I've often concentrated on concealment holsters, while failing to mention those designed for police officers or security services who more often than not must carry their weapon where it is visible.
A good concealment holster must lock the weapon inside, but at the same time it must also let you draw the gun quickly and protect the trigger. A holster for civilian defence does not have to be particularly strong, although this feature is of course much appreciated. If the holster fits the handgun properly, no special retention systems are required.
Someone concealing their weapon wishes it to stay hidden as far as possible, as surprise is an essential element, and deviants will not see a weapon they might be tempted to try and steal from its legitimate owner. I believe the most practical holsters are those for carrying a unconcealed gun on your strong side and inside clothing, to be used when you need to hide the gun under light summer clothes.
Things can be more complicated when the gun is carried visibly during armed service by the police. The greatest risk is the gun being stolen, or the holster being torn off the belt or the holster itself breaking during a scuffle.
Another problem, which is often not considered, is the angle of the holster, and some models made of organic material can change their shape after long hours of use, altering the original angle and making it hard to draw the handgun. In other cases the leather can stretch, loosening its hold on the gun and allowing it to drop out unexpectedly.
This brief introduction makes it clear that it is essential to use a quality holster, especially when the gun is carried visibly in situations that could become or already are hostile.
None of the components of a holster used to carry a visible gun can be left to chance. The fact that it is made of strong materials alone, is not enough. The belt loops or clothing clips, and the rivets holding the various parts of the holster together must be very strong and resistant to traction, compression, abrasion and knocks. A holster for carrying a visible gun must have at least one retention system that is easy for the legitimate owner to release but is also hard for an assailant to reach.
Italian company Radar, based in Fucecchio (FI), was founded in 1957, and its catalogue contains a vast range of professional holsters and accessories specifically designed for carrying a visible gun. Radar holsters have built-in constructional solutions that let the operator do his or her duty safely. Radar “tactical” holsters are made entirely of synthetic materials such as technopolymers.
These materials can be thermo-moulded to the specific shape of a handgun model. These holsters have adjustable elastic spacers that guarantee weapon retention without having to use any other additional systems. These holsters are designed not to fail even in unforeseen circumstances such as running, falling, attempts to steal the gun and any other type of violent activity before or during a skirmish.
First and foremost, the thickness of the technopolymer varies from 2 mm to 4.5 mm in the parts of the holster most subject to stress.
I have seen Kydex holsters made by other brands that are so flimsy they tear as soon as you re-holster the gun.
This is something that will not happen with a Radar holster. The professional holsters are made of a thermosealed shell with two rigid overlapping polymer layers, with the gun retention systems protected inside.
The off-duty holsters, which are not as thick, are made of a rubbery polymer, designed to retain the gun, and are strong enough to withstand torsion and prevent the material breaking.
One of the weak points on holsters is the loops or clips where they attach to clothing. Radar solved this problem brilliantly on its models.
The loops on the off-duty holsters are made of strong rubber and guarantee the holster will still be on your belt and undamaged even after a violent rotation or pull.
The big loops have an intelligent adjustment system so the holster can be adapted to different size belts.
The two half shells and the loops are held together by strong Allen bolts. When on a sturdy belt, no one will be able to steal the holster from its legitimate owner. Professional holsters used to carry a visible weapon require some other precautions. The Radar CUBE research and design division created and patented the RDC System, a strong way to connect the holster to a belt or tactical clothing, and the operator can adjust the angle of the gun as they please.
The RDC system consists of two oversized circular male/female components made of strong polymers. By pressing two spring-loaded buttons, the holster worn on a belt can easily be moved to another belt or thigh or used with the M.O.L.L.E. (MOdular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) system on clothing with fixings.
The height of the holster can be adjusted on the body using the fully-adjustable modular system. This is extremely useful for female personnel as they can hang the holster lower on their hip, where it is more suitable for the female body.
As well as having strong loops on their holsters, Radar has also developed two safety systems to prevent a gun carried where it is visible being stolen. I believe that, unlike a gun concealed under clothing, a handgun carried in a visible holster must have at least one retention system.
Radar supplies various types of systems. The patented L.E.P (Locking on the Eject Port) system it fitted on various models including the 6607. This automatic system has an internal lock that engages when the gun is holstered, and can quickly be released when drawing.
The internal lock, consisting of a self-lubricating polymer lever, engages in the eject port of the slide. The release lever is easily released with an index finger as it slides along the outer part of the holster while drawing.
The 6707 2 Fast Extreme holster is fitted with the Evolock S system that engages to lock the gun in the holster as it is holstered. The Rotoloop-S rotating loop is an additional safety feature, which can be rotated to the vertical position to hold the rear of the slide in the holster.
The retention system can be released by pressing the ergonomic button on the inside of the holster with your thumb.
Pressing the button releases the internal retention system and lowers the loop for fast drawing. Note that the button is easy for the operator to reach but not for anyone attempting to steal the gun from its owner. In fact there is a tab on the inside protecting the button.
For those who want to keep their gun securely contained, Radar has developed the Safe+Index&Thumb system for the professional Duty 6657 holster. As well as the L.E.P. system (Locking on the Eject Port) described above, this holster also comes with the R.L.L. (Rotating Locking Lid) system consisting of a horizontally rotating element that retains the rear of the slide.
When closed, it covers the rear of the slide, so the gun cannot come out of the holster. The R.L.L. system is released by pressing the button on the inside of the holster.
The holsters described also have an additional safety feature in the form of a retention screw in the lower part. This screw locks the trigger, and can be used to adjust how the gun lies in the holster.
When off-duty, it is a good idea to use something that can be more easily concealed. One of the Radar models most suited for this is the 6085 -2, ideal for concealed carrying.
It can be fixed to your belt using the 2 polymer belt loops. This holster has the Automatic LTG (Lock On Trigger Guard) system, which automatically locks the trigger guard with a lever on the top of the holster.
The safety system can be released with the index finger. It also has the STR (Screw Tuned Retention) system, on which an Allen screw can be used to adjust the gun retention in the holster.
Radar professional holsters are designed to meet the often demanding requirements of law enforcement officers and security personnel. Nothing is left to chance. The solid design of Radar holsters is matched by their other products of similar quality such as belts, speed loader keepers and other Radar accessories.
Anyone putting their life on the line on the public’s behalf must at least be able to count on being able to use top quality products. In my opinion, Radar guarantees the best.