The 4 Best OWB 1911 Holsters – Reviews 2023

best owb 1911 holster

Photo by Tony R / CC BY

By way and large, outside the waistband (OWB holsters) are the most popular way to carry a 1911 handgun. There are reasons for this. OWB holsters create a gap between your handgun and your torso, making more comfortable and less likely to corrode than in inside-the-waistband (IWB) carry. OWB holsters also have a variety of options to be carried to match the preference of the user. They can have a belt loop through them or secure to the hip via a paddle.

But the best advantage to an OWB holster is how you can get a full grip on your 1911 before drawing much easier than you can on an IWB carry. This is a huge advantage in an incident that is high stress and requires the gun to be drawn quickly. And let’s face it, a full-sized 1911 might not be the ideal candidate for IWB carry.

Here are our recommendations for the 4 best OWB 1911 holsters on the market:

Galco Combat Master Belt Holster

The Galco Combat Master Belt Holster is one of the most popular OWB 1911 holsters on the market. It’s constructed out of the finest leather materials including double-stitched seams and optimum saddle leather. But the real stand out of the Combat Master is its hand molded fit, meaning that it is of the utmost quality and securely retains the weapon. Furthering this argument is the fact that the Galco Master has been regularly tested for quality and durability and proven itself each time. Even though this is an OWB holster, it can be carried concealed due to the butt-forward cant. The holster can attach onto belts up to one and three quarters inch, and is available in a brown or black finish, in both right and left handed configurations. This is one of the most popular and best OWB 1911 holsters for the money.

Fobus Standard 1911 Holster

Fobus holsters have become favored with law enforcement and military units alike around the world, and it wasn’t long before they came out with a model of holster for the venerable 1911. Like any Fobus holster, the Standard 1911 model is completely maintenance free. It does not sweat or breathe, and does not require any oiling. Only soap and water will needed to wash it out and clean it when it is put through sever elements. This Fobus Standard holster can accommodate 1911s with three, four, and five-inch barrel lengths and makes use of a rubberized paddle to hold onto the holster secured in the OWB position. This should be on anyone’s list of the best OWB 1911 holsters.

Gould & Goodrich Yaqui Slide Holster

Yaqui holsters in general are a popular choice for 1911 carry, both for open and concealed carry. Yaqui holsters hold the 1911 securely, are very light and compact, and allow for a fast and easy draw. But the Gould & Goodrich Yaqui holsters take these qualities a step further. Able to fit belts of over two inches, it has a cut out for the pants belt loop. It’s also made out of unsurpassed quality, genuine leather. The Yaqui is capable of fitting a 1911 of three, four, and five-inch barrel lengths as well. This holster will be suitable for your trophy Colt Gold Cup or your compact Colt Defender alike.

Blackhawk! SERPA 1911 Holster

Blackhawk! SERPA holsters are very well known for their speed-cut design that allow for not only a fast and efficient draw, but a smooth re-holstering as well. More importantly, SERPA holsters are some of the best holsters on the market when it comes to firearm retention. The pistol cannot be drawn without pressing the auto lock release. This release is positioned so that when the weapon is drawn, the finger is naturally indexed above the trigger, maximizing safety. SERPA holsters are available in both paddle and belt loop configurations. They make a natural fit for any 1911 pistol. If you’d like maximum safety, this just might be the best OWB 1911 holster.

Finding the Right OWB Holster for Your 1911

When it comes down to it, you’ll basically have two separate options for your holster: leather or synthetic. An example of a synthetic is Kydex, a very tough plastic that is also cheap, waterproof, and lightweight. The downside to synthetic holders is that they will more likely to wear the finish off of your 1911.

Leather holsters are very traditional and look very good with a 1911. They are easily moldable and quite agile, and even though they aren’t as durable or lightweight as synthetic, they won’t wear down on the finish as much either.

Your options for OWB holsters run very wide as you can tell. There is no single style of holster that is considered to be better than the other, because everybody’s personal preference is different—as, different indeed, as your choice of 1911 (Springfield, Colt, Kimber, Dan Wesson?). That’s why you have a number of different styles with the options that we have given you.

But each of the holsters we have chosen shares one thing in common: the grip is exposed, so you can draw your 1911 quickly as possible. Most 1911’s are not a small weapons, but it’s also very flat compared to most high capacity, double stacked 9mm and .40 S&W pistols that it competes with. By retention, we are referring to how the gun is kept securely in place. It requires force on your part when you draw (or in the case of the SERPA, the click of a button to unlock it) to be drawn.

Each of the holsters also keeps the grip of the pistol exposed, in contrast to the flap holsters that were utilized in the military. This allows you to get a firm grip around your 1911 before you begin to draw it, and even if you don’t choose one of our holster suggestions, we absolutely recommend that your holster keep the grip of the weapon fully exposed.

The holsters that we have selected should serve as guidelines for any other holsters that you do choose: holsters that are made out of high quality materials, keep the grip exposed for a fast and firm draw, and that retain the pistol securely. This is why we called these the best OWB 1911 holsters on the market. Your handgun is an excellent weapon that will serve you well, and it deserves an excellent holster to go right alongside it.

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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