Top 5 Springfield Armory Echelon Holsters
October 13th, 2023
7 minute read
When a new pistol hits the market, one of the first accessories people look for is a holster. After all, a pistol’s key attribute is portability, and if you can’t easily carry it, what’s the real use for it?
When Springfield Armory launched the Echelon 9mm pistol, it worked with numerous holster makers to assure shooters would have a way to tote the gun on Day 1. This article will highlight the five best holsters available for the Echelon right now.
BlackPoint Tactical Leather Wing
When Kydex entered the holster market, it changed how many people carry a defensive pistol. Over time, we’ve seen some companies introduce hybrid holsters — rigs that combine materials like leather and nylon with Kydex to improve comfort and concealability. One of those is the Leather Wing from BlackPoint Tactical.
BlackPoint Tactical uses a Kydex shell to hold and protect the Echelon. Attached to each side of the shell are a pair of leather “wings” with belt loops. As I understand it, the intent of this hybrid approach is to keep the gun closer to the body for improved concealment. In practice, I found this to be true. I have one of these scabbards for my Echelon, and the wings do appear to keep the gun tucked tight to my torso. The polymer belt loops on my rig were very strong.
I found that the Kydex shell did an excellent job securing the Echelon during normal carry. It has a tactile and audible “click” that many people like that lets you know the gun is properly seated. I tested the rig with various optics, and each one had plenty of clearance when inserted in the Leather Wing. I believe that any pistol optic should work fine with this holster. The MSRP on the holster starts at $98.99.
Crucial Concealment Covert OWB
For a straightforward outside-the-waistband holster, I recommend taking a look at the Covert OWB from Crucial Concealment. Made of Kydex, this rig blends simplicity with durability to create a holster that should last you for many years.
I have been testing one of these rigs with my Hellcat Pro and have now added a model for my Echelon. The design is well-considered. It completely covers the trigger guard to eliminate one potential area of unintended discharges. Additionally, the Kydex material next to the body is tall enough to protect your skin from the slide release and other hard bits on the gun.
[Don’t miss the full Crucial Concealment Covert OWB Holster Review.]
When holstering the Echelon, I got an obvious click that I could hear and feel. The retention was excellent for common activities.
Although the design is simple, it does allow for some minor customization. The user-adjustable belt loops are designed at an angle. With a few turns of a screwdriver, you can reverse one or both of the loops. This allows you to create four different carry styles: high or low with a straight draw, a forward tilt and a rear tilt. I tried each and settled on the neutral draw, low ride position.
The MSRP for this holster is $65.99.
DeSantis Thumb Break OWB
DeSantis Gunleather is one of the most respected holster makers in the industry. The company’s designs stretch back decades and are trusted by many shooters. The Thumb Break Scabbard is a great example of the company’s craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Intended for strong-side, hip carry, the Thumb Break Scabbard uses molded leather to create a rig that looks as good as it performs. It has three belt slots, for belts up to 1.75” wide, that can be used for a nearly-neutral draw or a forward tilt. When carrying concealed on the hip, I like the forward tilt as it seems to conceal better. If concealment is not a concern, I prefer the straight-up draw with this rig,
Arguments about the need for a thumb break on a quality holster are frequent in some online forums, not unlike the age-old 9mm vs. .45 debate. For me, I think a well-molded leather holster can succeed without a thumb break. However, I prefer one as leather can soften over time. DeSantis does a good job with this thumb break using a rigid metal strip to ensure a positive disengagement of the snap when drawn.
The MSRP for the DeSantis Thumb Break scabbard is $89.99.
N8 Tactical Xecutive AIWB
For concealed carry, the N8 Tactical Xecutive is one of my favorites for the Echelon. It uses an excellent design and is one of the most affordable rigs on the market.
Designed for inside-the-waistband carry in the appendix position (AIWB,) the holster is made of Kydex with a full-length sweat shield to separate your gut from the pistol’s slide. A strong metal clip anchors the rig to your belt. The holster is cut to accept virtually any optic that you are able to mount on the Echelon. I tested several different optics with the holster; each fit perfectly.
[Be sure to read Adam Scepaniak’s review of the N8 Tactical Xecutive AIWB holster here.]
On my Xecutive holster, I got the optional Mod Wing. This is an L-shaped offset on the front of the holster that applies pressure to the inside of the waistband. I found this did a good job of camming the pistol so that the Echelon’s grip tucked into the body and reduced printing.
As with most Kydex rigs, the holster gives a clear “click” when the gun is seated. Holster retention is accomplished through friction and is adjustable using a Philips screwdriver. Mine was slightly looser than I like, and I dialed it in with no issues at all.
The MSRP of the Xecutive AIWB holster is $39.95 with the Mod Wing being an option for just $8.95 more. The system is available on the Springfield Armory Store with the Mod Wing. At less than $50 in total, this combination is a great value.
Safariland 6360RDS Level III Duty Holster
When it comes to duty holsters, I have very tough standards. I worked as a street cop for about 15 years before transitioning to the shooting industry full-time. As a cop, I chose to work uniformed patrol because I loved the wide variety of challenges I encountered daily. I “double hatted” as a field training officer and academy instructor. Real-life encounters and regular training taught me the importance of quality gear — especially holsters. Having worked with a broad range of duty holsters, the undisputed winners always bore the name Safariland. They are incredibly rugged and reliable.
For the Echelon, Safariland offers a number of holsters, including its 6360RDS Level III duty holster. The 6360 is, in my opinion, the best retention holster available on the market today for any handgun. It features the ALS and SLS features. ALS, or Automatic Locking Systems, secures the Echelon in the rig as soon as you seat it in the holster. SLS, or Self Locking Systems, is the rotating hood that replaced the old-school thumb strap many years ago. The system is rated as Level III retention.
[All retention ratings are not the same. Read our article Understanding Holster Retention for more information.]
Like the Echelon, this version of the holster, the 6360RDS, is specifically designed to work with red dots like the Trijicon RMR and Holosun 507. You can also purchase rigs that are compatible with weapon mounted lights including the Surefire X300, Streamlight TLR-1, Inforce APL and more. Safariland uses proprietary thermal-molded construction to build an extremely tough shell and then lines it with a suede material to protect the gun’s finish.
I’ve used this rig for years with other pistols and highly recommend it for any uniformed security or law enforcement use. The MSRP starts at $208.50, and it is worth every penny. If you carry a gun professionally, do not skimp on your duty rig.
The Springfield Echelon may become one of the most successful pistol launches in history. As a platform, the gun brings all of the valuable features developed during the past 40 years into one gun. Combined with the ingenious new optics mounting method that eliminates the need for adaptor plates, this pistol is an unfair competitor on the market today.
I say all of that to bring us to one, unassailable point: in the coming weeks and months, you will likely see a near infinite number of holster styles and models introduced for the Echelon. For shooters like you and me, this is a great position to be in. Competition keeps prices reasonable and drives innovation. With a wildly popular gun like the Echelon, I expect to see a lot of holster competition.
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