I Carry: Colt Wiley Clapp Commander 1911 in a Mitch Rosen ARG Holster

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posted on March 9, 2018

Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today, we have a Colt Wiley Clapp Commander 1911 in a Mitch Rosen American Rear Guard holster. We also have a Striker BAMFF 4.0 flashlight, a Bear & Son Cutlery Bear Edge 61107 folding knife and a Remington RM380 backup pistol.

The Gun: Colt Wiley Clapp Commander ($1,489)

While this Colt Commander holds true to the typical 1911 design in many respects, there are a number of differences that make it a solid choice for concealed carry. For starters, this 1911 is chambered in 9mm, not .45 ACP. While that might upset many purists, the fact is that current-day 9mm self-defense cartridges are excellent options for personal defense, having benefitted from decades of technological advancement in bullet design. Having a platform like this Commander chambered in 9mm means that it’ll be easier to control, allowing users to get back on target for faster follow-up shots.

In addition, this Colt Commander isn’t just any run-of-the-mill gun. Colt collaborated with Shooting Illustrated contributor Wiley Clapp, a longtime military and law-enforcement veteran with a huge body of real-world experience using the 1911. With his guidance, the gun received several upgrades, getting enhanced texturing on the front strap and grips, offering improved Novak sights and retaining the tried-and-true Series 70 firing system.

The Holster: Mitch Rosen American Rear Guard ($150)

We paired this classic 1911 design with a classic holster from a company renowned for its work in leather: Mitch Rosen. Back in the early 1990s, Rosen struggled to find a leather holster that met his stringent standards for quality, durability and utility. So, naturally, he started making his own.

One of the classic designs from Rosen is his American Rear Guard, an inside-the-waistband holster with a reinforced opening that attaches with a single belt loop. The mouth of the holster is made with a combination of doubled-up leather and steel, ensuring that users can easily reholster their handgun.

The other stand-out feature of the ARG is the significant forward cant. This ensures that the butt of the gun is more in-line with the profile of the wearer’s body, preventing it from sticking out and printing.

The Flashlight: Striker BAMFF 4.0 ($39.99)

For an everyday-carry light, the BAMFF flashlight from Striker provides added versatility, thanks to a unique dual-LED design that allows it to be used as a powerful spotlight at a distance or an area light for close-up illumination. The light features six different modes, including high, low, SOS and strobe. Maximum output is 400 lumens with a battery life of 2 hours.

The Knife: Bear Edge 61107 Folder ($36.99)

Looking for an affordably priced, everyday-carry knife that’s made in America? It sounds like a tall order, but the Bear Edge lineup from Bear & Son Cutlery provides just that, and the company’s 61107 folding knife is especially suited to tackle daily tasks. The 3.4-inch blade is made from 440 stainless steel and features a taper-ground edge, while the handles are machined from aluminum. The knife includes a pocket clip for tip-up carry and weighs just 3.5 ounces.

Backup Gun: Remington RM380 ($436)

While it’s common to carry a back-up magazine for your primary carry pistol, that’s not the only route to go with a backup. Sometimes, incorporating another gun entirely into your carry kit, like this pocket-sized Remington RM380, is a great option.

This secondary gun sometimes goes by the name “a New York reload,” a carry method popularized by longtime NYPD officer Jim Cirillo, who touted the many benefits of going to a readily available second gun instead of wasting valuable time reloading a primary firearm.

The Remington RM380 is a solid choice for a backup, thanks to its compact, lightweight design that makes it easy to stash in a pocket, ankle holster or any number of carry positions. I like to carry my backup pistol on an ankle, since it offers quick access in certain scenarios where my strong-side carry gun might not be easily accessible, such as sitting in a car or a chair.

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