There are two general methods of carrying a handgun: on-body and off-body. Most on-body holster carrying styles are quite convenient and famous. These methods include inside the waistband (IWB), outside the waistband (OWB), under the arm, or at the ankle. None is as comfortable as a drop leg holster or thigh holster, though.
The drop leg holsters belong to the open carry category. They are primarily intended for service-type sidearm or any larger pistol. As you probably guess, this method is predominantly used by the military and police.
Yet there are many circumstances when civilians may want function over concealment. In that case, they carry their sidearm in the most natural position.
For many younger gun enthusiasts, the coolest way of carrying a pistol is drop-leg holsters.
- DLH Benefits
- Reasons to wear DLH
- Drop Leg Holsters Construction
- Drop Leg Holsters Design
- (TOP 4) Best Drop Leg Holster FINAL Review And Guides 2021
Drop-leg holsters are also known as “thigh carry holsters.” They are sometimes referred to as tactical leg holsters. This open carry method has roots that date back to the 19th century.
Some of the deadliest gunslingers and cowboys of the Old West carried their six-guns on the leg. That position makes the pistol more accessible while riding a horse.
Modern gunmen are practicing similar carrying styles. Drop leg holsters are easily accessible while sitting in a vehicle.
Thigh-carried holsters allow military and police operators access to draw their sidearm quickly at any time. It sits in the most natural position.
There is another crucial reason for carrying a leg-style holster. That is that ubiquitous body armor makes a thigh rig almost the only choice for law enforcement and military personnel.
Another benefit of a drop-leg style rig is that it doesn’t limit the operator’s movement.
In many tactical situations, thigh carry holsters will come in handy. It doesn’t matter if you need your sidearm in a standing, kneeling, or prone position.
Reasons to wear DLH
For someone who carries a lot of gear, a thigh carry holster will also clear the hip belt. It will not interfere with a backpack or other gear.
As for the civilians, the leg holster is the best type of holster for open carry. The hunters, range shooters, and citizens find many benefits of this carry style.
For instance, tactical drop leg holsters are a much more desirable choice over standard hip holsters for hunters. OWB holsters and other gear around the waist can snag more easily. Gear can also be in the way of the long gun.
Besides, a tactical drop-thigh holster is more comfortable when doing rifle or shotgun transitions.
Drop Leg Holsters Construction
Classic Western holsters used leather. Today’s tactical leg holsters are usually available from synthetics. These include neoprene, ballistic nylon, and fabric.
Ballistic nylon, Cordura, or Kevlar are the most popular materials. They are used for affordable, entry-level thigh holsters.
The top-quality brands offer Kydex– and Boltaron-made holsters. These come custom molded to fit the frame of your pistol. These lightweight and strong materials provide an extraordinary durability level. They also provide a snug fit and tensioning screws for better security.
Generally, all these materials are quite comfortable to use. But molded plastic thigh holsters do provide increased stability and a higher strength rating.
Drop Leg Holsters Design
Compared to other holster styles, thigh holsters have a huge price span. They range from a cheapish $10 to the big-name models that could cost you $200 or more.
By design, drop leg holsters are intended to be used one-handed. They must be worn around the top of your front pants pocket.
Usually, the leg gun setup consists of the holster itself, thigh straps, and fasteners. A quality drop-leg holster should be securely attached to you. It should feature durable straps and hardware.
If you want to wear the holster properly, its main operating system should be adjustable. It should also include a robust gun belt attachment system. You want a gun belt that is strong enough to hold to your thigh holster.
Drop-leg holsters are comfortable. They have easy and quick access. However, their downside is that someone can attempt to steal your sidearm.
Here we are coming to another consideration. You need to prevent potentially dangerous scenarios by using only proven DLH (drop leg holsters). They should rely on a latch or retention device to secure the handgun.
Tactical drop-thigh holsters are used by “mobile” shooters and operators who spend a lot of time on their feet. Therefore, this holster type must have passive retention (Level 1) and a retention device (Level 2 & 3).
(TOP 4) Best Drop Leg Holster FINAL
Review And Guides 2021
SAFARILAND 6004 SLS TACTICAL HOLSTER
One of the first leg gun holsters on the SOF personnel market was the Safariland 6004 model. The entire 6000 Series of Tactical Duty holsters was a pioneer in the shooting industry. They were developed in response to tactical operators’ demands.
It is also dubbed as a tactical holster. The Safariland 6004 is made of top-quality thermal-molded Safari-Laminate. It is impervious to moisture, elements, scratches, dents, and even substantial impact.
This custom-molded thermoplastic holster is available for a large selection of service pistols. It can accommodate today’s most popular tactical sidearms. You can even use lights, red dots, or accessory rails.
The holster interior sports a soft Safari-Suede lining to protect the gun’s sights. It provides full protection for your pistol in day-by-day use.
