Today’s top retention holsters can help stop gun grabs without slowing the user’s draw. In the upcoming May 2014 issue of GUNS & WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, author Mike Boyle writes, “It has been estimated that the number of officers that are disarmed, assaulted or compromised in some way by being disarmed is about three times as high as the number of officers killed in the line of duty. An inescapable truth is that law enforcement is an intimate, hands-on business, and officers regularly have to get inside personal space to control a subject. In close proximity, the opportunity exists for a subject to attempt a disarm.

“Retention-type duty holsters have become the overwhelming choice for uniformed patrol officers. In the late 1960s, ‘security’ models began to appear on the scene to help officers maintain control of their holstered sidearms in the event of a disarm attempt. Retention holsters incorporate one or more layers of security that must be disengaged before the user can draw the handgun. In 1975, the Rogers Holster Company developed the first security rating system. A Level I holster has a primary retention device that must be able to defeat a ‘grab and snatch’ attempt for five seconds, yet allows the user to draw after the attack ceases. A Level II holster has a second barrier that retains the handgun if the primary retention device is disabled. Three barriers must be overcome to draw from a Level III holster.

“Some folks have opined that retention holsters slow down an officer’s response so dramatically that it is extremely difficult to respond to a spontaneous threat… I have used retention holsters for over 30 years and take a somewhat different view. Draw times may be a tad slower with a simple thumb-break design, but with practice, one can still execute a pretty snappy, fumble-free draw.”


To learn more, check out the May 2014 issue of GUNS & WEAPONS FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT, available on newsstands and digitally March 4, 2014. To subscribe, go to

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