Inspect your holsters!

Holsters serve two important purposes: they carry your firearm and, more importantly, they retain your firearm.

The retention mechanisms in holsters are extremely important. Not only do they keep your firearm in the holster while you’re moving around, but should also make it so a random person isn’t able to just grab your firearm and run:

So if you don’t have a holster with good retention, remedy that shortfall. Now! (I personally recommend the ShapeShift from Alien Gear.)

But having the holster isn’t enough. You do need to periodically test the retention in your holster to make sure it not only still holds your firearm securely, but that someone also can’t just grab your firearm and unholster it.

Retentions wear out over time, so it’s important to periodically inspect them and replace the holster (or just the shell, if in the case of a lot of IWBs) if the retention is failing or not adequately retaining your firearm.

So what’s bringing this up? The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) recently had an… incident. A 17 year-old woman managed to take a deputy’s firearm from his holster and turned it on herself:

It is alleged the female reached toward the deputy’s firearm and retrieved the firearm from the deputy’s holster. During the altercation, it is alleged that the female suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound with what we believe to be the deputy’s firearm.

Which given the type of retention in law enforcement holsters, that normally shouldn’t be possible. With heavy emphasis on NORMALLY. A worn or faulty retention could allow that to happen, though. In a comment on the article reporting this incident, I said this:

Okay the LASD needs to inspect everyone’s holsters to ensure the retention mechanisms are working as expected, or completely re-evaluate what holsters they’re issuing to their officers.

And depending on what actually happened, the Los Angeles Sheriff might order an inspection of every officer’s holsters just to make sure retentions are working as expected. Any that are found to be defective will be replaced. And there’s the possibility they issue completely different holsters to their officers.

But either way, the only person who should be able to unholster a firearm is the person wearing it. So if the young woman in question was able to unholster the officer’s firearm despite the retentions that should be built into that holster, it’s safe to say the retentions failed or were defective out of the gate.

So let this be a reminder to test the retention on your holster. And if you don’t have a retention holster, get one. Again, I recommend the Alien Gear ShapeShift and have been using it since I bought it nearly 6 years ago as of this writing.