Alien Gear’s Rapid Force Duty Holster offers the perfect balance of security and accessibility
The price point for this product is within the range you would expect to pay for a standard duty holster – the quality and thoughtful design are above and beyond
A professional carrying a handgun as their primary firearm requires a holster built for that purpose. Almost a hundred years ago, a revolver carried in a break front leather holster was considered cutting-edge. Fast forward to modern-day patrol work and officers are more likely to possess a rigid holster with 2, or perhaps 3 levels of retention. That holster is likely to be securing a semi-automatic, probably with a light under the muzzle and maybe even an optic behind the ejection port too.
A retention holster is always walking a line of accessibility and security. The handgun must be as secure as possible until the officer requires it; when required it must be rapidly accessible.
The rapid accessibility part has always been a challenge. The more secure the firearm, typically the slower it is accessed. The less time an officer devotes to mastering the holster, the more cumbersome the draw appears, especially under pressure. I have watched thousands of people learn to draw, a lot of it is painful to see. The lack of intuitiveness can turn simple handgun access into a two- or three-step event.
Defeating retention and establishing a grip don’t always flow naturally together. Shooters can develop cumbersome multistage processes for retention removal and separately forming their grip. Add a modicum of stress to that draw process and the holster may as well be superglued shut. Shooters stressed by a mere time constraint on a range will wrestle with holstered handguns. They look as though they are trying to pick themselves up off the ground, attempting to muscle the handgun out of a holster they cannot operate under pressure. The holster industry has come a long way in molding plastics to the technology we carry. The retention devices have not always been very thoughtfully created for the way hands work, and particularly how humans perform under pressure…until now.
I had the privilege of testing and evaluating Alien Gear’s new Rapid Force duty holster earlier this year. Within about 10 minutes I knew this was something different, and shortly afterward I bought three of them. My duty holster is now and will continue to be a Rapid Force product. If asked for a recommendation the answer will unquestionably be a Rapid Force holster. The clue is in the name they have chosen, and the name is accurate.
LEVEL 2 RETENTION
The accessibility of the firearm is ergonomically inspired. The manufacturer refers to it as the “GMR” (Gross Motor Response) retention control system. The level 2 variant is released with a swipe of the thumb as the hand closes. Simply by forming their grip, a shooter will defeat the retention. There isn’t anything to “learn” for a new shooter other than where to put their hand. Closing your fist to grip the handgun is all it takes to release the level 2 retention device.
LEVEL 3 RETENTION
The level 3 option is just as intuitive. Pressing down onto a large pad with your thumb takes care of the level 3 hood. Closing your fist to grip the handgun swipes the level 2 out of the way. No extra moves in any other directions are required.
The holster is extremely tough, I have not treated it kindly, and it stands up to whatever I throw at it. The manufacturer states it is “Able to withstand pressures up to 500 lbs, temperatures of -40°F to 350°F.” I am inclined to believe them, though I haven’t baked my holsters in the oven to test the theory!
There is a quick disconnect upgrade option that works fabulously. It creates a small stand off from the belt, which itself can be a great feature, especially when wearing armor in an outer carrier. It allows a holstered pistol to be detached from the wearer, which has operational and safety advantages for gun movement, storage and handling. The quick disconnect requires two hands to operate. The release mechanism is concealed behind the holster. This is once again a thoughtful aspect of the design. The quick disconnect does not compromise the strength of the holster, nor the security of its attachment to the shooter.
WHAT ELSE IS IN THE BOX
Do bolts occasionally and mysteriously vanish from your workbench, or is it just me? Not to worry, spare bolts are included with the holster, as well as a thread lock and the tool to make any required adjustments. When you remove a bolt to mount the holster to a belt or make a change, you will now have a spare bolt or two on hand. Using the conveniently supplied thread lock ensures anything you do move or adjust will not shake loose operationally. The manufacturer also includes an additional larger push button (level 3) and thumb swipe lever (level 2), so the user can select the size they want for a made-to-measure fit. These are small but thoughtful touches that show the consideration for the end user. Everything you will need is included in the box.
The price point for this product is within the range you would expect to pay for a standard duty holster – the quality and thoughtful design are above and beyond.
Visit Alien Gear Holsters at SHOT Show 2023 in Booth 10174 and follow Police1's SHOT Show coverage here.