What is a Level 2 Holster?

A Comprehensive Guide

A holster is a device that is designed to hold one or several firearms. The holster itself provides some degree of protection for the weapon(s) it has, whether from impact, debris, moisture, or accidental contact with another object. The composition and design of the holster should also protect the gun’s external mechanisms (i.e., trigger guard) from damage. This article is about what is a level 2 holster?

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Most holsters also provide a method of securing the firearm to either the user or an object such as a belt or waistband, although holsters are not generally designed to be attached directly to the body; instead, they are bound to clothing, bags, equipment belts, and other objects.

Retention Holster

The vast majority of retention holsters are designed to retain the firearm actively or passively. Some retention holsters use a form of mechanical locking device either integrated with the holster itself or in the form of a small lock that is operated manually, which provides an extra level of security against someone who does not have the key or combination to unlock it. In addition, many such holsters are designed with a locking device that prevents them from being opened while the firearm is attached.


Other holsters use reinforced materials and specialized designs to maintain weapon retention without any form of physical fastener. In particular, modern law enforcement and military practices have fostered increased use of retention holsters that hold the gun very tightly against the body, making it difficult for an assailant to snatch it away. These holsters are designed specifically to meet retention guidelines established by various government agencies.

Retention Holster Level 2

Types of Retention Holsters

Level 1 Retention Holster

Use a safety strap and friction to keep the gun in the holster.

Level 2 Retention Holster

Use any one of several devices for security for the handgun, with the most common one being a hooded lock that surrounds the gun’s trigger guard.

Level 3 Retention Holster

Use a safety strap and a hooded lock to keep the gun secure.

$131.34 $143.25 2 used from $86.29 6 new from $131.34
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Safariland, 6360, SLS/ALS, Level 3 Retention Duty Holster, Fits: Glock...

Level 2 Holster

A level 2 holster is a tactical belt/pants holster with an additional locking security feature. It’s used by many law enforcement agencies and military personnel. This type of holster is designed to offer extra security for the firearm attempting to grab it. Locking the gun inside a level 2 holster keeps it from being grabbed and prevents it from falling out. The locking device is usually operated by a minor key that is attached to this type of holster, and it has a secondary safety strap that prevents the gun from being pulled out or pushed in by accident. The main difference with a level 2 holster is that you cannot simply pull out the weapon if needed since one has to unlock the mechanism to access it.

Types of Level 2 Holsters

The main features of a level 2 holster are the safety strap and locking mechanism. This type of holster usually comes with an additional metal or plastic clip that attaches it to an external belt loop or equipment belt, making it much easier to carry around the waist (i.e., standard police/military belt set-up). If this extra feature is used, it makes the weapon more accessible if needed. These kinds of holsters are used in tactical situations when there’s a risk of the gun being grabbed and aren’t meant for routine applications such as routine police/military operations or public security. Also, they’re usually not found in stores and must be ordered directly from the manufacturer. There are a few different designs as far as locking mechanisms go, and here are some of the most common ones you will come across:


The button lock locks by using a spring-loaded metal key that protrudes from one side of the holster near the trigger guard area, and you push it to release the gun. An automatic lock that works by locking a metal part of the gun into a companion piece on the holster itself, locking it inside. A 2-part system that uses both a safety strap and a button release to provide an extra level of security if needed. All you have to do is unlock the mechanism with one hand, pull out the gun with the other hand, and then re-lock it when you’re done. To put it in simple terms, a level 2 holster is an essential part of every tactical loadout since having one ensures that your weapon won’t fall into the wrong hands during a confrontation. So if you want to avoid losing your expensive firearm to a potential assailant or bad guy, make sure to get a level 2 holster as soon as you can.

Blackhawk Serpa Level 2 Holsters


Retention holsters are safe. However, no device is 100% foolproof. Retention level 2 holster has many safety features to help prevent accidental discharge. Still, it’s always better to keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot than rely on any retention device. 

The primary reason police officers choose to use retention holsters is the same as other security personnel. They must attend gun shows or different situations where their weapon might be looked at closely by others.

The main difference is that a level 2 holster has retention capabilities and additional safety measures against loss or theft. A Level 3 holster enhances this protection with physical actions to make it very difficult for someone to steal your weapon.


A retention holster is an excellent choice for those needing to keep their weapon safe in tactical situations. However, there are several issues that one should be aware of before using a level 2 holster. As with any tactical accessory, the best thing to try it out in different circumstances is to see how well it performs. We have covered the question of what is a level 2 holster in this article. Thanks for reading.

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Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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