The holster came in today, and I've been wearing it for a couple of hours. It's on my belt right now as I make this post.
Several years ago, the idea of weapons retention came into play as correctional officers at the larger prisons were watching inmates practicing weapons grabs on the exercise yard. That made us ponder our weapons retention, and the various manufacturers came out with holsters designed to help keep the weapon in the holster, but release it easily when the officer needed it. Some manufacturers came out with levels of retention, (Level 1, Level II, Level III and Level IV) and those were routinely adopted, although not always strictly defined.
Most recently, weapons retention came into focus as the Vermin from Boston killed an on-duty MIT police officer in an attempt to get his pistol. Officer Sean Collier was killed in his cruiser when the vermin walked up to him and shot him in the head. They didn't get his pistol, though, because they couldn't work the retention device to release the pistol. They gave up rather than stand over a dead police officer, and Officer Collier's pistol was in his holster when the brethren found him.
If I had to bet, I'd bet that Officer Collier was using a holster like the Safariland 6360 ALS Level III holster. That holster is fairly common in police work, and it's the very holster that I carry on my duty belt. The holster takes three distinct motions to remove the weapon, but with just a little practice, it is very fast. I like my 6360 a lot, but it's a duty-belt holster, not conducive to plain-clothes work, and not very concealable. So, I started casting about for a good retention holster that I can wear in plain clothes.
I bought a Serpa, and while lots of folks think that it's a great holster, I'm not convinced. The single thing that I don't like about the Serpa holster is that it uses the trigger finger to release the pistol. There's a viral video going around showing a guy shooting himself while using a Serpa holster. I've never shot myself using a Serpa holster, but I can see how that might happen, so I kept looking. I'm not one of those guys who is "down" on Serpa holsters, I'm simply not convinced it's the best system.
Gun guys are always looking for a better holster, and if you play this game very long, you'll find yourself with a box, or drawer full of holsters. They seemed like a good idea at the time, but after a while they get dropped in the drawer for one reason or another.
I was surfing around the Safariland website, and stumbled upon their Model 6377 belt holster. It's the concealment version of the holster I carry on duty, less the SLS system. It does have the automatic locking system (the little thumb giz that's hidden between the holster and the roll of fat I carry on my side). It's a Level II, which is perfectly acceptable for plainclothes work. I bought the first one for my 1911, but you can bet there will be more of them on the UPS truck. The draw is effortless, once you figure out where the release is located, it takes the same muscle memory as my duty rig, and it's Safariland quality.
If you're going to carry a weapon for a living, or for pleasure, make sure you buy a good holster. It might make the difference between having your weapon, or not having it. PawPaw likes Safariland products and recommends them to everyone. Buy a good holster and you won't regret it.