One of the biggest drawbacks to traditional holsters is their limited compatibility. If you carry an uncommon or recently-revised handgun, your holster options may be limited. The selection gets even smaller if that gun is paired with a weapon-mounted light or other accessories. This is why we were intrigued to hear about SureFire’s release of a new type of holster that isn’t weapon specific. The SureFire MasterFire holster debuted at SHOT 2017, where I saw it firsthand.
At SHOT, Steven Schwier demonstrated how the system works. Despite all my experience with holsters, the MasterFire struck me as something truly unique. It offers features unlike any other holster system I know of.
Schwier did a quick run-through on how the SureFire MasterFire locks onto the weapon light, and how it releases on the draw stroke. He demonstrated the option of having the light activated upon unholstering, and how the light can be deactivated when the weapon is re-holstered. At first I thought, what sorcery is this? I didn’t have time to thoroughly examine it at the show, so I kept wondering how it worked mechanically and how practical its new features would be in the real world.
More recently, I was sent a new production model of the MasterFire Holster System. The holster came with optional parts: adapters to raise the height of the thumb release, and longer screws to match with Safariland QLS system. I also received the new version of the X300U, designated the X300UH-B model. The MasterFire Holster will only work with the newer H-B models, which also include the X400 that features either a red or green laser.
The H-B has some distinctive features which are obvious at first glance, such as the bezel. It’s thicker than a regular X300U and has two notches at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. These points are where the light makes initial contact with the holster.
A less noticeable feature is a pair of pin holes at the bottom and rear of the light near the battery door. These make room for the retention pins on each side; the left is for the thumb release bar and the right accommodates the level III retention pin when activated.
So how does it work?
Pushing the thumb release down retracts the retention pin on the left. Now all you have to do is rotate the pistol slightly forward with your draw. This is why the holster is positioned at a rearward cant; it helps in the drawing process. If you need additional retention, rotate the switch for the level III retention pin down. This moves the pin on the right into position.
Since I have small hands, I installed the taller adapter on the thumb release. Fortunately, it was easy to install with the provided hex wrench. I also utilized the QLS adapter screws to make it compatible with my rigs, both of which are on drop-leg systems.
Now that I have it set up, I practiced drawing with a dry weapon or red gun to get used to it. The draw is completely different from what I’m used to, but it’s intuitive. Once I became familiar with it, I was surprised how fast it was. I learned that if I used my thumb to push off the release button, it helped with the forward momentum and the rotation of the rear of the pistol. All that’s left was to lift up and away from the holster to get the muzzle into a firing position. I found that the lower drop leg position was easier and faster for me to draw from.
After a ton of dry fire practice, I finally got to try it out with live fire at the range. I attached the X300UH-B to my Heckler and Koch VP9 and shot several strings of fire with a random number of shots, reholstering after each one in order to get in as many draws as possible. I used the automatic-on switch for at least half of the drills, making target identification extremely fast. By the time I got my sights aligned, the target was already well-lit. For close-range encounters this gives information faster to help you make that shoot/don’t shoot decision, and also blinds your suspect.
The SureFire MasterFire was easy and fast to draw from due to its open-top design, which made it faster to get on target since the weapon completely clears the holster immediately after the thumb release button is depressed. Re-holstering was simple as well, and I was able to secure my weapon without having to look down at the holster. It was definitely reliable and solid during live fire practice. I didn’t have any issues whatsoever at the range; the holster ran fast and smooth with no snags.
Now let’s get into practical use or applications for the MasterFire holster. It wasn’t designed to be a duty holster for the everyday uniformed peace officer, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone to use it as such since it leaves the entire slide exposed. The open design is very beneficial to those who want a fast and secure range or competition holster (if weapon lights are allowed), and especially for anyone who runs a suppressor. Another use for it would be for home defense; if time permits, you can put on your standby battle belt and have your WML-equipped pistol ready to go.
One important thing to check for is pistol compatibility. Although it was designed to accommodate the majority of popular pistols out there, some won’t work. When I say it won’t work, I mean that it’ll hold all pistols that have an accessory rail that can accomodate the X300UH-B, but it won’t always be safe to do so since the trigger may not be covered completely. You can find the compatibility list on SureFire’s website.
There’s nothing traditional about the SureFire MasterFire holster. It’s a whole new system that can be very advantageous to those who want a fast and secure holster that accommodates numerous pistols and most suppressors. You can have one MasterFire system to cover most, if not all, of your pistols.
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