I recently changed my duty holster over from a Safariland SSIII to the Safariland Model 6360-832 Holster. After almost a decade of drawing a handgun from a SSIII holster and defeating the retention mechanisms one way, it took a few hundred drawing repetitions to change my “muscle memory”. The end result was well worth the efforts. Unlike some other holsters that require the draw to take on varying angles and twists, the ALS holster’s draw is straight up after retention devices have been defeated.
Additionally, the draw from a seated position, especially in a patrol car, is much more effortless than with the SSIII, which requires the handgun being rocked to the rear a fraction of an inch to defeat a level of retention, which usually means pressing it into the seat back.
A few of the benefits to note are the increased speed of the draw with the ALS compared to the SSIII as well as the security of conducting an immediate re-holster of the handgun. With the SSIII I had to get at least one of the snaps fastened to semi-secure the handgun, while with the ALS all I was required to do was to “drop” the handgun back into the holster until it “clicked” or locked into a secure position, or as some would consider the first level of retention.
The ALS holster is considered a Level III holster, though it is also available in a Level IV with the addition of an optional sentry installed. As viewed in the photo above, the first level of retention is underneath the hood with a “thumb break”, the second level being the hood, and the third being the hood guard, which looks like a shield to the left of the hood as pictured. The purpose of the hood guard is to help prevent a gun grab from the front of the individual wearing the holster. Not all body shapes are the same and some officers have found the hood guard to be uncomfortable. For them, we have installed a sentry as their third level of retention in lieu of the guard.
The finish that I chose was the STX Plain Black and has held up fairly well over months of use and abuse. There is one blemish that you can see on the bottom of the holster (pictured above), though in my honest opinion, it is just part of doing business. The STX Plain Black finish has held up better than the previously issued SSIII holster’s finish from the holster that was initially issued to me a decade ago.
Though in the above photo, the holster looks huge, I have not had any issues with the size of the holster. Additionally, I know that some will make mention about the HSGI Extended Pistol Taco Pouch holding the ASP Baton being too close to the handgun, effecting the draw. When worn, the holster and the baton pouch are spread out enough due to the curvature of my body and they do not interfere with one another.
As seen from below, the light is not covered and the bottom of the holster is not sealed off. I have had no problems with the light being damaged or even exposed to any hazards, however, with the opening, water and other minor debris cannot build up as it will drain out of the bottom of the holster.
For those who participate in NLTA (Non-Lethal Training Ammunition) Training (aka “Simunitions”), be mindful that the bottom of the interior of this holster has a “guide rod” that inserts into the barrel. This “guide rod” is to maintain the handguns proper positioning and security inside the holster when the light is not installed. With the majority, if not all of the available “Sim Guns”, the barrel’s opening is off-set as not to allow live “real world” ammunition inadvertently being chambered and having the firing pin strike the primer of a live round. That being said, the “guide rod” will not fit into the barrel of the “Sim Gun” and will not allow for a proper “seating” of the handgun in the holster. This has never proven to be a deal breaker, but something to be mindful of when you cannot completely holster and secure your handgun during training.
Overall, I am extremely pleased with this holster and would highly recommend it to any Law Enforcement / Military / Security personnel that require a secure and fast means of carrying their handgun in hazardous environments. The holster retails between $147-$217 depending on options. This is a fair price to pay considering the value of being able to retain your handgun when it truly matters.
For more information, check out the Safariland webpage.