At On Your 6 Designs, our sights are set on one thing: creating a line of effortlessly concealable holsters that meet all of your carry needs. We custom fit each holster to your exact model of firearm. We aim to provide the best concealed carry holsters, backed by our lifetime warranty.
To make the best holsters available, we’ve spent a lot of time looking at other holsters on the market and from across history. When you think of quality made American firearms, it’s hard to ignore the venerable 1911 handgun. Because it’s been in service for over a century, the 1911 has been worn in a variety of holsters on every continent, and in every condition imaginable. Let’s take a look back at some of these holsters, and then look at how we kept these historic holsters in mind as we created our new line of Kydex holsters that make concealing your 1911 easier than ever.
First developed in the 1900s by John Browning, the M1911 was a revolutionary firearm design. The short recoil operation, and tilting barrel created a pistol that was extremely reliable by the day’s standards and has proven to be a lasting design. It was chambered in the powerful .45 ACP cartridge, a round tailor-made for bringing down even the hardest charging of opponents. It’s 11° grip angle made it a handgun that was quick to handle and easy to point. The United States military was more than favorably impressed with the slab-sided pistol and immediately offered a contract to Colt to manufacture the gun.
Naturally, a new pistol needed a new holster, as the more rounded leather holsters for military service revolvers wouldn’t fit the flattened frame of the auto-loading pistol. The Army produced the M1912 holster which was reminiscent of holsters used by the cowboys of the wild west era. It was mounted to a leather gun belt, and hung from a leather tab, with a swivel mount attached to it. A small leather strap was attached the back of the holster, allowing the wearer to secure the holster closer to the leg. These new holsters allowed the Army to ride with 1911 near at hand into Mexico, chasing after Pancho Villa in the 1916 Mexican Expedition.
The M1911 didn’t see widespread service until the First World War. The exigencies of a global conflict meant that designs and patterns of equipment that were material and labor intensive needed to be redesigned and reimagined. Fortunately, there was a quick fix for the 1911’s leather holster. The M1916 holster reduced the amount of leather used in the holster and kept the firearm higher on the waist by using a simple wire hanger. The wire hanger attached to the pistol belt, or cartridge belt of the wearer. Rather than a buckled leather strap, the holster simply had a leather lanyard which ran through a grommet at the bottom of the holster. This pattern proved to be an effective one, and this style of holster would remain as the standard holster for the 1911 well through the Vietnam War.
The Second World War saw a changing emphasis in how combat was waged. Trench warfare was made obsolete by the development of powerful, and speedy tanks. Airplanes could now fly further, and faster than ever before. This lead to another change in handgun doctrine. Pilots and tank crewman needed a way to keep their sidearms closer to their body in the confined spaces of these new fighting vehicles. The M1916 holster would serve the infantry fine, but it was difficult to reach a side holster if you had limited space inside a cockpit or turret. The military addressed this new reality by designing two new holsters for the war. This lead to the development of the M3 and M7 holsters. These shoulder holsters quickly found favor with Allied troops, as they moved the weighty handgun off their loaded belts, and onto their chests, a more accessible position.
The 1911 served through the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and GIs continued to wear the holsters the fathers had in WWII. At home in the United States, the 1911 proved to be popular with police departments, and private purchasers. A wide variety of holster types and styles proliferated to meet the needs of soldiers, police, and citizens.
Victory in war requires a constant reexamining of your strategies, manpower, and equipment. No two conflicts are the same, and so in the Cold War era, the US military began a search to replace the 1911. After a series of trials that began in the 1970s, the Beretta M9 was chosen as the successor to the aging 1911. The military retired the 1911 in 1985, but not after designing a series of universal holsters to fit the firearm. These holsters were made from nylon and tubular framing. Like anything “universal” in the military, this meant that the holster didn’t fit any handgun well.
When handling a 1911 style handgun, two things are made immediately apparent: size and weight. The original government model 1911 was heavy, and large, clocking in at a beefy 2.44 lbs, and nearly 8.25 inches long. It was these aspects that made the design such a great combat gun but made it exceptionally difficult to conceal. It was the size of the gun that made it difficult for holster makers to work around.
The other difficulty was the materials being used. For many decades, and especially in its military service, leather had been the primary material used to make holsters for the 1911. Leather was kind to the finish of the gun and was a durable material, able to handle the bumps and bruises of everyday use. But it too had its downsides. Leather was prone to cracking in heat, rotting in humidity, and would freeze in the cold. There were workarounds of course. Some nations, like Great Britain, made holsters from canvas or other fibers. While these solved the issue of weather-resistance, and was lighter weight than leather, these fabric holsters lacked the rigidity and therefore protection that a firearm needs to remain combat effective.
It was apparent then, that the ideal holster for the 1911 was durable and lightweight. It would keep the firearm near at hand, without causing discomfort to the wearer.
On Your 6 Designs kept all of these factors in mind as we crafted our holsters. Until recently, there hadn’t been a need to conceal a military handgun. But now that the 1911 has transitioned into a civilian self-defense arm, the requirements for holsters have changed. Military-style holsters keep the firearm on display, and do nothing to conceal the 1911. On Your 6 Designs saw an opportunity to create a conceal carry holster that meets the needs of modern firearm owners.
We recognize that the 1911 can be difficult to conceal. Our holsters are designed with you and your sidearm in mind. We start with our holster making material. It is in the unique Kydex material that we use that we solve all of the issues surrounding the concealment of the 1911.
