SHTF Gear Holster – 1911 “Commander”

SHTF  Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster

SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster

Having used a SHTF Gear holster in the past, for a Springfield XDs 4.0 .45 acp and a Glock G43, I was pretty confident that I would receive an excellent SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster after ordering one for the Ruger SR1911CMD-A pistol. The SHTF Gear holster for the Springfield XDs was a Gen 1 holster that had no tension adjustment. It; however, houses the Springfield XDs 3.3 and 4.0 .45 acp pistols just fine as it is. The SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster for the Glock G43 came with tension adjustments, although no adjustment was needed and the G43 fits snugly in the holster when carried.

The SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster for the Ruger SR1911CMD was ordered directly from SHTF Gear for that specific pistol; Ruger, SR1911, 4.25” barrel. The holster will also house any 4.25” or shorter barreled 1911 such as an “Officer” length 1911.

As I desire a little more holster cant than what is supplied, dropping the rear clip one hole, which raises the rear of the holster, is a very easy process and can be done using the provided hex-head tool.

Some basics of the SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster

COMFORT

  • Proprietary Comfort Curve design
  • Custom sized for each gun
  • Adjustable ride height
  • Adjustable cant

CONVENIENCE

  • Adjustable retention
  • Cut for a full grip (Combat Cut)
  • Tuckable design
  • Flared opening

CONFIDENCE

  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Proudly made in the USA
  • Lifetime warranty
  • .093 Kydex

*standard clips fit belts up to 1.75″ wide

SHTF Gear Holster for 4.25" 1911 - Note Sweat shield

SHTF Gear Holster for 4.25″ 1911 – Note Sweat Shield and Mounting Clip positions for Extreme Forward Holster Cant

Although stiff at first, the SHTF Gear holster quickly molds itself to your body shape after a period of wear and becomes quite comfortable to wear. While the sweat guard is acceptable with the Springfield XDs and Glock G43 pistols, I was interested to see how it would work on a 1911-based pistol outfitted with an extended safety. You see, the sweat guard has a tendency to fold outward against the pistol, and since the 1911-based pistol has an external thumb safety, interference with the thumb safety could occur. On advice from a friend, and while I like a sweat guard, I prefer safety over having one. With my Crossbreed Super Tuck (CBST) holster for a 1911-based pistol, the sweat shield was cut off and interference with the thumb safety is non-existent. The SHTF Gear holster faced the same fate. Read on!

SHTF_1911_Commander_006

Note Flared Entry Point on SHTF Gear Holsters and "Combat Cut" Sweat Shield

Note Flared Entry Point on SHTF Gear Holsters and “Combat Cut” Sweat Shield

Several advantages exist with the SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster over the CBST is that the new version have a flared entry point for the pistol, which makes it much easier to guide the pistol into the holster. Additionally, the muzzle end of the holster is tapered inward past the muzzle, which helps to lower the profile of the holster when worn, and compared to the CBST, provides protection of the muzzle and front sight. (You must order a holster for a 5-inch barreled pistol.) The CBST is more of a “universal” holster in that any length of a 1911-based pistol can be carried (with some exceptions, of course).

The rear of the holster is “rough out” and helps to prevent the holster from slipping when worn. The mounting clips are heavy-duty and do a fine job of holding the holster to the belt.

Each mounting hole for the clips are pre-stamped for the three-pronged security nuts, which prevents the prongs from collapsing when being tightened. This is a handy feature because it gets very frustrating when I have to straighten out the prongs on the CBST because they collapsed against the hard leather instead of digging in like they should.

The SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster is dyed black and blends in well with darker clothing.

SHTF Gear Holster Showing Dual Tension Points and Multiple Adjustment Points for Ride Height and cant

SHTF Gear Holster Showing Dual Tension Points and Multiple Adjustment Points for Ride Height and cant

Two tension points ensure that the pistol stays in place. A second set of compression washers are provided should you need a tighter fit. Also provided are two spare screws; one for holster tension and one for mounting. I highly recommend that you remove the existing mounting and tension screws, place a dab of blue thread locking compound on the screw threads, and then tighten the mounting screws and adjust for your desired tension. This will help prevent the screws from backing out during normal wear. (I check the screws on my holster weekly when the holsters are worn.)

SHTF Gear Holster Comes with Two Additional Spacers, a Hex-head Wrench and Two Spare Screws

SHTF Gear Holster Comes with Two Additional Spacers, a Hex-head Wrench and Two Spare Screws

Tension is commonly applied to the trigger guard. The trigger guard then becomes a wear point. Depending upon the finish on your pistol, you may experience wear at some point(s) on the finish. With an adjustable tension holster, you can adjust the tension to lessen the wear at the trigger guards while having enough tension to secure the firearm. The majority of tension on the firearm is due to the outward pressure of your body against the holster backing. With my CBST (with no means of adjusting tension without using a heat source), I sometimes have to twist the butt of the firearm slightly inward at the rear to clear the holster cleanly (not hanging up on the tension point). With the SHTH Gear holster (and others), I can simply adjust the tension screws to provide a balance of ease of drawing the pistol and enough tension to keep the pistol in the holster during normal wear.

Shell Is Stitched and Riveted to Backing

Shell Is Stitched and Riveted to Backing

The .093-inch thick Kydex shell is riveted and sewn to the leather backing, which results in a very strong holster.

The bottom line of any IWB holster is how well it conceals, how comfortable it is to carry, and how well the holster secures the firearm.

The SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster is fully adjustable for ride height and cant. Although I like an IWB holster to ride as low as possible, I don’t want the top of the pants interfering with holstering the firearm. With a compact (or sub-compact) pistol, the butt of the pistol will naturally be low and easier to conceal. With a 1911-based pistol, like the Ruger SR1911CMD (and SR1911CMD-A), the grip is longer due to the 7-round capacity. My preference, in the case of the 1911-based pistol, is to have more of a forward cant that tucks the grip under my ribcage. In doing so, I can conceal the grip nicely even when slightly bent over. The SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster allows me to adjust the holster ride height and cant to my liking.

My only contention with the holster was the shield. Without it; however, there would be no place for the manufacturer to plant a logo. Sweat shields may be fine with pistols like the Glock, Springfield, Smith & Wesson, or other relatively smooth sided pistols, but with pistols that have frame-mounted safeties I have come not to like them. As I stated earlier, the sweat shield on the CBST for the 1911 had surgery performed on it, as did the SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster. If someone wants to know what holster I am using, I will tell them. I need holsters to simply work as I need them; they are not intended to be a rolling advertisement for the manufacture of the holster.

Modified SHTF Gear Holster for 4.25" 1911 - Note Sweat Shield Removed

Modified SHTF Gear Holster for 4.25″ 1911 – Note Sweat Shield Removed

Rear View of Modified Sweat Shield - Plenty of Room for Thumb Safety and Full Grip - Some Finishing Still Required

Rear View of Modified Sweat Shield – Plenty of Room for Thumb Safety and Full Grip – Some Finishing Still Required

A line was drawn and a #2 X-ACTO knife did the surgery. I dressed up the edge and black leather dye was applied to the exposed edge. I patted my self on the back after I mounted the holster and slid the Ruger SR1911CMD-A into the holster; it was like a knife slicing into warm butter and I heard that satisfying “snick” as the pistol locked into place. Like the CBST, the SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster is a very secure holster and I feel better knowing that the muzzle and front sight are better protected.

As I mentioned earlier, although the holster is stiff at first it quickly begins to conform to the body after wearing it a short time. Since I carry just behind the right hip, the lower front of the holster flares outward a bit, which conforms to my hip while the bottom rear of the holster wraps inward against my body; it is a highly comfortable holster to wear. The holster and firearms are pulled tightly into my side just where I want it. The substantial clips hold it in place while the rough-out backing keeps it from sliding around. Note that you also have the option of ordering J-hooks in lieu of the metal clips. My everyday belt is 1.75-inches wide and either the standard metal clip or J-hooks work fine with it. With narrow belts, the J-hook may work better if you have to tuck your shirt in over the firearm and are not wearing an outer garment (for example; a sport coat, vest, or jacket), as they are less conspicuous than the metal clips.

UPDATE:

Initially, I placed the rear mounting screw to the bottom-most mounting hole, which provided for more of a forward holster cant. After a day of wearing the holster, I decided to go back to the original configuration. However, after wearing the holster for a week, and allowing the holster to bend to my body shape, I realized that I actually wanted more cant to the holster as the butt of the Ruger SR1911CMD-A was not being concealed as well as I wanted it to be. I placed the rear mounting screw to the bottom-most mounting hole and things immediately got better. I still have maximum concealment while standing or sitting and without the butt of the pistol digging into my ribs. Thankfully, the SHTF Gear Holster provides a lot of adjustment choices.

SHTF Gear "Modified" Holster for 4.25" 1911 Rides High and Tight (Note that this is a well worn belt but is still very usable for IWB)

SHTF Gear “Modified” Holster for 4.25″ 1911 Rides High and Tight (Note that his is a well worn belt but is still very usable for IWB)

I have carried a 1911-based pistol in duty holsters and OWB holsters; both of which had security built into them in the form of thumb-breaks. With an IWB holster; however, thumb breaks are a detriment to the draw and holstering the firearm; thumb breaks can also interfere with the safety unless you train in pushing the thumb-break out of the way when drawing the firearm and also pushing the thumb-break and strap out of the way when holstering the firearm. Most of the time, it takes two hands to safely holster a 1911-based pistol when the holster has a thumb break. A good IWB holster does not rely on thumb breaks to secure the firearm – your body provides the security and well as the holster. The SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster allows me to adjust the tension to my liking. Now, I have not tested its retention while doing cartwheels, back-spin kicks, jumping jacks, or hanging from tree limbs upside down; however, I have tested it while performing a variety of activities and body positions (sitting, standing, crouching, kneeling, and bent over) and the pistol remained securely in place. The pistol can also be drawn from any of these positions without hanging up.

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’ll give the SHTF Gear ACE-1 Gen 2 Holster a 5 – sweat guard and all.

WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE:

I would like to see SHTF Gear offer their holsters without the sweat shield as well as with the sweat shield. With that said, the sweat shield does work well with most pistols and it was my personal preference to remove the sweat shield and not due to any fault in the holster’s design. Note that the sweat shield on the SHTF Gear holster for the Glock G43 and Springfield XDs pistol was not removed and work very well for their intended purpose.

SOURCES:

SHTF Gear: http://www.shtfgear.com/products/ace-1-gen-2-holster

About Taurian

Taurian is an Oath Keeper, veteran, former LEO and Defensive Tactics Instructor. Until retirement, Taurian had over forty-seven years of experience as a Technical Writer and Training Program Developer. After leaving home at the age of ten without any shoes, Taurian continues on with many years devoted to the keeping and bearing of arms.

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