Tag Archives: holster

Safariland ALS Holsters, the gold standard 

As seen on Gunmade.com


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.

This model doesn’t feature the optics hood that flips open as you draw, but I still like it.

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. 

Shop Safariland Holsters thru their Holster Finder

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. 

This is my SLS holster for my Sig Sauer P320 Legion and 5.11 Accessories

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. 

safariland als holster

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.

Shop Safariland Products at Brownells
Or shop Safariland products at Palmetto
Firearms Depot also has Safariland products

First Impressions

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. 

safariland ALS holster
Read more about this and other pistols here

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. 

Notice the optics cover folded out of the way as the pistol is drawn

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.

Polymer housing

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.

Tension Screw

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.

QLS change system

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. 

safariland als holster
the QLS system allows easy removal and installation

Cordura Wrap

safariland als holster
I love the fit of the ALS holster, and the tiger stripe wrap

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.


Putting Together a Battle Belt

Who needs a gun-belt?

Depending on your profession, you might call it a battle belt, gun belt, or some other belt variation. Today we are going into the detail of putting together a battle belt, something I recently finished.
As I navigated through all the different options, I figured this might be something others would do, so I documented the process in the hopes of saving you time and money.

Shooting has become part of my profession. While you may or may not need a gun belt for your daily work, I hope that by the time I’m done sharing my experience, you will have a good idea of how you would do it yourself.
Unless you do any professional soldiering, law enforcement, or security, a gun belt will likely be recreational for the most part. It will likely be another part of your equipment when shooting at the range or in competitive events like two or three-gun matches.

I am by no means a competition pistol shooter, but I do enjoy practicing the skill. A proper gun belt is extremely useful for becoming proficient in shooting pistols and any kind of tactical discipline.


Battle belts are designed to help carry the weight and force of waist-bound shooting equipment. Not only do they carry the weight, but they also help distribute it with a degree of comfort.
A good belt also helps keep vital and life-saving equipment where you want it to be. Besides just your pistol, battle belts also have room for extra ammunition, knives, and other tools you may need depending on the task before you.
A good belt is customizable to fit the accessories and tools you need in the places that best fit your practice. With practice and time, you will likely change and adjust it until it perfectly fits your needs.


Find a quality holster that properly fits your pistol. There are many good options from companies like Safariland or Blackhawk.

Remember, these are not CCW holsters; they are for retaining your pistol under heavy movement and activity.
Good retention holsters are not exactly cheap, nor are they particularly compact. But they are well worth their cost and come in various styles and retention designs to keep your pistol safely at your side.


There are a great many good choices to be had for a gun belt. Safariland and Blackhawk make belts for their holsters, but there are plenty of others like Blue Force Gear or Crye Precision.

With so many options, you may want to handle a couple before choosing one. After looking around, I decided to go with a 1.75-inch belt from the guys at Lead Devil.

There are two-layered and single-layered belts. I went with a two layered belt. They work by using a velcro under the belt that goes through your belt loops on your pants. The outer belt then attaches outside your belt loops by velcro to the inner belt and buckle in the front. It is a very robust system.

The outer belt has molle loops around the circumference to install whatever accessories or gear to the belt and the inner belt keeps your pants up and serves as a foundation for the load-bearing outer belt.

When selecting a belt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on measuring yourself. A proper fit is vital to both function and comfort. Remember the size of your belt when selecting accessories. You can’t put 1.5-inch accessories on a 1.75-inch belt. The belt should fit fairly snug to keep your pistol and other gear from flopping around as you move.

Note: wearing a gun belt properly may be all the inspiration you need to get in better shape. They fit and work better when your “middle area” is trimmed.

Continue reading here


battle belt setup belt position


Obviously, the first priority should be your holster. Find a comfortable position on your belt that fits your draw location and attach the holster, either threading the belt through it or using the molle attachments.

I found it took some time to ensure I had my holster placed properly.

My pistol is a Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion, and I bought the Safariland 7304RDS holster for it. The holster accepts both the pistol and the Surefire X300 weapon light in front, but after using the holster for a few days, I realized I needed a lower ride height.

I added a Safariland Cantable belt loop that added a few inches of drop, and I also added to it the Safariland Quick Locking System that allows the holster to detach from its base. I’ve come to find this very convenient.

