Gun Gear

Retention Holsters

Philem Withlead
Published Aug 14, 2021
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Our Top Picks for Retention Holsters

Reviews Of Top Retention Holsters From Our Research

BLACKHAWK SERPA Level 2 Retention Tactical Holster

BLACKHAWK Serpa Level 2 Tactical Black Holster, Size 00, Left Hand, (Glock 17/19/20/21/22/31/32 S&W M&P 9/40/45 )
  • Swivel buckles on belt loops
  • Fits Glock 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 31, 32 and SandW MandP 9/40/45
  • Flexible thigh platform conforms to leg size and Y-harness suspension system distributes weight evenly, keeps holster vertical when kneeling, and allows use of pants pocket
  • Quick-disconnect swivel buckles allow superior flexibility and quick holster mounting and dismounting and offers accessory mounting locations for pouches, knives, mag cases, etc.
  • Rubberized leg straps eliminate sliding

Delivering both lightning quick deployment and two levels of retention, the circle level 2 auto-lock tactical holster has a battle-proven retention system optimized for a natural draw in high-stress situations. First with a detent screw that provides adjustable tension on the trigger guard, second with the Serpa auto-lock that responds intuitively when the trigger finger is indexed along with your firearm slide and the locking mechanism is depressed during the draw cycle.

Upon drawing, your finger finds itself in a safe position parallel with the slide. You can slip your firearm back in the holster and it is automatically engaged at level two.

It has a full-length design to protect your rear sights and multiple mounting options available. It is made in the USA, serving with honor and distinction worldwide.


  • To retention levels
  • Rubber leg straps
  • Fits a wide range of Glock pistols
  • Flexible thigh holster
  • Made of polymer
  • Buckles and loops for straps


  • Reholstering could be an issue

Alien Gear Shapeshift Core Carry Pack

Alien Gear holsters ShapeShift Core Carry Pack S&W M&P380 Shield EZ (Left Handed)
  • Custom-molded shell for perfect fit, security and functionality when training or carrying! Custom fit for: S&W M&P380 Shield EZ
  • Fully Adjustable with No Tools Required - Switch between holsters, ride heights, and cant's, as well as retention, all without the need of any tools. Also keeps the same retention across all of the carry styles for consistency!
  • Conceal in Comfort: The Core Carry Kit comes with the 4 most common holster types allowing you to choose the option that works best and is the most comfortable for you!
  • 4 Holsters in 1: Change how you carry with ShapeShift technology allows you to integrate with any of our ShapeShift gear. This kit gives you the primary 4 carrying options (IWB, Appendix, Paddle, and Belt Slide) as well as a wall mount included!
  • Made right here in the USA, insuring the use of high quality materials and hardworking American craftsmanship where we stand behind our Iron Clad program to insure you have a holster for life after a 30 day test drive!

Your Glock 19, 30, or 32 will stay comfortable and safe with the alien gear shapeshift OWB paddle holster. With a slight twist of your wrist, the paddle holster is nearly effortless to attach while still providing the security you need.

Two levels of retention mean only you are in control of how your firearm is released. The passive adjustable retention unit puts you

in charge of the security with a satisfying click, while the active retention thumb release gives you peace of mind with a push of a button. Simply use the twist locks to adjust the retention or attach the thumb release for an added security measure.

In addition to the paddle, you will also receive an optional belt slide attachment that will keep your holster completely attached to your belt at all times.

The 360-degree rotational camp makes the paddle holster completely customizable and easy to access from any position. The holsters are made in America and include only the best high-quality materials. The premium polymer shell is formed to your exact firearm with no risk of coming loose or trigger miss handles.

This innovative holster is fully compatible with the entire shape-shift system making it easy to transition into any other shape-shift holster and a variety of surfaces using the holster mount. Simply press the button on the mount to release the shell to attach it to another.

The shapeshift OWB paddle holster is backed with a forever warranty and a 30-day test drive.


  • Customized to fit various guns perfectly
  • Neoprene holster
  • Fully adjustable
  • Comfortably conceals firearms
  • Versatile 4 in 1 holster
  • Retention and thumb release for additional security
  • Multiple retention clicks


  • Not an ambidextrous designed holster
  • OWB holster not designed for concealed carry

Gould & Goodrich B804 Shoulder Concealment Holster

Gould & Goodrich B804-G17 Gold Line Shoulder Holster (Black) Fits GLOCK 17, 19, 22, 23, 31, 32, 34, 35, 39
  • Fits GLOCK 17, 19, 22, 23, 31, 32, 34, 35, 39
  • Made in USA
  • Top Grain Vegetable Tanned Genuine Leather from the World's Best Tanners

This holster is specially made for Glock pistols. Glocks are by far one of the most reliable pistols you can find anywhere else. They are known for having excellent firing power, unstoppable reliability, and a quality that is second to none. Civilians, law enforcement, and even military members around the world depend on it for the purpose of self-defense.

