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BLUF (or TL/WR)?

Wear your Safariland ALS (or ALS/SLS combination) duty holster at 2 (or 10) o’clock, with a 15-degree muzzle forward orientation on a low ride belt attachment.

History, anecdotal research, and real data show it is both faster and better ergonomically.

The data is on the @the_theory_police Instagram page.

Caveat: I had this idea back in the fall, but a Canadian copper got to the end result well before I would have.

In December 2018, I took a red dot/pistol mounted optic class from Modern Samurai Project and shot next to an Orange Co SO Deputy Gabe Rivera. His SWAT rig had the holster at about 2 o’clock. He was called out, so I didn’t get the chance to discuss it with him.

After retiring, one of the first books I read was John Bianchi’s 1978 Blue Steel & Gunleather on the subject of holster design, construction, and the like. Other topics from it may be fodder for other posts later.

BianchiBook1

The most interesting, to me, was a series of thoughts and photos covering the popular combat shooting holsters from the 60s & 70s. Whether part of a full belt, like the old Hollywood cowboy rigs, or stand-alone holsters – these all had a muzzle forward cant. Bianchi describes them as being forward cant holsters. He said they were metal lined, which, coupled with the forward cant, would prevent shooters from being injured in the event of an accidental discharge - the phrase at the time.

BianchiBook2BianchiBook3BianchiBook4

I was intrigued given the contrast to current duty holsters – almost exclusively Safariland – which has a distinct muzzle rearward design. Safariland has claimed this is an effort to prevent shooters from being injured by a negligent discharge (ND), the current term. A recent conversation with Bill Rodgers confirmed the above.

One of the big positives was a faster draw. Hmmm.

While mentally digesting that, I recalled that several senior deputies in my old organization wore muzzle forward holsters when I started. These were all for 1911s – which were carried by just less than half of the 200+ deputy sheriffs back then. I recall they were Bianchi, not Safariland.

Why did they go away?

If I have historical questions about law enforcement equipment, firearms, and training, my first contacts are usually Darryl Bolke, Wayne Dobbs, and Chuck Haggard. Retired cops from California, Texas, and Kansas, respectively.

Bolke had a muzzle forward Gordon Davis holster done for a .45Long Colt revolver he carried working crime suppression. He also mentioned Safariland’s model 295 holster they built for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

*gd_4005

 *lasd_4002*lasd_4003

Dobbs thought the most significant benefit of the muzzle forward design was establishing the grip correctly from the beginning because of an already locked wrist. He added that while at the LAPD academy range during the PMO project, he saw muzzle forward holsters being worn by LAPD Lts in "immaculate" uniforms – pressed & shined. Holster companies founded by both Gordon Davis and Ted Blocker made, and still make, all leather holsters with muzzle forward cant.

*gd_465583104_n-1blocker91sp100mf2 

Both thought they might have been perceptions about disarms and weapon retention issues.

Next call? Haggard, who teaches as much arrest & control material as he does shooting.

Haggard told me it was not a weapon retention issue. He saw how it might have been perceived that way. Also, there were negative perceptions about some who choose to wear their holsters this way.

In November, I audited a class taught by Sentinel Defense. One instructor had a holster with a muzzle forward cant. That instructor, Clint, had been an LAPD patrol officer, worked CRASH during the 90s, as well as being a divisional firearms instructor. As I got deeper into thinking about this, I called him. He pointed me to a G-Code belt holster mount that allowed one to adjust the mount for muzzle forward or back cant. I ordered two; however, neither were adjustable because G-Code had changed their design. (Clint is a close friend and we teach together elsewhere.)

In December, I ran into Ken Hackathorn at Gunsite. I asked him about the muzzle orientation issue. He was pretty sure that the reason this design went away was that they would inadvertently take the 1911s safety off.

I mentioned this to Darryl; however, he did not recall anything about the thumb safety issue.

New plan. After SHOT, I figured find someone bending thicker Kydex or Bolteron, in the 0.09 range, and have them make me a few prototypes.

