Types of Holster Use

Safariland® and Bianchi® design and manufacture high-quality holsters for for a wide range of markets. Here is an overview of some of the different types of holsters and the people they’re designed for.

Police officer next to his patrol vehicle wearing a Safariland® duty holster.

duty holsters

Patrol or duty holsters are generally going to be belt and hip mounted. These are the Safariland 6000 or 7000 model series duty holsters. The holster will use some form of UBL – Universal Belt Loop, and offer Level I – IV Retention.  

Military operative clearing stairwell wearing Safariland® armor, holster, gear and a Protech™ helmet.

tactical holsters

Tactical holsters typically refer to a thigh rig mounted holster. The thigh rig comes with either a double strap shroud, single strap shroud or a mini shroud. Tactical holsters were initially intended for military use, and as part of the specifications the holster is designed to break away from the leg shroud at 140psi. This safeguard was established in the event that if the holster was caught up during a jump etc., the holster would break away and allow the individual to be free from any restraints.

Two police detectives wearing Safariland® body armor and Safariland® and Bianchi® holsters.

Plainclothes LAW ENFORCEMENT holsters

Plainclothes or detective holsters are concealment based. These are holsters with concealment mounts, and you’ll see paddles, or paddle ride UBLs or belt slide kits. Plainclothes officers may choose to have concealed, or half-concealed holsters. Alternatively, some officers are unconcerned with printing and are more interested in a comfortable fit, especially if they are spending more time doing administrative duties.  

Hunter in a field wearing a Bianchi® leather holster.

everyday carry

Everyday Carry holsters include open carry and concealable holsters for professional and personal protection. Considerations include comfort, concealability, retention level, and the types of activities you do in your daily routine.

Maggie Reese from Team Safariland in comptetition.


Competition holsters are chosen to follow the rules of specific competitions, divisions and classes. Speed, consistency and flexibility are all important factors for consideration by competition shooters. Visit our Competition page for a detailed breakdown of the types of competitions and some of the recommended holster models.

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