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.


Vaultek D2Si
Vaultek D2Si

First Look: Vaultek DS2i Smart Station

A full-featured compact safe to securely store your valuables.

Does Birdshot Overpenetrate?

Home defenders sometimes opt for birdshot, thinking it won’t overpenetrate. We put this concept to the test.

First Look: Rival Arms X1 Red Dot Sight

A new optic from a company known for their pistol upgrades.

Review: Safariland GLS Pro-Fit IWB Holster

A new concealed carry holster with built-in Level 2 retention.

First Look: Shadow Systems CR920P Pistol

A subcompact 9mm pistol with a removable compensator, which doesn't have a threaded barrel.

I Carry Spotlight: New for 2023 CZ 75 A01 SD Optics Ready Pistol

In today's I Carry spotlight we take a look at the New-for-2023 CZ 75 A01 SD Optics Ready pistol.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.