There are endless debates about whether 1911 pistols are a great weapon or a worthless piece of junk. The fact is that if you own one and plan to bring it outside, you’ll also need a 1911 shoulder holster for concealed carry. (Yep, that is possible, even with this bulky and heavy handgun!)
Many people don’t really like carrying their guns in shoulder holsters. But if you are not one of them, here’s everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
So What’s a 1911 Shoulder Holster?
The 1911 tag comes from the eponymous type of handguns. The first and most renowned 1911 handgun was the Colt M1911, made towards the end of the 19th century. Then, in 1911 (you guessed it), it became the official firearm carried by the U.S. army.
The year 1911 has overall really been fertile for this gun. That’s when John Browning fathered the staple design that hasn’t changed much to this day. Hence the gun’s unofficial name!
In spite of its many drawbacks, this gun’s long history testifies to its being one of the most perfect and dependent types of pistols ever made.
So, a 1911 shoulder holster isn’t some space shuttle of a rig. It’s basically any shoulder holster that will accommodate a 1911 handgun. And a little bit of ammo too, if possible.
Many people will opt to get a waistband or a hip holster rather than a shoulder holster due to easier use and next to no adjustment needed. However, to conceal your hip holster, you need to wear a very long shirt. With a shoulder holster, any jacket will do the trick. Plus, it’s way more comfortable if designed right.
Top Concerns When Choosing a 1911 Shoulder Holster
- What is it made of? Whether it’s leather or faux leather, it absolutely needs to be soft and smooth. Therefore, plastic is a big no-no!
- Flexibility = comfort. It’s easy enough to wear a shoulder holster for a few minutes while you’re standing in front of the mirror, admiring your bad-ass looks. But how about walking, running, squatting, climbing while you wear one? It needs to be adjustable, stretchable and gentle on your shoulders, what with the harness as well as all those joints, clasps and buckles. To test your holster, put it on and raise your hands as high as possible. Then reach for your toes, turn left and right. It’s crucial that you test all body positions.
- Padding. This one’s related to comfort, but we decided to single it out because it’s too easy to forget about. It’s best to get a 1911 shoulder holster made of leather. But whatever the material, you’ll need to make sure it is padded at critical points. As you walk, your arms will be rubbing against the vertical straps and possibly the holster itself. If those parts aren’t padded, you’re in for some trouble!
- The gun pocket construction = safety. A 1911 handgun is a heavy beast of a weapon. Does it sit in the holster firmly enough? Last thing you need is a loose gun that can fall out of its pocket. Also, is there some kind of protection for the trigger?
- How many items does it allow you to carry? It’s not just your gun or two that you need to place in your shoulder holster. You will also need some room for gun magazines, that is ammo storage.
Best 1911 Shoulder Holster – Top 5 Picks Reviewed
1. Barsony New Brown Leather Shoulder Holster
Most holster makers don’t care much about hand orientation, as if the left-handed people should either adapt or stop existing. So a great thing about this one is that you can choose your hand orientation. As minor as this detail may sound to the majority of people, shooters know very well that it can make a difference between life and death.
As for materials, it combines leather and nylon straps. The harness is fully adjustable in size and height. Another benefit is a belt loop, for added stability and comfort.
- You can opt for a right-handed or left-handed variant
- The belt loop makes the rig even more stable
- Very concealable, won’t outline beneath your clothes
- Great price/quality ratio
- Not entirely made of leather (just the holster itself and the shoulder strap above it)
2. Galco Miami Classic 1911 Shoulder Holster System
The “classic” from this product’s name is really what it means – a classic design, with a classic gun positioning, for a classic gun model. Galco has been one of the foremost manufacturers of gun leather products, and this model shows why. It will accommodate 5-Inch Colt, Kimber, Para, and Springfield handguns.
You will notice a few user complaints that their weapons couldn’t fit this model. Knowing how respectable this manufacturer is, I believe these users just didn’t give it enough of an effort. The materials are highly flexible and stretchable on purpose, so you will need some patience to break them in.
- Very comfortable and adjustable
- Well made enough to last for years if not a lifetime
- Holds the gun very firmly yet allows for a quick draw – no reason to worry about safety
- It can carry a 1911 pistol, but also some revolvers
- Conceals the weapon very well thanks to the upward angle
- Needs some time and effort to break in and fit the gun
- Some non-vital parts are made of plastic (not a crucial feature, but that’s exactly why it wouldn’t have been hard to pay more attention to them)
3. XCH Ambidextrous Shoulder Gun Holster
This beautiful piece of work made of 100% cowhide leather is amazingly adjustable. First off, it’s ambidextrous. If you’re left-handed, just flip it over! Secondly, you can carry your gun both horizontally and vertically, whatever works best for you. And thirdly, it has a mag pouch that you can remove and use it as an OWB (on waistband) pouch.
- Can hold the gun both vertically and horizontally
- Removable mag pouch converts to OWB pouch
- Very comfortable and highly adjustable
- 100% made of high-quality leather
- Beautifully crafted
- Shipping takes a while
4. Under Control Tactical Best Concealed Carry 1911 Shoulder Holster
According to the advertisement, this tactical rig provides universal fit for revolvers, pistols, handguns, made by Glock, Springfield, Taurus, MTAC, Kimber, Walther, Beretta, Ruger, Colt, and more. No leather here – it’s entirely made of nylon. However, it has other merits such as being waterproof and lightweight.
Plus, it has two pouches that you can use for another gun, ammo, or flashlight.
- It is true that it fits most pistol and revolver models
- Very adjustable
- Shoulder straps are padded
- Waterproof and lightweight
- Two pouches you can use for mags or another weapon
- Not very durable
5. Pro-Tech Outdoors Horizontal Double Shoulder Holster
This one will fit all automatic handguns with 4- and 5-inch barrels, including brands like Beretta, Bersa, Browning, CZ, Colt, Glock, H&K, Hi-Point, Kimber, Ruger, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson,Springfield, Star, Taurus, and Walther. It’s a double holster, which means you can load it up with two handguns for additional safety. However, it also comes with a double mag pouch. So, you can remove one holster and attach a mag pouch instead. Which is, frankly, the most recommendable option. What good is a pistol without its food?
To be perfectly honest, there are some better shoulder holsters out there. But this one is very reasonably priced, and with a very good cost/benefit ratio.
- Very durable
- Includes a double mag pouch
- Very affordable
- It’s not made of leather but fabric
- Some users complain that this rig won’t hold a 1911 gun firmly enough
Bonus Tip & Wrap-Up
Before you even consider which 1911 shoulder holster to get for your weapon, make sure to get a concealed carry permit if your state requires it! Your regular owner’s licence doesn’t allow you to carry your firearm around, be it open or concealed. Check out this informative article on gun laws by state.