Top 1911 Tactical Holsters for IWB and OWB Carry [ Complete Review]

Last modified: December 11, 2022 GUIDE: Chris Browning

The 1911 has a rich history that began a decade before John Browning created handguns. Since then they have become one of the most sort after pistols in the US. This has led to the production of tactical holsters by numerous manufacturers all trying to win the top spot as the best 1911 tactical holster makers.

This has made it quite difficult to choose the best among the numerous tactical holsters. Fortunately, after an extensive research and rigorous testing, we were able to come up with a list of top tactical holsters for the 1911.

It’s hard to come up with a single holster and claim that it is the best since we all have different tastes and preferences but hopefully this review will come in handy. Our pick however is Blackhawk Serpa Sportster Holster.


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Our Top Pick: BLACKHAWK! Serpa Sportster Holster

BlackHawk Serpa Sportster Paddle HolsterOut of the many holsters we tested, the BLACKHAWK! Serpa Sportster impressed us the most. It had all the features that you could dream of such as a unique speed-cut design and an Auto Lock release system.

It delivers unmatched weapon security and automatically positions itself to facilitate a smooth and correct drawing motion. It comes with a paddle platform and a belt loop.

The Speed-cut design allows the user to rapidly draw his/her gun, acquire the target and re-holster while still keeping their eyes on the target. It allows for superiors draw technique and reinforces full master grip. It is designed for civilian use and highly prioritizes their safety.


  • It features the Patented SERPA Auto Lock release system, which is secure; it makes an audible click upon re-holster.
  • It is made from polymer molded by injection. This type of material is very durable as it can withstand even rough handling.
  • It comes with a paddle platform and a belt loop.


  • The Glock 17’s muzzle sticks out just a little bit when holstered.

Choosing the Best 1911 holster

There are several factors that you should look for when searching for a tactical holster these include:

Clothing: If you are looking to carry a concealed weapon, it is important that you consider the type of clothes you will be wearing. For instance, if you want to carry a small pistol when wearing summer clothes, preferably opt for a snug holster. However, if you intend to carry heavier handguns, it is advisable that you use a thicker holster especially if you are in jeans.

Access: since it is a secondary weapon, you want it to be in an easily accessible position such as the thigh or hip. This way, you can quickly grab your Glock 22 with a firm while it’s still in the holster. Even with the easy access, the holster should be concealing your weapon so as not to attract too much attention.

Retention: after access, retention is the 2nd most important feature of a holster. You will need a proper holster that only requires a push of a button or any other action to access the weapon.

There are numerous retention methods and systems that can allow you a proper grip of your weapon with just a push or flick of a button. The choice will depend on your taste and preferences. For example, if you expect to be in a violent situation in which someone will try to go for your gun then retention should be a priority.

Beefy Rig: Ideally, your tactical holster should have a strong method of attaching to a belt. Preferably, a polymer belt loop with a metal hardware or anything that is equally strong. Try to resist the urge to go for a holster that has belt loops that are not as strong as the tactical holster itself.

This excludes paddle type holsters since they are friction-based systems-, which are fine for concealment but not ideal for firefight or duty use.


Ordinarily, you would associate the use of tactical holsters with law enforcement officers or military, but nowadays more men and women are beginning to understand the benefits of using holsters. Here are some of these benefits:

  • They ensure that your gun is safely secured.
  • They are specially designed to release the gun on a moment’s recognize. Normally, law enforcement personnel have to be prepared in case of anything; this is where tactical holsters come in. With a tactical holster, your weapon is secure and easily accessible which will give an advantage, especially when in a firefight.
  • Tactical holsters are made for the variety of weapon to carry. With this in mind, most tactical holsters are pull up and out variety with a large number of these having compact brackets to securely hold the gun in place.
  • They have more security functions with hammer restrictors and set off blocks. This way you are sure that your weapon will not come out or discharge accidentally.


Much like standard holsters, it is imperative that you practice how to get rid of your weapon as this will help you learn how to use a tactical holster. Regular practice will enable you to learn how to truly get your gun out of the holster and place it back without any difficulties.


When you hear the word tactical holsters, the first thought in your mind is something that is worn on the outside and is easily visible. Although tactical holsters are mostly worn on the outside, it does not mean that they are not concealed. In fact, these tactical holsters also function as tactical standpoints. Below are the commonly used types:


Tactical thigh holsters are among the most common types of tactical types of holsters. The commonly used thigh holster is the thigh rig, which is worn on the dominant leg. It features one or two thigh straps where you can safely secure your holster and a drop strap designed from an anchored belt loop.

Thigh holsters are known to provide incredibly fast draw, solid retention as well as security. They might feel uncomfortable, but that depends on the weight of the gun. Fortunately, they are designed for both running and walking without fear of losing your weapon.


