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Author Topic: Another Holster Question  (Read 316 times)
Ben
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« on: March 24, 2019, 06:14:02 AM »

Fistful's holster topic reminded me of a question I've wanted to ask the brain trust:

I've seen a lot of holster makers (including the "top dogs") who, under "firearm model", simply list "1911" with barrel length, but might also have a specific model listed (e.g., Springfield TRP).

I'm curious if there really is a ginormous fit difference between the generic 1911 and a specific model. Stuff like rails/no rails not withstanding, is there really a significant fit difference between say, a compact Kimber and a compact Springfield? Or a Colt Government and a Rock Island?

I'm thinking in (quality made) all leather, there probably isn't, as the leather somewhat molds to the gun anyway. I would see more chance of a sloppy fit in an all Kydex or hybrid holster.
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2019, 06:25:31 AM »

I've got Colt and Springfield full length 1911's and I've never seen nor felt a discernible difference while in a variety of holsters.
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2019, 06:32:13 AM »

I've got Colt and Springfield full length 1911's and I've never seen nor felt a discernible difference while in a variety of holsters.

Exactly the two brands I have, and one seems to fit as well in the other in my two leather holsters. Just wondered if I was an oddball sample set. Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2019, 08:00:37 AM »

Fistful's holster topic reminded me of a question I've wanted to ask the brain trust:

I've seen a lot of holster makers (including the "top dogs") who, under "firearm model", simply list "1911" with barrel length, but might also have a specific model listed (e.g., Springfield TRP).

I'm curious if there really is a ginormous fit difference between the generic 1911 and a specific model. Stuff like rails/no rails not withstanding, is there really a significant fit difference between say, a compact Kimber and a compact Springfield? Or a Colt Government and a Rock Island?

I'm thinking in (quality made) all leather, there probably isn't, as the leather somewhat molds to the gun anyway. I would see more chance of a sloppy fit in an all Kydex or hybrid holster.

As someone who has tested and written articles about more than a few 1911s, I think I'm qualified to respond to this one. With very few exceptions, the only shape difference from one 1911 to another is the barrel (and slide) length -- and the presence or absence of a light rail. Holsters boned (molded) to fit a Colt 1911 (which is what most of the blocking models are made to duplicate) will accommodate virtually any other 1911 of the same barrel length. That even includes Para-Ordnance and Rock Island double stacks -- the only part of those that's fatter is the grip frame, and that's outside of the holster.

An exception is Sig Sauer. They, in their infinite wisdom, decided when they jumped into the 1911 pool that it was important to make their 1911s look like Sigs rather than 1911s, so they changed the profile of the slide. This, of course, rendered 90+ percent of holsters made for 1911s unsuitable for the Sig pistols. More recently, Sig introduced a "Classic" line of 1911 pistols, which look like 1911s, and which should fit standard 1911 holsters. Most of their 1911s, though, still have their proprietary slide profile.

Then there are some outliers. The "standard" barrel/slide lengths for 1911s are 5", 4-1/4", 3-1/2", and 3". A few manufacturers offer pistols with a 4" barrel rather than 4-1/4", and I've seen a few with barrel lengths like 3-1/8" or 3-3/16". For the outliers, you just have to use the holster made for the next longest "standard" length.
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2019, 10:51:37 AM »

A few manufacturers offer pistols with a 4" barrel rather than 4-1/4"...

The last time I checked, it was actually easier to get a 1911 with a 4" than a 4-1/4" barrel. Not sure why Springfield, et al, had to chop off that extra 1/4", but  Huh?.

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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2019, 11:16:33 AM »

Bucking a trend, perhaps, Rock Island used to sell a 4-inch model, and about two years ago (or so) they changed the specs and made it 4-1/4 inches.
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2019, 05:54:48 PM »

Thanks for the write-up Hawkmoon.

Yeah, I was actually surprised by the 4" barrel thing. I haven't been pistol shopping for quite a while, however as I think I probably mentioned, my gift to myself for high-tailing it out of CA is going to be an alloy 1911, and I was looking at Commander size. Only there seem to almost be more 4" versions available. I too, wonder what the draw was that made something just 1/4" smaller so popular.

I guess another way to look at it is, why did they only make the first Commanders 3/4" smaller instead of just chopping off an even inch? Smiley
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2019, 06:34:17 PM »


I guess another way to look at it is, why did they only make the first Commanders 3/4" smaller instead of just chopping off an even inch? Smiley

That's the effective lower limit on barrel length to allow a straight barrel to pivot down for unlinking when using a barrel bushing. If you look at the 4-inch models available, I think all of them today use a bull barrel that locks up directly to the slide, with no barrel bushing. The original Springfield Armory Champion was a 4-inch pistol that used a barrel bushing ... but it was set up with a cone-shaped barrel bushing like the 3-1/2-inch Colt Officers ACP. And Springfield dropped the barrel bushing and changed the Champion to a bushingless barrel after just a couple of years.

