The 1911 is one of the most remarkable handgun platforms in existence, but the question remains: Is it a good gun for concealed carry? The short answer is a resounding YES, but you want to know why, how—and which particular 1911 models might be best for you.
Read on to learn about some of the key features of 1911 handguns that make them a clear choice as an everyday carry, as well as some great options for you.
The skinny on the 1911’s skinny.
One of the aspects of the 1911 that has made it such a popular firearm over the years is its narrow frame. When carrying, the width of your gun can have a significant impact on how much it prints from under your clothing. The 1911's slim frame keeps it closer to your body and helps to avoid printing while carrying.
By popular demand.
Do you appendix carry? Pocket carry? Purse carry? Prefer leather? Plastic? The 1911 is one of the most popular handgun platforms in history and, because of this, there is no shortage of holsters, sights, lights, and other accessories to deck your gun out with. If you're looking to find a set of sights and a holster that fit you perfectly, there's no doubt that you'll find them carrying a 1911 on your hip.
Reliable as the sunrise.
Another key component of the 1911 platform is the sheer reliability of the gun. For decades, the gun has set the standard for reliability and was chosen by the military, in part, because John Browning's initial model fired more than six thousand rounds in two days without failing. If you want a gun that will work every time you pull it off your hip, a 1911 is a safe bet.
It’s all about balance.
For years, the 1911 has been lauded as a gun that, with a little practice, can easily be fired accurately. This is because of how well most 1911s are balanced. When you've had a little practice with a 1911, the sights seem to just fall into place while the gun is in your hand, which is exactly what you want from your concealed carry self-defense pistol. Note: While the 1911 tends to be a bit heavier than other options, the additional weight makes the weapon easier to manipulate and reduces recoil compared to lighter options—which can get a little snappy.
Eight is enough.
1911-style pistols often hold eight rounds or fewer, which could seem skimpy compared to some trendy concealed-carry firearms designed to hold more. Having additional rounds might make you feel better, but it’s really a false safety net. If you can’t get the job done in eight rounds, consider hitting the range.
Triggering is what 1911’s do best.
Perhaps the single most famous aspect of the 1911 is its trigger. Unlike other concealed carry pistols with hinged triggers, the 1911's trigger slides straight back, making for a crisp, clean break and reset when the gun is fired. Add adjustable over travel, like on the Rock Standard CS, and you've got an unbeatable trigger experience to make shooting in high-pressure situations that much easier.
If you’re looking for an everyday-carry 1911, there’s more than a few Rock Island Armory 1911s that fit the bill.
Consider these concealable compact 1911s from Rock Island Armory.
A 1911 without the frills, the GI Standard is right up your alley. It has a simple aesthetic: basic wood grips with fixed, low-profile front and rear sights. You still get the kinetic power of the 45ACP cartridge in a compact package.
This pistol is chambered in 45ACP with a 3.5” button-rifled barrel supported by a full-length guide rod. The smooth-angled style prevents annoying snags and allows for consistently quick draws.
Want this but with standard sights? Here you go!
This lightweight option gives you the same power and durability, but with an aluminum frame. It’s built with the original Armscor 22TCM 9R cartridge in mind. The high velocity and low recoil make the 22TCM a great choice for plinking and, depending on your philosophy, even self-defense.
It also comes with a 9mm accessory drop-in barrel, giving you maximum versatility.
If 22TCM and 9mm aren’t your cup of tea, you can also grab it in 45ACP here.
The TAC Ultra Compact introduces a full tactical rail. Like all Rock Island 1911s, this series is built with 4140 Ordnance and is refined with our carefully managed hand-fitting process. Perfect for those looking to attach a tac-light on a home-defense pistol.
Don’t underestimate this little 1911 just because it has "baby" in its name. The angled, low-profile sights are designed to prevent snagging while still providing a clean sight picture. Since it’s chambered in 380, it’s easy to shoot, control and conceal.
And remember: We have a unique privilege to keep and bear arms in our country. With great power comes great responsibility. To successfully conceal-carry your weapon, you must carry lawfully and purposefully. Make sure to learn the laws for your area and understand how to carry safely in whichever context you choose to do so.