All You Need To Know About Holster Retention Levels


    The term holster retention may seem strange to a new gun owner or to someone who came across the word for the first time. The holster is known to help fasten the gun or keep a gun safely in the owner’s possession.


    The holster that was supposed to hold the gun tightly in the owner’s possession sometimes loose hold without the consent of the owner. This section is where the holster retention comes into play. Holster retention is the mechanism that keeps the gun safe and secured in its holster. So holster retention is terminology that should be known by anyone who is going to carry a weapon, concealed or open.


    Retention includes some characteristics, like fastening the gun to its owner, to keep the gun safe from strangers during an attack, and also the weapon should not leave the owners without his consent.


     Holster retention is terminology, and also includes some sub terminologies that you will while shopping for holsters such as passive retention, active retention and retention levels.




  • Passive retention: this is the retention force a holster possess by its design and material. It does not require any manual unlocking to lose the gun from the holster. To better understand the term, it needs less barrier to loosen from hold, which also means it requires less barrier for someone else to grab the gun.

  • Active retention: this is the retention force that fastens a gun to place and requires the owner’s consent for the gun to be released. An active retention holster prevents an attacker from obtaining your gun and using it against you during an attack because it requires a properly trained person to disengage an active retention device.



    The advancement in the security industry has brought about holster retention level, but the big issue is that no regulatory body set the standard for these retention levels. The problem that arises from this is that some company’s level 3 may not qualify to be another company’s level 2 standard.

    It is important to all law enforcement agencies and those to desire to be an armed citizen to know about these retention levels.


  • Level 1:  a retention level 1 holster must possess a friction to grip the device by virtue of its design, this is referred to as passive retention, i.e. for a holster to pass as a level 1 holster it must have the frictional force to hold the gun, and it must ensure security of the gun for the carrier.

  • Level 2: a retention level 2 holster has the properties of level 1 with an additional active element, which makes it have two sources of retentions. This active element includes back-strap, hood or thumb-operated lever.

  • Level 3: a retention level 3 holster must have two sources of retention with an addition of another active element, which includes push button activated hood to cover the gun from grab attempt by an attacker from any direction.

  • Level 4: a retention level 4 holster is not recommended for the armed citizen because it takes the security bar to another level. It has three retention devices including passive retention. The gun doesn’t come out of a level 4 holster unless the carrier means it.


       It is significant to know about the holster levels and adequately trained on how to use it so that you won't put your safety and the safety of the others at risk.


The above levels show how a holster can safeguard your gun. Wouldn't you rather shop for a holster today?