Choosing the right holster for your needs can be a very difficult task. Not only are there different carry options, there are also different mounting types and retention types.
First off, you need to know and understand the purpose of all general mounting types and retention levels out there as well as the intent of different carry methods. If you aren’t aware of them, be so kind to educate yourself, otherwise – buying your own holster isn’t a thing I would recommend for you. If you are aware about the basics, feel free to read on.
The Holsterwerk FAST
When I was looking for a proper level one retention holster, I wanted something that I could use doing suit and tie work as well as for plain clothes and also while using full kit. Despite my decision for a level one holster, I wanted a holster that provides some retention, especially when someone approaches me from the back, trying to disarm me.
I stumbled upon Holsterwerks FAST Holsters, as they are level one holsters but feature a slight forward cant that that makes it harder for an attacker to disarm the operator from the back. A simple solution for a tough problem, as more and more suspects are trying to reach for security- or police officers weapon. This forward cant doesn’t offer the same weapon retention as a hood or even a locking system, but it provides you valuable reaction time to fight off the attacker while always granting you fast access to your handgun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a level one holster that relies on friction, but its cant provides what I call an ergonomic safety.
The next thing that convinced me is that there is an IWB and an OWB version. Both versions feature a solid mounting system with no moving parts, which is a big thing to me as I have seen many low quality or overengineered mounting systems breaking apart during CQD or CQC training. Also, both versions feature the exact same ergonomics and profile, which can reduce training time drastically.
FAST OWB & IWB Retention
The retention level is field adjustable by a simple Philips screw, so you won’t need to carry your whole tool case around for simple fine tuning. We decided to give the FAST system a try, using it during different classes and on duty. Our main benchmark would be CQD training as I consider retention against hostile access attempts as one of the key factors for a good to go duty holster.
Talking about safety, Holsterwerk managed to do something interesting in protecting the mag release while keeping it accessible. The mag release is half covered by kydex, that elevates into a bump. This bump makes the mag release accessible by intention, but prevents unintended activation of the mag release. Neglient mag release can be a problem in CQB, as soon as you get attacked your grip on the holster and the gun will get tighter, eventually becoming so tight that your thumb slips down, right on the mag release. By adding the elevated bumb, Holsterwerk managed that your thumb will skip the mag release when it starts to slip, landing just on the pistol grip. Yes, it is a lot easier for dirt and little stones to enter the holster, but we can’t have all the nice things!
The holster also features a sweatguard on the inside, this makes a lot of sense, especially when you carry IWB. Again, this is a matter of personal taste, but I prefer a piece of kydex pressed against my belly over a cold metal slide.
The FAST is cut high enough to offer protection for your gun, but low enough to allow the use of optics. As I don’t have any experiences with handgun optics like the RMR yet, I honestly cant offer you any experience on that.
HOLSTERWERK – Construction Quality
Now that we take a closer look to the construction we see the actual quality of the FAST, this is industrial manufactured quality with no sharp edges or ridges, the whole construction is finished to the max. Also all angles are kept smooth, not being to aggressive – Holsterwerk seems to know that a holster has to be ergonomic, because most of the time this is where you carry your pistol – unless you are the Doom Slayer. There are also no lose screws or anything you have to assemble. Again, Holsterwerk is a young German company, but they produce on an industrial level and aren’t your average “Hillbillys KUSTOMZ” holster company.
The FAST OWB attaches by two approx. 1,5” wide, fixed beltloops. No moving parts or other gimmicks that might fail. I personally would have liked the ability to adapt the fast to the Safariland QL System, which in my eyes, is the industry standard. This would also add a little more standoff, which may be important if you work in full kit.
Wearing a suit jacket, with shirt tucked in, the FAST OWB works best, as it really fits the contour of your body, adding almost no extra bulk to the weapon. Drawing with slimmer belts (like those that u use while wearing a suit also works fine, as the holster should sit tight enough without any play, but I would recommend everyone to losen the retention here a little bit until Holsterwerk comes out with slimmer clips.
The FAST IWB is extremely comfortable, you can run it under a tshirt and it just takes an hour or so to get used to it. When I carry IWB I mostly wear Under Armour Compression trunks, with the waistband over my belly, to prevent irritation by the holster, this works fine for me. The IWB Loops don’t feature a button or any other hardware, they are claws made of a flexible polymer, so installation is a non brainer.
Shooting. Ok, let me get this straight. I won’t compare drawing time of level one holsters in this or any other article, as this is mostly related to the shooter and not to the holster. Access is pretty easy as you get a good grip. Many of you may ask if the forward cant has influence on your drawing angle, interestingly it doesn’t, unless you draw with the force of a 12-year-old school girl. As long as you keep a manly pull, you will be rewarded with a pretty straight drawing angle. The FAST isn’t flared, so if you want to perform a blind reindexing you will have to train as with every good tactical holster. Drawing also works from prone position, sitting or even in grappling situations.
We did a small video, showing how well the holster performs in CQC Training.
Synopsis – HOLSTERWERK FAST
So is the Holsterwerk FAST worth a buy? In my eyes it is not only worth the buy because of the excellent quality. It is also worth the buy because of its ergonomic retention which is pretty unique. You get a holster that will fill many rules ranging from concealed carry to open carry to even military use. No matter if you are on patrol or on your way to the PX in the camp, it is a jack of all trades. It might be the wrong holster for you if you don’t want to do compromises, but the compromises it makes are favorably balanced towards common sense.
Again, Holsterwerk isn’t a custom shop, so they eont manufacture your limited edition Deadpool holster with dragon scale texture, featuring a 13,55° reverse drawing angle. But they tend to put as many enduser influence into their products as possible.
You can buy Holsterwerk products at “Waffenhandel Messer”.
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