Recently, I was having a conversation with my friend Jim about drop leg holsters. He commented that it was pretty much a sign of a new or inexperienced person: someone that had maybe a lot of experience with guns on a square range, but not much experience in the field. I agreed. So I posted a comment on Facebook:
Friend: "A drop leg holster is a sure sign of someone new or inexperienced."
And he's right.
This infuriated a number of people who seemed to take it as a direct insult to their manliness. This was somewhat mystifying to me, for it wasn't a malicious statement. Frankly, I expected it to get a minimal amount of comments and likes. Of course, anyone who doesn't like what I have to say is free to stop reading my blog.
After I thought about it, though, I realized the real reason. It wasn't about drop leg holsters, it was about saving face. In this "community," image is everything. Probably one of the worst things to call someone is inexperienced. Hell, people go to some carbine courses just so they can say they've trained with X instructor, not because that was the most efficient way for them to gain experience.
But being new or inexperienced isn't a bad thing. It just means that you might not have come across every option for a certain solution. Example: I started out using drop leg holsters, but don't use them any more.
I don't like drop leg holsters because I did hundreds of mounted and dismounted patrols with an issued one. I also had a subload. I ditched the subload first and then ditched the drop leg holster when I had the ability to put the pistol on my flak jacket. It was like night and day in terms of my ability to get in and out of vehicles, draw while in a vehicle, access my pistol from the kneeling while treating a patient and surrounded by a hostile crowd, move through doorways, etc. I was also a lot more comfortable. When I needed to ditch armor and carry the pistol by itself, I carried IWB.
My friend (the guy I quoted) had a similar experience, and here's what he said on the Facebook comment thread:
Okay, first, I am "the friend" that made the comment, and although that is not a direct quote (I didn't say it exactly that way), I will explain what I meant.
First, I was in the Marines from 98-05 (8 years) and and spent almost all of that time in 1st Recon Bn and 1st Force Recon Co. We all had drop leg holsters back when we were forced to carry 13 rifle mags and 7 pistol mags for every DA or VBSS hit we did. They work great to add space and get to your pistol with a huge vest on with gear all over it and they are fast on the square bay and even not too bad in the house. But the war changed all that (and a lot more).
Once you have to use that day in and day out in the real world, it just doesn't make sense for most professionals. At the time we had to use the gear we were issues and according to SOP. If you are a SWAT cop at smaller area (you are swat, but that means you have your gear in your truck and have duties as a normal cop the rest of the time), it would most likely work fine. If you are an assaulter full time in a war zone, or have to get in and out of cars all day, this is not the setup you are running (unless you have to, or haven't tried something else.....you are new). You don't have to agree with me, but in the units that don't have rules for that stuff and are still doing all the work (TF Blue, Green, etc) they are not running drop holsters. They are almost all on the vest, or on the hip (running lighter kit), and slimmed way down.
Try something else, climb thru a window, over a fence, in and out of a car, shoot draw while seated in a vehicle, fast rope thru a hell hole, etc. The new guy comment was mainly directed at military guys, we have all tried the drop, but there are much better options out there, that have been identified in combat.......it is a big time saver if you at least try what other people have already learned the hard way. I still have one friend that is at the bottom of the pacific ocean because he was stuck in a CH46 that crashed during a VBSS training op and the investigation determined that his drop holster and lanyard were hung up inside the aircraft (7 others died as well).
If anyone hasn't noticed, you never meet anyone in the military that is a truck mech or a chef......makes you wonder how all the trucks run and people get fed. DLH work fine, but it is true that there has been a major shit to slim things down and get stuff off your legs......if you bought it at the PX to pull gate guard outside the chow hall, some of the guys are right, you are not new to guns, but you are not best source of info for this. A chest holster will work for almost every role a Drop Leg will work for (save your unit makes you carry a shit ton of gear on your vest that you never use because they saw blackhawk down), but a drop holster does not do everything a chest mounted holster will.....again we are talking armor, direct action, combat.....not what is fun on the range or fast in 3-gun. As far as the comments on you have to use what works for you, that is correct to a point. But if you don't have a real way of testing something out for the purpose you bought it, it might make sense to start with the best info you can get. At the end of the day if I want to remodel my house, I am the one that has to live in it. But it might make sense to start with ideas from the guys that do it the most, since I am shooting and not a remodel guy. And if I was doing tile, i would talk to a tile guy, that is all he does, not a neighbor that has done 1 or 2 kitchens in his life but owns his own tile saw......it has nothing to do with being mean. Why try to imagine what is the best answer....the work has already been done.....start at the top and work down.
What we're both getting at is that lots of time in the field tends to whittle away inefficient or unnecessary gear. If we see someone that is wearing a drop leg holster, we're pretty confident in saying that that person is either a) forced to use one (as many people in the military are) or b) hasn't considered/tried other methods of carrying a sidearm. It's not an insult, it's just an experience-based observation.
I think we'll be expanding on the "what works for you" thing in the future, too.