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Old 07-11-2018, 06:49 PM
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Default Full size 1911, practical CCW?

I like to read the concealed carry threads. And I would be lying if occasionally I didn't wander off in a daydream as to which of my pistols would be suitable for CCW, and even open carry, if I lived where it is allowed.

I had it narrowed down to my Astra Constable (PPK copy) .32 auto for concealed carry, IWB holster and spare 8 round mag on left side. Despite the short barrel and skimpy sights I can hit centre of mass groups at 25 yards with this pistol and face sized groups at 10 - 15 yards. Unfortunately it only reliably fires with Federal ammunition/primers, but then I carry Federal Hydra Shock ammo on duty and I am confident with it.

For open carry I thought one of my 1911's. .45 by preference but 9mm if I required by regulations.

Then today I read on the resurrected LEOSA thread someone mentioned concealed IWB carry of a .45 1911. My fist thought was full sized or Commander/Officers? After reading this I went out to the excursive machine and my mind started to wander off as the sweat started to run. I got to thinking, is a full sized 1911 suitable for CCW or is it just too much?

Now obviously I really have no practical knowledge or experience of this so..... What does everyone think?

Before the "There are so many factors" comments come in, here are some parameters.

Male, 6"1", larger frame (build) and 20 - 25 pounds over preferred weight.

4-5 o'clock IWB strong side carry with mag pouch IWB on weak side.

Cool weather clothing: loose jeans or expandable (elastic waist) casual trousers with 1 1/4 - 1 1/2" belt.

Reasonably loose button up shirt or polo shirt, tucked in and short vest.

Warm weather clothing: walk shorts with 1 1/4" belt. Loose polo shirt tucked in and usually a short vest.

Holster and mag pouches good quality IWB, steel reinforcing to hold open and the type that allow shirt to be tucked in (I just do not like the feel of an untucked shirt).

Feasible? Fantasy? Or possible with some adjustments (shorter length 1911 pistol only?)

Last edited by Kiwi cop; 07-11-2018 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:56 PM
Duckford Duckford is offline
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When I'm not carrying my M27 in a service holster on a belt, I'm almost always carrying my 1911 in a shoulder rig. I like wearing suits and jackets whenever I can so I can manage most of the time, if I'm working I'll just throw a large button work shirt over a t-shirt and let the overhang take care of it. I live in rural nowhere where guns are everywhere, so the risk of printing isn't as serious as some places, nobody is going to go nuts or bananas and call the police in total fear, so my concern with keeping things as undedectable as possible might not be as serious as yours.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:23 PM
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I've carried a 5" 1911 for several years (maybe 15), it was the only 1911 I owned.
I've carried a N frame 3 1/2" for that long as well.

Then I discovered the Commander, then the Lightweight Commander and the Colt Defender...
I've kinda settled on the 4 1/4" lightweight commander in this last decade.
But, will concealed carry an N frame or full size gov't model in a heart beat.

I wore this'n all day long Sunday. CC'd at church with just a sport coat.
A good gunbelt makes all the difference in the world.

Colt Gov't Model



.
Kiwi,
I always thought I'd like one of these....Colt Lightweight Gov't Models



May get one, one of these days....jest for my old age carry.


.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:24 PM
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I carried a full sized Govt model or a CCO model 10 mm IWB for nearly 20 years.
A move to town and Chest of Drawers syndrome caused me to give up IWB and 10mm. 10 mm is too much horse power for my present environment and circumstances.

I still carry a Colt Defender 45ACP, OWB all of the time these days.
An option for your summer wear is Polo shirts with belted bottoms
The elastic waist band stays just below the bottom of a OWB holster if you pay attention and completely conceals a gun in an IWB holster.
Another trick with IWB is to wear a loosely bloused tucked in shirt but fold up the shirt tail inward and upward where your gun is located.. It looks tucked in, but a quick grab will get it out of the way for a quick draw.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:40 PM
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A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I carried a full-size, all steel, .45ACP Colt Government Model IWB in a Bruce Nelson or Milt Sparks Summer Special Holster, riding on a Bruce Nelson or Milt Sparks belt. Bruce wore a 1911 IWB regularly. Bruce and Milt were one man shops back then. They both personally made my gear.

I also carried two J-Frame backups. Three pistols on me routinely in 100 degree+ weather.


The out-of-the-box Colt was my primary "duty' pistol. I carried it because I had to. I also carried it because 'at that time' there wasn't any better full-size pistol I was going to bet my life on. With the correct, professional gear it carried easy. When I thought about why I carried it, it was a downright feather.

There was an old saying back then: "If you ever, truly need a 'handgun' to save your life, you'll wish it was a big one."

These days I'm a mind-my-own-business civilian, so I carry "lighter", but not "too light".

Would I choose a Government Model as my duty pistol in 2018? No, I wouldn't. There are too many better choices for "field duty" today, IMO.

