If you have more than one handgun that you like to carry, odds are you need (and have) more than one holster. If you only have one handgun but occasionally carry with a weaponlight mounted on it, you probably purchased a second holster. Too bad, because SureFire now offers an alternate solution. Instead of making a holster to fit your specific handgun, the company is building a holster that attaches to both the company's X300 and X400 pistol light, regardless of the handgun on which the light is installed.
Like most clever ideas, the concept is simple. The body of the holster is basically an open trough with two pins at the muzzle end that engage the cuts in the front of the weapon light. Another pin in the holster located near the back end of the weaponlight locks the light (with the gun attached) in the holster. To release the rig from the holster, simply press the release latch with the thumb of your shooting hand as you establish your grip during the draw stroke. Pivoting a “safety” lever on the outside of the holster engages another pin that holds the light in place even if the release latch is pressed. This lever is easily accessed and can be quickly activated or released depending on whether you want the gun accessible or restrained.
The outside of the polymer holster has an “on/off” switch. It does exactly what you would expect an “on/off” switch to do on a light; in the on position, it turns the weapon light on as you draw it from the holster. Sliding the holster’s switch lever to “on” places a piece of plastic in front of the SureFire weaponlight’s activation switch. The light comes on as it exits the holster, giving you instant visibility with no fumbling during what can be one of the most terrifying moments of your life. There are adjustment screws that can be moved to accommodate a variety of belt widths. Likewise, the angle of the holster can be adjusted to suit the individual shooter. My test holster had a slight muzzle forward rake which allowed the acquisition of a good firing grip while the gun was still in the holster. If you prefer something different, you don’t need to be a mechanical genius to make changes.
Since I normally carry an open-top OWB holster with no retention device other than a good holster-to-gun fit, I went through a rather steep learning curve during my first day on the range at Gunsite Academy. When the release latch is pushed, the weapon must be rocked slightly forward before it can be lifted from the holster. If you’ve used other holsters with a retention device, I’m sure your learning curve will be gentler than mine. I think you’ll also find that the SureFire holster is easier to use with a striker-fired pistol as opposed to a 1911 with a thumb-safety lever. When I tried it later with a Smith & Wesson M&P and a Glock, things went smoothly. And for the record, the holster accepted both the full size M&P and the smaller G19 Glock with equal aplomb.
I’ve never carried a duty-type handgun openly. My experience deals with concealed-carry rigs, large hunting handguns and some competition events, so I shouldn’t make any judgments on suitability for duty use. What I can say is that the new SureFire setup worked well on Gunsite’s training ranges once I became more accustomed to the new requirements and motions. Also, none of our activities were in low-light conditions, so once I knew that the automatic on switch worked, there was no real-world testing of the capability. That said, with the holster mounted on the back of a night stand or on the side of a bed, the “auto on” feature strikes me as a very useful tool. When that bump in the night awakens you and sends your heartbeat up around 200 beats per minute, you don’t want to be fumbling around with a loaded handgun. Instant and automatic lighting would be a very beneficial feature.
Two items of note: First, the SureFire holster will not work on the company's older-model weapon lights. It requires the two notches that are only found on the newer X300UH, X400UH and XH15. Second, it is not designed to work with other manufacturers' lights.