Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I've always been partial to the John Browning designs of handguns. They are classic and they are still relevant today. But I've never felt comfortable carrying either a 1911 type pistol (or the Browning High Power) as they are meant to be carried for defensive purposes.

By that, and most handgunners know this well, I mean that the 1911 style single action semi-automatic pistol was meant to be carried with a round in the chamber, the hammer cocked and the manual safety lever locked into the "safe" position, hence the phrase "cocked and locked".

The 1911 also has what is known as a grip safety, which must be depressed when holding the pistol in a normal fashion.

When I started in law enforcement, flap holsters were still being issued. Called "The Widowmaker", because of a pistol's propensity to FALL out of the holster in a physical struggle hence rendering it accessible to the bad guy. I didn't care much for carrying a cocked and locked 1911 in a flap holster.

We next went to thumb break holsters, and I actually knew several leathersmiths in town that would sew a "hammer strap" of leather which could be threaded over the hammer of the gun, a'la old western style holsters, sewn on the inside of flap holsters to ensure a gun didn't inadvertantly fall out.

I didn't mind carrying a 1911 in any holster, be it belt, duty, concealment or shoulder holster as long as the holster had a thumb break retaining snap that lays between the hammer and the firing pin of the pistol.

I still know people who utilize the method of carry (which is probably a now politically incorrect term) called "mexican carry", which involves sticking the pistol (with no holster) into your pants in a very casual fashion. In any event, I never felt comfortable carrying a 1991 even in a belt slide type holster unless it had a thumb break, much less stuck into my beltline with no holster, cocked and locked.

But I can't deny a certain admiration for a 1911 or the many nice variants that are out there. I have a particular liking for the "Tom Threepersons" style of high ride belt holster for this pistol, as well as several other designs that are basically belt slides with thumb breaks.

This pistol was revolutionizing not only warfare but law enforcement worldwide beginning about 100 years ago. It's still a great pistol.

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