There are two general methods of carrying a handgun, on-body and off-body. Most on-body holster carrying styles, such as inside the waistband (IWB), outside the waistband (OWB) , under the arm or carrying at the ankle are quite convenient and famous, but neither is so comfortable a drop leg holster or thigh holster.
The drop leg holsters belong to the open carry category and they are primarily intended for service-type sidearm or any larger pistol. As you probably guess, this method is predominantly used by the military and police force.
There are many circumstances when civilians looking for function over concealment want to carry their sidearm in the most natural position.
For many younger gun enthusiasts, the cooliest way of carrying a pistol is using the drop-leg holsters.
Unlike some more discrete styles such as OWB and IWB holsters, this tactical method of carrying a sidearm is obviously quite practical, not only for uniformed personnel but also for open carry in states where you don’t need to conceal your weapon.
Other similar options and tactical holster styles, such as the tanker holster and its modern version called chest holsters, are designed to keep a handgun on the body without being impeded by gear around the hip area.
Also known as “thigh carry holsters” and sometimes referred to as tactical leg holsters, this open carry method was not an invention of nowadays spec-ops soldiers or tacticool mannequins but its roots date back to the 19th century.
Some of the deadliest gunslingers and cowboys of the Old West carried their six-guns on the leg because that makes the pistol more easily accessed while riding a horse.
Today modern gunmen are practicing similar carrying styles for the same reason as the drop leg holsters are easily accessible while sitting in a vehicle.
Except that thigh-carried holsters allow military and police operators to access and draw their sidearm quickly at any time because it sits in the most natural position on the body.
Another crucial reason for carrying a leg-style holster is a ubiquitous body armor that makes a thigh rig almost a single choice for law enforcement and military personnel.
Another benefit of a drop-leg style rig is that it doesn’t limit the operator’s movement.
In many tactical situations encountered by military and law enforcement personnel, thigh carry holsters will come in handy whether they need their sidearm in standing, kneeling or prone position.
Reasons to wear DLH
For someone who carries a lot of gear, a thigh carry holster will also clear the hip belt without interfering with a backpack or when the waist is otherwise occupied, like with repelling harness and similar gear.
As for the civilians, the leg holster is the best type of holster when open carry is allowed. The hunters, range shooters and generally armed citizens will also find few benefits regarding thigh carry style.
For instance, speaking of hunters who carry their sidearm as a backup in the dense woods, tactical drop leg holsters are a much more desirable choice over standard hip holsters. The outside the waistband (OWB) holsters and other gear around the waist can snag more easily on brush and branches or can be in the way of the long gun.
Besides, many small and big game hunters and multi-gun competitors will find a tactical drop thigh holster is more comfortable working with doing rifle or shotgun transitions.
Drop Leg Holsters Construction
While the classic Western holsters used leather as the day’s material, tactical leg holsters are usually available from synthetics materials such as neoprene, ballistic nylon and fabric.
Ballistic nylon, Cordura or Kevlar are maybe the most popular material used for affordable, entry-level thigh holsters.
The renowned top-quality brands offer Kydex and Boltaron made holsters that come custom molded to fit the frame of your pistol perfectly. These lightweight and strong materials provide an extraordinary durability level, snug fit and tensioning screws that can be adjusted for better security.
Generally, all these materials are quite comfortable to use, but a molded plastic thigh holsters provide increased stability and a higher strength rating.
Drop Leg Holsters Design
Compared to other holster styles, thigh holsters come in the most considerable price span, ranging from cheapish $10 rigs to the big-name models that could cost you $200 and a lot more easily.
By design, drop leg holsters are intended to be used one-handed and to be worn around the top of your front pants pocket, not too low, not too high.
Usually, the leg gun setup consists of the holster itself, thigh straps and fasteners. A quality drop-leg holster should be securely attached to you, depending on whether it features durable straps and robust and reliable hardware.
If you want to wear the holster properly, its main operating system should be as adjustable as possible with a robust gun belt attachment system. As with most holsters, you want a gun belt that is strong enough to hold your thigh holster.
While the drop-leg holsters are comfortable and have easy and quick access, their downside is that someone can go after your sidearm since it hangs down so low.
Here we are coming to another consideration because you need to prevent potentially dangerous scenarios using only proven DLH (drop leg holsters) that rely on a latch or retention device to secure the handgun.
Furthermore, since the tactical drop thigh holsters are used by ‘mobile’ shooters and operators who spend a lot of time on their feet, this holster type must have a passive retention or friction (Level 1) and some sort of retention device (Level 2 & 3) to keep their sidearm securely in the holster.
(TOP 4) Best Drop Leg Holster FINAL
Review And Guides 2021
SAFARILAND 6004 SLS TACTICAL HOLSTER
One of the first leg gun holsters on the SOF personnel market was the Safariland 6004 model. The entire 6000 Series of Tactical Duty holsters was a pioneer in the shooting industry developed in response to tactical operators’ demands.
Also dubbed as a tactical holster, Safariland 6004 is made of top-quality thermal-molded Safari-Laminate, impervious to moisture, elements, scratches, dents and even substantial impact.
This custom-molded thermoplastic holster is available for a large selection of service pistols so it can accommodate today’s most popular tactical sidearms, with or without light, red dots or accessory rails.