The full story of the Commander is more than would fit in a post. Colt designed it, originally as a 9mm pistol, because the U.S. military was making noises about wanting a more compact pistol in 9mm. I don't remember if the barrel length was one of the criteria, but it may have been. In the end, the military didn't go forward with the new pistol (a pattern we have seen repeated how many times?), so Colt released it to the commercial market. I love Commanders -- for me, the Commander balances better than a full-sized Government Model, and I think I shoot Commanders better than I shoot full-sized 1911s.
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2019, 07:17:17 PM »

That's the effective lower limit on barrel length to allow a straight barrel to pivot down for unlinking when using a barrel bushing. If you look at the 4-inch models available, I think all of them today use a bull barrel that locks up directly to the slide, with no barrel bushing.

Thanks for pointing that out, Hawkmoon. I didn't know that.
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2019, 08:17:43 PM »

I didn't state this very clearly:

The original Springfield Armory Champion was a 4-inch pistol that used a barrel bushing ... but it was set up with a cone-shaped barrel bushing like the 3-1/2-inch Colt Officers ACP. And Springfield dropped the barrel bushing and changed the Champion to a bushingless barrel after just a couple of years.


It's not the barrel bushing that's cone-shaped, it's the barrel. The barrel bushing in the original Champions is a larger ID than the bushings in Government Model and Commander 1911s. The muzzle end of the Champion barrel (like the Colt Officers ACP) is also larger than the muzzle of a standard 1911 barrel, but that diameter only extends aft a quarter of an inch, or less. From there back to the chamber and locking lugs area the barrel tapers down. By the time the slide has moved far enough back to start the barrel linking down, the rather short barrel bushing has moved off the largest part of the barrel, with the taper allowing sufficient clearance to allow the barrel to link down without interference or resistance.

I thought I had a photo of it, but I can't find it.
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« Reply #10 on: March 24, 2019, 08:33:04 PM »

My RIA 1911s will not fit in the holster (Blackhawk Serpa CQC) that my Colt 1911 slides into and fits like a champ.


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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2019, 05:47:36 AM »

For some of the 1911's, I was thinking it may be due to the rails added to some models.  Might be other reasons I guess.
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2019, 02:51:30 PM »

As someone who has tested and written articles about more than a few 1911s, I think I'm qualified to respond to this one. With very few exceptions, the only shape difference from one 1911 to another is the barrel (and slide) length -- and the presence or absence of a light rail. Holsters boned (molded) to fit a Colt 1911 (which is what most of the blocking models are made to duplicate) will accommodate virtually any other 1911 of the same barrel length. That even includes Para-Ordnance and Rock Island double stacks -- the only part of those that's fatter is the grip frame, and that's outside of the holster.

An exception is Sig Sauer. They, in their infinite wisdom, decided when they jumped into the 1911 pool that it was important to make their 1911s look like Sigs rather than 1911s, so they changed the profile of the slide. This, of course, rendered 90+ percent of holsters made for 1911s unsuitable for the Sig pistols. More recently, Sig introduced a "Classic" line of 1911 pistols, which look like 1911s, and which should fit standard 1911 holsters. Most of their 1911s, though, still have their proprietary slide profile.

Then there are some outliers. The "standard" barrel/slide lengths for 1911s are 5", 4-1/4", 3-1/2", and 3". A few manufacturers offer pistols with a 4" barrel rather than 4-1/4", and I've seen a few with barrel lengths like 3-1/8" or 3-3/16". For the outliers, you just have to use the holster made for the next longest "standard" length.
Mitch Rosen makes holsters for Sig-slide 1911s, a bit spendier than a lot of holsters out there, but worth it.
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2019, 03:03:18 PM »

For some of the 1911's, I was thinking it may be due to the rails added to some models.  Might be other reasons I guess.

I haven't put them on top of each other yet because I carry my Delta Elite all the time, but I need to do that, I *believe* it is somewhere around the trigger guard hanging up the RIA. The Delta has been reshaped a little so it is hard to tell. Maybe comparing the frame to my Ballerina Molester will give me some answers. I will need to find a good holster for the RIA because I want to start carrying it and leave my Yost Delta in the safe most of the time. bob
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« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2019, 04:15:14 PM »

I have two leather holsters and two hybrid holsters for my RIA, and I think they're all just generic 1911 holsters. I've never noticed a problem.
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