The 1911 pistol will never go away; it’ll only keep on getting better as time goes by. Carried by military service members, law enforcement, and civilians alike, the 1911 boasts an unmatched heritage in public service, unique capabilities as a race gun, and, in commander or officer-sized renditions, a top choice for concealed carry. But some of the 1911 faithful enjoy their full-size Government models as their primary carry piece. And frankly, even with the five-inch barrel and full-size stocks, because “old slabsides” is so thin, it’s easier to conceal than you may think.
Even with the advantage of a relatively thin slide, a Government Model 1911 is still a full sized handgun. For example, the Kimber Custom II you see here is no small piece: 5.25 inches tall, 8.7 inches long, 1.28 inches wide, 38 ounces in weight.
It is not what people normally consider a concealed carry pistol.
Still, many holster options exist for the 1911, from Officer to Government-sized. Here we’re going to see how the Kimber Custom II, a full-sized 1911, hides in a Galco V-Hawk, one of the company’s newer offerings.
Although a new design, the V-Hawk boasts traditional materials and craftsmanship. It is made of premium steer hide and, with the leather belt loops in place, functions as a typical IWB holster. The V-Hawk also comes with injection-molded C-hooks that allow the holster to accommodate a shirt tucked in over it. This dual-purpose holster features a lot of good-looking, functional leather and retails for $124.95.
I left the V-Hawk in its stock configuration – belt loop equipped for traditional IWB carry – and affixed it to my person. Wearing loose-fitting jeans with a single long-sleeved shirt, I was able to work the holster into place with minimal fuss. The belt loop snaps engaged positively. I slid the Kimber in place and it fit perfectly, covering the muzzle well and holding the gun at an angle that 1) kept the stock up and hidden, and 2) kept the stock up, ready to be grasped when drawing the gun. So far, so good.
Wearing the V-Hawk around for a few days yielded these observations:
- While carrying a full-sized 1911 is tedious after several hours, it is possible to do it with some measure of comfort. The V-Hawk holster, while visually indistinct, really is a thoughtful design. While I always knew it was there, I never felt like the holster was fighting me. It just fit.
- Any lack of comfort with this rig and gun was more a function of the gun’s weight. While the V-Hawk disburses some of the weight of the gun over the amount of the leather and via the well-spaced belt loops, at some point it is just a lesson in physics and gravity. So the lighter the gun, the more comfortable it should be.
- Despite the option of switching out the belt loops for tuck-able C-clips, I didn’t even try because the traditional IWB mode was so good and I really couldn’t envision a full-sized 1911 as a deep cover gun. In my opinion, it would take too long to deploy that much gun from a tucked-in carry mode.
- Most holsters, the V-Hawk included, need a good gun belt to round out the support system a concealed carry rig needs to be effective.
Drawing the Kimber Custom II from the Galco V-Hawk was simple and effective. Re-holstering was made easy due to the V-Hawk’s reinforced mouth.
In short, concealing the big 1911 in the traditional IWB configuration was excellent. If you wondered if it was really possible to conceal such a large pistol, the answer is clearly “yes.” More importantly, if you wondered if it was really possible to conceal a full-sized 1911 well, the answer still is “yes.” The V-Hawk provided a reasonable measure of comfort, excellent stability, and pulled the 1911 in close. Although I wore a fleece sweatshirt as a covering garment, I could get away with wearing two t-shirts as cover. One t-shirt as cover might be pushing it, though.
While full-sized 1911s are not necessarily the wave of the future of concealed carry guns, with the right holster, they can be carried concealed. If you’re a 1911 aficionado who wants to carry the Government Model concealed, Galco’s V-Hawk is a good holster for this in its traditional IWB carry mode. And if you really want to deeply conceal it, you have the option of going tuck-able.