Are you looking for the best 1911 IWB (inside the waistband) holster so you can carry around your 1911 with confidence? Well, look no further because we’re here to break down and identify the key characteristics that you should be looking for to get you the absolute BEST results when on the prowl for that perfect holster. Everyone wants the best. We’re here to get it to you.
The 1911 With An IWB Holster
Over a hundred years ago the 1911 handgun was designed and invented by John Moses Browning. Mr. Browning made his first gun at age 13 in his father’s gun shop and invented this bad boy in the early 20th century. It entered into being standard issue for the army at 1911 and was replaced in 1985 by the M9.
Today, the 1911 pistol is still a widely used weapon of choice for self-defense and makes a great concealed carry weapon. Gun enthusiasts like the high accuracy from the distinct pointing that mimics your pointing finger for aiming and the easy-to-master trigger functionality.
So, with all that in mind, you can understand why an IWB holster is a good option to consider when carrying the 1911. Yes, it is still good for open carry and we aren’t here to denounce that but understanding why you might choose an IWB holster to conceal carry this gun is always a step in the right direction to finding the perfect IWB holster that works for you.
Size And Positioning
If you’re going to be purchasing a holster for 1911 it’s good to ensure that you’ll be able to maintain proper positioning on your hip. The 1911 is quite a large gun and it’s going to be easiest to conceal when you have it around your hip at about the 5 ‘O’ clock position.
Now, most holsters are going to have the option to move it around your belt to any position you want. The real consideration here is to ensure that you’re wardrobe is going to function well with the new holster that you decide on in regards to placing it at this position.
Of course, feel free to position the holster wherever you feel most comfortable and use this information as food for thought.
This moves us into the next consideration of your IWB holster for your 1911 pistol. Since the gun is already heavy you don’t need to add unnecessary weight to your holster that’s going to exacerbate the fact that the gun is already quite heavy.
A lot of manufacturers won’t necessarily advertise that they have a heavy holster but if it’s below the average weight they will generally state that it’s at least “lightweight.” A good gun belt will ultimately carry a lot of the weight for you to ensure you don’t have to worry about it too much.
But remember, you’ll be carrying around this bad boy all day every day if you’re doing a concealed carry and if it’s uncomfortable you’ll be more likely to leave it off and at home then to keep carrying it around with you.
It’s up to you to practice the draw, but you also want a holster that makes the draw easy. When dealing with a larger gun you absolutely must make sure you are able to get a firm grip on the gun and only need to grip it once.
It’s good to consider a holster that allows you to get a firm grip on this hunk of a gun. Some holsters have a locking mechanism which will definitely ensure the gun is held in place but seems a bit odd to consider one of these in the event that you need to draw your gun and draw it quickly.
Simplicity is going to be key here where you will want a simple holster that focuses on keeping the 1911 in the same place on your belt and have no extra features that are going to hinder your drawing of the weapon.
The Style Of Your 1911
It’s important to consider the style of your 1911 pistol when you’re going to buy a holster. The more traditional style of 1911 is going to have a rounded off slide and rounded trigger guard. A squared off trigger guard was assumed to give better grip but high-speed photography technology has pretty much disproved that.
Ultimately, the squared off or rounded off versions of the 1911 are for aesthetic effect although it’s up for debate if it still has a tactical advantage either way.
The point here is to recognize if you have a squared off 1911 because it does add extra material to the gun which is going to affect the draw of your pistol when you pull it out of the holster and when you go to re-holster it. You definitely don’t want to get a holster that’s not meant for a 1911 because it could turn out to be too small.
On a 1911 the standard barrel length is usually 5 inches and it can widely vary from there, usually in quarter-inch increments. You can certainly measure the barrel length yourself but your manufacturer should provide these details for your specific make and model.
If you have a standard or shorter than 5 inches barrel length then you’ll be able to fit the gun in holster models that work with the 1911. If it’s longer than the standard issue it would be a good idea to double check and ensure that the holster you’re looking at is going to fit your specific 1911 so you’re not caught in the neverending buy and return game that sometimes happens with holsters.
1911 With A Rail
Next, we would check you’re 1911 for a rail. This is another feature of a 1911, and with most handguns, that can add bulk to your firearm and cause a holster to react differently. A rail is added onto the underneath part of the barrel of a handgun to be able to attach accessories.
Keep in mind most holsters aren’t designed to have accessories actually fitted to the gun while the gun is holstered. If you’re going out to buy your 1911, as in you haven’t purchased it yet, we might recommend dropping the rail feature and you can always add one on later if you wish to use the gun for something other than concealed carrying.
The Best 1911 IWB Holsters
Concealment Express IWB Kydex Holster
- Fits: 1911 5" Gov't Model (Non-Rail) - Carry: Appendix, Hip, Cross Draw, Palm-In Back - **For Palm-Out Back / OWB Carry - Select Opposite Draw Hand**
- Type: IWB - Inside The Waistband - Easily Adjustable Retention Pressure & Carry Angle (Cant) 0-15 Degrees with Phillips Screwdriver (No Special Tools Needed!)
- Material: .08" KYDEX for a Perfect Custom Molded Fit - Weight: Only 2.5 oz. - Standard Belt Clip: 1.5" ABS
- Posi 'Click' Audible Retention Lock System - Integrated Full Length Sweat Guard - Black Oxide Treated Hardware w/Threadlock
- 100% Hand Made in the USA - Unconditional Lifetime Warranty - Absolute Satisfaction Guaranteed
The Concealment Express IWB Kydex holster is designed to fit the traditional “government” model of the 1911 with a 5” barrel length. The holster is designed to fit any carry style that you prefer whether it’s behind the hip or any other style.
It has easily adjustable cant and retention with just as simple Phillips head screwdriver to keep it adaptable. The material itself is the standard Kydex plastic and comes in fairly lightweight at 2.5 oz. The cant is the angle that your pistol sits in the holster and the retention is how tight it holds the gun.
It has the audible click sound when you holster the weapon so you know that it’s secure and comes with a fully operational sweat guard to keep your body from touching any metal and to avoid any rust situations.
Concealment express also offers a lifetime guarantee for this product.
Customers pretty satisfied with this holster and they are even able to turn the holster upside down and jostle it around a bit and the gun stays secure. This is from the design of the holster that has some grab on the pistol to ensure it stays in the right position.
The inside of the holster has a texture to it as opposed to the smooth insides of most Kydex holster. This will give the holster, even more, grab on the pistol to ensure it stays in position. The retention is reported easy to adjust and works extremely well!!
One customer reported that depending on the finish of the 1911 you have it can get scratched up by this holster. The particular one mentioned was the Parkerized finish so if you have that specific finish it would be best to avoid this holster.
- Easily adjustable cant and retention
- Audible click sound when the handgun is replaced in the holster
- Sweat guard to avoid rusting
- Amazing grip on the gun even when turned upside down
- Doesn’t fit certain finishes of 1911 – Parkerfized finish was reported to not work with this model
Relentless Tactical The Ultimate Suede Leather Holster
- HANDMADE BY AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN, FROM GENUINE USA SUEDE LEATHER! American made with American Pride - No synthetic materials or cheap, mass-market production
- DESIGNED FOR OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE AND MAXIMUM COMFORT! Sturdy, dependable, and form-fitted for easy, effective concealment and quick, reliable access
- BACKED BY RELENTLESS TACTICAL'S LIFETIME WARRANTY! Carry with confidence, for the rest of your life.
- SAY NO TO NYLON! Why settle for inferior nylon or imitation leather when you can have a genuine, made in the USA suede leather holster with our complete Lifetime Warranty?
- FITS MOST 1911 STYLE HANDGUNS WITH ANY BARREL LENGTH! Kimber, S & W, Colt, Remington, Browning, Ruger, Taurus, Sig Sauer and More!
Relentless Tactical Ultimate Suede Leather Holster is handmade and constructed in America. It also comes with a lifetime guarantee so you can carry confidently for the rest of your life with this one. It will also fit any style of 1911 with any barrel length so you don’t have to play the guessing game here.
It’s designed to be form-fitted so that it conceals easy and has maximum comfort. Leather holsters are generally more comfortable than Kydex holsters as well.
Some customers have run into minor issues with the holster in regarding its length. Some customers have had issues with certain styles of their 1911, like the standard 5″ barrel length, getting the front sight stuck in the holster on the draw.
Customers are generally reporting issues in regards to the larger styles of 1911s fitting into this holster properly.
Its reported that it is very comfortable and conceals very well. It can take a little practice to get the draw of the gun just right and then you’re off to the races with this one.
