I Carry: Colt Lightweight Commander Pistol in an Aker Leather Holster

posted on January 29, 2021

Firearm: Colt Wiley Clapp Lightweight Commander (MSRP: $1,299)

Obviously, the Shooting Illustrated connection might have played a small part in the selection of this particular Colt – Wiley Clapp writes our “Fightin’ Iron” column and is a fixture in the firearm community, not to mention a pretty ardent fan of the 1911. While it might seem odd to have a 9 mm 1911 with Wiley’s name on it, remember that the original Colt Commander was designed to chamber 9 mm in addition to the more traditional .45 ACP and .38 Super.

This particular model is designed especially with concealed carry in mind, given the lightweight construction of the aluminum frame and Commander length. While it is lighter and shorter than the all-steel Government models, it still tips the scales at slightly more than 30 ounces unloaded, making it on the heavier side for a 9 mm pistol with a 9-round capacity. A Novak rear sight with a gold-bead front sight offer an excellent sight picture, while the Series 70 firing system gives a smooth, light trigger pull. Rounding out the upgrades that make this a superlative choice for concealed carry are the custom wood grips and 25 LPI checking on the frontstrap to keep the Wiley Clapp Lightweight Commander anchored in the hand.

Yeah, it’s heavier than a Glock. It has less capacity than a P365. It doesn’t allow for a red-dot sight. But, there’s just something about the 1911 that keeps it going strong into its 110th year. Maybe you grew up with a family member who served with the 1911 and you learned to shoot on one. Maybe you appreciate the platform’s storied history. Perhaps the single-action trigger makes it easier to shoot it accurately in your experience. In any case, if you’re a fan of the 1911 and want to carry one for everyday self-defense purposes, it would be hard to spec out a 1911 better suited to the task than Colt’s Wiley Clapp Lightweight Commander. 

Holster: Aker Leather FlatSider XR13 (MSRP: $81.50)

When talking about the 1911, it’s pretty much a given that it will be carried in a leather holster. Aker Leather has been producing gear for the law enforcement, military and concealed-carry communities for four decades, and the FlatSider XR13 holster we have today is an excellent example of the company’s solid work. Offering an FBI, grip-forward cant for rapid presentation and screw-adjustable retention, the FlatSider keeps the pistol securely in place while allowing rapid access when needed. Stiff leather construction keeps it open for reholstering, and the slots allow belts up to 1 ¾ inch wide.

When considering a pistol the size and weight of a Commander, obviously holster construction is important. The FlatSider’s design both pulls the pistol in close to the body for optimum concealment as well as distributing the weight over a larger portion of the belt than a single attachment clip. Opting for a heavier pistol helps with recoil control and follow-up shots; choosing the right holster design will help carry that pistol equally successfully. The FlatSider is available in black or tan finish and for left- and right-handed shooters. 

Knife: Kershaw Decimus (MSRP: $57.74)

Rounding out this iconic carry gear is a Kershaw Decimus pocketknife. With a 3.25-inch, 8Cr13MoV spear-point blade wearing a proprietary BlackWash finish, the design of the Decimus is unmistakable. Imitating a double-edged dagger, the Decimus is symmetrical right down to the mirrored flipper projection. Side note, keep a close eye on which flipper you press, as the one on the edge side isn’t going to open the blade and you’re going to feel silly…

The single-edge, bayonet-grind blade opens with Kershaw’s SpeedSafe assisted opening mechanism activated via a flipper, and is held open with a frame lock. The handle is stainless steel with a glass-filled nylon overlay designed to keep the Decimus firmly in the hand. The pocket clip is reversible for right- or left-pocket carry in tip-up configuration.


Two suppressors
Two suppressors

First Look: SilencerCo Hybrid 46M Suppressor

SilencerCo is adding the new Hybrid 46M to their product line. The 46m represents the world's first modular large bore suppressor.

Why the Shotgun is One of the Best Options for Personal Defense

Like the revolver and the lever-action carbine, the shotgun is still around because it gets the job done and gets it done quite well.

Safety Recall for Smith & Wesson M&P Shotguns

A safety recall has been issued for all Smith & Wesson M&P 12 shotguns manufactured prior to Oct. 15, 2021. Two field reports of barrel cracking have been received by the company and, in an abundance of caution the recall was initiated.

I Carry: Smith & Wesson Shield Plus 9 mm Pistol in a Dark Star Gear Holster

In today's episode of "I Carry," we have a Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield Plus carried in a Dark Star Gear Hitchhiker holster along with a True Tactical EDC pocketknife.

First Look: Work Sharp Precision Adjust Elite & Upgrade Kit

Work Sharp is a U.S.-based company that is known for making top-notch knife and tool sharpeners. The company's Precision Adjust Knife Sharpener is a proven performer, and it is capitalizing on the success of that sharpener with the release of the new Precision Adjust Elite and Upgrade Kit.

First Look: Blackhawk Custom Kydex Holster Builder

Blackhawk is a leader in law enforcement and military equipment, and now they have a new custom Kydex holster program where customers can build and order their own holster or magazine carrier directly on their website.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.