Tony “TRB” Phillips
Michael’s of Oregon, aka Uncle Mike’s, makes a fine selection of low-priced, mid- to-high quality holsters and other tactical accessories. Find them on the web at http://www.uncle-mikes.com or http://www.michaelsoforegon.com.
I acquired one of their Dual Retention Drop-Leg Tactical Holsters recently so as to have a more standard, nylon rig with convential thumb-break to cut my teeth on before trying out the Safariland 6004. This holster is adequate, but I was not fully satisfied with it.
The Dual Retention Tactical Holster is made of standard nylon web, reinforced with plastic. The plastic plate on the side bears four phillips screws, used to adjust tension on the weapon. The holster is an adaptation of the rest of the Dual Reten- tion line of standard, hip-worn holsters. It is made drop leg with the removal of its normal belt slides or paddles, and the addition of a wide, velcro covered nylon strap which attaches to the back of the holster with three allen screws. This strap can be bent at any point along itself when folded over. This allows one to adjust how high or low it rides on your leg, and a pair of smaller straps which wrap around the large strap add security and allow unlimited adjustment for different width belts. The allen screws, in combination with velcro both on the holster and the strap, also serve to hold the adjustable portion of the thumb-break on. It seems like it would allow the thumb break to shift around, but it does not. In that the holster is well engineered. The holster straps to your leg at the bottom with yet another velcro covered nylon strap, which threads through a pair of oval rings which are also mounted to the holster by way of the aforementioned trio of allen screws. It is adjustable to fit most legs by way of altering how much of the strap is pulled through the rings before folding the strap over on itself to secure it.
It all sounds nice, but in use this holsters has some shortcomings that cannot be ignored. First and foremost, this is a double action autopistol holster, and it shows. Despite the fact that I ordered a version that was supposedly designed specifically for the M1911A1 Government Model pistol, the thumb break was not oriented to properly secure the pistol when the hammer was cocked (condition 1). It could be secured, but I had to either adjust it low and twist the sewn-on portion of the thumb break to go down in front of the hammer, or adjust it almost to its upper limit and have the strap straddle the beavertail. Neither was satisfactory; the former, while secure, made a timely draw difficult, since I either had to painfully force my thumb in between the thumb break and the side of the beavertail, or unsnap it before taking my firing grip. The latter option was easy to disengage and draw with, but it lacked security. The gun could be wrestled out without undoing the thumb break. A lot of this concern goes away if you’re carrying a DA/SA or DAO pistol with the hammer down. That is what this thumb break was designed to cover.
The other half of the Dual Retention concept, though, worked well. The screw-adjustable tensioning on the holster allowed me to fit the holster easily to both my Government Models, and offered a confident, tight grip on the pistol for about the first inch of the draw. It then ramped off, allowing the gun to come easily out.
As I started wearing it into tactical drills though, another shortcoming showed through. The strap which goes around your leg is not secure at all. The Velcro tended to work loose quickly at anything more than a fast walk, and prone shooting would also sometimes unstick the Velcro, more while getting up or crawling than going down or actually shooting. Re-strapping it was quick and simple, unless the strap snaked out of the ring on the holster before I could grab it. All in all I would much prefer an adjustable strap with a quick release buckle, as employed on the Safariland 6004. Dual strap versus single strap is personal preference; when it would stay attached, the Dual Retention’s single wide strap held the holster in place comfortably and stably.
In conclusion, I would not recommend this holster to the M1911 user, in any form, due to its incompatible thumb break. However, Beretta, SIG, Glock, CZ, or Ruger users may be satisfied with it, especially in the standard hip versions. As for the tactical version, if you do choose one, replace the leg strap with a more secure one immediately. Your weapon and your leg with thank you for it.