***

At this year's SHOT Show, I went by the Safariland booth – trying to find duty holsters for pistols equipped with both PMO and WML takes effort. There, I talked with Bill Rodgers and asked him about the muzzle forward vs rearward cant issue. He said the sole reason Safariland went to muzzle rearward cant was that cops were shooting themselves in the leg, knee with anything other than a muzzle rearward cant holster. Specifically, Rodgers attributed this to open trigger guard design holsters and the introduction of Glocks in 1977. 

(Bianchi published his book in '78 and Glocks didn't even begin appearing until well into the 80s.)

The book showed an awful lot of open trigger guard designs. It also frequently showed fingers on triggers - except for the segment on safely drawing a pistol. 

BianchiBook5-Rodgersrodgers-images

He said Safariland has seen fewer officers shooting themselves in the leg with the newer holster designs. That leads to a reduced liability for them. It was why they were comfortable with moving from solely rearward cant models. An example of this was a couple of modified Universal Belt Loops (UBLs) out on the table. Rather than the standard triangular three circular hole pattern, these had three curved, semi-circle slots that would allow the holster to rotate some when mounted to this UBL. It is called the CUBL and, while not available for purchase as of this writing. They list it on the website (https://www.safariland.com/pro...loop-model_CUBL.html).

*CUBL2020*ubl_2743

***

Meanwhile, I found an Instagram page run by a Canadian police officer, who goes by the nom de net of @the_theory_police. It appeared he was as into actual data and research as many of my friends in the field are. 

He was posting photos and data from his study of four issues relating to duty holster wear in L/E and with some extrapolation to elements of the military. Those four issues are:

Height, in relation to the duty belt;

Angle, the direction of muzzle cant and how much;

Position, with regards to the buckle – 3 (or 9) o'clock? Or is there something better, faster;

Retention levels;

After working the various factors on shot timers himself, he got data from other cops. Using the timer, he tracked the data on all of these variables, put it into photos for most of us to understand, wrote up the results as well, and then shared all of it. 

Height wise, he looked at the mount and how it raised or lowered the grip compared to the belt, as a high, mid, or low ride design. High ride holsters averaged out to a 1.57-second draw; mid-ride averaged 1.41 seconds; the low ride UBL came in at 1.33 seconds. Just shy of a quarter second difference. 

*height1*height2*height3*height4*height5*height6

Regarding the holster's angle, he uses the terms differently from how Bianchi did. If the muzzle is oriented rearward, then that is a positive angle. If the muzzle is forward, that is a negative angle. 

He designed an adjustable fixture that would let him move the muzzle from 20 degrees forward through 0 degrees (straight drop) to 10 degrees rearward for the testing.

*angle1*angle2

The best angle was 15 degrees muzzle forward. He made a relatively thin plate as proof of concept, though he specifically cautioned that it was not for duty use. 

*angle3*plate1 

Additionally, going to a 15-degree muzzle forward angle keeps the wrist from breaking out of a natural, neutral angle. Think back to Dobb’s thought on the benefit of a muzzle forward design.

*wrist2020-02-01 at 8.22.44 PM*wrist2020-02-01 at 8.22.52 PM*wrist2020-02-01 at 8.22.59 PM*wrist2020-02-01 at 8.23.04 PM*wrist2020-02-01 at 8.23.14 PM*wrist2020-02-01 at 8.23.32 PM

To determine the best position on a belt, he started at 12 o'clock, the centerline (0 deg), and worked back to behind the hip, 4 o'clock or 120 deg, in 10-degree increments. Rather than confirming the traditional 3 o'clock (90 deg) position was best, the data showed that 2 o'clock (60 degrees) provided the best performance. 

*position1*position2*position3

Safariland has three different retention systems that he tested. 1st, the Automatic Locking System / Self-Locking System (ALS/SLS) combination; 2nd, ALS-only; 3rd, the combined ALS w/guard (which he notes seems to be rare in North America but common elsewhere). There was a negligible 0.05-second average difference in the draw to shot times between an ALS/SLS combination and an ALS only holster.  

