History of 1911 Gun Holsters: How They’ve Adapted to Red Dots, Tactical Lights, and More

Every true 1911 fan knows the gun’s origins. John Moses Browning first began developing it in the late 1800s. The Army adopted it in 1911 (hence the name). And it got its trial by fire in the trenches of the First World War. However, far less people know the history of the 1911 gun holster. And fewer still know how the introduction of tactical lights and red dot optics have changed the gun holster game.

Fortunately, that’s exactly the topic we’re going to cover today: the origins of the 1911 gun holster. In addition, we’ll look at how custom gun holsters have changed the game for both duty and civilian use.

The 1911 Gun Holster: Origins

Although you may think of gun holsters dating back to cowboys and their trusty revolvers, that wasn’t always actually the case. Many of them simply used their pockets or held their firearms in other compartments. Many gun holsters were custom built, and only a few models had standard holsters.

When the 1911 hit the scene, the world of gun holsters wasn’t ready. The 1911’s revolutionary design made it the first widely-available semi auto pistol in America. Most of the holsters that did exist were built for revolvers, given their popularity at the time.

The Army made sure to change that. They developed the first standardized 1911 holster a year after they adopted the pistol. In true military fashion, they gave the holster the imaginative name “M1912.” It eventually became known by a different name: the “Pershing style” after army chief General John “Black Jack” Pershing. Before too long, the Army replaced the M1912 with the M1916, the same holster they’d use through World War II. Shoulder gun holsters, modified from holding some other gun, were also popular for 1911s.

Leather Holster

Recent Developments: Custom 1911 Gun Holsters

It’s important to note that throughout this time, most civilian 1911 gun holsters were custom jobs. Many were simply modified versions of single-action revolver holsters. That changed in the 1950s, when former New York Police Officer John Bianchi developed his first custom 1911 gun holster. Bianchi continues to be a major name in gun holsters today.

Throughout the rest of the 1900s and into the early 2000s, 1911 holsters remained largely the same. That all changed with the introduction of tactical lights and red dot optics, though. These accessories revolutionized handguns. However, they also made finding the right 1911 gun holster much more difficult.

With so many different options for 1911 accessories today, it pays to get a custom gun holster. That’s where we come in. At Southern Trapper, we build custom 1911 holsters to fit any gun. Whether you’re running a red dot, a tactical light, or any other accessory on your 1911, we can build the perfect gun holster to fit it. Get in touch with us to learn more about getting the ideal custom gun holster for your 1911.

Cowhide 1911 Holster

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