There are as you well can imagine a plethora of ways for carrying a handgun, among them the drop leg holsters [DLH] options.
Right off the bat, I must warn you, if you have made up your mind about purchasing a drop leg holster, it is imperative that you do some research before making your final decision as, nowadays, there are many of these holsters on the market constructed of substandard materials.
Hopefully, by reading my review of preferred models, I should be able to help you stay away from buying a drop-leg holster which you will later regret.
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What Are Drop Leg Holsters?
As implied by the name, drop leg holsters were designed to strap onto your leg.
They first came into use by the U.S. Cavalry in the old days as they were simple with long leather drop downs and thongs that tied around the upper thighs, thus the Thigh Rigs name for which they are also known as.
These holsters became popular among mounted police forces as they provided for easy draw from a saddled horse position.
Throughout time, DLH’s gained prominence as police forces and folks in the military used the drop leg holsters which allowed them to draw their weapons without being obstructed by other tactical equipment.
One of the greatest advantages of drop leg holsters is simply the fact that you can have easy access to your firearm without going through an “obstacle-course.”
In other words, when wearing bulky gear, the Drop Leg Holsters [DLH] move your weapon and holster in such way as to allow for a much more unhindered draw stroke.
Without being an orthopedic surgeon or a chiropractor, you can readily tell that your leg is an ideal position to attach your weapon if only because it fits in a natural position for a quick draw if necessary.
Also, when on a seated position the drop leg holsters provide for an easier draw.
The obvious downside to drop leg holsters’ positioning is, as you can imagine, if worn inappropriately or incorrectly they can be moved around intensively such as when you are running, jumping, and/or other vigorous activities, all of which could result in an unwanted discharge.
What to Look For In Drop Leg Holsters
When purchasing a drop leg holster, there are a few considerations which should be a part of your decision-making process.
Issues such as the weapons it can fit, the draw hand, material construction and mount are all rather important criterions which you must take into consideration.
I think it is safe to say that many drop leg holster manufacturers design their holster only to fit a limited number of models of weapons.
For sure, you do not want to purchase a drop leg holster, only to find after-the-fact, it did not fit your specific firearm.
It is very important to look for weapon compatibility before buying that drop leg holster that caught your eye.
You need to be certain that whichever drop leg holster you purchase will work well with your sidearm.
Drop leg holsters like many of their counterparts are typically designed to work on your body’s left or right side depending on your draw hand.
I got to tell you though, if you happen to be left-handed, there will be fewer options of drop leg holsters available to you since many brands now in the marketplace have really concentrated their designs to fit only right-handed folks.
Biased? Yes, unfortunately, that is the case.
Don’t ask me why though.
I have to say materials used in drop leg holsters are and should be a primary consideration as they will determine how durable and how resistant the holster is to wear and tear.
There are a variety of materials available which will affect these holsters in terms of rigidness, flexibility, and elasticity.
Like I said before, drop leg holsters are meant to be strapped to your leg and a duty/tactical belt.
While it is possible that you mount your drop leg holster to a standard belt, in doing so, you could be jeopardizing yourself by restricting an easy draw of your weapon, should the time come.
I have to say though, as far as I am concerned, drop leg holsters are a tough act to follow when it comes to a carry solution that lets you pull your sidearm into action at a short moment’s notice.
Unlike other standard OWB holsters, with drop leg holsters you do not have to deal with extra bulkiness and uncomfortable positionings commonly found in the others type holsters – great advantage if you ask me.
Who Are Drop Leg Holsters For?
Let’s just say that drop leg holsters are just not meant for everyone who owns a handgun.
Drop leg holsters are ideal for:
If you belong to any one of these groups, then it would be wise for you to consider buying a drop leg holster.
If, on the other hand, you are not a party to any of these groups or categories, it doesn’t mean that you cannot buy yourself a drop leg holster, it is just that this style of holster is more readily associated with these groupings or categories.
Choosing the right drop leg holster means looking for easy access and adjustability – two of the most important things you should look for when buying this type of holster.
Deciding which drop leg holster better suits your needs is like a balancing act.
