The Blackhawk is a polymer holster available in a left and right-hand version for many of the more common duty pistols carried by law enforcement. The retention comes from a standard adjustable passive retention, the company's trademark Sherpa auto-lock system, and a thumb lever.
Contrasted with the Blackhawk retention two holsters, the difference is the thumb lever. The thumb design is well thought out because it is well placed to allow for a quick release that conforms to a natural drawing style.
Unlike many thumb straps, the lever release does not add much time to a quick draw and certainly does not impede fast access compared to a retention two holster. I am sure that a new user may need to practice a bit to master draw speed but not more than you would with just about any new holster with additional safety features.
The pistol-to-holster fit is great, it is snug to wear, and it's also easy to set up on your duty belt. Compared to most other choices on the market, you will not get a better Kydex holster at a better price.
Three retention features
Quickdraw with practice
Light and comfortable
Not all holster sizes are available in left-hand draw.
Model 6390RDS ALS Mid-Ride Level I Retention Duty Holster
The Safariland holster is designed specifically for Glocks 17, 22, and 19 with optics. The X300 and TLR1, as well as the Trijicon RMR style optics, will work well with this holster. It may work with other optics of the same size and dimensions as the Trijicon, but you could be taking a risk.
The inside of the holster is lined with suede to protect a gun from scratching and it's designed to sit closer to your body. The retention one mechanism is the Automatic Locking System that does not require the flicking of a lever or button. A simple squeeze on the pistol will release the ALS. How this feature works may be a bit tough to understand. Click on this info link for a short video demonstration.
In general, the holster is versatile and can be worn in various positions around the hip and leg. An extra product sold separately is a simple thumb flip safety that easily attaches to the holster for occasions when you may want retention two safety for patrol or other specific situations.
Suede holster lining
Designed for optics
Sit closer to the body
Belt loop fits belts up to 2.25-inches
Best suited to the Glock 17 with a barrel of 4.5-inches
Safariland 6280 Level II or III Retention SLS Duty Holster
The 6280 is another Safariland holster that is made to be easily converted from a retention two to retention three holsters.
As standard, the holster has adjustable passive retention combined with the Automatic Locking System( ALS) which prevents your pistol from being drawn from side angles, as a potential assailant might do.
The second safety feature is a thumb "hood" flap which is disengaged by pushing it down and then forward. Click on this link for a short video demonstration. Retention three is achieved if you mount the optional sentry device to the holster.
The holster under review is for the Springfield Operator but the 6280 range is made for almost all common duty pistols and is also available in the under-rail light design.
The holster is comfortable on the hip in terms of wear and usability, and mastering the safety features is pretty quick and easy. It also has a suede lining on the inside to protect your firearm.
Available in leather and polymer
Option of retention two or three
Belt loop works with almost all duty style belts
Retention can be extremely tight for some pistol designs
Gould & Goodrich B802-G17 Gold Line Two Slot Pancake Holster
The Gould & Goodrich is a well-made leather holster designed for the Glock 17, 22, and 31. The mold of the leather is also excellent for the Glock. In terms of safety, the holster has a thumb strap that connects to the inside of the sweat guard.
As expected with a good leather holster, the retention is very tight to begin with, but with some everyday use, the holster will ride on your side as though it isn't there. If there is one small issue with this holster, the belt holes will only fit a 1.75-inch belt which would rule out many belt designs that are commonly used for duty.
All in all, Gould & Goodrich make a good product. The price is reasonable and the holster has a smooth draw and good retention. If leather is your thing and you are happy with retention one safety, this is well worth the money.
Good quality leather
Thumb strap safety
Excellent leather molding
Belt holes may be too small for some duty-style belts.
The Orpaz is a polymer holster with a large number of design options. As a standard, the holster is made for optics and has fully adjustable retention and cant. The holster is available in a standard hip, drop leg, or paddle-style in terms of your options. A retention one and two models are also offered.
