the holster can't interfere with that...at all. You should be able to fully grasp the pistol without interference from the holster.

The holster also has to create a solid platform to draw the gun from and reholster to, as well as not collapsing on the draw so you can reholster the pistol.

If You're Going To 1911 Concealed Carry, You Need To Care For The Gun

1911 pistol

Again, 1911 concealed carry is not for casuals. If you're that guy that refuses to maintain his guns, this isn't the gun for you.

A lot of people think they like classic cars and they sure are pretty to look at, but a lot of people do not like working on cars...which you will need to do to keep a classic car running reliably. 

Same idea here. The 1911 demands more attention for best results. 

You need to keep the gun reasonably clean and well-lubricated. CeraKote or NP3 coatings will absolve you of having to do so. You need to replace springs and magazines when they need it, and you need to periodically function-check the gun to make sure it's in good working order. 

If you hate to be bothered to maintain a gun, this isn't the pistol for you. 

A Reliable 1911 Pistol Starts With A Reliable Magazine

1911 pistol magazines

Without doubt, the Achilles heel of the 1911 pistol is the abundance of crappy, lackluster, awful, terrible, lousy, worthless, useless, no-account and otherwise contemptible factory magazines. Therefore, if 1911 concealed carry is in the offing, get some better ones.

This is a known quantity by this point. Granted, why manufacturers don't just make better factory magazines, or just tack an extra $50 on the MSRP for a pair of quality ones...is a good question.

So unless your gun comes with them, it's a good idea to upgrade to some Wilson Combat magazines. Some other good brands include Chip McCormick, Tripp Research, and MecGar.

And you're going to want to buy a lot of them, because you're going to practice reloading. A lot.

How To Pick A Good 1911 Pistol For Concealed Carry

custom 1911 carry

The great thing about the 1911 pistol is that so many different people make them. The bad thing about the 1911 pistol is that so many different people make them. 

What does that mean for the consumer?

Some brands are known performers, and others are question marks. The proven performers tend to be expensive...though you can find some very attainable guns that run well if you do your homework. 

The old days where no 1911 pistols were reliable are largely gone. You can get a reliable gun from Colt, Springfield Armory, Rock Island Armory/Armscor and more.

A custom or semi-custom gun is going to get you the best conceal carry 1911 to be sure and it is the better choice for a gun you'll stake your life on. It just may not be absolutely necessary.

It used to be that you had to buy a Colt and sent it to a gunsmith for a reliability package, barrel fit and trigger job to get a good gun. Today's factory guns can be very reliable with good magazines and/or swapping a few key parts. You can take that factory gun, have a few key parts upgraded and get a very reliable pistol for a lot less than a semi-custom gun. 

In other words, you need to choose the gun carefully. If you want to bet your life on this gun, bet on a good one. 

A 1911 Pistol Is Supposed To Be Cocked And Locked

concealed carry 1911

The person who carries a 1911 hammer-down either doesn't train or has a Safety Fast System installed. The former is more common. 

The gun was designed to be carried loaded with the safety engaged, and that's how it should be carried. 

A person who doesn't feel comfortable carrying a gun with a manual safety engaged hasn't put in any practice time, and it's just that simple. The 1911 has two active safety devices engaged when carried in Condition 1, which actually makes it one of the safest pistols ever made in terms of those redundancies. 

Anyone who discounts the value of positively controlling the firing mechanism beyond the trigger is being willfully ignorant of gun safety, but the fact is that if you aren't comfortable putting in work becoming efficient in deactivating the safety on presentation...this isn't the gun for you. 

Which, as it happens, leads us to…

You Need To Put In The Practice For Effective 1911 Concealed Carry

1911 concealed carry practice

Another reason why 1911 concealed carry is definitely not for casuals is that it demands the user put in the necessary practice to attain as well as maintain the muscle memory for correct operation.

Granted, we aren't talking about much. Deactivating the thumb safety and correctly gripping the pistol to deactivate the grip safety.

Doesn't sound too complicated, does it?

Except remember that the point of a carry gun is to use it in self-defense, under stress, not just on a flat range. You have to practice until that fine motor action of pressing the thumb safety off and gripping the pistol correctly become autonomic.

It's completely possible...but it takes a lot of reps to get there. So that means carrying a 1911 requires the practice time, live fire and dry fire. 

But is there a payoff? Is there something about this gun that makes it better than others?

It depends on how one views it. In many regards...no, not really. The 1911 is just another handgun design amidst a sea of them. If anything, there are better pistol designs for modern shooters and certainly for concealed carry, but it's still just one among many.

Is the AR-15 really a better rifle than the AK-47? Each has strengths the other doesn't and each has weaknesses the other doesn't. In reality, it's about what suits the shooter and how well they run it.

But there are a few things that keep people coming back to the 1911 pistol.

It has excellent ergonomics.

The trigger design is unique, and lends itself to a clean trigger press unlike any other. Many people find the 1911 more easily facilitates very accurate shooting than other guns do, which is partially why elite-level competitive shooters use them.

If you become proficient, it's amazing how little the manual safety gets in the way. It also gives you the maximum amount of control possible over the firing mechanism. In that regard, it's an incredibly safe pistol mechanically. 

And after all, it's about the skill of the shooter with the gun rather than the features of it that matter. If you find you run 1911 pistols better than anything, that makes it a good gun for you, and it's what you should carry. A lot of people do, for those reasons.

About The Author

Writer sam hoober