It has a horizontal style, is fully user-adjustable, and is good for concealment. It is a double ammunition carrier, has a durable leather construction, and supports various pistol types.

It has a durable and comfortable leather design with holes for strap adjustment and it has snap button retention and also includes a double mag pouch.

However, all the hardware is plastic and it does not come with belt keepers. But it can be used without them.


  • Have straps adjustment to sit comfortably on the shoulders
  • Snap button retention
  • Made from highly durable materials that will not wear off easily
  • Extra compartment pouch for additional accessories and weapons that might come in handy
  • Good warranty from the manufacturers
  • Horizontal styled shoulder holster
  • Good tactical shoulder holster for military and law enforcement officers


  • No belt keeper
  • Only available for Glock firearms
  • Straps can lose their elasticity after some period of time

Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry - Mostcomtac

Belly Band Holster for Concealed Carry, Concealment Edition Waistband Gun Holsters for Men and Women, Fits Glock 19, 17, 42, 43, P238, P365, Taurus, S&W M&P Shield 9MM and Similar Pistol & Revolvers
  • ✔ UNIVERSAL DESIGN FITS ALL PISTOLS: Tactical-grade elastic holster accommodates nearly every small subcompact, compact, mid-size and even full size pistols and revolvers on the market. .380, 9mm, 40 Cal, 45 ACP, 38 special, 357, 10mm, etc.
  • ✔ NEW STRONG AND SMOOTH VELCRO: According to customer reviews of others' belly band holster velcro sticks clothes and scratches skin, or doesn't hold on after several months use. Because of this, We upgrade a new strong velcro with comfortable and smooth touching.
  • ✔ UPGRADTED STURDY SNAP BUTTON AND BUCKLE LEATHER: The buckle of others' belly band holster easily falls off after a period of time, to enhance its durability, We improved them and used top quality genuine leather and sturdy snap button.
  • ✔ COMFORTABLE CARRY, SAFE, QUICK & EASY GUN RELEASE: Our concealed bellyband holster is PERFECT for women and men runners, joggers, and everyday carry. Unlike clips or Velcro, our 2nd generation “Easy Snap” retention system gives you peace of mind knowing your firearm is safe, secure, and ready for quick and quiet release.
  • ✔ RIGHT OR LEFT HAND DRAW: ELVO Waistband Holster is available in right and left hand draw. Compatible with Glock 19, 23, 38, 25, 32, 26, 27, 29, 30, 39, 28, 33, 42, 43, 36, Smith and Wesson, Bodyguard, M&P Shield, Sig Sauer, Ruger, Kahr, Beretta, Springfield, Taurus PT111, Kimber, Rock Island, Bersa, Kel Tec, Walther, and more.

It is an exceptional product for concealed carry. It features one holster and an extra pocket to carry a mag or other relevant item. It can accommodate most full-size to sub-compact pistols and revolvers. The retention is secured by a magnetic metal snap fastener. It is a universal holster, has a quick and quiet draw, and is useful for concealed carry. It is very comfortable in high-quality neoprene.

It is a universal holster that fits most large and small-size handgun frames, and it has a new tech adhesive velcro hook for durability and a quieter release.

However, the holster and mag pouch is on the same side.


  • Fits a wide variety of sizes and gun models.
  • Swift and quiet draw
  • Neoprene holster
  • Ambidextrous orientation
  • Durable Velcro hook
  • Conceals guns discreetly without leaving a print.
  • Made from highly durable materials that will not wear off easily
  • Extra compartment pouch for additional accessories and weapons that might come in handy.
  • Adjustable holster
  • Universal women's holster


  • Magazine pouches and holsters are found on the same side.
  • Not a great technical holster.

Safariland ALS model 6360

Safariland, 6360, ALS/SLS, Level 3 Retention Duty Holster Fits, STX Tactical Black, S&W M&P .45 ACP w/o Safety, with Light
  • 6360-4192-131 Fits: S&W M&P . 45 ACP w/o Safety, with light
  • Level 3 retention, Mid-Ride sits just above the belt, fits 2" belt loop
  • ALS (Automatic Locking System) secures weapon once holstered
  • SLS (Self Locking System) Rotating Hood for protection against attempted takeaways
  • Safari Laminate thermal-molded construction protects handgun and sights

The ALS stands for automatic locking system and the SLS stands for self-locking system. Safari SLS and ALS series of holsters are available in duty tactical or concealed carry holsters and also with or without light capability.