The Safariland 6004 main feature is the SLS or Security Self Locking System. That consists of a rotating hood that allows for a smoother motion draw. It offers great resistance to gun grabs by criminals.
The rotating hood retention system can only be released by being simultaneously pushed down and rotated forward.
The 6004 SLS Tactical holster is shipped with standard silicone-backed dual straps. There is also a leg shroud for unsurpassed stability. The Shroud System comes in the form of a V-block piece with three mounting holes for optional accessories.
The SLS Duty holster is completely adaptable and adjustable. It doesn’t matter if you are on a long, slow stakeout or a high-speed operation.
SAFARILAND 7TS 7304 ALS DROP LEG TACTICAL HOLSTER
Another tactical holster from Safariland is designed to ensure the maximum safety of your sidearm.
The 7305 Tactical Holster offers a high level of holster security. It brings you Safariland’s revolutionary Self-Locking System (SLS) and Automatic Locking System (ALS).
The SLS design comes with a patented rotating hood. The hood secures the holster’s pistol against attempted weapon takeaways. It also provides faster and easier re-holstering than thumb break holsters.
The internal retention known as ALS (Automatic Locking System) secures the firearm when holstered. It will still allow for a smooth and efficient draw with no twisting required.
Like most Safariland holsters, the 7304 ALS/SLS drop leg rig features the quick-release double leg strap. The leg shroud has mounting holes and a detachable buckle for low-profile carry.
The Safariland 7TS 7304 ALS/SLS Tactical Holster is built of the innovative SafariSeven. This DuPont nylon blend is a highly durable material. It can handle temperature ranges from 300°F to -50°. That makes it practically impervious to the elements.
A soft suede covers the interior construction to protect the handgun’s finish.
This modern Level III design can be upgraded to a Level IV tactical rig by adding an additional Sentry device.
BLACKHAWK! 3 SERPA TACTICAL HOLSTER
Blackhawk is another American brand that prides itself on building excellent duty holsters. Their products are ideally suited for today’s demanding tactical situations.
Established by a Navy SEAL, the Blackhawk comes with a strong law enforcement background. The brand makes a range of shooting accessories and carry rigs for full-size service handguns.
One of the names most associated with Blackhawk holsters is the SERPA. Despite some controversy, the standard SERPA series of holsters are proven on duty.
Blackhawk SERPA Level 3 Tactical holster adds a third level of retention to the holster.
Along with a passive retention adjustment screw, the SERPA Level 3 holster features an auto-lock system. It holds the trigger guard. The SERPA patented auto lock release system is an internal locking device. The firearm remains secured to the holster.
The SERPA Auto-Lock system will release the firearm when an external lever is pressed with the index finger. At the same time, the hood that comes over the top of the holster secures the weapon at Level 3 retention.
Level 3 is probably overkilled for civilian carry. But it’s perfect tactical holsters for any kind of uniformed duty.
BLACKHAWK SERPA Level 3 Tactical Holster has a full-length holster body. It has quick-disconnect swivel buckles and a flexible thigh platform. Everything is constructed from durable carbon-fiber composite material. In combination with the Y-harness suspension system, the holster provides comfortable all-day carrying.
CONDOR TORNADO TACTICAL LEG HOLSTER
Condor Holsters deliver superior protection for your pistol or revolver. It also offers a new level of versatility. Condor gun-carrying platforms are robust, reliable, and straightforward. Their most valuable feature is adjustability, though.
Condor Tornado Tactical thigh holster is a fully adjustable rig. It will accommodate a variety of sidearms sizes and accept most laser or light attachments. As a bonus, the Condor holster features an open bottom. That allows you to holster pistols with silencers attached to the barrel.
This affordably priced Tactical leg holster is built of 1,000 Denier Cordura nylon. It can be attached to the thigh with two elastic and fully adjustable leg straps. They have a non-slip rubber lining. The two leg straps are 1.25-inch wide. They come with side-release buckles.
There is a wide adjustable leg extender. The Condor Tactical Leg Holster also boasts an adjustable hook and loop Velcro strap. The strap works as a retention system to secure your weapon.
Finally, you can also carry an extra magazine or flashlight in the Tornado side pouch.
The drop-leg configuration is an ideal holster location for high-threat environments and tactical operations.
Drop leg holsters are intended to be used by law enforcement or military operators. But there are certain situations that they will work for civilians. These situations include training, competition, or range days.
Many brands offer inexpensive models designed for hunters, target shooters, and gun lovers.
Suppose you are a first-time buyer looking for a quality drop leg holster. In that case, we recommend choosing one of the more budget-friendly options above. Professionals should consider the more advanced models.
Brian Belko is a freelance writer and blogger. His primary areas of focus include the outdoors and shooting sports. In addition to his freelance work, Brian also writes for Wide Open Spaces and is on the Pro Staff at Military Hunting and Fishing. When he isn’t busy writing, Brian enjoys fishing farm ponds for bass and hitting the spring woods during turkey season.