Many folks think retention holsters are only for cops, mall security operators, and other uniformed folks who tend to get in frequent groping, grappling, or ground altercations. Not so—there are plenty of ways to lose control of a holstered firearm. While droppin’ it like it’s hot is fine for twerking, it’s not so cool for guns.
First, consider the word retention. You can retain water, an attorney, or perhaps your sanity. Just yesterday, I was retained by a very nice law enforcement officer. Wait, that was detained, not retained. Sorry, moving on. In all these cases, “retention” means something like “to keep possession of.”
So really, retention holsters are simply designed to help you keep possession of your gun. The potential cause for loss of such retention is not specified, and is certainly not limited to street fighting and the risk of your opponent grabbing your gun. If you live an active lifestyle, you’re likely doing things that might cause you to lose your gun. If you’re a simple couch potato, you’re still apt to partake in some activities that may cause you to lose your gun. Let’s talk about a few real-world scenarios that might warrant consideration of an active retention holster.
Disclaimer: As I wrote about extensively in my book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters, I’m a big believer in passive retention designs. Some use friction. Others rely on pressure. Many feature an adjustable retention screw. It’s hard to go wrong with a high-quality passive retention holster. However, for purposes of this article, we’re talking about active retention holsters, meaning those designs that require a positive action on your part to release.
You ride a bike. I’m not much of a triathlete. Or a runner. Or a jogger. Or even a brisk walker. I blame that on my high school lacrosse coach who enjoyed having his boys run a few miles on asphalt roads, wearing cleats, before each and every practice. In case you’re wondering, that’s not good for the knees. So nowadays, when I’m feeling spunky, I’ll roll over on the couch at least twice per hour. On those rare occasions when I feel super-duper energetic, I ride a mountain bike. Even my lacrosse-induced Rice Krispy knees can take that. But getting back to the point, assuming you’re wearing a hip holster, your legs are pumping up and down non-stop, and this provides a good bit of incentive for your gun to work free of its bonds for a taste of delicious freedom.