So you got your brand new concealment holster and you lovingly slide your favorite gun into the holster and strap it on your belt. You grab your gun and SNATCH it out (we don’t pull or slide our guns out, we snatch them out like we mean it) but your pants geld pulled up to your nipples and the gun stays in place. What do you do? Do you immediately box it back up and return it with a nasty note? Well, you can handle the situation however you see fit, but I am going to offer another option.
There are a few reasons why the retention might need to be adjusted on a new holster. “Breaking in” is not one of them, at least on Kydex holsters. People prefer different amounts of retention on their holsters. Your holster maker may like it a little looser or more aggressive than you might prefer. You may have a slightly different variation of your gun model than your holster maker has. The holster maker may have just set it too tight or loose by accident, they are human. Whatever the reason, the retention is a very easy fix.
The following instructions are applicable to Blue Line Concealment Holsters (www.blcholsters.com) but should be compatible with most types of Kydex concealment holsters.
Standard Kydex Holsters
Whether you holster is an inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB), the retention is almost always the trigger guard. Rarely, you will see another point, such as the ejection port. This is not the preferred method, however, because the edges are too sharp and the weapon will eat away at the holster. To adjust the retention you will need a pair of gloves and a hair dryer or heat gun. Make sure when heating the Kydex, you keep the heat source at least 6-9 inches from the Kydex, otherwise you risk burning the Kydex. You can heat up either side of the trigger guard, but I suggest the back side.
To increase retention slowly heat the trigger guard area of the holster with the hair dryer or heat gun. The UNLOADED weapon should be in the holster. It helps to surround the trigger guard with a wet cloth or towel to protect the surrounding area. As you are heating the holster, you can periodically push on the trigger guard with your finger to see if it has softened up. You only need a small amount of pliability in the kydex. Once the feel a little “give”, removed the heat source and simply press in slightly at the front (muzzle end) of the trigger guard. You want to push down and forward, toward the trigger guard. Do this as far forward on the trigger guard as you can. You want to be as far from the trigger as possible. It only takes a small amount of impression into the trigger guard to create the retention.
IWB and Standard OWB Retention Point
You can then cool the Kydex by letting it sit, blowing on it, or using a fan. Once it is cool, work the gun in and out of the holster to check and see if it is now how you like it.
If the retention is too tight, just slightly heat up the Kydex the same way, and work the weapon in and out while it is still hot. This takes less heat than increasing the retention.
Light Bearing Holsters
The process for adjusting the retention on light bearing holsters is identical to above, except that the retention point is different. The retention point on these holsters is on the back side of the holster just above the light barrel. If you look at your light, you will see a flat portion on the bottom of the light. The front of this flat portion is where you want the retention. You should see a “dimple” on the back of the holster where the retention has been set, as shown in the first picture below.
Normally, you will be loosening the retention on these holsters. To do this, simply heat the retention point and work the weapon in and out of the holster.
To increase retention, you will need a small flat object to push in at the retention point. A screwdriver or similar object will work. Heat the area as stated in the standard holster instructions and slightly push in with your object at the retention point. You want to push from one side of the holster to the other, not from back to front.