Concealed Carrying a 1911: Is it Possible?

There’s plenty to love about the 1911. Its robust design has kept it relevant for over a century. Thanks to its reliability and stopping power, you can find 1911s everywhere from special forces units to everyday citizens. However, there’s one place where the 1911 does run into some controversy, though. That’s the world of concealed carry. Can you concealed carry a 1911 effectively? We’ll look at some of the pros and cons of concealed carrying a 1911 in this post.

Custom 1911 Holster

Pros and Cons: Is it Possible to Concealed Carry a 1911?

Okay, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. There are definitely some challenges associated with trying to concealed carry a 1911. First and foremost is the gun’s size. Most 1911s feature a 5-inch “Government” sized barrel. However, this isn’t the biggest hurdle facing the 1911 in the concealed carry world.

Instead, that’s the 1911’s overall size of 8.5 inches. That means that the gun’s grip is most likely going to noticeably “print,” or make itself known under your clothing. One way that you can mitigate this is by wearing longer, loose-fitting clothes. But for those of us who don’t live in Alaska, that may not be an option year-round.

However, the 1911 does have some advantages when it comes to carrying. For one, it has a manual thumb safety. That’s not a feature you find in many of the lightweight, black, polymer-framed concealed carry pistols of today.

Many concealed carry aficionados denounce safeties, saying that it adds complexity to your draw. But this allows others to carry with one in the chamber confidently, knowing that they don’t have a loaded gun without a safety strapped to their bodies.

OWB 1911 Holster


Concealed Carrying a 1911: Different Sizes

One way to overcome the 1911’s large size and difficult concealment is to just shrink it. Many companies have already done this. Companies like Springfield and other higher-end manufacturers have introduced the “Commander” variant. These guns function exactly the same as a real 1911, but they’re just smaller. 

Then, you have companies like Kimber. Kimber has really gone all-out trying to miniaturize the 1911 platform. And they seem to have succeeded with the Kimber Micro. One of the smallest 1911 variants out there, the Kimber Micro makes concealed carrying a 1911-style gun a practical reality.

One thing to note about smaller-sized 1911s is caliber. Generally, these smaller 1911s are chambered in 9mm or 380 ACP. Those are both noticeably smaller rounds than the standard 1911’s 45 ACP.

However, that’s not necessarily a problem. Most smaller-sized 1911s have a similar capacity to their full-sized cousins. And the 9mm round is actually superior to the 45 ACP in many ways. But the 9mm cartridge is definitely a departure from your “typical” 1911 fare.

Kimber Micro

Concealed Carrying a 1911: Holsters

Another way to mitigate the large size of the 1911 is by getting the right concealed carry holster. By combining the right holster with the right area on your body, you can effectively concealed carry a 1911 without printing.

To nail down the right holster, you’re going to need to assess your situation. Do you spend a lot of time sitting down? Wearing a jacket? A shoulder holster may be the right move. Do you wear long flannels that go past your belt? You may be able to get away with carrying your 1911 outside of your waistband.

Ultimately, you’re going to have to decide on the right concealed carry holster for your 1911 yourself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get some help. To learn more about the right concealed carry holster for you, check out our full selection here.

Custom IWB Leather Holsters

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