Belt holsters have the easy access of a thigh holster without necessarily affecting the carrier’s mobility by being affixed to a specific leg. They keep the firearm within arms reach and provide good retention as well as a quick draw. However, they can be a little bit wobbly since they do not have the thigh straps of a drop rig.


Shoulder holsters are the only type of holsters that can be easily covered if the need arises. While concealing the firearm might not be a priority for many, the use of a light jacket can easily conceal the entire holster and firearm.

Alternative Tactical 1911 Holsters


Image of a Galco Combat Master Belt Holster on a BeltGalco Combat Master is designed from premium materials with double stitched holsters to ensure that your firearm fits perfectly. It is available in tan or black color for both left and right-handed users. It is ideal for people in the military and cops.

For more than 40 years now, Galco has been making holsters for firearms enthusiasts, which means that their products are nothing short of quality and the Combat Master certainly doesn’t disappoint.

• 100% leather
• Tested for quality and durability
• Made using only the finest materials
• An open muzzle
• Designed for double action revolvers and semiautomatic pistols
• Double stitched seams
• Hand-molded fit

• It is made from the finest materials including imported steer hide leather.
• Its traditional pancake design makes it a popular choice among citizens, military and law enforcement.
• It is designed for 1911 with a five-inch Colt, Springfield, Kimber, and Para.
• It covers the entire barrel thus providing full slide coverage. This protects the firearm from any snag or scratch.
• They are great accessories and enhance your overall look.

• It may not be ideal for folks who prefer half coverage for easier removal of the gun.


image of Outbags USA OB-19SC Nylon OWB Outside Pants Carry HolsterOUTBAGS USA has been in production since 1996. This American company has designed numerous holsters using the thumb break mechanism that makes it easy to draw the firearm. It is a good option for those looking to carry their weapon openly.

The OUTBAGS Outside Pants Carry Holster is available for right and left-handed users. It features the thumb break design that keeps your safe and also eliminates any delays when drawing your firearm.

• Removable Belt Clip
• A webbed spine
• Fits all 1911 5” models
• 600 Denier Nylon
• Fully Adjustable Thumb Break
• Belt Loop
• Magazine Pouch

• It is designed for wearing outside the pants
• It features an adjustable strap that can be easily strapped on and off using your thumb.
• It can accommodate up to 2” of belt width.
• It comes with a magazine pouch and Velco straps that easily fit standard 5” or shorter pistols.
• Has an inner lining to reduce wear on the gun as time progresses.
• It is perfect for use as a casual holster since it is affordable and has a button that makes it easy to draw your weapon.

• It may not fight 1911’s that are longer and thicker.


image of Fobus Standard Holster RH Paddle KM3 with gunThe Fobus Holster is a battle tested holster for the Colt .45 C21. It is highly durable and features a low profile design that efficiently conceals carrying capability. With passive retention around the trigger guard, the Fobus Holster securely holds your firearm in place while allowing fast presentation in case you need it.

It also features a rubberized paddle to enhance comfort and stability. Its paddle holster is reinforced with steel rivet attachment systems to increase its durability. It is specifically designed for holstering the Colt .45 handgun but can also be used for similar 1911-style handguns.

• Steel-reinforced rivet attachment
• Rubberized paddle
• Ideal for 1911 style-all models and the Colt .45
• Right handed
• Low profile design
• Passive retention around the trigger guard

• It is maintenance-free and weighs a mere 2 ounces.
• It is highly durable as it can withstand even the most extreme elements.
• The rubberized paddle makes it more stable. It is also wide enough to maintain a secure position on your hip without being too wide, which can prove to be very uncomfortable.
• Being a passive retention holster, it allows for rapid presentation and a quick draw.

• It may feel uncomfortable especially for huge guys.


Choosing a tactical holster should not be complicated as most people try to make it seem. In fact, the only thing you should worry about is the retention, access, and comfort. The price shouldn’t be a bother since most of them cost below $100.

However, ensure that you counter check all aspects and details according to your taste and preferences to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Out of the four holsters reviewed, our top pick still remains to be the BLACKHAWK! Serpa Sportster Holster since it’s affordable, durable and features an auto lock retention system.


Chris Browning

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.

One thought on “Top 1911 Tactical Holsters for IWB and OWB Carry [ Complete Review]

  1. I have concealed and open carried for 40 years, I used all your name brand holsters you listed, but none of them can match the cost factor, maybe the leather quality of a 1791 holster but not the cost factor. 1791 holster are awesome. Like pretty wood grips, they are slippery in rain situations …I prefer rubber Hogue finger grooved grips in a rain storm. And, I work as a armed carrier, sometimes in the rain. Wood is for show, it is NOT combat functional when wet. I know the difference because I’ve used both in the rain and finger grooved rubber grips makes for a sure grip when wet.

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