View Poll Results: What retention level is your OC holster?

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  • Level 1

    9 20.93%
  • Level 2

    24 55.81%
  • Level 3

    3 6.98%
  • Level 4

    1 2.33%
  • Other

    6 13.95%
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Thread: What retention level is your OC holster?

  1. #1
    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Question What retention level is your OC holster?

    What retention level is your OC holster? Level 1, 2, 3, etc.? What influenced your decision?

  2. #2
    Campaign Veteran ATM's Avatar
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    Zero would have been a good choice rather than lumping us into "other".

    Most do not consider friction to be a retention level, though it is all that's required to keep the handgun from falling out of the holster when I do cartwheels.

  3. #3
    Regular Member JustaShooter's Avatar
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    I'm not even sure how to determine retention levels for my holsters - I have a Crossbreed with only friction retention, and a Fobus that likewise just has "friction" but the Fobus requires almost perfectly straight pull with a "snappy" draw to overcome the retention. Is my Crossbreed a Level 1 or Level 0 / Other? How about the Fobus?

    I've also heard that some holster makers advertise retention levels that don't agree with (i.e are inflated) because they count retention differently than others. Is there a standard way of ranking retention, or not?
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    My OC holster is a Serpa level 3. I carried concealed for 10 years before Oklahoma passed OC beginning November 2012. Being new to OC, I didn't know what to expect so I felt more comfortable with the extra security. Level 3 is what I am used to now for OC, but that is my personal preference.

  5. #5
    Regular Member mobiushky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustaShooter View Post
    I'm not even sure how to determine retention levels for my holsters - I have a Crossbreed with only friction retention, and a Fobus that likewise just has "friction" but the Fobus requires almost perfectly straight pull with a "snappy" draw to overcome the retention. Is my Crossbreed a Level 1 or Level 0 / Other? How about the Fobus?

    I've also heard that some holster makers advertise retention levels that don't agree with (i.e are inflated) because they count retention differently than others. Is there a standard way of ranking retention, or not?
    Short answer, no. There is no standard way of ranking and no defined meaning for levels. So I say my holster is a level 23. With some training and some extra protein it's been working to achieve level 24. I'm rooting for it! LOL.

  6. #6
    Regular Member Kopis's Avatar
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    I think the OP should have defined each level of retention in the poll. I use a friction comptac holster usually but on the bike i carry a blackhawk with push button.

  7. #7
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    Le'see. A zero level holster isn't, it promptly drops the gun. All holsters use friction to function at all, friction as an engineer or physicist understands it. All functioning holsters are Level 1. Other features may be snap-straps, trigger-guard latches, adjustable friction, mechanical lids, et cetera. Count 'em, that's the level beyond one.
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  8. #8
    Campaign Veteran Running Wolf's Avatar
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    Retention levels aren't clearly defined. As I understand it the number refers to the number of retention devices that need to be employed in order to remove the firearm. So apparently all my holsters are level 1.
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  9. #9
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Snap strap on my DeSantis Viper, and a trigger latch on my Serpa CQC. I don't/didn't pay attention to the number, the method/mechanism was the selling point for me.

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    Here's a link to a page used as a reference in the Wikipedia entry for "Handgun holster".

    http://www.theppsc.org/Staff_Views/C...iderations.htm

    " Levels of retention

    The retention level of the holster refers to the number of retention devices you have to release or move the gun past in order to draw the pistol from the holster:

    An example of a level l holster would be a simple thumb-break device that must be unclipped in order to draw the weapon.

    A Level ll holster example is one where a thumb-break is released then the pistol must be moved (rocked forward or rearwards) in the holster to clear some form of internal locking device before it can be drawn.

    A Level lll holster is one where three separate retaining devices, both internal and external must be undone or bypassed."

    Just one of the differing definitions out there.

    I also have two friction retention only holsters that I use when I conceal in waist band.

  11. #11
    Regular Member OC for ME's Avatar
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    Blackhawk states that my CQC is a level two, but only one mechanism is activated to release the firearm. As I stated, I chose based on the "mechanism" type and not the claimed retention level.

  12. #12
    Regular Member Slade McCuiston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iridium View Post
    My OC holster is a Serpa level 3. I carried concealed for 10 years before Oklahoma passed OC beginning November 2012. Being new to OC, I didn't know what to expect so I felt more comfortable with the extra security. Level 3 is what I am used to now for OC, but that is my personal preference.
    Similar to why I chose my Safariland 6360 with SLS and ALS systems. While I hadn't concealed, I was unsure of what to expect when open carrying. My granddad, a staunch Democrat and a LEO, was very outspoken about me not carrying openly. He cited that I would be 'challenged,' or my gun could be taken away from me, et cetera. My dad, on the other hand, (also a LEO) was rather indifferent. He is a hardcore Republican and belongs to the 'it's your right' crowd. Both of these guys carry, but chose to carry concealed.

