Hi, i’m Caleb getting some guidance media and today we’re talking about 1911’s for concealed carry as you know on the blog. We’ve been doing nothing but testing 1911’s for the past almost a year. It’s produced some interesting results and a lot of insight into the best 1911 pistol as well as some other fun things as a part of the tests. I’ve been carrying nothing but 1911’s for a year. I get the question a lot Caleb what’s the best 1911 pistol for concealed carry? How should I pick in 1911 for concealed carry?
What is the best 1911 Pistol for Concealed Carry ?
I’ll start this post with a disclaimer. I don’t recommend 1911 for concealed carry for most users that would be in ninety probably 99% of firearms users people, who want a gun for concealed carry. You should buy a Glock 19 or an M&P. You should put good sights on it you should buy a thousand rounds of ammo and you should go take a class and the cost of all of that will be less than the cost of getting a good 1911.
You get a Glock for what four hundred bucks now get a case of ammo for two hundred years up to six hundred a really good training class maybe one hundred and fifty bucks. You’re still out less than the grand you’re going to sink into 1911. But that’s not the point let’s say you want to carry in 1911 alright for whatever reason and there are some good reasons to carry in 1911.
But let’s say you want to do that how do you pick the best one for concealed carry and what is the best 1911 for concealed carry? Today we’re going to try to answer that question to start off with we’re going to define what a carry gun needs to make it a good carry gun to me. There are three important factors that have to be considered when you’re evaluating a gun for concealed carry.
The first number one is reliability. The second is suitability and will explain what suitability is here in a minute and the third is concealed ability you would think that concealed ability would be higher up on the food chain. But honestly if your carry guns not reliable and your carry gun isn’t shootable. It doesn’t really matter if you can conceal it or not just it does it all right these are those first two factors are the most important so let’s discuss reliability.
Let’s start there what’s a good definition of a reliable well for me. Because I shoot a lot. I tend to define reliable as a gun that can go one malfunction and that’s any failure to complete the cycle of operation so failure to fire failure to feed for to eject one malfunction every two thousand rounds. That’s one in two thousand nine rounds between failure. That’s reliable to me not everyone has that kind of budget not everyone can go out and drop four hundred dollars on two cases of nine mils.
You know five hundred dollars on two cases of forty-five to establish that reliability so what’s a good baseline for someone. Who doesn’t get out and shoot a lot and I would say your gun has to be able to function reliably through a hundred to two hundred rounds of training ammo. So let’s call it two hundred rounds of practice ammo and a minimum of a full load out of carrying ammo.
So if you carry a fully loaded gun in a spare mag in forty-five. You’re looking at 17 rounds. I would go ahead and expand that to an entire box of carrying ammo and really I would say 50 rounds of carrying ammo. Let’s just go with that let’s make it even your gun must reliably function with 200 rounds of training ammo and 50 rounds of carrying ham. That’s the baseline before I would even consider putting it in my holster all right that’s our baseline for reliability.
If your gun can’t do that. It’s not reliable enough to carry next we want to talk about shoot ability. What is shoot ability shoot ability is a made-up word? I will confess that totally made-up word but it’s a handy made-up word. Because it means the intersection of the features of a gun and the ability of a shooter. How do they combine to be able to place around on target in an actual critical situation?
Admittedly, the only way you can pressure test this is if you shoot your carry gun in competition, which you should do but if a gun isn’t shootable. It’s not really worth carrying example of guns that have really low shoot ability scores and thus require a higher level of skill to shoot would be J frames. So the lower gun scores and shoot ability and shoot ability is a combination of many factors like grip trigger pull sights and a whole bunch of other things.
The harder a gun is to shoot well the more skill. You must have as a shooter to actually get rounds on target when you need to so to backtrack to my previous example J frames JFrame score really low in shoot ability. Because they are small they have short sight radiuses. They tend to have significant recoil and heavy trigger pulls. It’s hard to shoot a J frame well if you can shoot AJ frame well.
You can probably shoot anything else on the planet well. Because those are pretty much the hardest guns to shoot 1911’s tend to score very high in shoot ability. They have light trigger polls they generally have decent sights from the factory. The grip angle is considered fairly pleasing by most people so 1911’s usually score pretty well in the shoot ability category and the last is concealed ability 1911’s tend to score pretty decently here.
Because they’re so skinny especially when compared to double stack service pistols like Glocks and M and peas it’s a little bit easier to conceal 1911 they score pretty well. There again though go back to that reliability. That’s number one 1911 do not score well there and the reason 1911’s don’t score well in reliability. Because 1911 can mean anything from a $300 Brazilian rattletrap piece of shit all the way up to a $5,000 high-end custom Wilson Combat 1911.
There’s a lot of variants in this category that we refer to as 1911. You can say my 1911 is reliable and that could be because it’s a $2,000 gun from Dan Wesson that was built with care and precision or you could say my 1911 isn’t reliable. Because it’s a $300 gun made from slag metal in Turkey these are all but they’re all still technically 19 and that’s why we have all of this discussion around whether or not 1911’s are reliable and that sort of thing.
So now that we’ve established our criteria for choosing a carry gun reliability suitability concealability. We want to get into 1911 specifics so the first thing that I recommend when picking 1911 for concealed carry is to go with a reputable brand, for example, I have two 1911’s here right now. I have one that I am carrying which is a Dan Wesson lightweight commander.