The Orpaz pretty much covers any personal requirements that an open carrier could have. In addition, the holster can be mounted to all of the offered styles, making it easy to buy the other accessories and carry in any style of your choosing.
The difference between the retention one and two holsters is a thumb release button placed right where your thumb would sit if you had your hand ready to draw. Given that the price difference between the two holsters is tiny, your choice should be purely about the safety features that you like. As a product, it is hard to beat the Orpaz when it comes to options and accessories.
Adjustable cant and retention
Retention one and two options
Many carry style options with accessories
Fit a belt up to 2.25" in height
The thumb safety button may need to be pressed too far on the retention two model, but this is a matter of opinion.
Buyer's Guide For Mid Ride Holsters
Most OWB holsters and certainly those specifically marketed as mid-rise will be geared towards duty carry. As such, they will also have higher retention levels for safety. All law enforcement entities will have a minimum requirement for acceptable duty carry holsters.
As a civilian, if you live in a state where open carry is legal and you accept the pros and cons of open carry, it is still advisable to ensure that you use a holster with additional safety measures.
For these reasons, our review of mid-rise holsters is mainly geared towards duty carry and higher retention levels. Our selection covers a range of Kydex and leather options, as well as retention levels one to three.
If you have not had the time to trawl the shops and the internet for your perfect fit, you can call off the search. Our best picks will transform you into a savvy customer and I am sure you will find what suits your needs and avoid buying a holster that disappoints you.
The general standard for law enforcement when open carrying is a holster with retention three safety. This may vary to some extent but you obviously have more leeway as a civilian when it comes to open carry holsters unless your state does not allow open carry.
If you would like to check the laws of your state or any other state in the USA, then take a look at our gun law page for more information.
We don't want to assume that all readers are clued up on the differences between the various ride heights and retention standards, so scroll down to the frequently asked questions section below if you want a brief explanation.
A Good Duty Belt
Depending on the reasons why you are looking for a good belt, your requirements may differ. Some law enforcement agencies have very rigid requirements for belts, which leaves you with few options. As a civilian, your options are broader but some considerations will remain the same.
Firstly, for open carry, your pistol will likely be a full-size service gun, and to prevent the weapon and holster from being able to bounce around too much, you will need a thicker and studier belt.
It is not likely that you would have these qualities in a belt of 1.5" or less. If you look at the holsters on our list, almost all will have a belt loop for belts of 2" or even a bit more.
In addition, you will probably have a large number of other items to pack onto your belt, such as a spare magazine, a torch, and many other things. Your belt will need to support the weight of all of these necessities and still hold up to every day carry over time.
Lastly, all of this weight will also put pressure on your buckle or fastening mechanism. Having a really robust buckle or fastening clips is essential.
Frequently Asked Questions For Mid Rise Holsters
What is Holster Ride Height?
The ride height of a holster is generally determined by where the pistol sits to your belt. The trigger guard of your pistols is a useful guideline. With a low ride holster or deep concealment, the top of your trigger guard area, where it meets the grip, will be in line with the top of your belt.
With a mid holster, your weapon will sit with the top of your belt in line with your trigger guard's middle. With the high ride, the bottom one-third of your trigger guard will sit parallel with the top of your belt. See the below picture for a visual representation.
Neither ride height is necessarily better. It often boils down to individual preference. As a general rule, though, if you find it hard to draw your weapon, then your ride height is probably too low for you. If the grip of your pistol digs into your side a lot, even when you are just walking, then the ride height is likely too high for you.
What is a Level 1 Duty Holster?
Passive retention is considered zero in terms of safety, particularly from assailants who might want to take your weapon from you. All the levels above zero will add one extra safety feature.
This could be a thumb strap or thumb release or a trigger lock of some kind. Retention four is the current maximum and this means that the holster has four safety features above basic passive retention.
That's it for our round-up review of mid-rise holsters. We hope that you found what you need and if you are in law enforcement or security, be safe and continue to do what you do.