    After talking with my dad about duty holsters he revealed that our department's standard is a 6280 SLS-only holster from Safariland. Unsure of what it would be like to open carry, I felt I needed more retention (incorrectly, it seems). It was very slow to draw from at first, but after a while of using it, I've got the draw times very near to that of a thumb-snap. If I could do it over again, I'd chose the same holster. Very tough, smooth draw, and the SLS hood sits between the hammer and the firing pin (another issue my Granddad had was Cocked and Locked carry, believe it or not).

  13. #13
    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    I've always considered my MTAC to be a level 2 because it has basic friction retention and a thumb-break strap. From reading the above, I guess that some would discount the holster's friction and consider the MTAC's retention to be at Level 1. Would a Serpa, with only the release button, be considered Level 1 or 2? The looseness of the definition creates some confusion.
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  14. #14
    Regular Member mobiushky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCanby View Post
    I've always considered my MTAC to be a level 2 because it has basic friction retention and a thumb-break strap. From reading the above, I guess that some would discount the holster's friction and consider the MTAC's retention to be at Level 1. Would a Serpa, with only the release button, be considered Level 1 or 2? The looseness of the definition creates some confusion.
    That's because there is no "official" definition for "levels" of retention. You get to define the Levels as you see fit to provide an effective marketing campaign so people will want to buy your holsters. That's not a knock on any of the manufacturer's. It's a commentary on the constant need from people to have their choices justified by someone else. Maybe that's too deep for this thread, but the bottom line really is, what type of holster do you feel comfortable with? That's perfect, stick with it. Who cares which brand defines your holster as which level?

  15. #15
    Regular Member Slade McCuiston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobiushky View Post
    That's because there is no "official" definition for "levels" of retention. You get to define the Levels as you see fit to provide an effective marketing campaign so people will want to buy your holsters. That's not a knock on any of the manufacturer's. It's a commentary on the constant need from people to have their choices justified by someone else. Maybe that's too deep for this thread, but the bottom line really is, what type of holster do you feel comfortable with? That's perfect, stick with it. Who cares which brand defines your holster as which level?
    I consider friction to be one level of retention. Retention can be defined by what keeps something in place. If it stays in the holster due to friction alone, that is one retention level. I really wish they'd standardize the levels, but you know what they say: "Wish in one hand..."

    I agree. Find a holster you're comfortable with and carry. Don't worry whether it's a 2 or a 3. Are you comfortable with it's security?

  16. #16
    Regular Member EtdBob's Avatar
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    The holster in the picture is one of the ones I use.
    With the hammer thong snugged down tight the retention level is %##^*(*@(!!!

    With it off I guess its a 1?
    Sits firmly enough that I've never lost a gun when on an unruly galloping horse with the thong off. I have yet to try carrying with a thong on....
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  17. #17
    Regular Member EMNofSeattle's Avatar
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    I am not familiar with what the word "level" means in this context.

    if it means number of devices then all of my OC holsters are level 1.

    for the revolver I own three holsters, two nylon with a snap strap, and one thumbbreak clam shell type holster.

    and for the glock I own a serpa holster. I have a blade tech holster with no retention but I only wear that to GSSF matches.

    and I have a glock sport combat holster with no retention device, but I use that as a concealment holster so I count my coat as a level of retention.
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  18. #18
    Regular Member solus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EtdBob View Post
    The holster in the picture is one of the ones I use.
    With the hammer thong snugged down tight the retention level is %##^*(*@(!!!

    With it off I guess its a 1?
    Sits firmly enough that I've never lost a gun when on an unruly galloping horse with the thong off. I have yet to try carrying with a thong on....
    with your thong off, on a galloping horse, are you portraying Lady Godiva? and never lost your gun...i'm impressed !!

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  19. #19
    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Safariland 6378 which I'm told is "Level 2-like" according to Safariland.
    TheTruthAboutGuns.com
    The 6378 model is level 2-like retention with a belt paddle included alongside the belt loop. (This is the sole difference between the 6377 and the 6378: The 78 comes with the paddle in addition to the belt loop, all at no extra charge. The importance of this is discussed below.) It should be noted that according to the Safariland rep I spoke with, the ALS holsters do not conform to the level 2/3 system, and thus can’t be classified as such. If you serve as a LEO and you are looking for a holster that absolutely must be level 2/3 compliant, you’ll have to look elsewhere.


    Adding an ALS guard should kick it up another notch.


