First Look: Safariland’s 5197/5198 Range Series Holster

At SHOT 2013, I got a look at Safariland’s latest “Range Series” holsters. These are designed to compete with the myriad of open top style Kydex range holsters popular with competitive shooters, and it is by no accident that these holsters are IDPA approved. It’s relieving to see these are not cheap injection molded holsters, but rather, thermo-formed Kydex. Like most holsters in this class, a tensioning screw adjusts the level of retention. The pistol seats into the holster with a distinct click thanks to the detent in the trigger guard. The belt attachment is secured to the holster via the familiar three hole pattern compatible with Safariland’s modular belt attachments. The Range Series holsters can be purchased with a paddle or belt loop attachment.

For those with a Mini Red Dot Sight and suppressor height sights, I have good news. I found my AmeriGlo sights cleared with no problem. The holster body will work with an RMR installed, but your best bet is to trim the body a little for best fit. Five minutes on a belt sander or careful Dremeling is all you’ll need.

Suede lining on the interior of the holster, body side, protects you firearm from the attachment hardware, and does not interfere with drawing or re-holstering. I found the holster to be comparable in function with many “premium” Kydex makers, and superior to almost any holster in the same price range. At $25 street price, this functional holster is a steal. For anyone looking for a good training holster for their SIRT pistol, this would be it. For maximum convenience get the paddle model (5198) or to get the holster as tight to your body as possible, you can get the belt loop version (5197). But for the price, you might as well just get both.


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About Tim Lau

Tim Lau has over a decade of experience as an end user, armorer and instructor. He has worked for several well known firearms training organizations, and holds multiple firearms instructor certifications. He owns and operates 10-8 Consulting, LLC, which provides industry consulting services as well as marksmanship and specialized firearms training to qualified civilian, law enforcement and military personnel.

8 thoughts on “First Look: Safariland’s 5197/5198 Range Series Holster

  1. I’m curious as to why you think kydex is superior to injection molded holsters? Injection molding is thermoset, so it won’t melt in a hot vehicle whereas kydex is thermoplastic, so you can melt it with a heat gun or a hot car. In my mind, injection molded would be superior, although more difficult to modify.

    • Injection molding is not necessarily inferior, but most CHEAP injection molded holsters (like the one that rhymes with “probe us”) are of inferior quality. The poor fit, retention, and insecure mounting hardware are common with these cheap injection molded products. The quality of *most* thermoformed holsters, such as those from Comp Tac or Raven Concealment, are far superior in terms of fit, function and overall quality.

  2. I definitely am not a fan of the micro by any stretch of the means but our entire swat team has them on their rifles. For the uses and abuses that they go through the iO cover is a must. We have one on every one of our micros and it definitely is a plus in all around protection closed or open. It also gives you a little buffer/distance from the front and rear lenses to anything that might strike or rub against them when the covers are open and folded back. Something so simple is definitely now a necessity and definitely worth getting.

    Good and necessary piece of gear if you’re running a micro.

  3. FYI, Injection molding is a process that works with either thermosets or thermoplastics. Kydex just happens to have a low transition temperature compared to many thermoplastics.

  4. I got their 50% off card for re-upping my USPSA. and got the 5197 and the 477 mag pouches. The leather belt mount isnt the best for a double belt set up, but I had a spare plastic one at work. The spacer kit and DOH bracket is a “improvised” affair as the instructions arnt complete. But its not hard to figure out and the price and discount was good. The holster’s retention is soo positive that I took the adjustment screw off. SL also thru in a free hat and strange one size fits most mag pouch that works ok for being free.

    BTW, these are “assembled in mexico”.

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