slim 1911 IWB holsters

slim 1911 IWB holsters

This is a discussion on slim 1911 IWB holsters within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; OK, I've bit the bug and I think I will end up with a 4" Kimber very shortly. Since I will most likely put it ...

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  1. #1
    Member Array Huzar's Avatar
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    slim 1911 IWB holsters

    OK, I've bit the bug and I think I will end up with a 4" Kimber very shortly. Since I will most likely put it on my permit and replace the 4" 9mm that's on there now I will need a holster for it. I've searched through all the threads and I"m kind of lost as to what I want to get. My first and foremost requirement I think is a "slim" holster. So whatever it is, it has to be slim yet sturdy. I don't know if they make Kydex for it, but even if they do, the 1911 deserves all leather so that's what I'll be sticking to.

    Any suggestions?


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array torrejon224's Avatar
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    Check out my post on the Nossar IWB. Even the holster makers on this board say it's the thinnest IWB made (horsehide). Next to that I'd go with an Alessi or Sparks Watch Six.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    A plug for horsehide if you want thin

    When you compare horsehide holsters to those made of cowhide, you see that horsehide tends to be harder, stiffer and more dense than cowhide. I'm sure that horsehide is difficult to work with because of these properties, but the net result is that a holster made of thinner horsehide will have the same strength and durability as a holster of the same design made of thicker cowhide.

    So if your objective is a thin, less obtrusive holster for IWB use, you should really look at horsehide. The Milt Sparks Company does a lot of work in horsehide, and they advertise that their Watch Six horsehide IWB design may be the thinnest IWB holster on the market. I think they may be right in this claim. There are other makers who use horsehide as well - not just Sparks.

    On the downside, horsehide doesn't seem to "give" as much as cowhide, so initially the holster may not seem to conform to your body as well. But I have found that horsehide will eventually conform to you, if you simply wear it and be patient. It is a slower process than with cowhide.

  4. #4
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    The difference in wall thickness between a horsehide rig and one of high quality dense cowhide is negligible/irrelevant for concealment purposes with a total thickness savings of usually less than 1/8" - also remember that horsehide is more abrasive to the firearm finish.
    I'm not sure how important that is to you ~ as it's an important factor to some folks and not to others.

    I don't see anything particularly wrong with horsehide as a holster material but, I don't see any true advantage to it either that would justify any increased price for horsehide as the base material for a holster. It's somewhat more expensive as there is less quality horsehide in the domestic marketplace than cow and it's more of an uncommon leather for use in the United States.
    Horsehide makes a nice holster as does cow if the rig is properly constructed but, horsehide is nothing to put up on a pedestal as being in any way superior for holster work in general.

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array snowdoctor's Avatar
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    ok...slim holster for 4'' 1911....truthfully you need to research Gary Brommeland's Max Con V. it is hands down the best holster for that 4 incher anywhere. I carry an ultra carry II in one and have one ordered for my XD45 4''. This is a superior design and the craftsmanship is second to none. It is barely thicker than the firearm itself, and you can wear it all day, without any problems. I have been wearing one for well over a year now, and I really can't find anything bad to say. Try it, and if you don't like it, I'LL buy the holster from you! I have a 4'' 1911 around here somewhere.
    seriously...if you want an IWB that is makes carrying that 4''er fun and easy...it is the max con V
    ----DOC-----

    --people ask why I carry, and I show them this picture. I think it says it all.--

    NRA Certified Instructor--many disciplines

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array tegemu's Avatar
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    The Gary Brommeland www.brommelandgunleather.com Max Con V holster is about as slim as a cowhide holster can get. There is no reinforced mouth so the only added thickness to your firearm is two thin thicknesses of leather.
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf. - George Orwell

  7. #7
    Member Array yellowv's Avatar
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    Another vote for the Max Con V. A picture tells a thousand words. And that is a Glock a 1911 would be even thinner.
    Last edited by yellowv; December 2nd, 2006 at 11:34 AM.

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    2% price premium for horsehide

    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    I don't see anything particularly wrong with horsehide as a holster material but, I don't see any true advantage to it either that would justify any increased price for horsehide as the base material for a holster. It's somewhat more expensive as there is less quality horsehide in the domestic marketplace than cow and it's more of an uncommon leather for use in the United States.
    If you go to the Milt Sparks website:
    Sparks website
    and click on the page describing the Versamax 2 holster, you will see that the cowhide version (VM-2) is priced at $100. The horsehide version (VM-2H) is priced at $102. That is a 2% price difference, which seems quite small.

    Perhaps Sparks has discovered a low cost source of dead horses?