*Retention_als_alssls_alsguard*retention2

Additionally, and something I was glad to see, he tied in the draw to shot times with data from Force Science. Given that ForceScience has been able to make inroads into L/E in terms of human factors, this is "a" way to push the idea with traction that already exists.

*summary1*summary2*summary3*Summary4

With all of that, @the_theory_police reached out to a manufacturing company – Black Box Customs – and had them produce two mounts. One is an adapter that mounts between the Safariland holsters and their Universal Belt Loop to get the correct angle. The second mount does that and allows one to attach an 1110 Gear tourniquet holder at the front of the holster – removing it from the belt while keeping it accessible by either hand. One benefit, by moving the TQ holder to the holster, I gain space on the belt.   *plate2020-02-01 at 8.24.20 PM*ncp2020-02-01 at 8.39.14 PM*NCPE2020-02-01 at 9.06.25 PM

You can find these mounts here: https://shop.blackboxcustoms.com/products/black-box-customs-negative-cant-plate-for-safariland-holsters-equipment-mount.

I've ordered two of these mounts out of my pocket and am looking forward to getting them. I’ll report back when I get them

If this is something you are interested in, go to @the_theory_police IG account. Look at his research and the data sets he developed. Comment or ask questions. Thank him for his work. If you think it's worthwhile, give it a like or two. 

***

Last night, I saw @the_theory_police had also looked at the ALS Nub from Oregon Trail Defense. He posted the data on its benefit. I already have them on my holsters because they made it more consistent for me. It is nice to know there is a demonstrable benefit for using them.

nub 2020-02-10 at 10.47.04 PM

I hope this is beneficial.

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  • *CUBL2020: Safariland webpage
  • *ubl_2743: Safariland's Canted UBL
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  • nub 2020-02-10 at 10.47.04 PM
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Last edited by Community Member
Original Post

This research is on the right track. Go to any USPSA match and you will see holster placement and cant angles exactly like what was found to be ideal in the above study. This is because it’s the ideal placement for shooting performance. The only benefit I can see from a muzzle to the rear cant is while seated in a vehicle it makes it slightly easier to draw (nothing that can’t be overcome). I use a slightly forward canted holster position in competition shooting and would be very happy if my duty holster was completely neutral (in both cant and offset). 

Holy fuck why isn’t there a completely neutral (I realize a slightly adjustable for both cant and offset is waaaay to much to ask for) duty ready hanger available!!!

Last edited by Community Member
SRT72 posted:

Outstanding post. I have wondered about the cant variation and the nub. 

I’ve found that new, newer, newish ALS system makes the Nub almost irrelevant. It’s so much smoother now that it has the pin on the outside of the holster to use as the axis to rotate.  My older 6360 for my Sig (can’t remember when I got it, but it’s been awhile) was greatly aided  by the Nub as the ALS simply attached to the holster near the sight channel and was held closed on the ejection port by tensile strength (I think that’s the right word). My new 6360RDS for my G17 is really, really smooth and, after shooting about 2,000 rounds out of my duty holster, I don’t think I’m even going to bother with the Nub. 

Erick posted:
XTCBX posted:
Holy fuck why isn’t there a completely neutral (I realize a slightly adjustable for both cant and offset is waaaay to much to ask for) duty ready hanger available!!!

The CUBL will get you there; as will Frank Proctor's Way of the Gun neutral drop belt loop. While I have not had issues with it on my duty belt, I have heard of others breaking.

Just checked their website to order a bunch of these...not available yet... That $100 Safariland certificate I got at Nationals last year is going to be useful!!!

Great stuff Erick! Thanks for posting. I'm anxiously waiting for the release of the CUBL. Using a QLS mount  I can get near neutral but now I want that negative cant even more. Someone above mentioned drawing from vehicles, I think if you are going to run a negative cant you will have to move the gun forward to 2 o'clock. Some testing on that would be interesting. 

The 2 o'clock and negative cant I think would have some positives in weapons retention as well. You are bringing the gun closer to inside your hips where you have more control and the negative cant possibly creating the same wrist alignment issues for the attacker that positive cant creates for shooter. 

