The 5 Best Drop Leg Holsters (Thigh Rig Reviews)
Some people may be looking for the best drop leg holster without knowing what to look for, so we will look into what the purpose and functions of a drop leg holster are and give a list of some of the top options out there.
There are generally two types of drop leg holsters: single and double strapped variants. Beyond this there are various securing methods for the pistol that are factored in.
The purpose of a drop leg holster is to drop the pistol below the belt line onto the upper thigh area. While most people think that the holster should sit as low as the knee, this puts the pistol too low to be reached.
The original intent of the drop leg holster is to put the pistol out of the way of bulky ballistic vests and other early body armor designed to counteract bullets. While modern armor is not as cumbersome, the drop leg holster has been bought into for the “Operator” look. While it does serve a purpose, that purpose is less needed today.
What to Look for in a Drop Leg Holster
Unless it is part of a required gear list for a class or your chosen profession, a drop leg holster is not the holster for the average every day carry, but if you decide to purchase a drop leg holster you should know what to look for.
Level of Retention
Since it is an open carry holster there needs to be a higher level of retention than a concealed holster. Since concealed holsters are usually under some sort of cover garment, their necessary retention is only the base line retention offered by the friction of kydex or similar holsters. An open carry holster has to deal with a larger possibility of being grabbed plus being pulled out by the environment. Because of this, a drop leg holster needs to have level III retention.
Method of Retention
In addition to the retention, the method of retention needs to be addressed. Things that are easily opened by the wearer are a benefit (thumb breaks, Auto Locking Systems). Things like velcro and some types of snaps do not help but hinder the user in getting access to their firearm.
So things like velcro adjusting holsters are at best avoided unless you are going to be switching between a variety of handguns in a safe training environment and need some thing to securely hold one without having to change your whole setup. While that is generally not the case of the average individual it can factor in on the rare exception. But the exception should not be considered the standard rule to follow.
Material & Design
The shell area that covers the firearms should not be too flimsy, so if you must get a nylon holster it should not be too thin and have a thick or rigidness to it in order to protect the trigger. Ideally, a kydex or similar material will cover the handgun, with the gun shell either being built in or bolted onto the thigh rig. The mounting system on higher-end thigh rigs or other drop rigs put the gun farther out from your belt and pocket line, this is predominately to make a clear draw line for the pistol past cumbersome armor and other things on your belt.
The 5 Best Drop Leg Holsters
Now since we have a basic understanding of what goes into a holster and the purpose of a drop leg holster, lets take a look at five of the better options on the market.
1. Safariland 6304 Tactical Leg Holster – ALS – STX & Glock 17/22 w/ITI M3
This leg holster is designed for firearms like the Glock 17 or 22, although other options are available. It's at the top of the list because it accepts things like weapon mounted lights while providing a proper lock up with the Safariland ALS system. It includes a hood guard, double low ride buckles and a thermal molded construction. The leg shroud assembly is like the 6004 series which is featured in this list. It also has adjustable leg straps for attaching to your belt and spare accessory holes for mounting extra optional accessories, placing this at the top of the list for best leg holster.
2. Safariland 6304 Tactical Leg Holster – ALS – STX & Glock 19
This drop leg gun holster is roughly similar to the first only it is specialized for the Glock 19. It features a rotating retention hood and both the Safariland Self locking and Auto locking systems. The SLS system does not feature a snap so a consistent single motion draw is provided. It also features a double leg strap and leg shroud for the wearers comfort. This holster can fit the Glock models 19, 32, and 23. This is a clean setup holster, meaning it does not offer compatibility with weapon mounted lights or lasers.
3. Safariland 6004 Earth Brown Colt 1911 SLS Hood Tactical Gun Holster
This drop leg holster for a 1911 is one of the few quality options available that is not a nylon or an unnecessarily complex design. This features the Self Locking System that made the 6004 line a favorite. The SafariSuede lining of the holster protects your gun's finish. This thigh rig holster fits a number of 1911 models such as a Kimber Classic 5”, a Government 1911, 1911A1, Colt Combat Elite, and the Gold Cup National Match among others. This more for the full sized 1911 with the original 5 inch barrel design. The retention hood helps keep the gun in place while protecting the “Cocked and locked” style of carry the 1911 was designed for.
4. Safariland Drop Flex Adapter with Leg Shroud Assembly Polymer
This is not a holster per se but it is an adapter for a variety of Safariland holsters. With the right mounting you can turn your normal belt holster and drop it a few inches lower with this single strap thigh rig. This means that once you find a Safariland holster for your particular handgun this adapter can turn it into a quality leg rig. This makes it very modular in regard to what you can carry with it. Since it has only one leg strap it helps enforce the higher ride you should have with a drop leg holster.
5. Cisno Adj Tactical Thigh Pistol Holster (Right Leg)
This Cisno drop leg holster is a modular design and can fit a variety of pistols, while it might be described as the best nylon drop leg holster it is not altogether the best quality option. The retention it features is reliant of the shell of the holster being wrapped and velcroed in place to retain your pistol. Velcro wears down over time especially with a heavy pistol being secured by it and weighing it down. The structural integrity of this holster is too compromised by its modular design and its method of retention to be a truly viable option for carry unless it is for a costume. A Cisno holster or even a VISM drop leg holster are not the top choice for any serious use holster, but also not the worst.
For the most part, your average individual will not have a need for a drop leg holster, but if you do need a one, the Safariland brand is a good starting point, if not the end of your search. There are some issues with the lock up that will require a bit of modification by the end user, but they are all together quality reliable holsters. They come in a variety of options for your needs and have a multitude of pistol holsters to choose from. For example left handed people will find that Safariland make the best left hand drop leg holster.
There are too many sub optimal options out there for drop leg holsters, especially those that are made out of nylon. Since the market is virtually flooded with them people have more of tendency to think they are the best product out there. While they are perfectly good for airsoft and costumes they have no place in the legitimate gear list of someone who really needs a drop leg holster.
Like concealed carry, kydex options are becoming the main stay of the quality market especially for firearms. This comes in because while some kydex and polymers might break the break in such a way as to be obvious and not run the risk of using broken gear out in the real world where you do not want a catastrophic failure. Nylon is more prone to fray and give out at the worst possible time, especially when you go extremely cheap on a holster. Going with the cheaper alternative does not mean you are getting the best quality for the amount that you spend. You are merely purchasing the cheapest option.
Hopefully this article has given you a little clearer understanding of drop leg holsters and an idea of what the best drop leg holster should have in it, saving you time and money by helping you avoid lesser quality option.