February 2016

Best Holsters for Handgun Retention, Part 2

This month, we look at seven more units to consider for OC: The Bianchi Evader, DeSantis Quick Safe and Prowler, Safariland’s 578 ProFits and 6378 ALS, and Blade Tech’s WRS Level 3.

Best Holsters for Handgun Retention, Part 2

Our second group of high-retention holsters included, from left to right, the Safariland 6378-53-411 ALS, BladeTech WRS Level 3, and Safariland 578-83-411 ProFit Standard GLS. Our top pick was the $56 Safariland ALS holster. The thumb drive was almost completely out of view and tucked in giving the wearer the best possible access. Center, BladeTech’s $124 WRS Level 3 holster relied upon a retractable cross strap or “bale” to keep the gun in place. Left, the $56 Safariland ProFit GLS provides a very fast draw, but in our tests the gun was released almost automatically, no matter how we gripped the gun.

In the first part of this feature last month, we noted that handgun retention for those who practice open carry is a prime consideration. Civilians, in particular, who plan to openly carry their firearms — such as our Texas readers were able to do for the first time on January 1, 2016 — must now be concerned with the safety considerations of out-in-the-open carry. We recognize that some legal gun owners will want to open carry, so the gun owner must maintain control of a carry firearm while still having fast access to it. 

To see how manufacturers provide this extra security, we assembled a collection of 12 currently available holsters that supply more retention than most concealed models. In the first installment, we covered the Blackhawk GripBreak, DeSantis Facilitator, Galco M4X and M6X, and the Hogue ARS C.

Our test holsters this month are the $32 Evader from Bianchi, the DeSantis Quick Safe and Prowler ($40 and $68, respectively), Safariland’s $50 578 ProFit in Long and Standard sizes and Safariland’s $50 6378 ALS, and Blade Tech’s $124 WRS Level 3. By mounting each holster on a Blackhawk Instructor Gun Belt ($37 from OpticsPlanet.com), we made sure any failure from our vigorous attempts to snatch a gun would be traced back to the holster and not to the belt. 

We challenged retention using two types of grips, “educated” and “freestyle.” The educated grip describes how an instructor might handle the gun, with the trigger finger held straight alongside the frame with three fingers wrapped below the trigger guard, thumb hugging the opposite side of the pistol. The freestyle grip started with all four fingers beneath the trigger guard and thumb wrapped around the other side. We also tried grabbing the gun with the left hand from a right-hand-side-mounted holster.

In the interest of security, we’re not going to tell you everything we learned about drawing from these high-retention holsters — just whether or not they might help protect you from a gun grab.

To continue reading this article you must be a paid subscriber.

Subscribe to Gun Tests

Get the next year of Gun Tests for just $24. Don’t wait another minute to get the knowledge you need to make the best possible firearms investment. Our offer is guaranteed. You can cancel at any time and we'll send a full refund for any unmailed copies. No strings, no hassle.

Or get 12 months of Gun Tests Digital. You get unlimited access to everything on the site including all current and past monthly issues in PDF format.

Subscriber Log In

Forgot your password? Click Here.

Already subscribe but haven't registered for all the benefits of the website? Click here.