When I took VCQB last summer I remember Will specifically talking about moving the holster forward on the belt to almost the 2 o'clock position.  I tried it and fell in love with it.  Wearing a plate carrier with side soft armor I find my draws smoother, faster and less obstructed.  I also find (subjectively) that the gun points more naturally and correctly immediately after drawing.

I'm curious about the stance and how it is altered (or not) when moving the gun to a 2 o'clock position and negative cant.  Let me explain the basis for the question.  I started shooting IPSC approximately 1982 in Southern California.  I was stationed at 32nd St. Naval Station at the time.  I don't recall exactly when, but holsters were evolving in the '80s and the neutral, then negative cant became popular, with the front of the holster cut down to reduce the height of the draw necessary to clear the holster.    Stance was weak side quartered toward the target and the Weaver/Modified-Weaver position was the standard.  Part of the rationale for moving the holster to the 2 o'clock position then, or even a crossdraw, was the alignment of the gun in the holster to the target.  For a right handed shooter, the left foot was more forward, essentially a "boxer" stance.  With a negative cant and 2 o'clock position, drawing the gun required a minimum amount of lateral movement to get the gun from the holster to the sight line.  

Modern stances are predominantly squared to the target to maximize armor coverage, with a resultant isosceles hold instead of Weaver.  What have you observed in your testing, or the testing you've seen with the change in duty holster position and a squared/isosceles stance/hold?

But, what will this do to the "FBI Cant"?  Don't we all strive to be like the FBI?

I am not sure Bill Rogers claim of officers shooting themselves accidentally is viable.  I would argue the reduction of these numbers seems to follow more/better training in regards to trigger finger placement and awareness...coupled by the knowledge that you can in fact negligently stroke through a 15 pound DA revolver trigger pull under stress...if your booger picker is on the bang switch at the wrong time.

Anybody who cut their teeth in the IPSC game in the 70's and '80's had a rear-ward cant.

Also, on a side note...the Glock was not even in anyone's imagination in 1977...probably a type, but, you know...I just have to bitch.

Last edited by Community Member
Benton Quest posted:

But, what will this do to the "FBI Cant"?  Don't we all strive to be like the FBI?

I am not sure Bill Rogers claim of officers shooting themselves accidentally is viable.  I would argue the reduction of these numbers seems to follow more/better training in regards to trigger finger placement and awareness...coupled by the knowledge that you can in fact negligently stroke through a 15 pound DA revolver trigger pull under stress...if your booger picker is on the bang switch at the wrong time.

Anybody who cut their teeth in the IPSC game in the 70's and '80's had a rear-ward cant.

Also, on a side note...the Glock was not even in anyone's imagination in 1977...probably a type, but, you know...I just have to bitch.

The FBI cant still makes a lot of sense for concealed carry.

Benton Quest posted:

But, what will this do to the "FBI Cant"?  Don't we all strive to be like the FBI?

I am not sure Bill Rogers claim of officers shooting themselves accidentally is viable.  I would argue the reduction of these numbers seems to follow more/better training in regards to trigger finger placement and awareness...coupled by the knowledge that you can in fact negligently stroke through a 15 pound DA revolver trigger pull under stress...if your booger picker is on the bang switch at the wrong time.

Anybody who cut their teeth in the IPSC game in the 70's and '80's had a rear-ward cant.

Also, on a side note...the Glock was not even in anyone's imagination in 1977...probably a type, but, you know...I just have to bitch.

For duty holsters, I'd be happy if the FB1 cant went away. 

This whole thing is research. If it doesn't work for you, no problem.

As for Rodgers' statements, he's worth talking with as he is a SME on holster design. I just relayed what he had to say, like the Glock comment. 

I only shot IPSCish in the 90s, so I can't comment on the 70s - other than what is in the books from Bianchi, Shaw, Enos, etc there I see plenty of muzzle forward holsters.

@Community Member - the reading and conversations are mine, the data comes from that Canadian police officer.

