When I started a gun-belt project some time ago, I didn’t realize how far down the velcro-lined hole I would get. I also never anticipated spending so much money on holsters, but necessity makes permissible things that otherwise might be forbidden.
When I say I spent a lot of money on holsters, I don’t mean that in a bad way. I guess I may have become just a bit of an addict to Safariland’s ALS holster lineup, and today I am going to share some of my sickness with you.
I have long wanted a good gun-belt, and for it to be proper I was going to need a good pistol holster. To that end I found myself endlessly scrolling through Safariland’s website trying to decide on which one I liked the best. That was three holsters ago, and there are no signs of stopping.
The Safariland ALS holster uses their level 1 retention system, using a thumb lever to release the pistol from the polymer holster. There are also other levels of retention that require multiple release movements by the user to get the pistol from its holster. I also have a level 2 retention holster, and believe it or not, it’s still very quick to get out and on target.
Professional grade products like the ALS line of holsters are more likely to be seen on a duty belt than tucked under your rhinestone studded cowboy shirt and jeans. There are various models, but the ones you’ll see here today are not for CCW users, but more for sport or duty.
Safariland ALS holster Review
The ALS system uses a polymer block that hinges inside the holster to lock onto the slide of your pistol. The block is attached to a thumb lever perfectly placed on the side of the holster to release as you draw the pistol. The tight fit, and required retention demand that the holsters be custom fit for each pistol model or family.
One of the pistols I have shown here today is a Shadow Systems DR920, which is a Glock 17 clone. So I ordered a Glock 17 holster design which fit my pistol perfectly. In addition to ordering the holster custom sized to your pistol, you’ll also need to specify if said pistol will carry a red dot or not, as well as a weapon light if applicable. And of course there are many different red dots, and weapons lights, and as you can imagine the plethora of different models that Safariland has to model. To their credit it seems like they have achieved a good system to order holsters from their website by selecting popular models of pistols, sights, lights, and other options. Both right and left handed models are available, and add to the mix the dozens of different colors and wrap patterns they offer and the whole thing becomes overly impressive.
My first holster came in, and I’ll admit I was a bit unprepared, and I’d neglected to order the appropriate Safariland accessories needed to properly position and mount the holster to my belt. Safariland offers a wide variety of positioning pieces and connecting hardware to fit almost any purpose.
Later I purchased the Quick Locking System (QLS) which utilizes a rapid snap-on system to attach and remove the holster from the belt. This was an absolute must have, mainly because I have multiple belts for multiple purposes, and having the ability to swap from one holster to another is extremely convenient. The QLS system is robust and easily operated by a single hand.
This is starting to sound like some really nice gear right? Well I for sure think so, but let me warn you about the dangers of becoming an addict like me. All this equipment is very handy and definitely will help improve your high-speed operation (whatever that might be). But it won’t take long before you are signing your paychecks over to Safariland if you aren’t careful.
Pros & Cons
- Very high quality product
- Adaptable to your needs
- Very modular products
- Great selection of styles and colors
- If it doesn’t improve your game, you’ll at least look good
- Not inexpensive
- Can be a little intimidating to pick right
- Can you believe Safariland is based in California? The irony.
Every Safariland product I’ve bought has come with extra fasteners, tools, washers, etc. This is very handy as you try to configure your equipment. There are also several sets of fasteners with different lengths, to allow you to mount in different configurations.
There are also detailed instruction pamphlets that come with them to help guide you in your installation. I of course threw those out like most guys, and figured it out on my own. Purchasing a couple extra QLS forks to attach multiple holsters to my different belts, is something I would strongly recommend. The quality of these products speak for themselves, that said I am quite sure that someone who is far more tactical than myself will step in to say they aren’t durable enough for his needs.
I’m sure there are plenty of folks who have managed to break this gear, which is no surprise. I mean c’mon it is only plastic, and it weathers with use and sunlight so it won’t surprise me if someday something snaps. I’m just glad that it is unlikely I’ll be hanging off the side of a helicopter when it does. But Safariland products come with a two-year limited warranty if such a thing happens.
ALS retention system
Safariland’s ALS holster system does a fantastic job of keeping your pistol secured in the holster. You can run, jump, roll around on the ground, bail in and out of vehicles and your pistol will stay safely on your side.
It’s also extremely easy to get your pistol out when you need it, with just a quick swipe of your thumb, the pistol slides smoothly into action.
Built from the polymer housing , the holster makes a soft touch that won’t damage the finish of your pistol. But I can tell you after much use, you will still start to see some rubbing evidence. But the holster does a great job protecting your pistol, muzzle, red dot and weapon light safe. The holster is closed at the end to keep dirt and debris from getting into your muzzle. At the top of the holster there is a winged hood to protect your red dot, it also has a flip up cover to keep your red dot window from collecting Cheeto dust between shots.
Tucked neatly behind the holster and out of the way, there is a tension screw that you can adjust with an allen key to increase or reduce the tension against your pistol inside the holster. There is a soft pad on the inside that is progressively pressed against the pistol frame as the screw is tightened. This allows you to customize the feel of your draw, as well as reduce rattling of the pistol as you run back and forth at the range.
Safariland’s QLS system is awesome for swapping one holster to another on your belt. The fork attaches to the holster, and the receiver mounts to your belt. You can slide the holster into place making the same motion you would to holster your pistol itself. Then the locking lugs at the end of the fork engage the receiver securing the holster to your belt. I found this feature a must have if you are getting in and out of vehicles. While you certainly can wear the holster as you drive, it is much more comfortable to pop it off for longer drives.
As an aspiring mall-ninja, I love the fact that most any Safariland holster can be ordered with any of their Cordura wrapping patterns. So if you are a multicam nerd, there are almost too many different options to choose from, like multicam tropical, or my favorite Tiger Stripe.
Read more about this and other great products at GunMade.com
If you do much pistol shooting, you are probably going to love the Safariland ALS holster, the same way I have. They give professional grade performance to anyone willing to buy them. I absolutely feel like it has helped me get better and faster at drawing my pistols, and I love how they function.
I typically wear one or another of these on a daily basis, if only to get more practice in. On any given day I draw my pistol from one of these holsters no less than many dozen times. If you are looking into a retention holster, I can strongly recommend the holsters from Safariland.