With the growing popularity of concealed carry and the propensity of firearm manufacturers to produce smaller versions of the venerable 1911, holster manufacturers have responded as well, producing versatile variants of gun leather (and plastic) to safely hold and conceal these weapons. Whatever your opinion of the three-inch barreled 1911—a departure from John Moses Browning’s original design—it’s here to stay.
For this article I borrowed a Kimber Stainless Ultra Carry II. If you want to carry one concealed—and by concealed I mean inside the waistband with a shirt tucked in over it—these three tuckable holsters may fit your needs.
All of the holsters required some measure of time and effort to install on my person; in other words, this is not the easiest nor fastest mode of holstering a concealed handgun.
Galco V-Hawk, $112.00
A newer product in Galco’s extensive holster lineup, the V-Hawk reminded me, both by the “V” in its name and its look, of the popular and highly favored Milt Sparks Versa Max holster series. Regardless of my preconceived notions about the V-Hawk’s design origins, Galco secured its own patent for it. The beautiful, smooth, black premium steerhide holster looked great and did a more than adequate job of holding the Kimber Ultra Carry II in place. In fact, it held it at a slight forward cant, keeping the stocks up in an easy-to-grasp position.
I replaced the V-Hawk’s leather belt loops—meant for simple, untucked IWB carry—with a set of Galco’s black steel clips, allowing me to tuck a shirt in over the firearm and holster. With this arrangement and with my shirt tucked in, concealing the Kimber, only the V-Hawk’s black clips showed. On a black leather belt, they adequately blended in.
While V-Hawk always looked good, and securely held the Kimber in place, wearing the V-Hawk for more than an hour or so required my ongoing attention and care. I found that the middle of the holster pressed into my waist, requiring me to physically move it from time to time to relieve the pressure.
Drawing the Kimber was easy enough, but resulted in the holster traveling up as well until it finally released its grip on the gun. I imagine that additional break-in time would alleviate this problem. Despite my standing, sitting, driving, and other attempts to see if it would move out of place, the V-Hawk’s clips and design kept it fairly in place and I never feared the Kimber would slide out of it. Moreover, the V-Hawk’s reinforced mouth stayed open for one-handed holstering.Crossbreed
Left and Right: the large leather panel on the Crossbreed SuperTuck Deluxe distributes the gun’s weight well.
SuperTuck Deluxe, $69.75 Crossbreed bills its Supertuck Deluxe as “the most comfortable and concealable holster available.” Based on my experience, I mostly agree. When I first saw the Supertuck Deluxe, I wondered at what looked like a huge amount of leather and how I would fit all that, comfortably, inside my waistband. Then, noting the formed Kydex molded to fit a 1911, I wondered if this holster would feel gimmicky, plasticky.
Thankfully, the Crossbreed SuperTuck fit inside the waistband very well and the thin Kydex, while not as robust as leather, held the Kimber securely, offering a positive “click” to let me know that the gun was firmly in place.
The enormous amount of leather is a matter of function—every bit of it allows for the weight of the gun and holster to be distributed over a wider space. While it is more difficult to put on or install, once in place it does a very good job at holding and hiding a handgun. I’m never too impressed with claims such as, “so comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing it” because frankly, I don’t want to forget that I’m wearing a firearm. Nonetheless, the SuperTuck Deluxe does its job so well that, compared to other holsters, you’ll appreciate that it gets out of the way, so to speak, of carrying a weapon.
Adding to its functionality, the SuperTuck Deluxe adjusts for ride depth and cant, and holds on to a belt securely with its very tough SteelClip clips.
My only gripe was with the Kydex and not because I’m a traditional, leather-loving kind of guy. While I never feared that the SuperTuck Deluxe would lose its grip on the Kimber, depending on how I was sitting or moving, occasionally the Kydex would relax its grip on the weapon, allowing just a bit of movement. This is not so much a design flaw as it is probably the nature of a product made of leather and plastic that’s made to hold a weapon inside a living person’s waistband. There will be movement.
Left and Right: The American Holster Company Invisi-Tuck shows how little space is needed inside the waistband.American Holster Company Invisi-Tuck Concealed Carry Holster, $75.00
A new company in the holster business, the American Holster Company offers just a few models, all made with high quality leather and Chicago screws. The company’s flagship model, the Invisi-Tuck, combines the topnotch good looks and form of the Galco V-Hawk with the excellent functionality of the Crossbreed SuperTuck.
The American Holster Company makes some good looking holsters. The leatherwork is visually stunning, and is available in black, mahogany, and tan. But good looks won’t get you far when it comes to carrying a concealed weapon. In this arena, function always trumps form.
When I received the Invisi-Tuck I initially worried about it being too thick, even when carrying a relatively slim 1911. After all, the leather backing, pocket, and reinforcements are all noticeably thicker than the other holsters. Similar to my concern with the Crossbreed holster, I also wondered if the Invisi-Tuck holster would keep a firm grip on the weapon.
Wearing the Invisi-Tuck with the Kimber in place alleviated my first concern. While it may actually be thicker than other holsters, by no means is it any less comfortable. In fact, the wide leather back, like the Crossbreed, greatly helped distribute the weight of the weapon system across my right hip and was virtually as comfortable.
While holstering a weapon in the Invisi-Tuck doesn’t yield a click, the weapon is firmly held in place. No surprise, the retention of these holsters is more a function of the belt I wore as opposed to just the holster. The difference between the SuperTuck and the Invisi-Tuck, however, is the positive click of holstering the Kimber in formed Kydex versus the friction of leather against the Kimber’s aluminum alloy frame and stainless steel slide. Whereas the SuperTuck at times seemed to relax its grip on the Kimber, the Invisi-Tuck never did. Yet the Kimber drew smoothly and easily returned to the Invisi-Tuck, every time.The Tuckable Factor
These tuckable holsters aren’t 100 percent hidden; belt clips are still visible. But blousing a shirt over the belt helps conceal a weapon.
Wearing these holsters with the Kimber in place and with a shirt tucked in revealed that all of them do an adequate job of safely and securely keeping a three-inch 1911 at the ready, even if drawing it requires one hand to pull the shirt up while the other hand goes for the gun. Depending on your physical makeup, you may find this more or less suitable for your concealed carry needs.
All of the holsters required some measure of time and effort to install on my person; in other words, this is not the easiest nor fastest mode of holstering a concealed handgun. Moreover, you need just the right shirt to tuck in, one that can be bloused over your belt to help prevent printing. You should also be aware that the belt clips generally are visible at all times and, to a trained eye, a dead giveaway that you’re carrying a gun. Still, if you desire the deep concealment of a three-inch barreled 1911 and prefer the location and security of carrying inside the waistband, these three tuckable holsters are worth a look.
All prices as of September, 2011CONTACTS:
|American Holster Company americanholstercompany.com (989) 948-3580||Crossbreed Holsters www.crossbreedholsters.com (888) 732-5011|
|Galco www.usgalco.com (800) 874-2526|