Comp-Tac CT3: Level 3 Duty Holster for the XD-M

By Michael Mills
Posted in #Gear
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Comp-Tac CT3: Level 3 Duty Holster for the XD-M

April 16th, 2023

7:05 runtime

When we think about the security of a holster, usually one word will pop into our minds: retention.

Whether you’re a law enforcement officer, military service member or just someone who loves to run around in training classes pushing the limits, a duty-style retention holster is a must.

comp-tac ct3 for xd-m
Looking for a quality duty holster for your Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 4.5″? The author tests this new security rig from Comp-Tac.

Comp-Tac is a well-respected competition and duty holster manufacturer that has built a Level 3 security holster for the Springfield XD-M Elite 4.5 and more. In fact, the XD-M Elite version of this CT3 Holster is available right now on the Springfield Armory Store. But first, let’s take a look at its details.

What Goes into a Good Holster

These days, modern duty-style work holsters take a beating. The damage from smashing into the ground, jumping over walls and getting in and out of cars can take a toll on any piece of kit. Today’s holsters are a long way from the old nylon or leather products you may have seen in the past.

duty holster for xd-m elite 9mm
When testing the Comp-Tac CT3 duty holster, the author mounted it on a duty rig and hit the range.

The Comp-Tac CT3 is a multi-material holster to ensure durability and long service life. The outer shell is vacuum-formed Kydex to ensure a firm yet easy-to-draw fit. The moving parts that lock onto the holster are polymer and ensure the pistol will not fall out of the holster unless the locks have been defeated with purpose.

The spring-loaded locking mechanism works by depressing a safety button on the inside edge of the holster, which is nicely tucked away by the user’s hip. This button deactivates the hood and breech lock that retains the firearm, allowing it to be removed quickly and efficiently. The large hood ensures the pistol cannot bounce out of the holster, even if the breech lock has been defeated.

protective hood on holster
Duty holsters are essential pieces of gear. They need to secure your firearm against a gun grab, yet be simple enough for a fast draw under stress.

There is also adjustable tension at the bottom of the holster in the way of a tension screw. To ensure your optic is protected, a rubberized hood will cover up the optic when it’s locked into place.

For those not familiar with a Level 3 holster, it basically is a holster design that combines both active and passive retention systems.

The build quality of the Comp-Tac CT3 is top-notch. The mold they have used for the pistol is perfect in size and form, and gives you plenty of room for the tension you desire. All fasteners seem to be very high quality, although I’d throw a little thread locker on them if you plan or running and gunning really hard.

holster mounting hardware
The Comp-Tac CT3 mounts to duty belts with a width of up to 2″. Spacers are also available for belt widths of 1.5″ and 1.75″.

The Kydex material used is well known for being impervious to chemicals, extremely strong and also heat tolerant. A big positive is the fact that there is no angular cant to the holster. It is set natively for a straight vertical draw.

Speed and Security in One

Level 3 holsters of the past had some really odd ways of locking in a firearm, from snaps to twist locks and more. When you think about it, speed is usually of the utmost in importance when you are drawing your pistol for any reason, be it competition or defense.

testing the comp-tac on the range
The author trained with the CT3 on the range. As with any firearms gear, you should train with it to ensure you know how to safely and efficiently use it.

Comp-Tac, having started with competition rigs, designed the holster to give a fast, intuitive draw for maximum speed while giving you the security that you want. When you activate the locking mechanism, you will be met with a large thumb button that is firm yet smooth on the action. It will guide your primary hand down to the grip of your pistol so you can get an appropriate initial purchase on the grip.

After establishing your grip while maintaining pressure on the thumb release, you pull up and the breech lock will be defeated. Now, that may sound like a lot, but with some practice you will be getting sub-second first-round hits in no time.

The holster will come with a mid-drop belt slide attachment. This will fit up to 2” wide duty belts. Comp-Tac was also generous enough to add a spacer in with the holster that closes open space if you should use only a 1.5” or 1.75” belt. This will ensure less movement on the draw.

The model and size of the pistol which the holster is meant for will be labeled on the backside (I was running it with the XD-M Elite 4.5”), so no need to worry about getting them mixed up. Comp-Tac also has accessories available, like a QLS fork conversion, should you be married to that quick detach system already.

Would I Actually Carry It at Work?

There is always one final question regarding a piece of kit: Would I actually carry it and trust my life to it?

comp-tac ct3 for xd-m elite
The Springfield Armory XD-M Elite is an excellent pistol for law enforcement and security work. The Comp-Tac is an excellent partner to that pistol.

This is no small task to win someone over when it comes to a holster that could potentially save your life. But for me, the proof is in the design. I have had the chance to test two Comp-Tac holsters now, and each one was extremely well made and lightning fast.

For me, it’s the first time I have carried Level 3 for any amount of time. I have always carried a single security lock holster for the added speed. However, with the CT3, I can get the same speed I would from a Level 1 locking holster, but now with a Level 3. So, to answer the age-old question, would I carry it? Without a doubt!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

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Michael Mills

Michael Mills

Michael Mills created as a way to help spread good information, shed positive light on the gun community and to have fun. He has always loved teaching and helping others, especially when it comes to gun rights. This passion was further ingrained during his service in U.S. Army Special Operations, and he is a Use of Force Instructor, Defensive Tactics instructor, DEA Firearms Instructor and Police Academy instructor. He also has 15 years of law enforcement experience from patrol to supervision.

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