Shop all Safariland Holsters and accessories here

The whole pistol and holster are easily removed from the belt. This also allows you to swap multiple holsters for different firearms to and from your belt. I adjusted the thigh strap that came with my holster for a better fit and to keep the holster as secure as possible.

Believe it or not, I actually wore the belt like this eight hours a day for over a month, making little adjustments here and there until I felt I had a perfect fit. I was constantly drawing my pistol to see what would make a smoother draw and holstering.


battle belt setup belt magazine storage

A good battle belt will surely carry extra magazines for your pistol. I bought a couple of different options to try. The first was a pair of Tacos from High Speed Gear. I liked them, but I ended up swapping them out for a one-piece double mag pouch from Esstac. The HSG Tacos seemed to have more catch points and were easier to snag on things during movement. The Esstac pouches were smoother and had a nice exterior.

Position your mag pouches where they best fit your draw. This is another reason I like the Lead Devil belt. The molle allowed robust attachment of my accessories without sacrificing velcro engagement with the inner belt. Reducing the velcro engagement between the belt layers reduces the rigidity of the whole system and induces flopping.

If you incorporate a rifle mag pouch or two on your belt, you can attach it the same way via molle in whatever position you see fit. I run my rifle mags on my plate carrier, so I didn’t add any to my gun belt.


battle belt setup belt pocket knife storage

Many guys put knives on their gun belts, whether for cutting tasks or when they run outta magazines. I actually run two knives on my belt; the main one is a Cold Steel Mini Tac.

The second one is just a cheap Gerber folder hooked into the molle behind my holster for things like digging sardines out of the can. I like the idea of having both options, one blade is kept in pristine razor sharp condition while the other is a day to day cutter.

Both are kept in convenient locations on the belt for quick and easy access, they also attach to the molle of the Lead Devil outer belt.


Besides the X300 on my pistol, I also keep a good flashlight on my belt. The Cloud Defensive MCH 2.0 Micro goes in a small 5.11 carry pouch behind my right kidney. I don’t often shoot in the dark, but if I need to, I sure want to have the tools to see what I’m shooting.


battle belt setup tourniquet

A tourniquet is a must-have if you do any shooting. We’ve all seen how fast things can get ugly. Plate carriers and battle belts are often kitted out with tourniquets; the main reason is that they are typically used by folks who shoot and may get shot at.

Having a tourniquet immediately available can be the difference between life and death. Many professional soldiers getting shot at have multiple TQs on their kit, and they have them close.

I have one in my IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) on my plate carrier, and I keep another one attached to my gun belt just in front of my holster. This way, it is very close should I need to use it on myself or some other unfortunate person.

It’s kept neat and tucked away by a 5.11 TQ pouch.


Drop pouches are also a common accessory to run on gun belts. They are typically used as a catch-all for things you need out of your hands quickly but don’t want to lose. Empty magazines, batteries, or Twinkie wrappers can all get tossed in to be policed later.

I personally don’t run a drop pouch on my belt because I have one on my plate carrier. The one I have is a roll-up velcro type to stay out of the way until you need it.


Lastly, I have a 550 cord braided tether on my left side. It has a snap hook convenient for gloves, keys, or anything else you want to keep handy. It also can be unwoven and used as cordage in an emergency.

battle belt cord braided tether



Some battle belts go through belt loops, and others go outside the belt loops. I prefer the two-layered outside-the-belt loop type with an inner strap that goes through the belt loops.


A belt should be tight enough to keep your equipment secure and close without being uncomfortably tight. The better shape you are in, the more comfortable they seem to fit. I do find that the wider belt seems more comfortable for guys like me who are a little round in the middle.


That can depend on how you set it up. Some belts come wide, and with padded load-bearing surfaces, a good belt is undoubtedly strong enough that you could be picked up by it.


If you’re a gear queer like me, you will likely enjoy the process of putting all this together. I hope what I have done has shed some light or given you ideas for your own belt build.

I would strongly recommend doing what I did if you can; for the better part of two months, I wore my gun belt every day to work. This allowed me to make adjustments for comfort and practical use, adjusting the angle of my holster, and so on. The familiarity I gained from wearing the belt for such a long time made me very comfortable using the system at the range.

Don’t be afraid to try different belt accessories to find the one that fits your needs best, and if you have any questions about the subject, feel free to drop them in the comment section.

Make sure you share your battle belt build with us when you finish it, and share this with your gun buddies!