At the time of its creation, no one knew that the M1911 would eventually be one of the most popular weapons systems ever developed. It has been adopted and used by the military, law enforcement, and civilian shooters for over a century, and will continue to be used for a century more. Because of its popularity, there are a wide variety of standard 1911 models: Government, Commander, and Officer. The main differences between these models are the barrel length, with the government model having the longest barrel length at five inches, and the officer model having the shortest barrel length at about three-and-a-half inches.
How to Choose a Holster
When choosing a holster for your 1911 pistol, there are a few important factors to consider. The first is its model, as mentioned above, because that has an effect on what size firearm your holster can accommodate. Next, consider the material or finish you would like your holster to be made from. Look for something that is both durable and lightweight. Lastly, you will want to consider the amount of retention that fits your needs.. The amount of retention offered increases with the level of retention the holster provides. So, for example, a Level III Retention holster has three steps before the weapon is removed from the holster, and therefore, has a high retention.
Holsters for 1911 Pistol
If you have a five inch, government model 1911 pistol, one of the best holster choices is a Safariland Model 6395 ALS Low-Ride, Level I Retention Duty Holster. This Level I Retention holster has relatively low retention for a quick draw if necessary. This means that only one release needs to be deactivated before the weapon can be removed. There is also the option to add an ALS Guard to this holster if you do wish to increase the holster’s retention to Level II Retention.
The body of the holster is made from SafariLaminate. This is a material that is heat-formed and is made specifically to protect your handgun and its sights from moisture, dirt, and force. It also has a suede interior lining to keep the finish of your weapon from scratching and moisture as well. To allow for your firearm to be close to your body, this holster model features a low-ride belt loop that is one-and-a-half inches lower than the standard.
The Safariland Model 7376 7TS ALS Hi-Ride Belt Slide Concealment Holster is a great option for any of the 1911 size models. Its open top design and lack of SLS allows for a quick retrieval of your weapon once the simple ALS release is deactivated. This holster is made from the proprietary SafariSeven material. It is a nylon blend that is used specifically so that it does not irritate or scratch the surface of your weapon. The matte finish on the exterior of the weapon is meant to reduce reflection and can be easily maintained.
The construction and design of this holster is made with raised, stand off surfaces. This is meant to increase the amount of air space around your weapon, keeping the contact from dirt and moisture to a minimum. If you intend to use your holster in extreme temperatures or climates, then this is a great choice. It can withstand heat up to 300 ℉ and cold down to -50 ℉. Additionally, it can be submerged in water for extended periods of time and still maintain its integrity. This holster is considered “hi-ride” because it sits one inch higher than a standard belt slide.
The Safariland Model 7378 7TS ALS Concealment Paddle and Belt Loop Combo Holster is a great option for those with a 1911 Officer’s Model, although it does accommodate other 1911 models as well. The best part about this holster is that it has the security of an Automatic Locking System, but the speed of an open top design. Just a single swipe of the thumb and your firearm is released and ready to go.
For durability and protection, this holster is made from SafariSeven, Safariland’s proprietary nylon blend. This keeps the finish on your firearm safe from abrasion with every draw. Like the other holsters on our list, the interior of the holster has raised, stand off surfaces that allow air to flow around your weapon, protecting it from moisture and dirt. Since it is made from SafariSeven material, it has weather resistance, and protection from extreme heat and cold with a safe range from 300 ℉ to -50 ℉. An injection molded belt loop can be adjusted for cant upon arrival, and can be worn cross draw if necessary.
Finding a holster for your 1911 pistol can be a difficult and daunting task. The three holsters described in this article are great options that have a lot of online sales and great user reviews. However, one holster is not right for everyone. It eventually comes down to personal preference. Test some holsters out to see what features you like and dislike. Practice using holsters with different types of locking systems, cants, draws, etc. If you do this before you shop, then you will be much more aware of what you are looking for in a holster.