This is a reputable brand. It’s a CZ actually CZ bought Dan Wesson they make all the guns now and this gun has been phenomenal the general reports on the Dan Wesson’s that have been coming in from serious shooters and trainers. They’re great guns this one so far has a thousand rounds on it with zero issues of any type perfectly comfortable carrying. It here is another 1911 this is a Sig Sauer nightmare fastback.
We just did a review of this the other day this gun has had some reliability issues specifically with Winchester white box so don’t use Winchester white box in this gun. But it is from a reputable manufacturer with a good reputation. I hate to say reputable and reputation with a good reputation for making quality guns other brands that I would generally recommend without a lot of concern would be Colt Springfield Smith & Wesson.
I have experience with all of those so actually Colt Springfield Smith & Wesson Sig Sauer and now dan Wesson would probably be the five off the shelf 1911 brands that I would recommend. There’s probably a couple more out there that I’m not thinking of but all of those. I’ve had personal trigger time with that ran well guns were good and I don’t really have any complaints about the end product.
How should you pick in 1911 for concealed carry?
So step one buy a gun from a reputable manufacturer if you’re going off the shelf. If you’re going custom then you know Nighthawk Wilson combat. There are a jillion really good custom 1911 makers out there you can always get one from one of them if you have money like you stole it and if you want to drop good used car prices on 1911. So reputable manufacturer number one, number two don’t stray away from the original design intent.
What’s the original design intent of 1911? That would be a five-inch all steel gun chambered in 45 ACP without silly things like full-length guide rods. So this 5 inch of 1911 that we have here is not exactly the original design intent. It’s a 357 sig and it’s got an external extractor it works, but I wouldn’t recommend this as a first 1911 for concealed carry. I would say get a government sized gun in 45 ACP from Colt or Springfield.
That’s probably your best bet the second best bet would be to go with something like this lightweight commander a lot of people don’t know that the lightweight commander was originally chambered in 9 millimeters by colt. It’s four and a quarter inches long in terms of barrel length aluminum frame and everything else is 1911 features. But the original chamber for the commander was nine-millimeter it works well in nine-millimeter lightweight commanders in 9mm tend to work pretty good.
So that’s kind of that reputable manufacturer don’t start from the original design intent. We’ve got that out of the way let’s talk about what I believe is the best 1911 for concealed carry and this may come as something of a surprise. Because I don’t believe that it’s a 5 inch all steel 45 ACP. I believe that the best 1911 that you can possibly carry is a lightweight commander in nine-millimeter and let’s explain why reliability this particular model one hundred percent reliable thousand rounds zero issues the lightweight commander as mentioned was originally chambered in 9 millimeters it works they tend to work pretty well for 1911’s and odd calibers.
If you have one that is reliable that’s from a reputable manufacturer. You’re probably not going to have a lot of problems with it the key to reliability with your 9 mils 1911 is getting good magazines as well so these are the Wilson Combat e ™, which stands for extreme or elite. I think it’s elite tactical magazine. They’re great. This is all I use for carrying. In my 1911’s are the Wilson e TM s.
I use some different mags for competition but that’s competition so reliability covered. We have a reliable handgun good to go next shoot ability. This gun is easy to shoot freaking easy mode for shooting. Because it’s a 9-millimeter the aluminum frame doesn’t matter. There’s very little felt recoil, are you? There’s a post of me popping a steel plate at 35 yards strong hand only with this gun easy mode for shooting.
It has good sights and it’s got a good trigger pull. It has a full sized grip which I don’t like the reduced size 1911 grips. Because I like to be able to get both my hands all up on this gun and the full-size grip allows me to do that shooting ability. This gun scores extremely high good sights good trigger pull. There’s enough sight radius to actually get work done. If you compare the two side-by-side you see that the government size gun only has maybe a half-inch more sight radius then the commander sized gun so commander guns awesome lastly concealability very easy to conceal they make a bobtail version.
You can get commanders with a bobtail which kind of cuts this profile down a little bit. Because this is the hardest part of the gun to conceal but when you’re talking about an aluminum framed gun with a four and a quarter inch barrel. That’s SuperDuper skinny concealing this is not a problem as I can demonstrate now as I stand to upholster my gun put my shirt out and my guns gone just like that so concealing this gun super not an issue love everything about it.
So it has reliability shoot ability and concealed ability and that’s why generally speaking. I believe that the lightweight commander in nine-millimeter is the best possible choice for 1911 for concealed carry and one last thing I want to talk about is that chambering Caleb why 9-millimeter why not 45 well first off the lightweight commander was originally designed in 9mm.
But secondly, there’s no such thing as stopping power well in handgun cartridges. Anyways there’s no difference in terminal ballistics between a 45 cap and nine-millimeter jacketed hollow-point when you shoot somebody with them and the lightweight commander gives you two extra rounds of ammunition over an eight round mag in a 45. I get ten plus one and a reload of another ten rounds which mean I’m carrying 21 rounds on my person which yes is less than somebody.
If you want to know more 1911 Pistol For Concealed Carry, you can watch the video below to reference:
Who’s carrying a Glock 19 in a reload but is also more than someone who’s carrying in 45 ACP in a reload do you have any questions about this post do you think that I’m crazy to do you think that the nine-millimeter lightweight commander is not the best 1911 for concealed carry? If you do you’re wrong, but if you’d like to let me know why you think? I wrong feel free to leave me a comment down below and I may actually answer it in the meantime. I’m Caleb Giddings thanks for reading.