web analytics

Archive | Tactics and Training

Drop Leg Holsters – Think Before You Use

A lot of people wiser and more knowledgeable than me say things like “Mission drives the gear.” The original purpose of drop leg holsters is to lower the bulk of the handgun to clear an armored vest/plate carrier. They are also handy when you need to clear the hip belt of a back pack. I have also heard that some people prefer them when wearing a repelling harness.  Lately, they have become somewhat of a fashion statement.

They are everywhere and it seems no one’s cool-guy-kit is complete without them. Many users have lost sight of the drop leg holster’s real purpose. Fashion, rather than mission, is driving the gear. As a result, we often see these holsters being used in the worst ways possible.

Need Versus Want

The first thing you should do when you are considering purchasing a drop leg holster is think about whether you actually have a need for one. Do you need to clear armor? Do you need to clear a hip belt? Are you wearing a repelling harness? If not, you may want to consider a more traditional belt holster. Why would you want to extend your draw stroke or add weight to your legs when your hips are much better at bearing weight? Make sure you really need a drop leg holster or at least are being honest about why you want one.

Higher is Better

Letting the holster ride too low is probably the biggest mistake I see among drop leg holster users. The range is full of people whose holsters are down on their knee. There are 3 big reasons to keep your holster as high as the holster will allow. You will probably even need to modify the holster to allow it to ride high enough. Remember, the holster needs only to ride low enough to clear the armor/hip belt/harness – no lower.

First, holsters that ride too low place you at a mechanical disadvantage. Think for a second about a baseball glued to a yard stick. You are holding the yard stick at the end marked 1 inch. The baseball is glued to the 36 inch mark. Swing the yard stick and think about how difficult it would be to stop the yard stick and baseball quickly. Now think of the same thing, except now the baseball is glued to the 8 inch marker. How much easier is it to stop the yard stick and baseball quickly now? It is much easier.

When the weight is closer to the pivot point of your leg (closer to the hip) your leg will be able to bear the weight better and move with less effort. The closer the holster gets to your foot, the more you will notice it fighting the movement of your leg and the more it will flop around.

Second, holsters that ride too low elongate your draw stroke. Think for a moment. You are going to increase the distance that your hand must travel to retrieve your handgun and to bring the handgun to eye level. You are going to make your draw stroke slower and less efficient. Is it possible that a “tactical” accessory can actually make you less “tactical” (what ever that means)? Yes!

Third, holsters that ride too low are less like how you tend to carry a handgun when you aren’t playing dress up. Why would you want to throw away all of those practiced draw strokes that you do in your normal concealed carry gear (at least I hope you are practicing)? It makes good sense to have your drop leg (if you need one) mirror your everyday gear as much as possible.

If your holster doesn’t let the handgun ride as high as you would like modify it. Cut stuff, trim pieces off, remove straps, and fix it. If you can’t modify it – replace it with one that works. See Kyle Defoor’s blog post, Safariland Secrets and this thread on M4Carbine.net for some tips on modifying the Safariland 6004. The pictures at these two links will also give you an idea of how high the holster should rid. I like mine so that the highest part of the grip is not quite as high as my belt line. This is more than enough drop to clear my plate carrier and enough to clear my pack’s hip belt.

Watch this blog for an upcoming article on building a versatile holster kit that allows for “battle belt” carry and proper drop leg use. This may also be useful to those who want to modify what they already have.

Tighten Up

The other mistake I see is people with loose leg straps. If the leg strap on your drop leg holster is loose you are inviting problems. Your holster will wobble as you move which can be annoying. More importantly, it can impede your draw. The holster will try to come with the gun as you draw and cause binding in some security holsters (the gun must be drawn almost exactly straight up and out).  When the gun binds it is essentially wedged in place and you may have to re-start your draw or continue to tug it out.

Many drop leg holster leg straps have a short elastic section sewn into the strap. This is there for good reason. It is there so you can really tighten the strap down but still have enough flexibility to buckle the strap and be able to flex with your leg. It doesn’t have to be tourniquet tight but the strap should not be hanging loose on your leg.

Note: Notice I said strap, singular, in that last sentence. If you holster is riding where it should be, there likely will not be room for two leg straps. If you see a holster with 2 leg straps, that is your first clue that it isn’t riding high enough.

Recap

  • Determine whether you need or want a drop leg holster based on your mission/the actual purpose of a drop leg holster. If you must run one…
  • Make sure that it rides high enough. If it does not, modify or replace it.
  • Make sure that you adjust it so that is tight on your leg.

If you stop and think for a minute you may not need a drop leg holster and if you do, at least you will know how to use it more efficiently.

Good Stuff From Other Blogs

Death Valley Magazine – Stop Preparing for the Apocalypse and Plan For Next Thursday

So you have 12 months of food stored, an urban garden, 28 pistols and rifles and you take 5 tactical courses a year. If the SHTF you can ether grab your BOB and fight on the move or bunker in at home. Basically you are trained-up and stocked-up for just about any apocalyptic situation that could possibly happen…

Woods Monkey – Wenger EvoGrip S18 Pocket Knife

Looking to travel light on the trail and want a knife that meets your needs?  Or, are you looking for a good basic tool supplement to your primary blade?  Today, we’re looking at the Wenger EvoGrip S18 knife, and it just might be the one to fill your needs!  We’ve also included a highlights video to help out with your search as well…

Kyle Defoor – Safariland Secrets

Safariland makes the best tac/drop leg holster there is I think. But, there is room for improvement on the old ones…

HSGI Bleeder/Blowout Pouch – Build Your Compact Blowout Kit

If you are a shooter, it stands to reason that you should be able to treat a gun shot wound (on yourself or others). This is especially true if you attend training classes where drills can become a little more dynamic than your typical range activities. In order to treat a gun shot wound you need training on how to treat the wound and the gear to treat it. If you haven’t sought training yet, I suggest you do it. All of the gear in the world won’t save you if you don’t have at least some basic knowledge of how to use it. If you are hear to get an idea for a gear solution, I may be able to help.

I took a point of wounding care class recently and it did much to bolster my knowledge and confidence. I am certainly far from being an EMT or Combat Medic, but I now have some basic knowledge that could save a life someday. I also came out of the course with the resolve to build a kit that fit my needs as a Regular Guy.

For my needs this kit must be:

  1. Compact –  If it isn’t, it will be easier to justify leaving it in the truck.
  2. Affordable – This is very subjective. I do not mean cheap. I am willing to spend some money on such important gear.
  3. Modular – I need to be able to move it between pieces of gear relatively easily since I can’t afford to put a blowout kit on every pack, chest rig, and belt rig that I own.
  4. Effective – This is the most important requirement. This kit needs to be able to effectively treat the situations that I am most likely to encounter.

Let’s Deal with my requirements one by one:

Compact
HSGI makes a small pouch called the Bleeder/Blowout Pouch. The manufacturers description is as follows:

The HSGI Improved Bleeder/Blowout Pouch is designed to hold medical gear along with immediate access to medical shears. Medical shears are held securely by strap and snap. There is also a 2″ wide QUICK-PULL strap along the inside of the pocket to aid in one handed removal of contents of the pouch. Pouch measures 3″ x 3″ x 7″ , MOLLE/PALS webbing on sides for additional modular pouches or the attachment of a Tourniquet via rubber bands. Has both hook and loop w/silencer strip and side release closure . MALICE clips supplied . Constructed of 1000 Denier Cordura nylon , sewn with 135/138 bonded nylon threads . Constructed and made totally with products from in the USA . Has HSGI Lifetime Warranty *MEDICAL ITEMS NOT INCLUDED*

