Connect with us


Honest Review: Safariland Holster System



Anyone who has carried a firearm for any length of time has no doubt played musical holsters until the “junk” drawer was full and their wallets empty. Holsters are a personal choice that really fall more into the category of clothing than just simple equipment. The same way my body type can’t comfortably fit skinny jeans, the same goes for an inside the waistband holster. That’s why one of my personal favorite holster companies has to be Safariland. Not only do they understand how to make a great holster, they understand no two people are exactly the same.

The secret comes down to a three-hole pattern. This is the basis of every mounting system Safariland offers. A perfect example of this is the 6378RDS Concealment holster. Safariland took their full-blown duty holster that’s big enough for a police officer to carry a full-sized pistol with a red dot and a pistol light mounted. That top of the line duty holster uses the same three-hole pattern as their simplest CCW holster.

Safariland listened to civilian customers, removing all of the duty belt mounting hardware and installing a CCW paddle—meaning you can use it with the same belts you use to carry other pistols. Talk about versatility! Using those mounting points you can attach paddles, belt loops, quick detach, patrol belt mounts, drop leg, and more.

Safariland itself specializes in polymer holsters that are lightweight and for the most part comfortable. When compared to a pure leather holster, the Kydex and nylon hold their shape much better. The plastic does not care if you get it wet or accidentally spill a gun cleaner on it.

Traditional holsters are molded to an individual model of firearm and use a tight friction fit to hold it in place. Instead, Safariland uses several different locking mechanisms which mechanically lock onto the pistol, either in the slide port, or a lever that holds onto the trigger guard. This means that the pistol has room to breathe in the holster and things like mud, dirt, or water just fall through the holster.

On top of that, once you learn how to lock and unlock, it’s one of the easiest and smoothest to draw from and re-holster. Even on my CCW “Automatically Locking System” (ALS) holster, I hear an audible click when the pistol is safely locked in place. I don’t have to look down at the pistol to make sure it’s secured; the lock’s click and feel lets me know. To keep wear and tear on your pistol’s finish down, the polymer that Safariland holsters use can either be non-abrasive, or be added to a suede lining.

Since one solution does not fit everyone, Safariland offers several different retention security mechanisms. Each of their holsters usies one or even more combined with each other to raise the retention security. The three main security mechanisms Safariland uses are SLS, ALS and GLS.

SLS (Self Locking System):

The best way to describe the SLS hood is to call it a modified thumb strap. When locked, the strap wraps around the back end of the slide or hammer of the pistol. If someone tries to take your pistol up and out of the holster, the strap prevents that. Unlike a thumb snap, the SLS hood does not unsnap, but rotates instead.

In order to unlock the SLS hood, you use your natural draw as your hand goes down onto the pistol. Your thumb will naturally hit a shelf next to your body (hidden from others). You use your thumb to push the SLS shelf down, which will allow you to rotate the hood forward as you draw the pistol from the holster. The one drawback on this system is that once you re-holster, you must remember to rotate the hood back into the locked position. This is the reason Safariland recommends stepping up a retention level and combining the SLS with the ALS system.

ALS (Automatic Locking System):

Safariland offers holsters with just the ALS or in combination with the SLS hood to meet your security needs. The ALS is a true passive locking system, unlike the SLS. As soon as you insert the pistol back into the holster all the way, the ALS automatically locks the pistol in place. Even if the user forgets to relock the SLS hood, the pistol is still retained.

To unlock the ALS, think of it as a thumb lever release. As the shooter naturally moves their hand down to grip the pistol, the thumb makes contact with the ALS lever that is hidden on the holster near the shooter’s body. As the shooter starts to grip the pistol, they will use the thumb to push the lever backwards slightly to unlock the pistol for a good clean quick draw. To unlock a combo ALS/SLS holster you first unlock the hood, and your thumb is still in place to hit the ALS lever. With some practice you can unlock the combo with one swift movement of the thumb while unholstering.

GLS (Grip Locking System):

You can think of the GLS the same as the ALS system. You do not have to think about locking the pistol in place. The pistol will automatically lock in place with the GLS. The difference is that when you unlock the pistol, instead of using your thumb, you use your middle finger. (This pleases me enormously.)

The shooter will naturally go to grip the pistol, with the trigger finger extended as the user goes to grip the pistol’s grip. The Social Finger will hit the GLD unlocking lever. As you squeeze the pistol’s grip, the holster unlocks as you draw the weapon basically in one smooth move. The GLS lever is spring activated so even if it is bumped it will instantly go back to locked.

Of course, some people just don’t like polymer and that’s okay. Bianchi is part of the Safariland Group. Whereas Safariland specializes in polymer holsters, Bianchi works with leather. Together, they make “your chocolate got in my peanut butter” magic. The Bianchi Assent Pro-fit Holster combines the old-world rich leather feel with a modern polymer inner shell and the ALS security mechanism.

If you are the type of shooter who does not want any of the security devices, Safariland also makes traditional open top and even thumb snap versions of holsters. That said, I would personally try to talk you into the GLS or ALS holsters. A locking holster is not just for a police officer who risks having his pistol wrestled away from him. You don’t want to be the guy whose pistol falls out of the holster in Walmart. (Yes, this is a thing that happens, and way too often!)

Safariland’s security mechanisms all follow the natural draw and movement of unholstering a pistol. They quickly become intuitive and it is easy to move from one holster to the other once you learn the systems. The movement just becomes second nature.

Safariland holsters are used by more military and police officers than any other brand available. They know how to make a tough, safe, and secure holster that does not get in the way of the user.  Check ’em out at!

James the “XDMAN” Nicholas Mr. UnPewFessional Himself


Copyright © 2021 Brand Avalanche Media, LLC. Popular EDC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Brand Avalanche Media, LLC. This copyrighted material may not be republished without express permission. The information presented here is for general educational purposes only. MATERIAL CONNECTION DISCLOSURE: You should assume that this website has an affiliate relationship and/or another material connection to the persons or businesses mentioned in or linked to from this page and may receive commissions from purchases you make on subsequent web sites. You should not rely solely on information contained in this email to evaluate the product or service being endorsed. Always exercise due diligence before purchasing any product or service. This website contains advertisements.