On Your 6 Designs uses Kydex for its nearly endless uses in custom holster crafting. Kydex is an amazing and versatile material. Kydex is classified as an acrylic-polyvinyl chloride composite, specially composed for thermoforming fabrication. Simply put, it’s plastic that’s nearly as tough as your shooting irons. This hard-wearing plastic can be molded to the shape of any firearm. The durability of Kydex is nearly unparalleled. Heat, weight, and friction have little effect on the shape and look of a Kydex Holster. The retention of your firearm is perhaps the most basic function of your holster and our holsters will make sure your 1911 stays put. Even with a fully loaded magazine, our holsters will hold your 1911 in place, right on your hip.
The classic 5” barrel 1911 weighs almost three pounds when loaded. Carrying an additional two magazines adds nearly a pound more to your weight. When ounces become pounds, and pounds become pain, you don’t want the extra weight of a holster or magazine pouch weighing down your gun belt. Not only is it uncomfortable, the weight might make you hesitant to conceal carry your 1911 on a daily basis. After all, a gun you left at home because of how much it weighs does you no good in a dangerous situation. Not only is Kydex durable, its lightweight. A full Kydex 1911 holster, with belt clip and screws from On Your 6 Designs weighs a mere 2 ounces. When your holster and magazine pouch don’t even weigh a quarter of a pound, you won’t even notice the weight difference.
Because Kydex can be easily formed, and molded, it makes it the ideal holster to maintain the finish of your firearm. An issue many servicemen discovered with their leather 1911 holsters was that moisture could build up in the leather itself. This would, of course, be held close to their service pistol leading to rust and other cosmetic issues. We solve this issue in two ways. We custom mold your holster using the same model of 1911 you have. Our molding processes make sure that the retention points are located at the trigger guard. Because they are molded so precisely, there’s no part of the holster that rubs or wears on your firearm. We add a sweat guard to all of our Kydex holsters for your comfort and for your firearms.
All of these factors create a holster that makes concealing your 1911 easier than ever. Our 1911 holsters ride high, and close to your body. This keeps the pronounced grip of the 1911 from printing on your clothing. Our inner-waistband, and outer-waistband concealed carry holster options both allow for the cant to be adjusted, so you can angle and position your firearm based on your preferences. These holsters are slim, and add no noticeable bulk to your firearm. There’s no worry of appearing as if you have a blocky firearm on your hip with the Kydex 1911 holster from On Your 6 Designs.
While the 1911 has fallen out of favor with the military, that isn’t the case for the civilian world. In fact, the market’s fascination with the iconic gun has only just begun. The last few decades have seen a renaissance in the development and manufacture of 1911 style handguns. Specialty companies like Kimber, Dan Wesson, and Baer have all taken the classic design and refined it into a well-polished conceal carry piece. Larger manufacturers like Ruger, Springfield, and Remington now offer several styles of 1911s to meet the needs of shooters.
Americans simply love the 1911. Perhaps it’s the design that lends the handgun its enduring legacy. With a comfortable grip and easy handling characteristics, the 1911 makes a great handgun for a variety of users. Or maybe it’s because the 1911 is now chambered in a wide variety of cartridges, from .45 ACP to 9mm, and even .357 magnum. Maybe it’s the long and storied history of the 1911. In 1918, US Marines carried the slab-sided gun into the trenches of Belleau Wood to halt the German advance into France. Decades later, it would roll onto the beaches of Morocco and Algeria as the US Army began its liberation of Europe and the Mediterranean in WWII. F86 pilots carried the piece as they raged across the skies of Korea, dog fighting Russian and Chinese pilots. And draftees soldiers brought the 1911 with them into the tunnels of South Vietnam to roust troublesome VC from their hiding spots. Maybe it’s all of these things.
There’s no denying that in the 100 plus years since the development of the 1911 that there have been unprecedented advancements in handgun designs and technologies. Seemingly every year, a new firearm developer releases a new pistol that incorporates a lower bore axis, a larger magazine, rails, ambidextrous controls, or all of the above into an attractive and capable package. But the fact remains, the 1911 is as popular as ever.
Because the fascination with the 1911 has never ceased, the need for quality and dependable concealed carry holsters hasn’t ceased either. Along with new waves of 1911 pistols came a new wave of holsters meant to better meet the needs of a civilian user. Leather gave way to plastics, and finally onto durable and lightweight materials like Kydex. Our holsters are designed to best meet the needs of the concealed carry needs of modern 1911 users.
At On Your 6 Designs, we’re firearm owners in addition to business owners. That means we understand what you’re looking for in a quality holster. Whatever your reason for carrying your 1911, On Your 6 Designs is here to offer you the best concealed holster options. Made from durable Kydex, our holsters are suited to your conceal carry needs. Each holster is molded from the particular maker of your firearm, from Ruger to Springfield and everything in between.
These holsters make it easy to draw your firearm from its concealed position on your body. We’ve designed each holster to make the grip of your 1911 fully exposed to aid in rapid and accurate drawing. The adjustable cant of the holsters belt clip or loops means you can position your holster comfortably at your side so that hammers, slides, and sights don’t dig into your waist. We round and smooth the edges of our Kydex pistol and magazine holsters, so whether you carry inside the waistband, or outside the waistband, your holster won’t abrade your skin.