As a police officer, wading through crowds can be one of the most stressful things you do.

The crowd is full of unknowns, so it is important to stay vigilant and protect your weapon at all costs. Retention-style holsters have become the gold standard in law enforcement.

In the late 1960s, a design revolution began to take place. After several officers had their weapons taken during a surprise rear attack, companies began to look at ways to add retention devices. From straps to “break” mechanisms, the developments spurred new designs.

One man behind this development was retired FBI Agent Bill Rogers. The owner of Rogers Holster Company, he established testing and guidelines for retention levels. These are essentially the same levels we see in today’s holsters. Even with the levels clearly defined, there are some companies that go above and beyond when it comes to holsters for our defenders in blue. Hogue is one such company.

Hogue’s New Hero

Hogue has long been known as for making top-notch gun grips. The company has been around for almost 50 years, and its name is synonymous with quality. Along with its premium line of grips, Hogue also has a holster line among other offerings. The holster that recently caught my eye was the Hogue ARS Stage 2 duty holster, which has been designed for all divisions of law enforcement, from patrol to SWAT.

The Hogue ARS Stage 2 is a Level II retention holster that includes the company’s patented Automatic Retention System (ARS). When the handgun is holstered, it locks into place, providing an extra level of security over standard open-top, friction-style holsters. A simple straight draw is possible when disengaging the ARS with your thumb while obtaining a natural shooting grip. The holster also has an automatic-release rotating hood for greater protection against gun grabs.

The holster operates by depressing a lever directly on the body side of the holster. Driving this lever down not only springs the hood forward, but it also releases the handgun from its internal locking mechanism. While the hood can be flipped up and down without using the lever, the handgun cannot be drawn unless the button is firmly depressed. The holster is well made, and the release mechanism is smooth and clean in operation.

The belt attachment points include adjustable pins to allow officers to perfectly fit the holster to their duty belt. This feature is crucial, as it helps the holster fit the belt correctly. Without a good fit, the holster will have a tendency to move on the draw. Movement can cost seconds, and that time could be lethal.

The ARS Stage 2 is also an offset design, which provides a more comfortable fit. Along those same lines, the belt mount has the ability to be adjusted to three optional positions. It can be oriented with a slight forward cant, strait up or with a slight rearward cant. Only a few companies would take the time to ensure such a good fit.

Range Testing

Drawing from the holster was smooth and clean. With the holster mounted firmly on my belt, there was very little play and it released the gun on command. With practice, drawing from this holster became very fast. Great care has been paid to even small details like the holster’s edges. Sharp edges on any piece of duty gear have a tendency to bite into officers who then retire said gear to a closet or locker. This holster was comfortable and proved to be a good balance of fit and function during testing.

Demonstrating its awareness of the law enforcement community, Hogue offers the ARS Stage 2 with either a smooth or basket-weave finish. At this time, Hogue makes the holster for Glock, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer and CZ pistols. It’s a serious piece of gear for serious work. If you are looking for a new holster for your duty weapon, you would be well served by checking out Hogue.

For more information on the ARS Stage 2, visit or call 800-438-4747.

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