Hogue Retention Holster for M1911
Oleg Volk 08.18.15
Designed to fit compact 1911s, Hogue ARS stage 1 retention holster also fits full size and longslide pistols. It comes in two finishes (black or “carbon fiber”), left and right hand options, and ships with parts to convert it from paddle to belt slide.
As you can see from the screw tracks, cant is adjustable with both paddle and beltslide. The package also contains longer screws and a tapered spacer that tilts the holster closer to the body. That, according to the pictograms in the instruction manual, is for female users with curvy hips. The paddle is fairly easy to put on but very solid. It catches on the belt to form a very reliable and unshifting base for the clamshell surrounding the gun.
The pistol is retained at two points, the lever-activated catch at the trigger guard and the snap points around the slide. The clamshell is flared to accommodate Crimson Trace laser grips. Retention proved very solid, as did the single-piece plastic shell itself. The pistol snaps in with a loud click, but the noise may be avoided by depressing the release paddle while reholstering. I tried to break the shell away from the paddle by pulling on the pistol, but the connection is very strong and ribbed internally for extra rigidity. It’s possible to jog comfortably with this holster on, provided the belt is suitable (I used Hogue’s own plastic belt, which worked very well).
The paddle is easily accessible for the wearer but hard for others to reach. That makes open carry more secure. The safety can be disengaged in the same motion or bypassed for disengagement later in the drawstroke. The release paddle has enough clearance between it and the pistol for easy activation in gloves. In theory, I would prefer an extension on top of the paddle to keep the release separated from clothing, but we have not experienced any interference.
When used in conjunction with a long gun, the holster didn’t get in the way. Retention was excellent even with the user doing a headstand. Being plastic, it didn’t absorb moisture during hot, humid summer days and was easy to clean when necessary.
The holster rides very close to the body and proved comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. I prefer the paddle for convenience and also to reduce the area of the belt occupied, but the belt slide distributes the weight slightly better.
Release was entirely intuitive, and the paddle location allowed safe position along the slide for the index finger. Re-holstering was also safe, as the rigid holster mouth and a positive lock make it a snap–literally.
The defensive sequence illustrated above shows typical deployment. Unless drawing to protect yourself from an imminent threat, please don’t actually shoot without eye and ear protection.
So in sum, the holster is light, simple, robust, reliable, and easy to maintain. It’s also inexpensive, retailing for about $37. This design is available for several other popular pistols. While the nature of the retention design makes it less comfortable for IWB carry, this holster can also be adapted for thigh rig and Molle with optional parts. It’s been very popular with everyone who has tried it here.