Is the 1911 still suitable for civilian self-defense? IMO, in the right hands, properly applied, Good Grief, YES.

So, carrying a Government Model IWB is not a fantasy. A lot of professional men did it. It's quite the reality, but only for those seriously dedicated to make it work.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:45 PM
squidsix squidsix is offline
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It's not hard to carry a full-sized 1911 for CCW, but it's not any fun either. I find the CCO (Commander slide on Officer's frame) to be the cat's pajamas for CCW if you like 1911s.
If all I had was a 5" 1911, I would not hesitate to carry it, and would simply dress around the bigger pistol. If you were ever in a gun fight, and had that big .45 in your holster, you would feel better prepared than most folks.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:56 PM
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It's one thing to carry large concealed gun occasionally for a few hours.

But to do so day after day wouldn't work for me.

Even a 25 oz (loaded) steel J frame starts to cause a little hip pain after several hours a day.

Plus I live in a VERY non permissive environment where if anyone saw my gun they might call the police. If that happened more than once or twice, the issuing agency might pull my permit considering me too high maintenance.

So I just pocket carry mostly Airweight J frames, LCRs, and an occasional steel J frame.

BTW, here in California, most guys under the age of 70 wear shirts un-tucked.

That makes concealing a gun much easier.

Last edited by Cal44; 07-11-2018 at 09:30 PM.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:12 PM
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Concealing a full-size 1911 is certainly do-able. The nice thing about 1911s is that they're pretty thin for their size, which makes carrying them a bit easier than some other full-size guns. Lots of people carry 1911s without a problem. The only way to find out is to try it for yourself.

I would recommend getting a good quality holster (i.e., Milt Sparks Summer Special II or VMII) on a good quality gun belt (I like Beltman's 1.5" double-layer gun belts).

FWIW, while I haven't carried a 1911 concealed, I have carried a 3" 65 in an IWB holster for 12-16 hours a day, under an untucked, button-down shirt. The weight is close to a full-size 1911, but is noticeably bulkier. I used either a Milt Sparks SSII or a VMII-style holster by another maker on a Beltman 1.5" double-layer gun belt.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:20 PM
Andy Lowry Andy Lowry is offline
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I've carried a full-sized one in an IWB, but didn't like it much-- I had to be careful not to bend forward, or the grip would become fairly obvious, and it made driving uncomfortable. I do frequently carry a Sig CCO (what they call a "C3") OWB in the winter when I can wear a vest or blazer indoors. In warmer weather, I sometimes carry a Sig Ultra Compact IWB (basically a Defender with a 3.3" barrel) under my usual Hawaiian shirt.
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:42 PM
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Iíve carried a full sized 1911 concealed with some frequency. I always wear a sports jacket or cardigan sweater over a Milt Sparks or DelFatti holster and belt.

You will be happiest with a top quality 1 1/2Ē gunbelt. Donít cheap out on belt or holster.

I prefer an owb holster with the full sized 1911: for me, an iwb holster doesnít work well with the full sized 1911.

I most frequently carry a Commander (the Commander is the light weight model: the Combat Commander is all steel). I carry the Commander iwb.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:13 PM
Pisgah Pisgah is offline
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As far as concealability goes, the full-size 1911 presents no real problem. It's big, but it's flat, and that is a big plus when it comes to hiding it. It really comes down to how comfortable you are carrying that much weight for long stretches. A Lightweight Commander soon becomes an attractive option.
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Old 07-11-2018, 09:35 PM
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I carried a full size Colt M1991A-1 for a while, it concealed just fine. The Colt was in a OWB holster at 4 o'clock, generally under a sport coat. A Chiefs Special was carried as a back up. I didn't find the Colt too heavy or awkward, but then my previous carry gun was a 4" Model 19-7. I later carried a Colt Commander, but didn't think the shorter slide made much of a difference carrying under a sport coat.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:09 PM
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I have been using the 1911-style pistols since 1969 in military service, law enforcement, and now in retirement for personal defense. I consider the full-size 1911 in .45ACP to be the ideal defensive sidearm.

Not terribly difficult to carry comfortably and well concealed. All that is required is a good solid belt to support the weight and keep it distributed on the hips, and a good pancake-style holster that rides moderately high just behind the strong-side hip (about 3:30 position for a right-hand shooter). Beyond that all that is needed is a cover garment that is long enough to keep the holstered pistol covered during all normal activities. I get by daily with nothing more than a loose-fitting shirt, either cotton canvas or broadcloth. Of course, that is not appropriate for business attire, but I am retired and have a lot of latitude in how I dress. For business dress it gets even easier, with a suit coat or sport jacket of full cut (not closely tailored to the body), which I intentionally purchase in one size larger than I might otherwise wear. A panel of light canvas material sewn into the jacket lining aids in disguising the underlying holstered handgun as well as preventing snagging and tearing on exposed portions of the pistol.

