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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in and discuss this article and much more!