Level 1 vs Level 2 Holsters for Tactical Competitions: Why Active Retention is Best

Published by Dara Hoolsters on 30th May 2024

Understanding Level 1 and Level 2 Retention Holsters for Gun Games and Competitions

When it comes to shooting sports and tactical training, choosing the right holster is crucial. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the differences between Level 1 and Level 2 retention holsters, their applications in various gun games, and why selecting the appropriate retention level is essential for competitive shooting.

What is a Level 1 Retention Holster?

A Level 1 retention holster uses basic friction retention that relies on the trigger guard to hold the firearm in place. When you pull on the firearm, it releases from the holster. This type of holster is common for everyday carry (EDC) and static shooting activities where movement is minimal.

Key Features of Level 1 Retention Holsters:

  • Basic friction retention
  • Retains firearm on the trigger guard
  • Suitable for static shooting and EDC

What is a Level 2 Retention Holster?

A Level 2 retention holster adds a second level of security in addition to the trigger guard retention. This could include mechanisms like ejection port locking or a hood type system. Our holsters, for example, feature a thumb button for easy access. Even if the holster is turned upside down, the firearm remains secure until the secondary mechanism is disengaged.

Key Features of Level 2 Retention Holsters:

  • Trigger guard retention plus a secondary mechanism
  • Enhanced security to prevent accidental dislodgement
  • Ideal for dynamic shooting activities and competitions

Why Use a Level 2 Retention Holster in Competitions?

Competitive shooting sports such as USPSA, IDPA, and IPSC often require a lot of movement, which can increase the risk of a firearm falling out of a Level 1 retention holster. Events like 2-gun and 3-gun matches involve running, climbing, and other physically demanding activities. Using a Level 2 retention holster ensures that your firearm stays secure during these intense actions.

Benefits of Level 2 Retention Holsters in Competitions:

  • Prevents accidental firearm dislodgement
  • Complies with competition safety regulations
  • Provides peace of mind during dynamic stages

Tactical Games and Retention Holsters

In tactical games, participants face even more rigorous challenges. These games simulate combat scenarios with activities like heavy sandbag carries, sled pulls, and crawling under obstacles. A second level of retention is crucial to keep your firearm secure throughout these demanding stages.

Tactical Game Activities Requiring Level 2 Retention:

  • Heavy physical exertion
  • Sling manipulation with rifles
  • Crawling, climbing, and lifting

Training and Practical Applications

Our holsters are designed with rigorous training and real-world applications in mind. Located in North Carolina, near Fort Bragg, we have access to numerous training facilities and competitions designed for Special Forces. These environments are perfect for testing the durability and reliability of our Level 2 retention holsters.

Key Training and Practical Use Cases:

  • Military and law enforcement training
  • Competitive shooting practice
  • Tactical exercises and drills


Choosing the right holster is a critical decision for any shooter, whether for everyday carry, competitive shooting, or tactical training. Level 1 retention holsters offer simplicity and ease of use for static situations, while Level 2 retention holsters provide the additional security needed for dynamic and physically demanding activities.

Why Choose Our Holsters:

  • Extensive range of retention holsters
  • Proven reliability in tactical and competitive scenarios
  • Designed for optimal performance and safety

We encourage you to get out there, train hard, and push your limits. Whether you’re preparing for a competition or enhancing your tactical skills, having the right gear makes all the difference. If you have any questions, our customer service team is here to help. Contact us at or give us a call.

Stay safe, stay prepared, and keep training!

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