I am always on the lookout for a good IWB holster, especially when an IWB holster is all leather. I can honestly say that I have quite a few holsters for the 1911-based pistol, a model of which is my EDC. My Rock Island Armory 1911 FS Tactical, has resided in an old hybrid holster from Black Arch Holsters for quite some time. The Kydex shell, and normal use, has taken its toll on the pistols slide finish to the point that I no longer consider hybrid holsters for housing a pistol that I carry daily or that I care about. With that said, the damage has been done to the pistol’s finish and is no part of the pistol’s character.
A good leather holster has always been my preference, and when I can find one that I feel is suitable, I have no qualms about purchasing it. I had written articles on two leather holster made by Savoy Leather. These holsters (one for a Glock G41 and one for a full-size “Government” model 1911) are quite substantial. In fact, they seemed to be to substantial for hot summer carry and I have relegated them for more cooler weather carry where more outer garments will help to conceal the holsters and their content. What I needed was a light, compact holster that would house a full-size Government model 1911 and protect it completely until I needed it.
I read an advertisement for VERSACARRY holsters, liked what I saw, and decided to visit the website. Of the many holster available for IWB and OWB, I decided on the ‘Comfort Holster’ because of the features, which I am about to cover.
The ‘Comfort Holster’ was ordered in “distressed brown’ for a full size 1911.
The ‘Comfort Holster’ includes a forward cant that not only helps to conceal the gun, but also improves draw speed. The cant seems to be about 15-degrees.
PADDED PROTECTIVE BACKING
One of the key features that I like, simply because I like options, is the padded foam backing that is attached to the holster “shell” using industrial grade Velcro. The backing can be removed and is machine washable for easy cleaning. The backing makes for a very comfortable carry.
Normally, I don’t like a sweat shield and will lop it off at first opportunity; I simply don’t like anything that would interfere with the draw stroke or that would possibly interfere with any control on a 1911 – like the thumb safety. Since I always wear a T-Shirt, I have protection against the butt of the firearm from rubbing against bare skin. However, I found the removable backing to be excellent, although it does add a small bit of width to the overall holster profile, but since the holster is inside the trousers and secured by not only two clips but also belt tension, the holster is very easy to conceal with or without the backing.
FULL BARREL COVERAGE
One of my preferences when considering a holster is full-barrel coverage. Using a holster that does not fully cover the barrel could cause the front sight to snag, the pistol to be damaged, and possible printing.
The ‘Comfort Holster’ by VERSACARRY provides full barrel protection with an open bottom.
EXPEDITED BREAK IN
Most leather holsters will require you to break in your holster before being able to use it. To expedite the break-in, the VERSACARRY ‘Comfort Holster’ has a unique design that leaves the holster with a slight gap, thus reducing the break-in time by about half.
A tension screw at the top of the holster at the trigger guard provides a means to loosen or tighten tension according to your needs.
IT’S A MATERIAL WORLD
The holster shell is made of excellent reinforced Water Buffalo hide that is well stitched at all the right places. You can order the holster in black or distressed brown; the latter of which was my preference.
Two very strong clips provide a secure holster hold within the trousers. The clips are secured by ‘Chicago’ nuts and Combination-head screws. Holster depth is fixed, as no accommodation is made to raise or lower the screws. However, the depth of the holster within the trousers is excellent, while leaving adequate room above the top of the trousers to get a full grip on the butt of the pistol. Personally, I prefer clips to leather loops in keeping an IWB holster stable. Also, the wider the clip mounting, the more stability.
What I found interesting with the holster’s design was the addition of what I will call ‘Breathing Slots’ for lack of a better term (at this time). Numerous “Breathing Slots” are cut into the holster that adds a stylistic look to the holster, and I assume would help the leather to breathe.
The holster weighs only 0.40 pounds and feels very light when mounted. Since I am a belt and suspender guy, the pistol/holster combination feels very good when worn.
NOW, FOR THE GOOD!
If you wish to wear the holster without the sweat shield, you can. This might be the case if you carry a 1911 with external thumb safety, or just don’t like sweat shields, as I do. An inner shirt is recommended if you elect, or not, to use the sweat guard.
Regardless if the sweat guard is used or not, when worn, the firearm is pulled tightly into the body, the holster sits low in the pants.
NOW, FOR THE BAD!
The mouth of the holster is not reinforced, and the holster will collapse under belt tension when the firearm is drawn from it. Not completely, but it will collapse to the point that a second hand may be necessary to re-holster the firearm.
I would not wear this holster in a training session, as re-holstering each time you needed to would be a PITA. For general and everyday carry; however, the holster would be fine. With that said, it is usually not a good idea to leave a leather IWB holster empty when worn for a long time. I found some difficulty in holstering the pistol when the holster is new; however, that may change as the holster breaks in and is used over time. The way the holster is designed; however, does not lend to the holster collapsing fully, as in the case of some pancake styles of IWB holsters.
VERSACARRY demands not to carry a pistol cocked and locked (Condition 1). It seems that it is not because of the holster; however, but because VERSACARRY states on the included card, “…carrying in this condition INCREASES THE CHANCE AND MAY RESULT IN AN ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGE.”
Anyone who has carried a 1911 in “Condition 1” is also aware that unless the grip safety is pressed fully inward, the thumb safety is disengaged from the ‘Safe’ position, and the trigger is pulled, the 1911 pistol will not fire.
While I have holsters that do not protect the full barrel of the firearm, they are relegated to shorter barreled pistols and revolvers. When carrying a pistol or revolver with a relatively long barrel, I like to provide adequate protection for the firearm from stem to stern. The ‘Comfort’ holster from VERSACARRY does just that.
For Father’s Day, VERSACARRY was offering a 50% discount on all holsters at the time of this writing. I took advantage of that. Also, at the time of this writing, the ‘Comfort Holster’ will take about $74.99 + shipping out of your bank account without using the Father’s Day discount code.
For more information on the line of VERSACARRY IWB and OWB holsters, and belts, go to https://www.versacarry.com/.
Stock photos provided by VersaCarry.