Wilson Combat X-TAC Compact in a Safariland 579 GLS Level II retention holster (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

“A South Carolina school district has asked a private security guard not to return after a fifth-grader was able to pull the officer’s gun out of its holster,” fox news.com reports. “Anderson School District 5 spokesman Kyle Newton told media outlets that the guard was sitting on a bench Monday with a student on either side at Varennes Elementary School when one of the students was able to take the gun out of the officer’s holster. Authorities say the gun was not fired and was only free for about 10 seconds.” . . .

Having had my gun pulled from my holster and aimed at my kidney – as a “joke” – I know that gun retention is no joke. Which is why I won’t open carry in anything less than a Level II retention holster. Is gun retention a concern/issue for you? How do you/would you deal with the threat of a [apolitical] gun grab? [h/t TP]

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60 Responses to Question of the Day: Holster Retention Much?

  1. I’d say the school is failing its students if any of them think it’s okay to play with guns.

        • No kidding. I was in the 5th grade circa 1955, like 10 years after WWII. One of my friends advised me he had a machine gun his Daddy brought home, under his bed. He asked if I wanted to see it, and I said “no, thanks”. If he’d asked if I wanted to go shooting with him and his dad, my answer would have been different.

        • Agreed, Hannibal.

          I agree with the need for holsters to be secure, but another problem is that parents don;t teach their kids about guns in today’s Liberal, PC society. My father would have beat the living daylights out of me if I had ever done that, but he wouldn’t have to since I’d been shooting and respected guns from a very young age.

  2. Proximity counts.

    If the students were sitting close enough, they’d be able to get the gun faster then the guard even realized it was being lifted. The distance between your arms and the arm of the guy/gal next to you isnt much , and your nervous system can’t predict what they’ll do.

  3. I use “The most dangerous, I’m too stupid to keep my finger off the trigger when I draw, and shot myself, OMG!”™ holster.

    • So you would have broken several bones of the 5th grade child that grabbed your weapon and did harm to nothing more than your ego?

      Sounds like you’d fit right in with several of the school resource officers we’ve been hearing about lately…

      • Im pretty sure i would have elbowed the student as well. However i wouldn’t have been that close to begin with.

      • What is the difference between a 5th grader who takes someone’s gun as a prank and one who takes it to kill someone?

        There is a difference but it’s hard to tell at the moment it’s happening. I’d rather the kid learn a good lesson about not taking things that don’t belong to them and end up with a broken nose than the case where it happens to be someone looking to shoot people getting the ability to do so.

      • …look I work at a school and we’ve got 1 week left before summer break, I’m a little high strung. 😉

        That was actually in reference to the taking of a gun as a “joke.”

      • I knew that kid now had my loaded gun in his hands, after a theft which was a felony, now in felonious possession? I’d have done my best to knock him senseless with a single punch, and then gone after the gun. Do you think that situation is some kind of joke? Maybe a 17-round magazine in a room full of children? I don’t find it funny. And, no person who holds a stolen, loaded pistol in his hand is a “child”. Get serious.

  4. I think this is actually where TTAG or a website like TTAG really comes in handy. I’ve known about guns and what feeds them forever, but the gear reviews here have taught me a sh** load. Before I started reading this site I knew very little about the complex world of holsters and other gear.

  5. I, too, use the “I’m too stupid…” holster and haven’t managed to shoot myself yet. I must be using it wrong.

  6. I conceal carry so this is a non-issue for me. I prefer to engage the criminal element on my own terms rather than them see me carrying and then conversely engage me on their terms before I realize there is a problem brewing.

    • I prefer to engage the criminal element on my own terms

      Once you are attacked you are not on your own terms. Can a successful defense be made then? It is possible, but why appear to be defenseless and a soft target in the first place? People who want that “element of surprise” always assume that they will be a bystander instead of the target victim. Your element of surprise doesn’t work when you are the one being attacked for giving the impression that you are an easy target.

      Although judging from your name you probably live in Illinois so OC isn’t an option for you.

    • Absolutely, Ferg. Concealed all the way. It gives you a tactical advantage, and keeps the panicked Liberal responses to a minimum.

      Of course, as a guard, he carried openly, so to me it’s a matter of situational awareness. Even with the most basic retention strap in place, the guy should have been aware as soon as someone touched his weapon. I’ve carried both concealed and open many times, and i am always aware of anyone even near my weapon.

  7. Only carry concealed but I use a Bianchi IWB holster with a thumb break for the GP100. Used DiSantis soft tucks with my autos. I never thought retention was a high priority when concealed, but I’d say it’s a must for open carry.

  8. I work with my sidearm, and use a level 2 holster, whether in uniform or undercover. Don’t wanna end up as the feature on the “time o’ clock news “.

    • You have no interest in becoming the ‘bleed’ in the news slogan “If it bleeds, it leads”.

      Something the majority of POTG aspires to each and every day… 🙂

  9. Oh sure take every opportunity to flaunt that beautiful Wilson Combat commander I see 🙂 Trying to dig me 5 more k in the hole?

  10. Told not to return…not hey you need to fix that, but be banished from making a living on hallow educational ground.

    • This is one of those rare instances where the school administration did the right thing. If you’re hired and paid to carry a gun around children, you should know about retention.

      Res ipsa loquitur. The fact that a 5th grader took his gun is ample evidence that this particular security guard needs to find a new occupation.

