I Carry: Springfield Armory EMP-4 in a Blackhawk MBOSS Holster

posted on June 1, 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 Springfield Armory EMP-4 Concealed Carry Contour 1911 carried in a Blackhawk MBOSS pancake holster. We're also carrying a Black Beard Belts gun belt, a Kershaw folding knife and a Clinger Holsters magazine carrier.

Gun: Springfield Armory EMP-4 1911 ($1,220)

Externally, the Springfield Armory EMP 4-inch Concealed Carry Contour looks pretty similar to pretty much every other carry-size 1911 on the market. However, there’s more than meets the eye to this unique design. When company engineers tackled the task of remaking John Browning’s masterpiece into the perfect personal-defense gun, the end result was a totally new, patented “short-action” design, incorporating 17 redesigned components that made the pistol more shootable and concealable.

The “more-concealable” element of the design is evidenced by the rounded contour found at the bottom of the pistol’s frame. This is intended to reduce the potential of the pistol to print under concealment, since the angular frame found on the bottom of most 1911s tends to be the part of the gun most likely to poke out from a cover garment.

Holster: Blackhawk MBOSS Leather Pancake Holster ($79.95)

With such a unique blend of old and new found in this handgun, naturally, I picked a holster that also blends classic construction with a modern-day flair: the Blackhawk MBOSS pancake holster. This is an all-new design from the company, available to consumers starting in the summer of 2018.

What makes the MBOSS stand out is, visually, it certainly doesn’t look like other leather holsters on the market. The all-leather design is finished with a unique, tactical look, all while retaining a tailored, comfortable fit found only with leather rigs. The design is retention-adjustable and even provides a tactile reference point for positioning your trigger finger before a draw.

Magazine Carrier: Clinger Holsters Mag Pouch ($19.99)

In case of a magazine-related malfunction or, God forbid, the Mother of All Self-Defense Scenarios, it’s always a good idea to keep a spare mag on-hand. Clinger Holsters makes it easy and affordable, thanks to its Mag Pouch. Constructed with a sticky, grippy texture on its exterior, the carrier is designed to anchor itself inside of a pocket or waistband, all while protecting your spare mag from debris and keeping it oriented for quick access.

Knife: Kershaw Eris ($49.99)

One of the cleanest-looking options in the Kershaw lineup is its Eris knife, built with a sleek handle made from stainless steel and treated with a matte-grey titanium carbo-nitride finish. The Eris is built with an 8Cr13MoV stainless-steel blade, complete with a drop-point profile and top swedge. However, the stand-out feature is its incredibly easy SpeedSafe opening mechanism, ensuring that users have ready access to their EDC tool when needed.

Belt: Black Beard Belts Tactical Gun Belt ($89.99)

Black Beard Belts builds its equipment to handle wars, epidemics, civil unrest and Armageddon, so you can be pretty sure it’ll handle your EDC rig without an issue. The company’s Tactical Gun Belt is made from polymer-coated nylon that features a tensile strength of 4,500 pounds and is designed to prevent rolling, folding, stretching and weathering. Best of all, each belt is made right here in America.


Beretta APX A1 Carry
Beretta APX A1 Carry

Beretta APX A1 Carry

Comfort is a big part of daily carry, and it should be. If packing your favorite handgun feels like you are smuggling a shoebox (or an angry hedgehog), then you will squirm, shift and give away the fact that you are carrying. Hot weather makes it even worse, as light clothing offers less in the way of concealment. When EDC becomes too much of a hassle, some just leave it at home. 

High-Tech Handloading

I now keep all my ammunition-creation data on a computer. Sure, I’ll make notes when working up a new load or tweaking an existing one, but ultimately my data is stored digitally. Since my loading room is only steps from my computer, the transition from written to digital data has been easy for me. Now that I’m using the handloading app from RCBS, it’s even easier, and it also makes recreating my favorite loads when I’m at the loading bench more convenient.

First Look: 1791 Gunleather Holsters for S&W CSX Pistols

New holsters for the nifty little pistol from Smith & Wesson.

First Look: XS Night Sights for SA XD OSP and Tisas PX-9

Two new front and rear sight sets featuring some of XS Sights most popular designs.

Concealed-Carry Contemplations

You took a concealed-carry class from a well-known instructor who visited your local range recently. You learned a lot—especially that there was a lot yet to learn—over the two days of the course.

What We Plan For

Sheriff Jim reminds us that wishing and hopeful thinking should not be part of your self-defense plan.


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