I bought this holster for my S&W M&P Performance Center 5L with a Vortex Venom optic mounted on the slide via the CORE system. I use this for 3 Gun competition and my current BladeTech kydex holster does not have positive retention. This is a problem because in 3 Gun you have to run with your rifle and if your pistol falls out of the holster you are disqualified from the match. I also own a couple Safariland 7300 series holsters with the ALS retention system which work great but will not accommodate an optic due to the nature of their design. The ALS system provides a smooth draw using your thumb. As you grip the gun your thumb naturally sweeps backward which releases the pistol. For a while now I’ve been looking for a holster that provides a similar retention system and also accommodates the optic. Reading the 5.11 website and reviews I thought this might provide both so I decided to try it. Although the top of the holster has an opening for the optic it wasn’t quite big enough so I had to grind it open some more with my dremel. Not something you really want to do to a brand new holster. To have a faster draw I removed the Chop-Block feature as it is not necessary for my application. The retention system is thumb activated but it’s a counter intuitive. To release the gun you have to push down with your thumb while simultaneously pulling up on the gun with the rest of your hand. Unfortunately this does not make for a smooth fast draw. On the plus side the holster does have positive retention and an attractive look to it.
Great fitting holster for my M&P. It's secure and I have 0 worries about it not staying put.
Ordered with the Chop block- adds a little thickness- but still allows FBI cant.
Two days of practice draws (10 in the am, 10 at night before dumping) and my draw is just as quick as before. The thumb break has a positive feedback- so there's no guessing. As the title suggests- the fit is snug, secure and the release is great once the thumb break is activated! I prefer the paddle for what I do- and it is all day comfortable with the mold they used. That said- the belt slide works very well- I tested it just for kicks- and the adjustment for belt thickness works well for its purpose once you set it. I'm not a fan of the mechanism by which you set the thickness- but it's not worth a ding even if I wore the slide daily- because it's "set and forget."
Solid construction- the holster is firm- yet the paddle is pliable as it needs to be. Great product for those of us that OWB.
I also practiced having a friend attempt to disarm me, and the chop block adds the delay you need to defend your weapon from a frontal attempt- though a rear attempt by an assailant is possible. On that point- I keep it in because I like the guard against inanimate objects that 'could' depress the thumb break given the nature of my work moving through tight spaces- and I don't want my gun on the ground- ever.
As a retired law enforcement officer, I have bought many holsters. Unfortunately you have buy them to thoroughly test them, so I have gone through many holsters. This holster works perfectly for me. It is a very natural draw for me. I could never get accustomed to the Serpa and many others. It is important to find the one that feels natural to you, so that when you need to draw, the gun is in your hand before you know it. This holster is a great product!
I wanted a thigh rig and my boyfriend found this and another piece from this site. He knew that the SD40 VE was close to the M&P .40 in size, seeing as how the two get confused often. Unfortunately it is an extremely tight fit. It's either send it back or work on the composition at home. This is the only thumb release holster we could find and I love the thigh rig that goes with it. Hopefully the 5.11 team will widen their scope of holsters to allow for more variety of guns.