5.11 Tactical has gone way beyond its standard-setting clothing line to produce other law-enforcement-related equipment, including security holsters. The new polymer Level II ThumbDrive holster was designed in partnership with Blade-Tech. The ThumbDrive features a single thumb retention and release system. A “Chop-Block” switch guard provides protection from frontal gun grab attempts. The ThumbDrive also features a customizable installation system, and optional thigh rig and drop/offset kits are also available.
A storied holster-maker that now resides in its own line under The Safariland Group, Bianchi is still a player in the duty holster field. Available in synthetic AccuMold with nylon, the Model 7120 Defender utilizes a metal-reinforced thumb break and the Bianchi “Pinch” triggerguard retention device. This is a “mid-ride” holster, which means the wearer’s elbow and forearm will fall naturally across the grip, discouraging gun grab attempts. For a leather appearance, the Model 7920 Defender II is also available.
BlackHawk recently added the EPOCH series of security holsters to its lineup to meet the needs of those who prefer pistol-mounted lights other than BlackHawk’s proprietary Xiphos by substituting a thumb-activated, automatic ejection port lock for the index-finger-activated Auto-Lock. The ejection port lock is backed up by the spring-loaded BlackHawk Pivot Guard lock, giving so its profile is similar to the original SERPA. The EPOCH will accommodate most popular pistol lights.
The BlackHawk SERPA Level III holster utilizes a trigger-finger Auto-Lock as its primary retention device and adds a thumb-activated “Pivot Guard” for additional security. When drawing, the thumb lever is activated, releasing the Pivot Guard. The trigger finger then deactivates the Auto-Lock, allowing the handgun to be drawn straight up. The SERPA Level III is also available for handguns with the Xiphos NTX light mounted.
The DeSantis Stryker is one of the most versatile carry rigs available. The draw angle can be adjusted, and the factory can adjust the security level from Levels II to III. The Stryker can also be equipped with a bungee strap for tactical operations. With the correct mounts, the Stryker can be worn in a standard duty or high-ride positions, on the thigh or MOLLE mounted. The thumb lever is adjustable to fit all finger sizes.
If the Stryker is one of the most versatile law enforcement holsters, then DeSantis’ Level II Pro-Enterprise is the most versatile. The Pro-Enterprise holster has most of the same adjustability features of the Stryker, but amazingly, almost any rail-equipped pistol and its weapon-mounted light will fit interchangeably in the same holster! In other words, the Pro-Enterprise holster doesn’t need to be replaced when the guns or lights are changed. The holster will also secure handguns without weapon-mounted lights attached. This polymer holster promises an incredible cost savings to today’s cash-strapped law enforcement agencies.
Galco’s M6X auto-locking belt holster offers both security and a fast draw. The M6X features a patented locking device that retains the pistol until the thumb-release lever is depressed. Constructed from injection-molded thermoplastic like Galco’s other Matrix holsters, the M6X promises years of dependable service. With its adjustable belt slot attachment method, the M6X fits belts from 1.25 to 2 inches wide. The neutral cant allows a straight-up draw, which increases protection from frontal gun-grab attempts.
Real leather is still a viable option in security duty rigs. The B720A Astro is an excellent example of a modern leather security rig. Featuring true Level II retention, an automatic triggerguard lock secures the gun when holstered and defends against gun-grab attempts. The standard-position thumb break provides another layer of security. After releasing the thumb break, rock the gun forward and draw the gun straight up.
While Gould & Goodrich made its name working with leather, the company hasn’t ignored the use of synthetics in newer holster designs. The K391 Level III holster is a prime example. It features an internal automatic lock, a release that unlatches only the hood but keeps the internal automatic lock active, and a thumb slide that releases both the internal lock and hood in one stroke.
Hogue made its name as one of the preeminent makers of wood and rubber aftermarket grips for duty guns. Hogue still makes aftermarket grips, but it has also branched out into the duty holster field. The ARS Stage 2 features Hogue’s Auto Retention System, which locks the gun into place during reholstering, as well as a rotating hood that clears in one motion as part of the drawstroke. The ARS can also be mounted on an available thigh rig.
The Model 070 has been produced virtually unchanged for nearly 30 years, and it still works as well as when it was first conceived. Utilizing dual retention straps and a decoy snap, the Model 070 SSIII also has an auto-locking feature that requires a slight rearward draw once the snaps are released. Despite needing three distinct actions before the gun can clear the holster, the Model 070 is surprisingly quick and extremely secure. Check out the 070 at safariland.com/070draw.
Capable of Level IV retention with the optional Sentry Device installed, the Model 6380 security holster uses Safariland’s Self-Locking System (SLS) technology combined with the newer Automatic Locking System (ALS) technology to provide superior retention under high-stress situations. Safariland’s combined system helps to ensure that the handgun will be secured automatically during reholstering, which can be an officer’s most vulnerable time. No twisting or canting of the pistol is needed to complete the draw.
Recent and unfortunate events have shown how police contacts can suddenly change from a normal conversational contact to a life-and-death struggle. These events have also served as a reminder of how important wearing a quality security holster can be.
- RELATED STORY: 9 Top Retention Holsters For Law Enforcement
While any security holster can be defeated by an assailant given enough time, a proper security holster will, at a minimum, allow the officer to realize that an attempt is being made to take their handgun, and allow them time to enact the appropriate countermeasures. Having retained control of my duty handgun during two such situations while I worked as a full-time law enforcement officer reinforced the value of using security holsters.
Security holsters are categorized by different levels of retention: I, II, III and IV. Originally, the retention number meant the number of motions that needed to be taken before the handgun could clear the holster. This number could include various combinations of releasing a number of catches and/or moving or twisting the gun in a particular direction as part of the draw. This is not always the case today, however, so as you look at potential security holsters for duty wear, make sure you understand the definitive terminology used by individual manufacturers. Unlike body armor, there is no standardization of security levels. Here are some of the best security duty holsters available for 2015.
- RELATED STORY: Holsters That Limit Gun Grabs Without Limiting Draw
For more information on the holsters listed in the gallery above, please visit the following websites:
- 5.11 Tactical ThumbDrive: 511tactical.com or call 866-451-1726
- Bianchi Model 7120 Defender: safariland.com or call 800-347-1200
- BlackHawk EPOCH Level III: blackhawk.com or call 800-379-1732
- BlackHawk SERPA Level III Auto Lock: blackhawk.com or call 800-379-1732
- DeSantis Stryker: desantisholster.com or call 800-424-1236
- DeSantis Pro-Enterprise: desantisholster.com or call 800-424-1236
- Galco M6X: galcogunleather.com or call 800-874-2526
- Gould & Goodrich B720A Astro: gouldusa.com or call 800-277-0732
- Gould & Goodrich K391: gouldusa.com or call 800-277-0732
- Hogue ARS Stage 2: hogueinc.com or call 800-438-4747
- Safariland Model 070 SSIII: safariland.com or call 800-347-1200
- Safariland Model 6360 ALS/SLS: safariland.com or call 800-347-1200
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