  9. #9
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    If kydex interests you ,PM me. I have built a few for my 1911 SA champ.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array p8riot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tegemu View Post
    The Gary Brommeland www.brommelandgunleather.com Max Con V holster is about as slim as a cowhide holster can get. There is no reinforced mouth so the only added thickness to your firearm is two thin thicknesses of leather.
    Just a heads up. Gary is doing a run of commander size MaxCon Vs in the very near future (I should have mine in about 4 weeks). Get in line now and you won't have to wait as long as some of the guys looking for holsters for other pistols. Of course, they'll be ticked at me for having them wait a little longer.
    "You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." - Al Capone

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  11. #11
    Member Array richardoldfield's Avatar
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    I am not sure of what to recommend. I can tell you a Milt Sparks Summer Special will work. It is the one with the 1911 in it.



    Ken L Null's UNS is another good choice:



    Regards, Richard

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    Just my two bits but I don't get too exited about slim, I get exited about comfort and secure carry. The thickness differences (within reason) are negligible when a rig is worn properly with proper clothing. It really doesn't seem to affect concealability that much. But a thin uncomfortable rig isn't going to get worn much. I base my holster choice on comfortable and secure.
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

  13. #13
    Member Array Mark Garrity's Avatar
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    Some Claricfication

    OK, let's clear up a few basic misconceptions.
    Horsehide is not thinner than cowhide in general. I can get horsehide that is as thick as any cowhide. Leather thickness is guaged by the ounce; the thickness being what a square foot weighs.
    A 7-8 oz. piece of leather commonly used for holster manufacture is about 7/64-1/8 inch in thickness. You can get cowhide or horsehide in 7-8 oz.
    Horsehide is denser and stiffer than cowhide. Well, that's an incorrect general statement too. There are two versions of horsehide - hard-rolled and soft-rolled. Soft-rolled horsehide is buttery soft and more supple than well-oiled cowhide. Hard-rolled horsehide is what is generally used in holster manufacture, because it is denser and stiffer than cowhide of equal or lesser thickness; which has lead to the blanket statement that "horsehide is thinner." A 6 oz piece of horsehide will be denser and stiffer than an 8 oz piece of cowhide, so a thinner cut of horse can be used.
    As far as working with horsehide, it is tougher on tools and dulls them quicker, and is a bit more difficult to detail mold. other than that there is little difference in working with the two. The main issue is selecting which part of the piece to work with.
    Horse is not really any more expensive wholesale than cowhide.
    Now there's an industry insider secret for you! The problem with horsehide is that there is a lot of waste and no consistency.
    Cowhide is priced by the square foot for the piece of hide. And if you order a 7-8 oz. piece of cowhide from a quality tannery you can be assured it will be a uniform, consistent 7-8 oz. thickness over the entire hide; usually 20-25 square feet.
    Horsehide is priced by the pound. The part of the horse used is a strip across the horse's back and butt; just above the rear legs. The strip of horsehide is about 3 feet long, 12-16 inches high in the center and tapering to about 6 inches high on the ends. The thickness is determined by the center, as there is absolutely no consistency in thickness to the strip. The ends are generally thinner, but lack stiffness, and usually have a lot of imperfections - hence the waste because the ends of the strip are basically useless.
    Now back to the thinness issue. I said in the beginning that horsehide could be had in the same thicknesses as cowhide. That is true down to about 5-6 oz (5/64-3/32" thickness). that is the thinnest that horsehide is split down to and sold here in the U.S. Cowhide can be had as thin as less than 1 oz. (1/64" thickness) but it's useless in that weight for anything but linings, etc.
    All this being said, Alex Nossar's IWBs (www.nossargunleather.com) are hands down the thinnest available. A Spark's Watch 6 is 6 oz horsehide. A Nossar IWB is half that thickness, appearing to be about 3-4 oz horsehide. The double thickness seam on a Nossar IWB is the thickness of the single leather sections on Spark's and other IWBs. And yet the Nossar is just as stiff if not stiffer.
    Being in Peru he obviously has a source outside the U.S for his horsehide. I have conatcted the suppliers here in the U.S and none of them will sell it that thin. I have tried splitting it thinner on conventional splitting machinery and had it jam up the splitter or kick it out.
    Last edited by Mark Garrity; December 2nd, 2006 at 09:36 PM.
    "He who makes things with his hands is a laborer, he who makes things with his hands and his head is a craftsman, he who makes things with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist."
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  14. #14
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    Great informative post Mark.
    I remember (many moons ago) when some holsters made of horsehide were way more than 2% more expensive than cow hide. I guess I am behind the times and not very horsehide aware these days.
    Are the prices closer now because horshide has increased in popularity?
    I personally like "cow" more as holster leather than that hard rolled horsehide that you've talked about.
    I think the cowhide conforms more naturally to the body or at least quicker.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    If you're into Kydex you might want to look at a C-Tac.

    I have one for my full size 1911 and it is much thinner than the Blade Tech I used to use and very comfortable.

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