- Fits all styles of 1911
- Leather style for comfort
- Conceals very well
- Doesn’t seem to fit the larger styles of 1911 very well
FoxX Holsters Colt 1911
- 9 oz. Premium Leather & Black Kydex with Black Spring Steel Belt Clips (fits up to 1-3/4" Belt)
- Precision Molded Kydex to fit Specific Firearm
- Adjustable for Ride Height & Forward Cant including 5 Adjustment Holes
- Easy to Conceal, Comfortable for Everyday use & Tuckable too
- Proudly Made in the USA!!
This bad boy weighs in pretty heavy at 9 oz and is a combination of Kydex for the holster and a leather platform that clips onto your belt. It is specifically designed to fit the 5” government style 1911.
It comes with the standard adjustable cant and retention so you can get it set to your specific preferences of angle and grab. It’s easy to conceal and you can still wear it if you tuck your shirt in and prefer to carry this way.
Customers have been having good results using this with the 1911 full-sized models as well. This includes climbing in and out of trucks, moving equipment, climbing ladders and having no malfunction or discomfort.
The second clip helps keep the gun in place which is important with concealing so you always know where the grip is. With the bulkiness of the 1911, a one-clip holster can move around which can cause an issue when it comes time to use it.
- Designed specifically for full-sized 1911 for a perfect fit
- Adjustable cant/retention
- Tuckable option
- Double clipped to remove the chance of the gun moving around
- Bulky and heavy (9oz)
Relentless Tactical The Defender Leather IWB Holster
- GET THE CUSTOM MADE FEEL AND WORLD CLASS QUALITY WITHOUT SPENDING A FORTUNE! You don't have to wait months and spend hundreds to get a perfect fit. Why settle for a cheap nylon or imported leather...
- BACKED BY RELENTLESS TACTICAL'S LIFETIME WARRANTY! Carry the best leather 1911 IWB Holster with confidence, for the rest of your life. With quality American Made construction comes great durability....
- FITS MOST 1911 STYLE HANDGUNS WITH ANY BARREL LENGTH! Kimber, S & W, Colt, Remington, Browning, Ruger, Taurus, Sig Sauer and More! If it doesn't fit yours you can utilize our 100% Satisfaction...
- HANDMADE BY AMERICAN CRAFTSMEN, FROM GENUINE USA BULLHIDE LEATHER! American made with American Pride, No synthetic materials or cheap, mass-market production
- DESIGNED FOR OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE AND MAXIMUM COMFORT! Sturdy, dependable, and form-fitted for easy, effective concealment and quick, reliable access to your sidearm.
Another of Relentless Tacticals USA-made high-quality leather holster that gets you the form fitted design you need for your 1911. All inclusive with their lifetime warranty.
It fits the majority of the 1911 models and barrel lengths. Relentless honors a no questions asked return if you get the holster and it doesn’t fix your specific model so you don’t have to worry if it doesn’t fit yours!
It’s form fitted to have top of the line concealment and holds in place to give you quick access to your firearm in your time of need.
With this holster specifically, it’s good to double check the type of iron sight you have. Customers report that if you have a slanted/ramped front sight it will work. However, a squared off sight or basically, anything that has an edge will get caught in the holster when you try to draw it which would essentially render the holster useless.
Other than that people report it being super comfortable after being broken in and that the clip is super sturdy and holds the gun in place well with excellent retention.
- Fitted leather for ultimate comfort
- Fits majority of 1911 barrel lengths with no hassle return policy
- Sturdy, quality belt clip
- Doesn’t fit all styles of sights – will only work with iron sights that are ramped/slanted
1791 Gunleather 4-way 1911 Holster
- VERSATILITY: The MOST versatile holster you can buy allows for 4 different CCW positions. The sturdy steel clip allows for reliable IWB carry while the holes on opposite side allow for OWB carry in 3...
- COMFORT & QUALITY: Upgrade your carry to the 1911 leather gun holster. Made with 100% American Steerhide Leather that is reinforced and double stitched providing a comfortable, durable, lightweight &...
- CONCEALMENT & CONVENIENCE: Our 1911 holster is designed for concealment and convenience. Easy to conceal in both IWB and OWB positions this holster has a quick draw design making it the leather gun...
- PROTECTION & CRAFTSMANSHIP: 1791 Gunleather's 1911 4-WAY Holster is hand crafted to protect both you and your firearm at all times. The hand molded exterior provides for superior retention, maximum...
- LIFETIME WARRANTY: All 1791 products are backed by our lifetime warranty. We produce the finest leather gun holsters used by law enforcement, sportsmen, veterans and patriots around the world. We...
