Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five Keychain Tools for EDC
- Shooting in the Dark? The Top Five Low Light Fixes
- Top Five Pocket Carry Holsters
- Top Five Fixed-Blade Knives
- Top Five Modern Ways to Protect Hearing
Compared to modern concealed carry guns, 1911s are generally more expensive, lower capacity and more difficult to learn to shoot well. Some might say 1911s are less reliable than other handguns, but I’m not convinced that’s true (and it’s a matter I will address in another article.) For now, despite some shortcomings, I’ve got really good reasons to choose a 1911 for concealed carry. Here are my top five.
1. Single-Action Trigger
The most obvious benefit of the single-action trigger is the very short pull it takes to fire a round. A short trigger pull means less opportunity to pull the gun to the right or left and therefore a greater degree of accuracy. The triggers on 1911s also travel straight back rather than on a hinge, which can contribute to greater accuracy. That said, a 1911’s single-action trigger works in concert with a frame-mounted, manual safety, and this safety must be switched off in order to fire. It should also be switched back on again if you’re going to move or perform other actions. So, it creates an added step when drawing and requires additional training, but if you’re doing everything else correctly … and the safety is off … and your finger is on the trigger … and you’re ready to shoot … it’s just a short stroke of the trigger to fire off a round.
2. Natural Point-Ability
Some guns have this and some guns don’t. Natural point-ability means the gun’s stocks and sights seem to align with your target more easily when the gun is in your hand and pointed toward your target than with others. This has always been a strength of the 1911. Granted, you’d better train with whatever gun you carry, but if you can simplify or streamline the actions required to get your gun drawn and pointed at your target, then why not? Natural point-ability not only relates to the gun’s feel in hand but also the location of the controls. For a great many individuals, everything is just right with the 1911.
3. 100-Plus Year Heritage
Very few guns have the heritage and legacy of the 1911. This gun has been tested over time, through major world wars and conflicts, and is still in use today by some police departments and special forces. On the one hand, the fact that it is still in use testifies to the sheer genius of its creator, John Moses Browning. But other guns, such as the Glock, are even more pervasive than the 1911 and over a shorter time too. Nonetheless, when you carry a 1911, you’re carrying both a modern defensive pistol and a piece of history. It is relatively more complex than other guns, but like any other gun, it requires practice and care.
4. Abundant Accessories
When a gun has been around as long as the 1911 and used as extensively as it has, accessory manufacturers, of course, take notice and offer myriad holsters, magazines, spare parts, customizations and more. If you choose to carry a 1911, you’ll have no shortage of concealed carry holsters from which to choose. You’ll have plenty of ammunition options. You’ll be able to find gunsmiths who can do customizations. Go to virtually any accessory manufacturer’s website and, where you can search by make and model of gun, I’ll bet a 1911 is on the menu. And since multiple manufacturers have made 1911s, there’s a variety of quality and price points available too. What you’ll also get with the 1911 — and this can be good and bad — is unending online opinion about the gun’s strengths and weaknesses.
One of best attributes of the 1911 is how skinny or flat it is; the slide is usually less than an inch wide. As such, it is easy to hide on your person, regardless of whether you carry inside or outside the waistband. I find a 1911 makes a great summer carry gun as when carried inside the waistband, it hides well with shorts and a t-shirt. The right holster keeps the 1911 at a forward cant, pointing the bottom of the stocks up along my side. This is true for Government-, Commander- and Officer-sized 1911s with their 5-, 4.25-, and 3-inch barrels, respectively. I like a 3-inch barrel, not for concealability but more because there’s simply less weight to carry than with a longer barrel. But all the 1911 sizes conceal well, regardless of barrel length. One bonus: The magazines for 1911s are skinny too, so they’re easy to hide on your weak side in an outside-the-waistband holster.
And now, of course, a couple words about the negatives: 1911s are more expensive, have a lower capacity and are more difficult to learn to shoot well. Many other guns are less expensive than a 1911, but whether a 1911 is “too expensive” is relative. If you want a value option, then the 1911 might not be for you. Many other guns hold more rounds than a 1911 — some with double the capacity in one magazine — but this too is a subjective matter. You should always carry a reload, no matter what gun you carry, and you should carry what you can comfortably, accurately and safely shoot. Many other guns are indeed easier to shoot well because they offer a double-action trigger stroke and no external safety, which removes some of the variables. But these can be mitigated with the right training — again, something you should do regardless of what kind of gun you carry.
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.