The compact or subcompact pistols offer some advantages in concealment and comfort, but that comes with the usual trade-offs in reliable functioning and shorter sight radius. I trained on the full-size pistols and used one in combat more than once, so I rely on what I know.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:13 PM
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The 1911 is a very agreable iwb carry gun imo. Very slim, rides right, the only issue is the weight. So one of my ccw is a 1911 alloy commander. In a good iwb holster, I hardly know i have it on.
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Old 07-11-2018, 11:16 PM
Dirty Harry Callahan Dirty Harry Callahan is offline
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Anything that one can carry without being over encombered is practical by my definition.

So if you can comfortably carry a full-size 1911 on your person everyday, then I say more power to you.

Folks often fail to consider the variables at play when it comes to EDC, namely weather/climate. Obviously folks in hotter States are going to be more comfortable carrying lighter firearms, whereas in colder States it's easier to carry heavier firearms, especially during Winter.

In your situation, I could see carrying a full-size 1911, but I'm not you. I recommend trying it out for yourself to see how it feels.

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Old 07-12-2018, 12:03 AM
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Got my first 1911 in December, 1962 ($15 plus $7.50 shipping) delivered to my folk's home in Los Angeles while I was away in the Army at Ft. Benning. Couldn't carry while doing 21 years as a full time cop (1972 - 1993) as that was revolver only times.
I did, however, carry off duty for a time, but stopped doing that because all my 1911s (like my M16/M4) were most reliable when used "wet". That always seemed to mean grease/oil stains on my pants or shirts, and as cheap as I was I hated to pay for expensive dry cleaning.
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Old 07-12-2018, 10:44 AM
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I can tell you that for me, after carrying a full sized pistol on duty for 34 years of law enforcement, I never wanted to carry that same gun or one like it, off duty. I'm retired now and my EDC is a SIG P938. It's a mini 1911 in 9mm, conceals easily, no matter the weather, is comfortable to carry, flawless functioning and accurate. Did I mention it has night sights? For someone like me that loves 1911s, it doesn't get any better than the SIG P938. I shoot it very well and I'm confident with it.

Yes, I know, there are those that can carry a .50 AE Desert Eagle or S&W .50 caliber, 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, concealed perfectly under just a t-shirt but I can't and don't want to. Tongue in cheek aside, there those who prefer to carry a full sized pistol (1911's, SIG P226, etc.) and there is nothing wrong with that but being realistic, if carrying a 1911 were my only choice, it would spend more time at home than with me.
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Old 07-12-2018, 11:36 AM
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For years I have carried a high cap 5" 1911 {45 acp} IWB. I am 6' 3" 215lbs. Wearing an untucked shirt, it works fine. When the weather is going to be bad I carry my rain gun Glock 17. I will admit that there are some that are easier to carry, but it works for me. I do have a Colt Defender 45 acp, but I like the higher capacity.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:05 PM
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A quality belt and holster are mandatory. It is an easily concealed, but heavy pistol, and the 1911 is most reliable in the original 5" format. I have done so, but moved away from that for several reasons, and in fact sold my only serious use capable true 1911 a few years ago.
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Old 07-12-2018, 02:33 PM
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I carried a full size 1911 for a long time in a belt holster. Yes, it is heavy and only 7+1 rounds. So, I now carry a S&W M&P 45acp with 10 rounds. Much lighter in weight and more comfortable in my hand.
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Old 07-12-2018, 03:22 PM
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I would suggest it is useless asking such a question, because different people of different stature put different values on what is practical. I weigh 155# and have comfortably carried a Colt Govt Model in Super 38--but I ain't you.
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Old 07-12-2018, 06:11 PM
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I carry my 1911 in a Stoner Stormer Vertical shoulder rig. With this holster has a swivel built in, you draw the weapon horizontal and then the holster returns to the vertical position. It's very comfortable and very well made in Ohio.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jake1945 View Post
I carried a full size 1911 for a long time in a belt holster. Yes, it is heavy and only 7+1 rounds. So, I now carry a S&W M&P 45acp with 10 rounds. Much lighter in weight and more comfortable in my hand.
There are very reliable 8rd mags today. In my 10+1 state, I do not feel under gunned carrying 9rds & a spare mag in my 1911sc.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:30 PM
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For you at 6'1" and large frame I would say yes. I'm 5'7" and have carried an all steel full size 1911 but found it to be a bit much. Now I carry a lightweight commander size. I've found a stiff 1 3/4" belt to work best for me. OWB under an untucked shirt conceals well. Being retired now I don't have to concern myself with fashion. I have carried under a tucked in shirt using a Crossbreed Supertuck comfortably with no one able to spot it. That was before my waistline took up the spare space needed for the holster.
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Old 07-12-2018, 08:11 PM
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