What you need to balance in a holster choice is principally associated with the security and accessibility of your weapon while not compromising comfort.
You must think ahead in terms of the arm reach and ease of draw, which, in the case of thigh holsters, become rather critical considerations for obvious reasons.
What Are The Best Drop Leg Holsters?
1. Alien Gear ShapeShift Drop Leg Tactical Holster
Well, if you know me, or have read any of my previous reviews, by now you know that I am a fan of Alien Gear products.
And when it comes to drop leg holsters there is no exception as topping my list of preferred drop leg holsters is the Alien Gear ShapeShift Drop Leg Tactical Holster.
This one is fully adjustable, from the ride-height to the cant, to the retention, not to mention a very comfortable fitment.
It comes with multiple straps for equal weight distribution of the holster and the firearm.
From open to concealed carry this one integrates into any of the ShapeShift line of Alien Gear holsters.
It custom fits your specific pistol.
The Alien Gear ShapeShift Drop Leg Tactical Holster is made right here in the U.S., and it is sold at a very affordable price point in the $70+ dollars range.
Bottom line, I have owned one of these for as long as I can remember and, yes, I say if drop leg holsters are your thing, I highly recommend this one.
2. Blackhawk SERPA Level 3 Drop Leg Holster
Coming in at a close 2nd in my preferences is Blackhawk’s SERPA Level 3 Drop Leg Holster.
Well, how about if I start with the fact that this holster bears one of the biggest names in tactical equipment made in the U.S.A.
A multi-point “Y-Harness” strap system makes this one of the most comfortable drop leg rigs in the industry.
One of the greatest features of this holster is its accessory mounting locations to accommodate pouches, knives, mag cases, etc.
The rubberized leg straps eliminate sliding and Blackhawk's SERPA Auto lock release system is the ultimate in security affording a passive retention detent and a thumb-activated pivot guard.
Blackhawk SERPA Level 3 is available for many of the most common pistols.
While it may be a little bit pricey, I say it is still very much worth your money and you can’t go wrong with this one.
3. Safariland Model 6355 ALS Tactical Holster
At the number 3 in my list is the Safariland Model 6355 ALS Tactical Holster.
The Safariland’s ALS® (Automatic Locking System) offers unusually excellent retention securing the weapon once holstered; also provides for a simple straight-up draw once the release is deactivated.
The “open-top” design is meant for quick retrieval of weapons as circumstances may demand.
These holsters are constructed of SafariLaminate™ - a trademark which refers to a thermoformed, highly durable construction made of soft-suede linings to protect the weapon’s finish and sights.
Silicone gripper strips keep the dual elastic leg straps well in place.
The Safariland Model 6355 ALS Tactical Holster comes with leg shrouds that accept ELS, QLS, and MLS mounts for adding accessories.
Built for harsh environments, I say this one has it all and then some.
The price point in this one kind of goes hand-in-hand for what it offers.
4. Safariland Model 6354 ALS DO Drop Leg Glock Holster
Well, guess you can tell, when it comes to drop leg holsters, I am somewhat biased for Safariland Models.
Here, at my number 4 spot in my preferred list of drop leg holsters, as you can see, I have yet another Safariland, this one the 6354 ALS DO Drop Leg Glock Holster, compatible with 17 different brands of handguns.
And smartly made ambidextrous for righties and lefties as well.
The Safariland Model 6354 ALS DO Drop Leg Glock Holster is also made of SafariLaminate™ material, which, as I mentioned before, is made of Silicone and Suede material which offers great protection to your sidearm.
This model is designed to work with weapons with attached red dot sights.
The same as the 6355 model which I discussed before; it comes with Safariland's ALS® (Automatic Locking System) for maximum security.
Speaking of security, the leg straps on the 6354 include a silicone coating that prevents movement and helps stability of the holster’s platform.
5. Safariland Model 7305 7TS ALS/SLS Tactical Holster
Case you have not noticed, yes, when it comes to drop leg holsters, I am a strong endorser of the name Safariland.
