The 1911 pistol has been in use since its invention by John Moses Browning in the year that became the pistol’s namesake. This type of pistol is known for its short recoil operation and telltale grip safety. Many of these weapons have been developed by different gun brands over the years, which clearly illustrates the quality of the weapon itself.
The 1911 is a somewhat controversial firearm that has scores of fans and detractors, but as with any firearm, you should have a good holster. These days, synthetic holsters are gaining a lot of fans, and Kydex is becoming an increasingly popular material. With this in mind, we’ve created this guide of the top Kydex 1911 holster options on the market.
We’ve tested more than 50 different Kydex holsters for 1911 pistols and out of these products, we found that the Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Adjustable Carry Holster did the best job of providing a well-rounded shooting experience. It has all of the features that a concealed carrier might want like trigger protection, a sturdy body, and a concealing form factor.
The first thing that you might notice about this holster is its “carbon fiber” design. While this is a faux carbon fiber, it looks very attractive in everyday use. Additionally, the material on this gun holster is capable of taking a lot of abuse thanks to the .08-inch thick Kydex.
Inside the waistband holsters should be moisture-proof; this product is perfectly capable of withstanding the sometimes sweaty situations that come with an IWB holster.
Unfortunately, the clip could be better. If you’re not careful, the whole holster can come up with the gun.
Some shooters prefer their holster to have a “click” retention. This product clicks audibly into place so that you know that it’s firmly seated.
The “carbon fiber” design is just an aesthetic feature and has a tendency to grate off of the holster over time.
You can adjust the cant of this particular holster, which is good for carriers that prefer a different draw angle.
To adjust the retention using the Posi-Click system, you simply need a Phillips head screwdriver.
Concealment Express are the masters of Kydex; in fact, it’s the only material they use.
Why Pick a 1911 Kydex Holster?
So why not just select a leather or nylon holster? What makes Kydex so good of a holster material? To understand this, let’s take a look at the synthetic material itself.
Believe it or not, Kydex has been around for more than 50 years; it was invented in 1965 and was primarily used for aircraft interiors. It is a rigid and strong material that has a good degree of formability, which is why it’s such a good material for crafting holsters.
Also, while having a strong and durable construction, Kydex is also a very lightweight material. This makes it an exceptional choice for crafting in and out of waistband holsters.
Additionally, Kydex holsters, as hard-form holsters, have some great built-in firearm retention. In fact, many of the modern Kydex holsters will audibly click once you’ve gotten the gun seated properly. This provides a degree of reliability that many gun owners will appreciate.
Amazingly, there are even ways for industrious gun owners to even manufacture their own Kydex holsters. While this might be attractive for some, you can find some great Kydex holsters on the market for relatively inexpensive prices.
Benefits of Kydex 1911 Holster
Easy Maintenance: One of the coolest features of Kydex is how easily it is cleaned and maintained. The material is virtually pore-free, so you won’t have to worry about the thermoplastic being stained; simply dab it with a wet cloth and most debris should come right off.
There’s No Break-In Period: Leather holsters are very popular, but even the most die-hard leather holster fan will tell you that the first few weeks are toughest with a leather holster because of the break-in period. Kydex is usable right out of the box and will keep its retention for a long period of time.
They Are Moisture-Resistant: Moisture can wreck a gun and the holster that’s carrying it. Since many Kydex holsters are designed to be in the waistband, it’s good that Kydex is a very moisture resistant material. Some Kydex holsters even employ a moisture guard for added protection.
Problems with Kydex Holsters
False Kydex: It’s easy to get fooled by holster manufacturer’s claiming that their synthetic plastic holsters are actually Kydex. Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride material that looks a lot like standard plastic, which is why unscrupulous holster sellers may try to hoodwink you.
Gun Wear:: You’ll often hear about this with both Kydex and Boltaron holsters, but the truth is, just about any holster can damage the finish of your firearm. To avoid this type of damage, you should aim for Kydex holsters that conform to the shape of your weapon and use retention points on the gun for a secure fit.
Material Variances: Unfortunately, all Kydex holsters aren’t built the same. The truth of the matter is the Kydex manufacturers actually have several different grades of the material that range all the way up to the top-of-the-line Kydex 100.
The holsters using the higher-grade Kydex materials will consequently cost more because the manufacturing process will be more complex and use better components. In fact, there are more than 40 different lines of Kydex, so before you buy, it doesn’t hurt to contact the manufacturer and ask about the specific production process for their Kydex holsters.
The Truth About Guns has an excellent write up about Kydex holsters that delves into the benefits and drawbacks of the material.
Alternative 1911 Kydex Holster Reviews
While we like the Concealment Express as the best option for an IWB 1911 Kydex holster, you may be looking for alternative carry types. Here are a few alternative options.
The last 1911 kydex holster on our list, isn’t exactly made of Kydex, but an equally durable polymer. We added this one in case you are looking for something a little more tactical. The Tactical Drop Leg 1911 Kydex Holster from Gun and Flower is everything you want in fully accessible holster.
Offers level II retention
Leg Straps are a little stretchy for some.
Designed with toolless adjustment system
Adjustable ride height
Adjustable retention and cant
1911 Kydex Holster Options – Conclusion
The 1911 has a long history and is a very reliable firearm for daily carry. While it’s not the easiest to conceal gun on the market, finding a good holster is crucial. The holsters that we’ve covered all are great for several versions of the 1911 pistol that have been released over the years.
Out of these holsters, we still have to go with the Concealment Express IWB KYDEX Adjustable Carry Holster as our overall favorite. It has a great looking carbon fiber design, it’s got the very satisfying “Posi-Click” retention system, and it’s also a very comfortable choice for the daily carry of your 1911.
Hey everyone I'm Chris. Founder and editor at Gun News Daily. This site was originally started by my father who passed it on to me. Gun News Daily has been reporting on gun news and conservative politics since 2001. We are the original gun news source. Life-long Second Amendment Supporter.