The 1791 Gunleather is designed to fit the 1911 models with a 3” to a 5” barrel length. It is a dual purpose OWB (outside the waistband) and IWB holster. It allows for 4 difference concealed carry positions and 3 different OWB carry positions giving it super high versatility.
The holster is steer hide leather and it is reinforced and double stitched for extra durability and reliability. The materials used to make it ultra lightweight and after being broken in will be comfortable enough for every day carry purposes.
It’s designed for concealment and convenience so even when carrying OWB it’s easy to conceal the weapon. The product is handcrafted with safety in mind and gives you ultimate retention to ensure the gun is held securely by this holster.
All this and it’s fully backed up by a lifetime no-hassle guarantee. Perfect!
Some customers complain that when the holster gets water in it the dye leaks out and will ruin clothing and be hard to wash off your skin as well. We wouldn’t go so far as to call it “useless” but it is something to keep in mind if you have clothing that you don’t want to ruin.
Another compone is that the fit for the 5” style 1911s can cause the gun barrel to stick out of the end. Now, this might seem just like an aesthetic issue but if you are training with the gun or have just fired the weapon the tip can be very hot and you don’t really want that pressed up against your skin.
Other than that customers are quite satisfied with the holster and the quality of the belt clip. Most people recommend using this for the small size 1911s as the full-sized 1911 handgun does seem to be a bit too big.
- Dual purpose OWB and IWB carry for versatility
- Reinforced and double stitched for durability
- Lifetime guarantee
- Sturdy clip
- Says one size fits all but really works better on the 3-4 inch style 1911
- Dye on the holster will stain clothes/skin if it gets wet
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the 1911 too big and heavy to use efficiently?
Some people might be wondering if a full-sized 1911 is too bulky to use efficiently with an IWB concealed carry weapons holster. While it is much bigger than, say, a Glock 17, it still has holsters designed with the weight in mind.
If you are a novice shooter the 1911 might be too large to handle but you can always check out the compact styles that have easier handling for a newer shooter.
As far as the holster is concerned if you are going with a full-sized 1911 handgun you will want to ensure that you have a strong and sturdy gun belt to attach your IWB holster too.
The FoxX holster that we’ve recommended here is also a great option for the full-sized 1911 as it has the double clips to ensure it can handle the weight of the bulky 1911. At that point, it is just up to you and the time you put into practicing the draw of the handgun to become fully comfortable with it.
How can I tell which style of 1911 Handgun I have when choosing a holster?
If you’re new to the 1911 it might be tough to tell the different styles and what people mean by this. In this article, we’ve generally added the barrel lengths into the descriptions so that you can match the holster to your barrel length.
This is essentially the difference between each style – the size. To give you some more details the different names are the Government (5” barrel), the Commander (4” barrel), and the Officer (3” barrel).
The Government is the full-sized model and the Commander is considered compact. Compact is relative though because the barrel length is still about 4.25” at an accurate measurement. The Officer is the sub-compact version which is the smallest 1911 style currently available.
Knowing the differences will help you get the proper holster for your gun the first time!
Why would I conceal carry a full-sized 1911 handgun?
With the bulk and weight in mind, you might wonder why one would even consider carrying it as a concealed weapon and not the sub-compact officer 1911 or even a Glock 17 or similar model.
Some cons can include that they don’t conceal as well as the smaller guns, obviously, and with the weight, they’ll have more strain on your energy levels throughout the day. Also with the larger size, they can jab you in the leg or the side and be all around uncomfortable.
The positive side? Full-sized handguns are known to be more accurate but the big thing is – larger magazine capacity. You’re going to be able to pull the trigger more times before you have to reload. Also, you might find yourself carrying only two extra mags instead of four with a smaller gun.
So really, it’s up to you. You decide for yourself which features you want and what you’re willing to sacrifice to have them – just like anything in life!
Well, I’m Sold
Now you should be super comfortable in finding the best 1911 IWB holster for whichever style of 1911 you own personally. You got the knowledge, you got the visualization and you got the tools to get that perfect holster for you.
You understand that the barrel length, a rail, and other accessories can inhibit the functionality of certain holsters and to keep this in mind before you make a purchase. You also have the proper information on how the iron sights can affect the draw and what the larger style models will do in terms of weight and if you’re willing to put up with it.
Keep those pistols ready and remember, stay safe!