An HBE IWB Holster for 1911's

It's probably a pretty safe bet that the longer pistoleros have been involved with "the addiction", the larger their holster collection grows. In my case, the number of holsters may very well exceed the number of handguns I actually own and many find their way into "the box," a final resting place for holsters that just don't "work" for me.

Just as many of us continue to search for "the perfect handgun", something that I'm becoming more and more sure doesn't exist, our interest is piqued when we see what might be a "perfect holster". We think about it and often as not, buy one. Sometimes we achieve nirvana and sometimes we have to add a new member to "the box".

In some instances I've had darned good luck with production line holsters such as the old Bianchi Askins Avenger, but generally speaking we still pretty much get what we pay for and sooner or later, a goodly number of us wind up buying a holster from a custom maker. I've had very good luck with custom leather from Lou Alessi, Garrity Holsters, and HBE Leatherworks. Eric Larsen's IWB (Inside-the-Waist-Band) Com 3 holster for the 1911 will be the focus of this post.

Here is the maroon leather holster from Eric Larsen's "HBE Leatherworks". I wore this holster with the SA Mil-Spec 1911-based pistol for several days to see if it actually "works" for me or if it might find its way into "the box." This holster has a 15-degree cant, but other options are available.

The Mil-Spec fit snugly in the HBE Com 3 but after a few days, it loosened only to the point that the pistol could be easily drawn, yet not move about when holstered. The holster did not fade, was not easily scratched and did not fade onto clothing.

The holster's snap-type belt loops made it easy to wear or remove the holster, a need for some folks who lawfully carry concealed and the loops never inadvertently became unsnapped. The distance between the loops worked fine with several pair of pants with regard to their pant loops. This distance also allows the holster to more easily form to the body for greater comfort.

Of prime importance to me was whether or not the holster would move or shift from its original position. This one did not, a good thing indeed.

Clint Smith reportedly said something to the effect that, "Handguns are not meant to be comfortable. They're meant to be comforting". While I agree with that statement in theory, I believe that the reality for most of us is that we'll have our comforting handgun on our person more often if we can do it comfortably.

I found the HBE Com 3 quite comfortable and predict that it will more readily allow my comforting .45 to be present when it might not otherwise be.

The 1911-based autoloader, particularly in .45 ACP, is held in high esteem by a great percentage of defense oriented shooters. At the same time, I doubt that John M. Browning's initial design parameters for his great military sidearm included concealability. It is on the large side and compared to more than a few of today's handgun choices, heavy. That said, this handgun continues to serve its masters well and remains a most popular choice in defensive hardware.

A good belt and holster can go a long way in making this pistol both comfortable to tote and hard to spot, while still being readily accessible. For me, the Com 3 appears to be just such a holster.

Mr. Larsen advises that the holster's back panel is made of 7/8 oz. steer back strap hide for sturdiness. The front is 5/6 or 6/7 oz., depending upon the hide characteristics he is using. He advises that this molds and shapes well without being too thin for long service life. I will also add that the holster is not too thick, a trait important in IWB designs. Stitching is done with polyester thread to resist UV and is resistant to wear and sweat, which is a definite consideration for an IWB holster. Black thread is used because it doesn't fade with time as can thread that has been dyed.

The Com 3 holster fits the pistol snugly and I believe that it is unlikely that the pistol would "launch" during either a foot chase by an officer or any vigorous activity the wearer might be engaged in. At the same time, the weapon is easily drawn. It was no problem for me to get a proper grip on the gun while it was still holstered.

The Com 3 completely contains the muzzle of the pistol. It does not abrade skin, something most will agree is important in a concealment holster intended for daily (and nightly) use.

Here is the Com 3 being worn. It conceals well and made it very easy to conceal the 5" "forty-five automatic" beneath but a loose-fitting shirt. It stayed in place hours upon hours and was as comfortable as any IWB holster I've tried…and better than a great many others…that are now in "the box."

I definitely am not much of an artisan at anything and am certainly not a holster maker. A holster that I'd make would probably resemble a sausage sack than anything else, but I truly believe this to be a holster that will serve both well and long.

Mr. Larsen has suffered some rather severe personal setbacks in the recent past, but things are improved vastly and he advises that he's working hard on catching up previous orders. I asked how long the wait might be now for a Com 3 and he advised 3 to 6 months. He also advised that he would be most happy to take questions. (Depending upon options available to the buyer, cost starts at $89.00, which includes Priority Mail costs. Holsters requested in exotic hides such as alligator will take longer and cost more.)

Contact information as well as information on the Com 3 and other HBE holsters can be had at his site:

Take a look. I think you might just like what you see.