Why do police officers no longer wear shoulder holsters?

General information on safety holsters

  1. General information on safety holsters
  2. Security levels
  3. Open wearing
  4. Which holster for which weapon?

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1. General information on safety holsters

Safety holsters - as defined by SAFARILAND - undoubtedly increase passive safety in everyday work to a considerable extent and thus play a large part in self-protection. Although no service holster that is worn open is "absolutely safe", the manufacture of holsters that protect the weapon from unauthorized access and loss should be one of the top priorities.

Unfortunately, so-called “service holsters” are still in use, which simply release the weapon after quickly tearing the handle. Most attacks on police officers are made by people who do not really know how a holster works and still it is possible for you to simply rip the gun out of the holster. The simplicity of how the securing mechanism of the holster can be opened or overcome using force has been the subject of controversy for years. If the mechanism is made so complicated that it is more difficult for an attacker to open it, i. d. Usually the pulling process is also more difficult for the police officer.

SAFARILAND has designed its service holsters in such a way that it is very unlikely that the locking mechanism will open unintentionally or even accidentally. Of course, handling a safety holster requires more understanding of how it works than a standard holster, where you simply pull the handle to pull the weapon.

The SAFARILAND service holsters were not only designed to protect the life of a police officer - they are also extremely durable. Many conventional holsters deform and lose their stability as soon as they get wet or have been in use for a long period of time. Holsters made of leather or nylon age comparatively quickly - especially with foam inserts, as these absorb water properly.

There is currently no official test procedure for classifying the security of holsters against unauthorized access and loss of the weapon. For this reason, Safariland has developed a simple test system - taken from practice - to assess the safety properties of a holster. The tests described here were originally carried out internally at Safariland to evaluate their own holsters. In the meantime, an industry standard has developed from this, which is the basis for assessing the "fitness for service" of a holster in many US states and now also in Germany and Europe. The holsters are classified in security levels 1 to 3 (now even 4). The different security levels should not be confused with holsters that have several safety devices. as this does not automatically mean that it is then a safety holster according to the SAFARILAND standard. Many holsters that have multiple safety devices do not even meet the requirements for a level 1 safety holster. You can carry out your own tests with our holsters to understand our classification. The SAFARILAND classification refers to holsters in perfect condition. An excessively worn, damaged or otherwise defective holster cannot be expected to pass such a safety test. For safety reasons, an experienced instructor should oversee the test. With the weapon unloaded, the holster should be worn on an appropriate duty belt by a test person, as in normal everyday work. During this test, the test person is not allowed to hold onto a weapon, holster or belt. Securing the equipment under test to a fixed rack is unrealistic and should be avoided.

If the access to the handle of the weapon by the “attacker” incidentally leads to the opening of the safety strap, this is a negative point in the evaluation of the holster. The further test sequence serves to determine the structural reliability of the safety mechanism and the holster itself. In addition, a holster is only classified as a safety holster if it is also possible for a not particularly trained officer to pull the weapon with one hand within a maximum time frame of 3 seconds. The following are the tests that must be carried out to determine the level of security of a holster.

2. Security levels

All holsters in our catalog that have a security level are marked accordingly.

Security level 1

(e.g. Safariland model 284/2845)

Test 1
All safety devices of the respective holster are closed. Now pull the handle of the weapon with both hands, as forcefully as possible and in all directions, while twisting the weapon in every conceivable direction. If the weapon has now remained in the holster and the holster body itself has not been torn off, try a normal pulling process to ensure that the safety mechanism has not been damaged or blocked by the force. If the holster is still working normally, proceed to the next test.

Test 2
Remove the holster and belt from the subject. If the holster has a device for adjusting the pulling resistance, make sure that it is correctly adjusted. Open all external safety straps and turn the holster upside down with a gentle shake. The gun should not fall out of the holster.

If the previous tests were passed, the corresponding holster is now classified as security level I.

Security level 2

(e.g. all Safariland SLS holsters - models 6280/6285, 6004, 6281, RAPTOR 6270/6275)

Point 1
In order to be able to be tested according to security level II, a holster must first pass the test according to security level I. If the holster has not passed the test according to security level I, it does not have any security level and is therefore not regarded as a security holster.

Point 2
Open the primary fuse on the holster and pull the handle in the following directions: forward, outward, backward, and straight up. If the holster offers additional perceptible security in at least one of the directions mentioned and the retraction of the weapon and the establishment of security can be "blind" and without problems within one second, then it corresponds to security level II.

point 3
The "Raptor 6270" model corresponds to a security level 2+, as it is only possible to pull the weapon when the primary lock is open if you first press the handle in a certain direction (backwards) and then pull the weapon straight up. So it offers more security than a regular holster of security level 2, but does not meet the requirements of security level 3, as it is possible to get the weapon out of the holster when the primary fuse is open if you proceed according to the test mode of security level 1.

Security level 3

(e.g. RAPTOR 6070/6075)

In order to be classified as security level III, a holster must have two safeguards, which ensure that the security level secures independently of each other. If the holster offers additional security while both fuses are open, it is classified as security level III.

Warning notice:
No holster should ever be considered "absolutely loss-proof". If the user can draw the weapon, it should be recognized as obvious that an attacker can also remove the weapon from the holster. Ultimately, it is also the responsibility of the respective user to ensure that their holster functions properly, is well maintained and thus also has the safety functions that the holster offers.

3. Open wearing

General information about the Safariland service holsters

SAFARILAND "service holsters" are from 2003 i. d. Usually available in four carrying heights and can be re-assembled if you purchase the corresponding other carrying bars. All you have to do is loosen three screws and then attach the other bar

1. "High Ride" = high seated version

  • Item number ends with a "1" e.g. model 6281
  • the "summer holster". Only partially suitable as a civilian holster because it is too bulky.

2. "Mid Ride" = medium-high seated version

  • Article number ends with a "0" e.g. model 6280
  • our recommendation, as the deep version can be uncomfortable, especially when sitting in a car, when the holster is at the bottom of the seat.

3. "Low Ride" = deep seated version

Item number ends with a "5" e.g. model 6285. Useful when the service belt is worn high or when using certain service clothing - e.g. B. Protective vest

4. "Tactical" = thigh holster

  • Item number ends with a "4" e.g. model 6004
  • The holster for special use

All moving parts (e.g. the locking system) can be replaced if damage occurs.

All service holsters are lined on the inside with “Safari Suede”, a suede-like synthetic material that protects the gun's finish, allows it to be pulled gently and at the same time removes moisture from the metal.

All service holsters are made from the patented SAFARILAND laminate, an indestructible plastic structure that cannot be found anywhere else. The performance of the material and the design of the holsters have convinced police, military and special forces around the world.

With so-called spacers (T-spacers) the distance between the body and the handle of the weapon can be increased.

The draw angle of the holster is specified in such a way that if the gun were unintentionally fired when the gun was put away, the shot would not hit the leg.

4. Which holster for which weapon?

Here you can download the current data from Safariland on this topic as a PDF list: