How to Choose a Police Duty Holster

Law enforcement officers face numerous challenges in their line of duty, and one of the most critical decisions they must make is selecting the perfect holster for their sidearm. A holster is an essential tool for an officer, as it allows them to safely and efficiently carry their firearm while ensuring quick access when needed. In this blog post, we will discuss the process that police officers should follow to choose the right holster for their needs, including statistics on officer-involved shootings, a brief overview of police duty holsters, and the importance of retention and firearm attachments.

Statistics on Officer-Involved Shootings in the USA

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 295 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in 2020. Of these, 48 were killed by gunfire.

These statistics highlight the importance of selecting a reliable and effective holster that can prevent unintentional discharges and provide quick and secure access to the firearm when needed.

Police Duty Holsters

There are several types of holsters available for police officers, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Choosing the right material for your duty holster

When it comes to choosing a holster for law enforcement, one of the most important factors to consider is the material. There are several materials available in the market, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. One of the most commonly used materials for law enforcement holsters is leather. Leather holsters are durable, comfortable to wear, and provide a classic look. However, leather holsters require regular maintenance to prevent cracking or warping, and they may not offer as much retention as other materials.

Another popular material for law enforcement holsters is synthetic materials such as Kydex or polymer. These materials are lightweight, offer excellent retention, and require little maintenance. However, synthetic holsters may not provide the same level of comfort as leather, and they may wear out faster. Each agency may have specific requirements for holster materials, so it is essential to check with your department before making a purchase. Ultimately, the choice of holster material comes down to personal preference and the specific needs of the individual officer.

The most common types are duty holsters, which are designed for daily use and are typically worn on the officer’s waist. Duty holsters come in various materials, including leather, nylon, and synthetic materials. Leather holsters are the most traditional option and are known for their durability, while synthetic materials are lighter and more affordable.

Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 Retention

The level of retention required for a holster is an essential factor that police officers must consider when choosing a holster. Retention refers to the holster’s ability to keep the firearm in place and prevent it from falling out or being removed without the officer’s knowledge. There are three levels of retention that police officers should be aware of when selecting a holster.

Level 1 retention is the most basic level of retention and is designed to prevent accidental discharges. Holsters at this level typically use a friction fit to hold the firearm in place, with no additional locking mechanisms. These holsters are suitable for officers who need quick and easy access to their firearm.

Level 2 retention holsters incorporate an additional locking mechanism, such as a thumb break or a rotating hood, to prevent unauthorized removal of the firearm. These holsters are suitable for officers who may encounter situations where someone may try to disarm them, such as during an arrest.

Level 3 retention holsters have the highest level of retention and incorporate multiple locking mechanisms to prevent unauthorized removal of the firearm. These holsters are suitable for officers who work in high-risk environments, such as SWAT teams or tactical units. The level of retention required for a holster depends on the officer’s job responsibilities and the likelihood of encountering situations where the firearm could be grabbed by an assailant.

The Importance of Holsters for Handguns with Attachments

Many law enforcement agencies allow officers to carry handguns with attachments such as lights and lasers. However, these attachments can affect the fit and retention of the holster, making it essential to choose a holster that can accommodate them. For example, a holster that fits a Glock 17 without a light may not fit a Glock 17 with a light attached. When selecting a holster, officers must consider the type of firearm they carry, as well as any attachments they may use.


Choosing the right holster is crucial for police officers to perform their duties safely and efficiently. In this blog post, we have discussed the importance of selecting a holster that provides the necessary level of retention and can accommodate firearm attachments. We have also provided an overview of the different types of police duty holsters available and the statistics on officer-involved shootings in the United States. Ultimately, however, the type of duty holster used by each law enforcement officer might be dictated by the agency police. By following these guidelines, police officers can ensure that they have the best holster for their needs, allowing them to perform their duties with confidence and safety.