When it comes to the platform, stance stuff there is a lot of misunderstanding on what the Weaver, modified Weaver was/is. And people evolve. It's likely that Jack Weaver's biggest contribution to defensive shooting was getting two hands on the gun and raising the sights to eye level. Recoil control would be next.

Regardless of what one's upper body is doing, I'm pretty much seeing the same lower body positioning, orientation across the board. The support foot is a bit farther forward than the strong foot and side to side they are shoulder-width apart. Hips and shoulders are generally oriented towards the primary threat - for armor, etc. The head is up & sights are brought up to eye level rather than dropping the head to the sights.  From there we can argue to the support elbow being bent downward or nearly locked out - and mine will vary based on circs.
So, the 2 (or 10) o'clock isn't affected for me.

Great, and timely post.  This has been on my mind for about a year now.  Say what you will about Travis Haley, but about a year ago I took one of his classes.  We spent a good hour talking about holster position with him heavily selling a muzzle forward design based on the body's physiology.  Basically what is mentioned above about wrist lockout.  It seemed solid, and my "range/competition/geardo" belt mimicked this idea since that class.  The problem I came across was the inability to get my duty holster to the angle I wanted.  Using a QLS gives a tad more angle, but not much.  I ended up drilling out, and basically creating my own CUBL.  

I ran into another problem, though, with the muzzle angle.  The ability to draw seated in a car.  With a rearward muzzle angle it was still possible to draw while bucked in a car, now with a muzzle forward cant, it is damn near impossible to get the gun out.  

I recently tried one of those Safariland DFA holster mounts (single strap drop leg).  It appears to be a lot more comfortable than a low-ride UBL (that dug into my leg).  I run it just a tad lower than a low ride UBL, not a drastic drop like some people do with a full on drop leg holster.  I'm not sold on muzzle angle at this time, I need to do a bit more testing and see what works best.  I haven't used it on duty yet, but I fear it will be just as hard to draw in a car.  

 

68WhiskeyNCoke posted:
I ran into another problem, though, with the muzzle angle.  The ability to draw seated in a car.  With a rearward muzzle angle it was still possible to draw while bucked in a car, now with a muzzle forward cant, it is damn near impossible to get the gun out.  

... but I fear it will be just as hard to draw in a car.  

If you're on IG, find his page. He ran a vehicle-basedtest.

Erick,

I agree with you that Bill Rogers is most definitely a SME in the area, with much revered experience.  I don't mean to imply differently.

And the FBI cant was a tongue in cheek comment...How the hell does an agency claim a specific cant...or shotgun stock...or slide lock.

For duty carry (concealed), I split the difference and have zero cant.  That said, off duty, it's AIWB, which closely mimics your assertions.

A good post that lays out some valuable information and food for thought.  Good work!

 

Benton Quest posted:

 

And the FBI cant was a tongue in cheek comment...How the hell does an agency claim a specific cant...or shotgun stock...or slide lock.

I may be wrong (and frequently am), but from reading old Galco catalogs years ago, I came to believe that “FBI cant” was an acronym referring to “Forward Body Incline”, as opposed to the federal agency. This may have been backward engineering on Galco’s part, though. 

Benton Quest posted:

How the hell does an agency claim a specific cant...or shotgun stock...or slide lock.

 

Learning definitely occurred when I realized the P/N for the so-called FBI stock for the 870 was the same as that of the youth stock. Realizing how much better a shorter LOP for a shotgun can be is part of the reason I'm moving to a 1301 and an 870 with magpul stocks soon rather than the Benellis I had used in the past.

Stud board!

Two points regarding the NUBL mod.  

1) The Nub gives the thumb a larger target.  Where this really shines is on the ALS only holsters. I’ve found that the bale on the SLS/ALS holsters naturally creates the target and puts the thumb in the correct position to defeat the ALS after the SLS has been lowered.  That being said I still have the nub on my 7360.

2)The ALS is a lever, and lengthening that lever with the Nub lessens the required amount of force to defeat the retention of the ALS.  This could be good or bad. 

Benton Quest posted:

Erick,

I agree with you that Bill Rogers is most definitely a SME in the area, with much revered experience.  I don't mean to imply differently.

And the FBI cant was a tongue in cheek comment...How the hell does an agency claim a specific cant...or shotgun stock...or slide lock.

For duty carry (concealed), I split the difference and have zero cant.  That said, off duty, it's AIWB, which closely mimics your assertions.

A good post that lays out some valuable information and food for thought.  Good work!

 

Hmm. I was told way back the FBI in relationship to holsters stood for "Forward Butt Inclination".  I could of course had been fed a line of crap.  I never questioned it as the meaning has no bearing on what I do.  I've carried OWB at 2:00 since I started carrying daily 12 years ago.

I hate the Safariland forward cant and didn't feel like waiting for the cubl release.  A few minutes with a dremel produced this:

 

The holes aren't very graceful, but the head size on Safariland screws is sufficiently large to accommodate  inaccurate dremel work.  

From forward cant to rearward.  The jury is still out on how it will affect in-car draw stroke.

 

As for the origin of the "FBI cant" - if Alien Gear is to be believed, it was someone else's work that, over time, was credited to the FBI:

https://aliengearholsters.com/blog/fbi-cant-holster/

 

Origins Of The "FBI Cant Holster"

The genesis of the "FBI cant holster" requires one to reach back into the fabled mists of time.

So, for a bit of holster history:

Up until the late 50's/early 60's, the dominant duty holster design was the Threepersons' Holster, a hip holster with an exposed trigger guard and usually a simple hammer loop for retention. Eventually, holster makers added a snap and strap.

There were a few other designs that emerged, including what came to be called the "Jordan holster." The Jordan holster was devised by Bill Jordan, the legendary Border Patrol agent, exhibition shooter and Marine Corps veteran. Jordan improved the Threepersons design by adding a steel shank to the body, a snap loop that fastened to the holster body, and canting the holster forward.

Jordan recommended officers carry a holster with a slight forward lean, and a gun with a barrel no longer than 4 inches, with the reason being that the cant angle and shorter barrel wouldn't jam into the seat of a patrol car.

What the heck does any of this have to do with the "FBI cant holster" stuff? I'm almost there.

The Bureau didn't really have a standard equipment list until far longer into its history than you might think! Even in the post-war period, agents had to cobble together what they could; there wasn't even a standard FBI duty gun until the 70s, the Smith and Wesson Model 10.

Popular holsters included Jordan rigs (told you I was getting there) as well as Bianchi thumb-break holsters (which closed the trigger guard and added the Bianchi thumb break) and Berns Martin holsters, an open-top OWB with a split front that allowed the user to break the gun out of the front of the holster rather than draw out of the top.

Now what this means is that FBI agents were known for carrying a holster with a forward cant rather than a straight drop. Such a holster allowed the user to wear the holster in a vehicle or sit down at their desk without discomfort. When carrying a compact pistol in a high ride OWB holster, it's also easier to conceal the pistol under a coat.

FBI agents usually work in plainclothes, so these features are naturally advantageous. Since they are a little different than the typical police holster, and typical civilian carry holsters of the era were also commonly a straight-drop, the association with FBI agents was made.

If anyone else is gonna modify plastic holster plates like their UBL screws, no to Dremel. You want low speed for plastics. And step drills, for sheet metal, work very well. Go get a little pack of these at Harbor Freight:

They center well so won't wander, drill very round holes, and you can slowly expand the hole size to whatever is needed for screws to pass, with minimal melting and mess. Clean holes are also stronger. 

Blackdog posted:
Erick posted:
no_avatar posted:
The jury is still out on how it will affect in-car draw stroke.

On that note, after a couple conversations this evening with other coppers ...

It's Golden in the Streetz, but it'll get you Kilt in da Seatz!

... thank you, thank you very much.

But you're a Monster in the Sheetz, bro! No homo.

He gets all the MTO, all at once you're saying?

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