The holster interior sports a soft Safari-Suede lining to protect the gun’s sights and provide full protection for your pistol in day-by-day use.
The Safariland 6004 main feature is the SLS or Security Self Locking System, which consists of a rotating hood that allows for a smoother motion draw and offers enough resistance to gun grabs by criminals.
The rotating hood retention system can only be released by being simultaneously pushed down and rotated forward.
The 6004 SLS Tactical holster is shipped with standard silicone-backed dual straps and leg shroud for unsurpassed stability. Shroud System comes in the form of a V-block piece with three mounting holes for optional accessories.
The SLS Duty holster is completely adaptable and adjustable whether you are on a long, slow stakeout or a high-speed operation,
SAFARILAND 7TS 7304 ALS DROP LEG TACTICAL HOLSTER
Another tactical holster from Safariland is designed to ensure the maximum safety of your sidearm.
Offering a higher level of holster safety, the 7305 Tactical Holster brings you Safariland’s revolutionary Self-Locking System and Automatic Locking System (ALS).
The SLS design comes with a patented rotating hood to secure the holster’s pistol against attempted weapon takeaways and provide faster and easier re-holstering than with a thumb break holster.
The internal retention known as ALS (Automatic Locking System) secures the firearm upon holstering for additional safety but allows a smooth and efficient draw with no twisting required.
Like most Safariland holsters, the 7304 ALS/SLS drop leg rig features the quick-release double leg strap and leg shroud with mounting holes and detachable buckle for low profile carry.
The Safariland 7TS 7304 ALS/SLS Tactical Holster is built of the innovative SafariSeven. This DuPont nylon blend is a highly durable material that handles temperature ranges from 300°F to -50°, making it practically impervious to the elements.
The soft suede covers the interior construction of the holster to protect the handgun’s finish.
This modern Level III design can be upgraded to a Level IV tactical rig by adding an additional Sentry device.
BLACKHAWK! 3 SERPA TACTICAL HOLSTER
Blackhawk is another American brand that prides itself on building excellent duty holsters ideally suited for today’s demanding tactical situations.
Established by a Navy SEAL, the Blackhawk comes with a strong law enforcement background and makes a range of shooting accessories and carry rigs for the full-size service handguns.
One of the names most associated with the Blackhawk holsters is the SERPA. Despite some controversy, the Blackhawk holsters are given a tactical mission, and the standard SERPA series of holsters are proven on duty.
Blackhawk SERPA Level 3 Tactical holster adds a third level of retention to the holster, as its name says.
Along with a passive retention adjustment screw, the SERPA Level 3 holster features an auto-lock system that holds the trigger guard. The SERPA patented auto lock release system is an internal locking device that secures the firearm in the holster.
The SERPA Auto-Lock system will release the firearm when an external lever is pressed with the index finger. At the same time, the thumb-activated pivot guard, the hood that comes over the top of the holster, secures the weapon at Level 3 retention.
While Level 3 is probably overkilled for civilian carry, it’s perfect tactical holsters for any kind of uniformed duty.
BLACKHAWK SERPA Level 3 Tactical Holster has a full-length holster body, quick-disconnect swivel buckles and flexible thigh platform are constructed from the durable carbon-fiber composite material and in combination with Y-harness suspension system provides comfortable all-day carrying and quick holster mounting and dismounting.
CONDOR TORNADO TACTICAL LEG HOLSTER
Condor Holsters deliver superior protection for your pistol or revolver and a new level of versatility. Condor gun-carrying platforms are robust, reliable and straightforward to use, but their most valuable feature is adjustability.
Condor Tornado Tactical thigh holster is a fully adjustable rig that will accommodate a variety of sidearms sizes and accept most service handguns with a laser or light attachment. As a bonus, the Condor holster features an open bottom to holstering pistols with silencers attached to the barrel.
This affordably priced Tactical leg holster is built of 1,000 Denier Cordura nylon. It can be attached to the thigh with 2 elastic and fully adjustable leg straps with a non-slip rubber lining. Two leg straps are 1.25-inch wide and come with side release buckles.
Besides a wide adjustable leg extender, the Condor Tactical Leg Holster boasts an adjustable hook and loop Velcro strap that works as a retention system to secure your weapon.
Finally, you can also carry an extra magazine or flashlight in the Tornado side pouch, provided with an adjustable Velcro belt for easy access and replenishment.
The drop-leg configuration is an ideal holster location for high-threat environments and tactical operations.
While Drop leg holsters are in general intended to be used by law enforcement or military operators, there are certain situations like training, competition or range day when armed citizens and weekend warriors can get the most of these carrying rigs.
Alongside renowned holster companies, popular with military, law enforcement, and security personnel, brands offer not overly expensive models designed for hunters, target shooters and gun lovers who need a functional and useful method of carrying and drawing their pistols.
Suppose you are a first-time buyer looking for a quality drop leg holster and wonder how it will work for you. In that case, we recommend finding more budget-friendly holsters designed for airsoft enthusiasts but with a ton of adjustment options for a custom fit.
Brian Belko is a freelance writer and blogger. His primary areas of focus include the outdoors and shooting sports. In addition to his freelance work, Brian also writes for Wide Open Spaces and is on the Pro Staff at Military Hunting and Fishing. When he isn’t busy writing, Brian enjoys fishing farm ponds for bass and hitting the spring woods during turkey season.