Do You Need Retention for a Concealed Carry Holster

All right, so you’ve chosen the perfect concealed carry gun for your situation. Now, you need to start looking at holsters. There are plenty of factors to consider when it comes to choosing a concealed carry holster. One of those factors is holster retention. In this post, we’re going to look at whether you need to worry about retention for a concealed carry holster.

What is Holster Retention?

Essentially, holster retention is exactly what it sounds like. It’s some kind of device or force that holds your gun inside your holster. Holster retention is extremely useful for people who need to open carry guns for work, like police officers. After all, if you’re an LEO, you don’t want a bad guy to pull your own gun out of your holster and use it to commit a crime.

Retention may seem simple at first, but there’s actually a little more to it than meets the eye. Generally, retention comes in one of two types: active and passive. Passive retention is the simplest type of holster. These holsters just use gravity and the holster’s friction to keep your gun in place.

In contrast, active retention involves some kind of mechanical process that physically keeps your gun in the holster. For example, many active retention holsters feature a lock that attaches to the gun’s trigger guard. It only unlocks when you push a button. Some holsters simply have a leather strap that runs behind the gun and snaps back onto the holster’s body. These are retention holsters, too.

Brown Cowhide Holster

Holster Retention Levels

Aside from the terms “active” and “passive” retention, you may hear firearms enthusiasts and gun store employees throwing around terms for retention levels. However, retention levels aren’t as cut-and-dry as you’d imagine.

That’s because many different companies have their own proprietary retention levels. For example, Safariland’s “Level I” retention holders are active retention holsters. In contrast, Blackhawk’s “Level 1” holsters only use passive retention. As a result, you need to be familiar with a company’s specific definitions to understand how their retention holsters work.

Alligator OWB Holster

Do I Need Retention for a Concealed Carry Holster?

Fortunately, if you’re looking for a concealed carry holster, you don’t need to start wading too deeply into holster retention levels. That’s because in a CCW situation, you’re going to want to be able to draw and shoot as quickly as possible. It’s the same reason that many concealed carriers opt to keep a round in the chamber when carrying.

There’s another reason for this, too. One reason to have an active retention holster is to ensure a bad guy doesn’t use your own weapon against you. But if you’re concealed carrying correctly, no one should ever know you even have a gun in the first place.

As a result, you just want enough passive retention to make sure your gun doesn’t fall out of your holster during daily movement. Most leather and kydex holsters offer enough passive retention to keep your gun held in place. Be careful of the kind of holster you choose, though. Nylon holsters generally aren’t sturdy enough to do the job.

IWB Alligator Holster

Hopefully, all of this information will help you decide on the perfect concealed carry holster for you. If you want to learn more and explore different holster styles, check out all of Southern Trapper’s holster types here.

Conceal Carry Holster