With dimensions of only 3″ x 3″ x 7″, this pouch is not designed to carry a full IFAK, but it will allow you to carry the basic wound treatment items that you will need to tend to yourself (or others) until more suitable care can be given. When determining the items to carry with your limited space, look to the lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The HSGI Bleeder/Blowout Pouch has some unique features that help is stay some compact. The most noticeable is the sleeve behind that pouch that retains your EMT shears. Shears can be a great tool for quickly removing clothing from the wound site. This sleeve has a retention strap that snaps into the handles of the shears so that they can not be lost. It also has webbing on both sides that allow you to attach a tourniquet (See this earlier post for ideas on how to attach your tourniquet to the pouch). When dealing with extremity hemorrhaging a tourniquet is your first and best line of defense. Since these two bulky items are attached to the outside of the pouch, you are free to use the space inside the pouch for other life saving items.

Affordable
The HSGI bleeder pouch costs roughly $25 shipped from many great retailers. My favorites are OpTactical and SKD Tactical. The cost of the contents will vary greatly depending on what you choose to put in but they typically won’t be prohibitively expensive. I like to shop for my blowout kit supplies at Chinook Medical.

Modular
Most items that use MOLLE webbing to attach to your gear are somewhat modular already. You simple weave the webbing to attach and undo the weaving to remove the pouch. The HSGI Bleeder/Blowout Pouch is no different. However, I wanted a compact solution that took less time since dealing with webbing can be frustrating and time consuming. I decided to try Blade-Tech Molle-Loks. Molle-Loks are more rigid than typical MOLLE straps or even MALICE clips. They are hinged at the top and lock together tightly when closed. Because of this, they do not need to be threaded. Simple slide them into the webbing on the back of the pouch, then slide the other side of the MOLLE-Lok into the webbing of the item that you are attaching the pouch to, and lock them. The MOLLE-Loks come with instructions on their use. They are much quicker and easier to deal with than regular MOLLE straps for this application.

Effective
The leading cause of preventable death from gunshot wounds on the battle field today is extremity hemorrhaging. Even in the civilian world, most gun shot wounds are to the extremities. Perhaps, we as shooters should learn something from those stats and begin to carry items to deal with extremity hemorrhaging. When building a compact blowout kit, I suggest that you would be well served to concentrate on hemorrhage control items.

I have chosen the following items for my kit.

  1. 4″ Emergency Bandage – These are also know as the Israeli Bandage. The OLAES Bandage from Tactical Medical Solutions would also be an excellent choice. Both of these bandages allow you to treat yourself with some practice. The OLAES has some extra features explained in the video that I linked to that make it very versatile. I may consider changing to one of those soon.
  2. Small package of Kerlix – Kerlix is just a guaze bandage roll.
  3. Celox – Celox or Quikclot are used to promote clotting quickly and stop bleeding. They will even clot arterial bleeding quickly, though your tourniquet may be a better choice. I suggest that you get training or at least research the downsides to products like this.
  4. Tourniquet – This is a must. I use the SOF-T and Cavarms tourniquets. I am hoping to be able to try the SWAT soon. I have generally avoided the CAT due to reports of breakage but it still well liked for it’s compact size and light weight.
  5. Small roll of tape
  6. Latex-free gloves – Infection is bad. Wear gloves!
  7. A glow stick – You may not be shot during the daytime. Have a light source.
  8. EMT Shears

All of the above items fit relatively tightly but there would be more room for other small items. You can really pack the pouch tightly thanks to the ripcord design. You simple lay the webbing strap down inside the pouch so that the D-ring is at the top forward part of the pouch. Now you can pack everything in on top of the strap. When you need to access the items in your pouch you simply pull the D-ring. This forces everything up and out of the pouch for easy access.

No Excuses
This kit only takes up 2 columns of MOLLE space and can also fit in a cargo pocket or utility pouch in a pinch. There is no excuse to be without a life saving blowout kit when it is this compact, affordable, modular, effective. Start building your kit yesterday!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

%d bloggers like this: