Tips On Carrying A 1911 or a Full Size Handgun

how to carry a 1911

Some people just don't want to compromise on performance and ammunition capacity. Others have a big enough frame where a full size pistol is all that fits comfortably in the hand. Whatever your reasons are, we'll discuss several tips and strategies for carrying a full size handgun on your person.

Get a Gun Belt to Support the Weight of Your 1911

carrying a 1911 handgun

Regular leather belts are usually made out of a single ply stretch of leather. This means they aren't good at keeping a holstered gun consistent in the waistband. A full size gun in an outside or inside the waistband holster may inevitably drag your waistline down – making it obvious and cumbersome. Get a sturdy gun belt made out of ideally double layered, reinforced canvas or leather. If you can twist your belt 360° without effort, it's probably not the right belt for carrying a full size handgun.

Bonus: When you get that gun belt, make sure it's 2-4” longer than your standard belt if you're carrying inside the waistband. You gotta make room for one more!

Use a Holster that fits your full size properly

how to conceal carry a 1911 handgun

“One size fits most” is a crock of nonsense. Full sized handguns are bigger and bulkier than what most standard pistol holster manufacturers design their holsters around. Get something that is form-fitted to your handgun's dimensions. Whether you're going inside the waistband or outside, it's going to make a big difference on comfort and concealment.

Bend your knees instead of bending over

how to conceal carry a 1911 handgun

If you need to pick up something on the ground, bend your knees to the object in question. This will reduce “printing” of the pistol grip against layers of clothing. One of the biggest mistakes concealed carriers make is exposing their pistol grip. With compacts and sub-compacts this is an issue – and you can bet full size pistol hand-grips are even more so.

Consider polymer frames to reduce weight


If you find yourself getting a sore back from the added weight of your full size pistol, there are plenty of lightweight options that use polymer in the frame to reduce weight. If you think polymer can't stand up to the rigors of field testing, check out this video on a torture test of a Glock 17.

Get trousers that are a bit wider

One of the biggest mistakes concealed carriers make is thinking their normal trousers will be comfortable with a concealed pistol that's 1.5 – 2.0” wider than their normal waistline. If you're a size 30” waist and you put a full size Sig Sauer P229 inside your waistband, your trousers are now likely 33” after considering your IWB holster. If your trousers were loose before, they certainly aren't now! So, don't feel afraid to go out and get the bigger waistline for those new trouser purchases – you'll thank yourself later.

Full size handguns offer a lot of added capabilities that sub-compacts and compacts don't. If you're a “no compromises” type of concealed carrier, hopefully these tips made that choice a bit easier.

Use a Holster that fits your full size properly: Concealed Carry Holsters for Full Sized Handguns

James England

About The Author

James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.