Matter of fact, in my mind, the name Safariland has almost become synonymous with drop leg holsters – that’s how much I think this name has top-of-the-line holsters in this particular style of drop-leg holsters.
At position number 5 in my list is the Safariland Model 7305 7TS ALS/SLS Tactical Holster.
Some of the features of these 7305 models may sound somewhat repetitive only because they are inherently found in all the Safariland holsters.
For instance, the Model 7305 7TS ALS/SLS Tactical Holster includes both the Automatic Locking System (ALS) and a Self-Locking System (SLS) for maximum weapon security.
Unique to the 7305 model, however, is that it is constructed out of SafariSevenTM Nylon blend.
This trademarked proprietary nylon blend provides for additional protection against the elements - against extreme heat or cold.
The Safariland Model 7305 features a quick-release double leg strap and leg shroud with detachable buckle for low profile carry.
The leg strap is adjustable with a quick-release detachable leg harness.
The raised stand-off surfaces in the holster's interior creates air space around the weapon allowing dirt and moisture to quickly clear any contact with the firearm.
6. Blackhawk SERPA Level 2 Tactical Holster
At the number 6 spot I have the Blackhawk SERPA Level 2 Tactical Holster.
As I mentioned earlier, when you talk about Blackhawk, you are talking about one of the top names in the industry.
Designed to fit Glock 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 31, 32 and SandW MandP 9/40/45. Its flexible platform conforms to your leg size and the “Y-Harness” suspension makes sure to distribute the weight evenly, keeping the holster in a vertical position.
This one comes with swivel buckles on the belt loops.
The quick-disconnect swivel buckles provide for flexibility and quick mounting and dismounting of the weapon.
As its sister model, the Blackhawk SERPA Level 3 earlier discussed, this one too offers accessory mounting locations to accommodate pouches, knives, mag cases, etc.
The SERPA Auto Lock release system found in this model affords you with a passive retention detent system which is the ultimate in terms of security and protection.
It is made of a very durable Carbon-Fiber Composite material and has rubberized leg straps to eliminate sliding.
This one is reasonably priced to make it quite affordable for what it offers.
You must include the Blackhawk SERPA Level 2 Tactical Holster in your drop leg holsters’ considerations.
Summary and Conclusion
If you have not figured it out yet, once again, drop leg holsters are not for just everyone out there who owns a sidearm – cannot be any more straightforward, can I?
Let me be even more specific if I may.
If you are a novice to the world of handguns, I would politely recommend that you start-off with anyone of the many other holster selections out there, such as an Inside the Waistband [IWB], an Appendix Carry, or an Outside the Waistband [OWB], a duty/battle belt mounted, etc.
On the other hand, if you are an experienced long-time gun owner, and are willing to experiment with a system that offers more comfort than many of its counterparts, the drop leg holster may be just for you.
Moreover, if you happen to be a member to any of the law-enforcement community, security personnel, competition shooters and/or hikers, drop leg holsters should definitely be an utmost consideration for you.
Whichever the case may be, something to think about when using a drop leg holster is that, if improperly worn, the drop leg holster and/or the thigh rig can rotate around during strenuous activities such as when running or jumping to where it can pose some security threats relative to a possible discharge associated to body-leg movement.
My last comment on the drop leg holsters is relative to their price points.
As true for any other product, never more appropriate here than the old saying, “you get what you pay for” – the price of something usually equals its quality.
You will be amazed at the price-point variations in drop leg holsters, which range as low as in the $10 to $15 dollar range, to as high as in the upper $200 range, maybe more.
Point here being, you must be especially careful and be very aware as to what you are purchasing.
Just remember that some of the very, very low prices out there, may be at the expense of the quality and craftsmanship that you want or expect in your drop leg holster.
My list of preferences today includes some pricey options but I also included some very affordable alternatives as well, all offering a quality that was good enough for me and hopefully will be good enough for you as well.
Given the highly diversified options of drop leg holsters that are available in the marketplace, I hope that my preferences somehow have given you a “heads up” insight on what drop leg holster you should or should not buy.
So, good luck as you make your final decision.