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American COP Jan/Feb 2011 Digital Edition - Page 22
OFFICER sURvIvAl JOHN RUssO GETTING HOME IN THE sAME CONDITION YOU WENT TO WORK IN. Paddle Holsters had to rethink my opinion of undercover holsters after a detective I knew was involved in a knock-down, dragout fight with a suspect. During the struggle, the suspect grabbed hold of the detective’s holstered gun and tried to wrestle it away, all the while telling him he was going to kill him. The gun didn’t come out of the holster, but the suspect managed to pull the entire paddle holster and gun from the detective’s pants! Then he pointed the gun and holster at the detective while fumbling to find the trigger. Fortunately, the detective was able to subdue the suspect before he found the trigger. I Are You Being overprotective? e traditionally think of retention as the way a holster retains the handgun. But there’s another type of retention — keeping the holster attached to your pants. What should you look for in a paddle holster to keep it firmly attached to your pants? It’s not a simple task when you think of all you Notice the nodules protruding from the must consider in your wardrobe — especially you ladies. paddle? These are the very doo-dads you want to look for in a good paddle holster Manufacturers have made great strides in the design and — they help keep it attached to your pants. comfort of paddle holsters along with great weapon retention methods. In fact, some of them are more comfortable and stable than a belt slide. Paddle holsters are designed to be used with or without a belt. A key factor you should look for is to make sure the paddle (the part you slip inside your waistband) has nipples or nodules to help keep it on your pants should you ever have to fight for your gun. Some of these holsters even have nodules on the back of the holster for added gripping power. When worn with a belt these nodules will hang up on the belt; without, the nodules will hang up on the waistband of your pants. The contour and width of the paddle is another consideration you should explore. Depending on your girth you may need a paddle contoured to better hug your waist. If you’re packin’ some extra weight, you may find a paddle without much contouring more comfortable. The width of the paddle can make a huge difference for a very slim officer; if the paddle is quite wide or flared, it’s likely to print or make your pants protrude awkwardly. If this happens, it might be an indicator the holster isn’t right for your body shape. Speaking of body shape, ladies have special concerns all their own — curves. Paddle holsters don’t always work well for women because of those pesky curves. The holster is more likely shove the butt of the gun into a woman’s rib cage. The paddle can also cause pain and discomfort if it sits directly on her hipbone, so maybe she can wear the holster slightly forward or behind her hip. If this is the way she wears the holster, then it’s imperative she’s able to quickly draw her gun from wherever she wears the holster. And women’s clothing is much different than men’s. Most women’s belts are a triumph of fashion over function. Wearing a belt with a paddle holster will not have much of an affect on how well it will work. The materials women’s suits and skirts are made of tend to be lighter than men’s, and women’s clothes generally fit tighter to the body, so printing and supporting a holster on the waist can be challenging. 22 W holsteR Retention The SERPA CQC from BLACKHAWK! has an index finger retention release. It comes in both belt slide (left) and paddle (right) formats. This Blade-Tech/5.11 Tactical ThumbDrive also comes in belt slide and paddle formats. And, duh, it’s a thumb-activated retention release. gun Retention istorically when you think of a level II retention paddle holster, you think of one with a thumb snap on it. I’m not saying they’re bad, but there are newer, better level II rigs now. Take, for instance, holsters from Blade-Tech/5.11 Tactical and BLACK h Continued on page 50 WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2011