Bob-Tail 1911s: Passing Fad or Functional Innovation

Ed Brown Kobra Carry bob-tail 1911.A few years ago, Ed Brown introduced an eye-catching Commander-size 1911 called the Kobra Carry. The most distinctive feature was a bob-tail grip frame designed to reduce printing when worn under clothing. The idea seems to be catching on but the jury is still out as to whether it will be a widely popular modification to John Browning's design or simply a passing fad.


Manufacturers of 1911 handguns are always on the lookout for new modifications to the classic design to catch the customers' attention. It is most often the smaller custom builders and independent pistolsmiths who lead the way in regards to innovation while the larger manufacturers pick and choose which custom features they believe would appeal to consumers.

Dan Wesson was quick to copy the bob-tail 1911 design and Kimber has some bob-tailed beauties in its lineup, but the idea is not yet widespread among major manufacturers. I suspect it soon will be, but I have been wrong before. If you follow the discussions on the various Internet gun forums there does seem to be growing interest.


Gunsmiths across the country have seen a surge in customers requesting the bob-tail treatment for existing 1911s. Ed Brown offers the bob-tail mainspring housing as an aftermarket part in both blued and stainless finish and with a choice of smooth, checkered or snakeskin treatment--another Ed Brown innovation that is being copied by other manufacturers. Brownells sells a jig for easy and precise installation of the bob-tail housing and it is a fairly easy installation for a competent gunsmith.


Back when Ed Brown first introduced the Kobra Carry I received one on loan for evaluation. My first reaction was it looked cool and certainly set the gun apart from other models, but I was concerned it would be detrimental to the handling characteristics of the 1911. My concerns were quickly dismissed with a trip to the range. Even with my large hands the grip was comfortable and I felt in complete control of the firearm. Some people with smallish hands report the grip is actually improved with the bob-tail treatment.

As always, I seek your council. Please use the comment section below to share your opinions on bob-tail 1911s. Is it a passing fad or a functional innovation that is here to stay?

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