The 6360 holster utilizes the traditional and very familiar Safariland self-locking system or the hood.

Even though the hood is open, the pistol is still fully locked into level one security.

There is a release lever located directly underneath the thumb piece on the hood and when you open the hood you have to squeeze your hand and tighten your grip to release.

When you reholster it the gun automatically goes into a level one, security brings the hood up, and it goes to level three inside the Safariland ALS holster.

The holster has a lock that grabs the gun by the ejection port. As soon as you put the gun into the holster it automatically is locked.

When you rotate the gun over to the side, the release lever is located directly underneath the pivoting hood. With this, when you draw, your thumb lands naturally on the release lever.

After reholstering the gun and it automatically locks in place, bring the hood up and it goes to level three security.

The tension screw on the model 6360 is not located on the side of the holster. This screw holds the tension block in place and the tension block allows you to adjust the friction on the holster.

Turning the screw inwards will increase the friction and turning it outward will decrease the friction.

The ALS series of holsters are also available to accommodate weapons with lights mounted on them. The draw is exactly the same.

When you open the hood, unlock the ALS lock, draw the pistol, and when you reholster the gun automatically goes into level 1.

The tension screw on the light-mounted holster is located on the side of the light-mounted area.


  • Level 3 retention holster
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Great tactical holster
  • ALS and SLS retention
  • Manufacturer warranty


  • Available for only right-hand draw

Buyer's Guide For Retention Holsters

Retention holsters are manufactured for security reasons for both civilians, law enforcement, and members of the military. They ensure that the gun remains safe and holstered until when needed.

In this article we will talk about the top 5 retention holsters in the market today and why they make this list.

Holster Retention Levels

This is the level of active retention methods that hold a firearm in place. Most holsters hold a firearm in place by nothing more than a good snug fit, and you can move, run, jump or stand on your head and the firearm is going to stay in place. Yet this does not make them a good retention holster.

With a level zero holster, the retention method is built inside so you cannot pull the firearm out until you rotate the gun to the side.

If someone is grabbing the firearm or trying to pull it away from you, they will not be able to get the gun out of the holster.

Level one holster is a little more obvious. It has a top strap that is released by a lever and when you push toward your body with your thumb, the lever pops off and then you can pull the firearm out of the holster.

Level 2 or Level 3 Holsters

These are mostly designed for law enforcement since they have the unpleasant task of getting their hands on the bad guys, handcuffing them, and getting them in the back of the car.

They will be carrying their firearms exposed most of the time, so having a level two or a level three holster makes sense.

Each year there are still officers killed with their own firearms. If you are beaten into unconsciousness there is not a lot you can do other than have a quality holster.

Quality retention holsters will ensure that the gun is not easily taken out even if you are unconscious.

Features of a Good Retention Holster

Quality Material and Fast Draw

Duty holsters that have been ruggedly engineered for police and military should feature gross motor response technology incorporating valuable feedback from law enforcement, military, and Special Operations personnel along with countless hours of research and development. They are secure by the side and made from the best materials.

Active Retention

They can be configured as either a level 2 or level 3 retention holster. Active retention comes from an ejection port lock and locking back strap giving you 2 active retention devices in addition to adjustable passive retention.

Smooth and Swift Draw

When fractions of a second count you need to be confident that you will be able to draw your sidearm in a single effortless motion. Most retention holsters outperform other holsters in this by driving the shooting hand thumb down and then back freeing the pistol from attention to creating a secure shooting grip.

At the same time, the optional level of retention allows you to release your handgun with a swipe of your thumb. For more perfect use, they are customizable to fit your hand perfectly for an ergonomic draw.

Accommodate Holster Accessories

The best retention holsters offer high standard and low ride belt slides and can be canted forward or backward. For OWB, belt attachment is secured with your duty belts or by using a quick-release system.

The quick-release attachment can also be secured to a mulling player drop black surface mounts for paddle holster. They can also accommodate a number of popular light attachments. If you remove the light, your firearm will still fit in the same holster constructed from materials that are strong and reliable as the pistol that you carry.

Withstand Rigorous Conditions

They are regarded as tactical holsters for law enforcement. Hence a lot of manufacturers use these holsters beyond real-life applications including extreme heat, cold sand, and torque. The mission is to provide the ultimate duty holster solution to equip those who risk their lives to secure our freedoms.

Final Thoughts

If one retention method is good, two or three must be better, but that is not the case when it comes to civilians and permit holders.

The more things you would have to go through to get a gun out the better could hinder the drawing. Hence a lot of training has to go into retention holsters.