    I don't have any qualms about it, it's the same system being worn by a plainclothes unit of the local PD.

  20. #20
    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Running Wolf View Post
    Retention levels aren't clearly defined. As I understand it the number refers to the number of retention devices that need to be employed in order to remove the firearm. So apparently all my holsters are level 1.
    I always knew it wasn't just a "what mechanism or number or devices used" criteria used to establish retention levels but never really did much study.
    Doing a web-search, I came across Safariland's relating of the history - Levels of Retention complete with a video by Bill Rogers.
    http://www.safariland.com/DutyGear/info/retention.aspx
    Last edited by Fallschirmjäger; 06-15-2014 at 10:22 PM.

  21. #21
    Regular Member Elm Creek Smith's Avatar
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    My "work" holster is a thumbbreak G&G high-rise holster that I wear on my duty belt for my 4 inch S&W Model 686. My off-duty carry is a thumbbreak Bucheimer "Concealer" worn on a 1.75 inch belt for my 3 inch S&W Model 13. I also have a Speed Safety "Spring" holster (adjustable tension) with a safety strap that I use cross-draw on a 1.5 inch belt for my nickel-plated S&W Model 37 with buffalo horn grips when I'm not going anywhere near the highway or town. Most of the time, the safety strap is in my holster drawer. I also have a Bianchi thumbbreak for my 4 inch S&W Model 10 standard barrel for walking in the woods. Weapon retention training is a plus as is a good knife to cut people away from your gun.

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  22. #22
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    What level are the kydex OWB holsters (i.e Raven or Bravo Concealment) considered? They are pretty retentive and handled a rough bike ride without so much as a wiggle. Frankly they were more secure than my "Level 1" Bulldog snap-retention holster. I will NEVER use a SERPA Level 2 where you need to press a button to release the firearm.

  23. #23
    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    IF with an attacker's hand Only on the grip of the weapon it takes less than 5 seconds to trip/flip/rip/rotate/prestidigitate the firearm from the holster then it's Level-0. Anything that operates solely by friction is unlikely to be Level-1.

    I recently added the SLS guard to my already ALS equipped Safariland 6378. There might be an additional .10 second added to my draw time (or I'm just getting older and more arthritic.)
    Last edited by Fallschirmjäger; 06-15-2014 at 10:39 PM.

  24. #24
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Amazingly, I do not read of anybody using an Ultimate Level retention holster.

    We all probably know at least someone who uses one.

    It's the person who says they keep their handgun at home in the safe, except for "when I know I'm going to need it".

    Most anybody with an IQ more than three points higher than a rock knows that if you are "going to need it" you should stay away. Or bring a friend. A friend with a gun. And all his friends with all their guns. (That's sometimes refered to the army in response to the question "Oh yeah? You and what army?")

    BTW - I'm still waiting for the verified report of some OCer having their gun taken from them because they were OCing. That three-figure cash reward is building up interest - even if it is at today's paltry rates. Anybody else want to try to claim it?

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  25. #25
    Campaign Veteran since9's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mobiushky View Post
    There is no standard way of ranking and no defined meaning for levels.
    Wrong. Put simply, they're the number of ways the firearm is "actively retained," meaning the wearer must do something specific to defeat that means of retention. Friction doesn't count, so the old-style leather holster in which I carry my 1851 Navy Arms .44 caliber cap and ball black powder revolver would be considered to have a retention "Level 0."

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallschirmjäger View Post
    IF with an attacker's hand Only on the grip of the weapon it takes less than 5 seconds to trip/flip/rip/rotate/prestidigitate the firearm from the holster then it's Level-0.
    That's one way of stating it, although I would argue the "5 seconds" is highly arbitrary, and therefore not any sort of a "standard."

    I submit the following, from a common law enforcement manual:

    Levels of retention

    The retention level of the holster refers to the number of retention devices you have to release or move the gun past in order to draw the pistol from the holster:

    An example of a level l holster would be a simple thumb-break device that must be unclipped in order to draw the weapon.

    A Level ll holster example is one where a thumb-break is released then the pistol must be moved (rocked forward or rearwards) in the holster to clear some form of internal locking device before it can be drawn.

    A Level lll holster is one where three separate retaining devices, both internal and external must be undone or bypassed. -

    The questionnaire should have been:

    Level 0 (no retention except friction)
    Level 1 - One means of retention
    Level 2 - Two means of retention
    Level 3 - Three means of retention
    Other

    I haven't a clue as to what "Level 4" might be. A padlock? Lol...

    Thus, to answer the OP's question, my tactical holster has Level 1 retention.
    Last edited by since9; 06-16-2014 at 03:56 PM.
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