    • “I like the to crank down on screws to increase tension to the point it’s elevension”

      Years back I was in a music shop pricing some PA gear for a band.

      I was looking at a used amp and noticed something ‘different’…

      The knobs weren’t the stock factory knobs.

      They went not to ’10’, but to ’11’. For that extra ‘push over the cliff’…

      I laughed. It made my day…

      For the kids who are baffled at what hell we’re talking about:

  11. Kudos to the school district for having good guys with guns on campus, and for handling the mistake with common sense and no drama.

    • No kidding.

      The school could have easily had the cop charged with leaving a gun where a child could get to it.

      And they’d likely get a conviction.

  12. level 3 in uniform, level 2 paddle rest of time. Stopped carrying a glock. Gen 3 S&W or a Sig. They watch YouTube. Most can get a weapon out faster than.the wearer. Another reason open carry has to have good retention level.

  13. I too use that bad bad bad holster, the Serpa, that I love and it is fast. Also the Safariland ALS which is OK… I like retention whether OC or CC but no matter, I am super aware at all times of anyone on that side of me and close even if all I have on me is my Benchmade 583.

    p.s. Robert….you have kept your word. Your website is much improved. Thanks.

  14. It seems to me that the problem here isn’t so much the guy’s holster (though maybe he should have had better retention), but a fifth-grade kid who hasn’t been taught not to mess with other people’s belongings. When I was ten years old, the idea of touching an adult’s gun (or car keys, or empty soda can, or anything else) without permission is something I wouldn’t have even considered, much less attempted.

  15. So, the question is, Is this holster that he was using department issued or did he choose it himself.

      • SC State Law specifically allows only certain calipers and they must be provided by employer, supposedly they are to provide. holsters also. Usually $12.97 uncle Mike’s from most companies. am You see a lot of revolvers and trade-in pd guns. A lot well past the prime.

      • SC State Law specifically allows only certain calibers and they must be provided by employer, supposedly they are to provide. holsters also. Usually $12.97 uncle Mike’s from most companies. am You see a lot of revolvers and trade-in pd guns. A lot well past the prime.

  16. I’m a mess, but i practice a lot (unloaded , of course) left hand IWB at my 5 o’clock. Run my thumb up under my clothes til my fingers cover the grip, trigger finger deep along the leather against the slide. slap the reversed thumb break down and draw. Thumb flip the safety as I press forward. Then I decide whether to shoot. If not for the thumb break it could almost be the great gun give away but with the button against the opponents palm i think its pretty safe. Its also very comfortable. Initial training also included a dowel rod to make sure I knew where the barrel was pointing

  17. I recently decided that I needed some retention after OCing for several months in a simple belt holster. I first went with a thumbreak style pancake holster but recently I purchased a safariland GLS. It is a little big for CC but it works nicely.

  18. As a 2A absolutist, I think this is all a false arguement. No one should have to keep a gun in a holster at all. Everyone should be able to just walk around with the gun in their hand, that way no one would be able to just grab it when they aren’t looking. Plus, its always at the ready for when the bad guys show up.

    • Youre not a 2A absolutist, youre a troll who has never heard of brandishing laws.

      Go troll elsewhere, the adults are talking about being responsible for protecting the society they built.

      Has anyone alse noticed the troll quotient increasing?

        • Bear is a holster or a sling. If you are carrying it in your hand I am very likely to just shoot you. If you had ever actually handled one firearm at any time in your life, you would know that, kid. Go ask your mommy for a sandwich.

  19. The only time I OC is at the range, so no retention. If I chose to OC elsewhere, I’d use strong retention to prevent the liberation of my piece by children and other villains.

    The Tsarnaev brothers killed Officer Sean Collier because they wanted to steal his gun so that the little scvmbag, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, could have one. They didn’t know how to remove the gun from Collier’s retention holster, so they killed Officer Collier for nothing. The retention didn’t save Officer Collier, but it may have saved someone else.

  20. The only retention holster I have at the moment is a Blackhawk Sportster paddle holster for my Glock 20…which, ironically, conceals reasonably well under my shirt. Very hard and uncomfortable though, and especially when sitting down. EDC gun at the moment is a Ruger LCP in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster. Saving up for a M&P 9/40 compact though.

    Tom

  21. I’d do my best to see that student was transferred to a reform school. That was a felonious act and should be treated as such.

  22. Duty carry is level II retention Safariland for a 4006 TSW and tac light. Off duty is CC with a Safariland / Bianchi snap retention or zero retention RKBA or Ares Armor Kydex OWB.

    • Thought I was the only 1 that still carried a metal frame pistol, other than a 1911. 1006, 4006raw, 4006, 4506, 4566, 5906. Now if I could only find a 659 & a 1911 colt & sp1 for my son I’d likely never purchase or trade for another semi except for the 226 I just ordered. I do love wheelguns. She broke two cardinal rules: never let anyone get close enough to take your weapon and never, ever use a holster without retention. I started carrying with one of those crappy L.A.P.D. clamshell holsters. I went & bought a good.Bianchi and my Sgt. never said a word. They were testing to see.how much I would put up with @ 18 I wasn’t even allowed to carry my revolver off-duty. Clocked in drew my weapon from the watch commander & went on patrol.
      I have had my weapon taken away once being jumped by 4 scum scum, dropped my mag trying to get the safety off got my ankle piece & did what I needed to. Learned an important lesson. Always Expect the Unexpected & if they get your gun you will likely die unless.

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