When I carry a 1911 it's in a shoulder holster. I do have a Serpa and it's ok, but it's not great.To me, there are 3 types of self defense guns: home, vehicle and self (person). I would never suggest what is best, since that is an individual thing, but it should be reliable and you can handle it well. Home and vehicle suggests a larger type may be employed while concealed carry might suggest smaller might be in order. Some folks will say they carry a government size 1911, but my back starts talking to me at the thought of that. As far as personal carry goes, I am more likely to carry a .380 in shorts weather and a 9 the rest of the time.
I have a Max II. Yes the mags are hard to find unless you go for aftermarket offerings. However, every aftermarket mag I ever tried in that gun induced failures, while my factory mags have never induced a failure.When I worked for HSS they required their armed guards to furnish their own handgun. They had a list of approved gun manufacturers, if you were an armed guard you had to choose your handgun from that list.
I don't remember all the companies on the list but they were all reliable manufacturers. That seems like a good starting point for me.
The City of Colorado Springs also had criteria for what type of handguns an armed guard could carry.
1. The barrel has to be between 4 and 6 in.
2. No SAOs. I knew a lot of guards that were pissed because they wanted to carry their Peacemaker on the clock.
3. Revolvers could only be .38 special or 357 magnum. HSS forbade revolvers so that was irrelevant to me.
4. Semi-automatics could only be 9 mm or .40 Smith & Wesson.
After the magazine capacity restrictions passed HSS would not allow their guards to carry even grandfathered magazines. I don't think anybody actually abided by that but it was a rule.
So I posted all that because honestly that's where I started when I started looking for a self-defense handgun.
If I had to pick right now, my first criteria would be no Oddball manufacturers and no obscure Oddball calibers.
One of the first handguns I ever owned was a Llama 1911 knock off. Overall I did not have good luck with those handguns. But the thing I remember the most about them is it how hard it was to find magazines to fit a llama. I also remember how expensive they were when you found them. That's a mistake I will never make again. I would also want to have something where holsters and accessories are easy to come by. I follow the security guard form and every couple weeks or some guys showing up with some weird Boutique gun that he can't find a reliable level 2 or three holster manufacturer for.
After that my first criteria would be reliability. My second criteria would be concealable. My third criteria would be the magazines have to be currently legal in the state of Colorado.
How could you possibly be otherwise? The next time I have to go to a mall in Columbus (heaven forbid), would you be willing to get me there AND back again?!1911 in leather under my left shoulder, P30L in kydex on my right hip, Shield .45 on my left hip in a right handed holster, my entire backstrap loaded with extra mag carriers, a sawed off 12 gauge on a bungie sling under my right shoulder topped with a trenchcoat and a 10.5" 5.56 with a laser handstop and 510C under the seat.
Now I'm comfortable.
So you’re basically every undercover cop we saw in a 70s cop movie. Do you have a kitted out Nova/GTO/Gran Torino to go with your setup?1911 in leather under my left shoulder, P30L in kydex on my right hip, Shield .45 on my left hip in a right handed holster, my entire backstrap loaded with extra mag carriers, a sawed off 12 gauge on a bungie sling under my right shoulder topped with a trenchcoat and a 10.5" 5.56 with a laser handstop and 510C under the seat.
Now I'm comfortable.