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Concealment holsters & retention options - experience/advice

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by lawman800, Jan 12, 2013.

  1. Looking to try out some different options in holsters.

    Having come from the same uniform background as everyone, I know we are all used to the ubiquitous thumb break and SLS rotating hood type of retention and those naturally would be the easiest types to use for off duty as well. Never could get very comfortable with non-retention or friction only retention off duty holsters, just don't like it, maybe it's a SoCal thing.

    Then comes the SERPA with the intuitive index finger release which was very easy to learn and get used to, but horrible for concealment with the way it sticks out from your body en bloc.

    Also tried the thumb drive which was pretty simple for ease of operation, similar to the SLS in using your thumb to push down to release.

    Today, went to the store and tried the Bianchi auto retention holsters that has the paddle behind the trigger guard that requires you to use your middle finger to push it in to release the gun. It's reminiscent of the Safariland 070 where you had to use your middle finger to release the extra snap.

    It was easy enough to use but felt very awkward and doing a few practice draws made it very clear that it was going to take a lot of mental rewiring to get it down, and the act of pushing the paddle inward toward your body also has a tendency to move the whole holster inward, causing a lot more movement than I would like, just to clear my weapon.

    Guess that is a long winded way of asking if anyone has experience with that type of Bianchi holster and what do you think, also just in general, what type of retention do you guys find to be adequate and fits your needs, as well as meeting your comfort level, for off duty or concealment holsters?
  2. indigent

    indigent Bamboozled

    Jul 2, 2005
    How about just a plain old leather belt slide holster with a thumb break.... Don't know what you're carrying off duty, but I would think that it would keep the weapon close to your body and it offers retention.....

  3. Kingarthurhk

    Kingarthurhk Isaiah 53:4-9

    Sep 5, 2010
    I use blackhawk serpas without the paddle. Throw on an extra large shirt, it works fine.
  4. SAR


    Apr 17, 2004
    LA LA Land
    For concealment, I use a Milt Sparks Versa Max II IWB, and for plainclothes work I use a Raven Concealment Systems Kydex OWB. Both are friction fit with no retention devices to speak of. Don't have any issues with either holster.
  5. Just_Me


    Mar 25, 2012
    I do not use retention devices during concealed carry. I am a huge fan of the comfort and conceal ability of the cross breed holsters and also raven concealment for owb.

    I would think that as mentioned the most comfort and ease to conceal would be offered by a galco leather pancake with thumb brake. If retention was a requirement that is where I would start.
  6. Safariland ALS all the way!!!
  7. CJStudent

    CJStudent Fenced In

    Nov 3, 2005
    +1. That's all I use; a Tangua leather thumb snap holster, or a no name slide-type IWB one that I found at a gun shop for $20 that does better than some other big name holsters I've had.

    Usually carrying a Glock 23, FYI.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  8. To me, muscle memory is key. I'm staying with thumb breaks. I use holsters from Tauris Leather/holsters-both his pancake with the reinforced mouth, and the IWBs.
  9. rockapede


    Sep 3, 2009
    I'm currently carrying a Glock 19 w/TLR-1 in a DSG Alpha kydex holster (very similar to the Raven mentioned above) probably 90% of the time. The other times, when I need to tuck in a shirt or whatever, it's the same gun sans light in a Crossbreed Supertuck. Neither of these holsters have any retention beyond friction fit, but they both conceal so well it's not a concern for me. Both will retain a gun and loaded mag when turned upside down and shaken.
  10. rubberduck


    Mar 3, 2007
    I've had the same old comptac for years. I'm not leo, but my work requires climbing, crawling, you name it. I have never had an issue with retention. It even stayed in when my motorcycle and me went separate ways. Not a fun way to check but it works. Love me some comptac.
  11. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

    Sent from my communicator.
    Galco King Tuckable. Bianchi Carrylock, not hard for me, and I like it. Here lately I have taken to carrying in a Fanny pack, because of needing to carry my diabetic stuff.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  12. Thanks for all the input so far. Sorry, I forgot one major point which is why I am asking the question.

    I am looking for something with retention for the Taurus 709 which, as far as I can find, has no factory available holsters specifically made for it.

    I have experimented and found that around 60% of the holsters made for the G26 would fit it. However, the belt slide and pancakes definitely don't fit it because it is slimmer. The Bianchi auto retention holsters fit it like a charm because it is a belt slide with a trigger guard clamp, but that release mechanism has really got me worried.

    The thumb breaks don't really work because it becomes too long and way too loose on the Taurus. The SERPA doesn't work for the Taurus either.

    Guess I can always go custom and have someone like Mitch Rosen cut one for the gun with a thumb break for me.
  13. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

    For plainclothes or off duty, well-molded Kydex or leather has sufficient retention. When mechanical devices start getting added, holster bulk and weight go up.
  14. Just_Me


    Mar 25, 2012
    This is what I have always found. Concealed is a level of security.
  15. Off duty I carry my G19 or G22 IWB in a CompTac MTAC holster. Never felt the need for retention on a highly concealed IWB holster. For OWB I like a plain old pancake style holster with a thumb break. I find most of these new designs offer horrible concealment. How anyone carries concealed with a Serpa is beyond me. I've got one for my Colt Commander and its about as concealable as my 6280 duty holster...

    Sent from my iPhone 4s using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2013
  16. old_pigpen

    old_pigpen Huh? What?

    Nov 4, 2007
    In a house
    I'm carrying my M&P40 in a Serpa holster right now. I buy shirts that are one size larger and it covers it completely.

    I also use a belt slide from time to time.
  17. razdog76

    razdog76 Heavy Mettle

    Sep 26, 2007
    I agree with ateamer on mechanical retention.

    Appendix carry with the $12 Uncle Mike's/Blackhawk inside the waistband holster.

    Easy for you to draw, absolutely not going to fall out, very comfortable, no printing, and cheap.

    The only downside is that it will not stay open if you draw. I say in terms of its role it is superfluous, because all it needs to do is securely and discretely allow you to carry until it is needed. Safe reholstering simply involves taking the holster out of your waistband, and reholster.
  18. collim1

    collim1 Shower Time!

    Mar 14, 2005
    I dont do much plainclothes stuff, but have in the past and carried a G23 in a Bianchi Carrylock. I like it and it has good retention, but the open top makes it appear that there is no retention.

    Its a decent holster, I dont carry I sold that gun and holster and dont use one anymore as I prefer a standard thumbreak.
  19. walkin' trails

    walkin' trails

    Apr 24, 2005
    A Milt Sparks SSII for my full size M&P 45 on off off the clock. The Sparks rig does a decent job of keeping the pistol tight against my bod, and printing is minimal with normal clothing. My take on concealed carry on or off duty is that the concealment aids the retention. I haven't found any of the retention rigs you mentioned and some others that really worked well as concealed carry rigs. Around my shop, the SERPA has replaced the Fobus as the most popular holster, and while it offers good retention for a reasonable price, it tends to print something awful.
  20. CJStudent

    CJStudent Fenced In

    Nov 3, 2005
    I'm with everyone else on the SERPA; the damn thing sticks out like a tumor! The keys to OWB concealed carry are a good belt, a wide holster with widely spread belt loops, and quality construction of the holster.