View Full Version : Duty Holster Retention Levels

New Shooter II
04-26-2009, 8:49 PM
I am interested to know what level of retention your duty holsters are. I am looking into armed security and am concerned about my current gear.

04-26-2009, 9:06 PM
I've seen folks use level 2, level 3, and level 4 retention holsters on duty. I'd expect that someone with a good level of situational awareness and a Level 2 holster would be safer than someone with a Level 4 who is clueless about what and who is around them.

Whatever level holster you use, practice with it. You want to think "Draw" and "just do it" instead of think "Draw" and then have to remember... undo this snap, pull here, push this way and then pull up to clear the holster...

I'm not a LEO... but I had to get PC 832 Arrest & Firearms for different aspect of my current job.

04-26-2009, 9:17 PM
For security work, I'd suggest finding a holster that fits your gun properly, has a jacket-slot for keeping the gun clear of your jacket on cold nights and has a level I/II retention system.

In the 70's, even with all the so-called radical groups around, it was very rare for a security guard to lose a weapon. And that was with simple holsters that were less fitted and had only a thumbreak strap over the hammer. (See below).

Level III holsters are good if you have daily interactions with hostile, angry people or work in close proximity to crowds or groups. But I dislike them due to their slowness in deploying the weapon.

I'd save the money on the Level III and go for a level II or the old school thumb break for the speed. If having the gun positioned away from the body bothers you, look for a high-ride that you can protect with your upper arm.

04-26-2009, 9:23 PM
I have carried several holsters in various retention levels on duty as a LEO. In fact, I tested several for my old dept before they settled on one that I did not recomend... That's another story all-together of political BS...

For my peace of mind my favorite holster was the clasic safariland 070 holster in leather. They offer it to fit almost any type of pistol and it keeps your gun planted untill YOU want it out.You HAVE to practice with it or it will get you killed. Its really that simple. That being said, its the safest holster out there IMO. I can also tell you that I beat 24 other top shooters at a very high speed LE only training course while wearing my DUTY 070 holster. I ran against guys with single retention thigh holsters and I still beat them on the shot timer.

I carried the 070 because I knew that I faced the real threat of ground fighting people/ multiple people at one time. I also carried a H&K USP45f and there was no other type 3 retention holster available at that time that would fit it. While no holster will keep your gun in your holster all the time, it was comfort of mind.

The polular holster these days is the safariland ALS type holster with the rotating hood on top. I have carried one of these with the simple rotating hood design (they bill as type 2 retention...) and I can tell you that the hood can and will rotate forward during normal "cop" type activities. If you go with this style please look into the safariland Raptor 6070 type holster. This one offers a retention system that is level 3 in nature that is supurb. There is a finger activated switch, rotating hood and you have to rock it forward for removal. I carried a berretta 96 in this holster for several years in total confidence.

Single retention holsters are "easier". Personally, I think they only belong in the hunting field. If you doubt this just imagine someone going for your gun. You are in a life or death struggle for your gun and the only snap holding it in was just popped by the suspects thumb... Can you hear your butt start to pucker yet? Multiple levels of retention are no sure fire way to win, but they sure don't hurt at that point!

What ever you decide on, please at least think of a few of these ideas:
1) Invest in what you decide on. Money is really no object in this discussion since we are talking about something that will hold a deadly object YOU are responsible for and might have YOUR life taken with if something goes wrong.
2)Practice, practice, practice (with an empty gun). When you think you are good, practice some more. If you go to a different gun, buy the same type of holster for muscle memory factors. If you change holsters start again at the beginning again.
3) Know you own personal limits and operate on that level.

Good luck.

04-26-2009, 10:52 PM
thanks for that, i also am looking and that really helped.

04-27-2009, 3:51 AM
I currently use a level 3 holster, with a little practice it is just as fast for me to draw from as my off duty holster (inside the waist band, open top)

Like the others have said, situational awareness and the gray matter between your ears are your best defense! With a little practice the level 3's can be quite fast to deploy from yet offer a little help if the situation turns sideways on ya.

04-27-2009, 10:47 AM
I use a level II. Its a safariland. Being a lefty I wish I could use a drop down for my holster. It ties me up getting out of the vehicle sometimes. Any other southpaws have this issue?

04-27-2009, 10:55 AM
I agree with Gunrun45. I use a Safariland 070 and can draw my weapon as fast as most can from a level one or two. It is all about practice. That being said on duty I spend far more time in crowd control situations or in physical confrontations than I do quick drawing my weapon.

04-27-2009, 10:57 AM
I use a level II. Its a safariland. Being a lefty I wish I could use a drop down for my holster. It ties me up getting out of the vehicle sometimes. Any other southpaws have this issue?

I'm a southpaw, but I carry on the right side. Sorry can't help you.

New Shooter II
04-27-2009, 7:32 PM
Thanks for the information. I have been looking at the Blade Tech with thumb break and the Safariland level IIIs.

04-27-2009, 9:43 PM
Just get a single retention.

04-29-2009, 6:32 AM
Another vote for the Safariland 070 from me. If you are contacting potentially bad guys every day it's a great holster.

When I worked security in the 1970's a simple thumb break was the deal, that carried over to my first couple of years as a LEO until I got my first Hoyt breakfront. Never carried anything else but Hoyt with revolvers after that. When we went to semi's I went back to a thumb break, until I landed on the 070.

05-02-2009, 1:43 AM
I was issued a Bianchi Accumold for my M9 for garrison duty, and I'm pretty sure it's a level 3 retention, but it's a constant wrestling match to get my pistol out of it.

I bought a Blackhawk Level 2 SERPA holster to replace it, since that's what I use in the field environment (thigh rig) most of the time anyway.

It's a much easier draw, and there is a rentention screw that you can tighten down on it to fit what feels comfortable to you and your peace of mind.

But as I read earlier in this topic, the holster retention isn't as important as situational awareness... I like SERPA holsters though because they allow you to quickly stow your pistol securely should you need to transition to another weapon/tool.