Safariland QLS: Switch Your Holster in Seconds

The Safariland QLS (Quick Locking System) is a must-have for anyone that owns a duty-sized handgun. I have always used a Safariland holster at work because of the durability and multiple options for retention. They have everything from Level 1 to Level 3 Retention for your Glock, Sig, Walther, or any other handgun you want to carry. But I also found myself using multiple holsters for different setups. For tactical operations, I use a drop-led holster. For regular uniform, I use a belt-attached duty holster. But if I wanted to take my holster off the duty belt to put on a different belt, it was a lot of work.

Safariland QLS holsters
The Safariland QLS system is a great way to change holsters without moving things around on your belt.

Because I have always used Safariland at work, I gravitated to them for my personal holsters. I have one for my Glock pistols, my Sig M17, and others. But what I don’t want to do is buy an expensive holster for my belt and then turn around and buy another one for a drop-leg too. It’s easy to overlook holsters and focus on the cool guns. But holsters can be a big problem if you can’t find the setup you want. They are expensive and if you own multiple handguns, well, be ready to fork out some cash on holsters. The Safariland QLS system fixes this problem though. It’s been around for a while, but I am still amazed at how easy it makes switching holsters around.

What is the QLS system?

Basically, the QLS system is two mounting plates: the receiver plate, and the locking fork. The receiver plate attaches to your belt and the locking fork to your holster. The locking fork slides into the receiving plate from the top and lock in place.

Let’s say you want your gun on a duty belt, but you also want the ability to carry it on a pancake belt clip. With this system, you can attach a receiving plate to both the belt attachment and belt clip. The locking fork is attached to the back of the holster. Now you can slide the holster over the receiving plate on either attachment. To remove it, you simply squeeze the forks at the bottom and lift.

The Safariland QLS system.
The QLS holster system makes it easy to remove and attach holsters in seconds.

This works great if you have different systems for carrying a holster. I like to use a drop-leg holster when I have an entry vest on. With the QLS, I can attach a receiving plate to my drop-leg rig so my holster can lock onto it. This eliminates the need for multiple holsters. It also allows you to have a holster for different guns and use the same belt, drop-leg, or paddle system for those holsters. If you have one belt, one drop-leg rig, and one paddle, you can use any Safariland holster for any gun on those systems.

Installing the QLS system

The QLS kit comes with one receiving plate, one locking fork, and the screws needed to attach them. The first step is to attach the locking forks to the holster. When you buy a Safariland holster, they come in a bag with a belt attachment and a paddle. Normally, you pick one of these two attachments and screw them to the holster. Instead, use the provided screws and attach the locking fork to the back of the holster (see photo below). If you already have a holster with a paddle or belt attachment on it, remove it to install the locking forks instead. Mine had the paddle so I took it off. Three screws will need to be removed for this process.

Installing the QLS locking fork.
Install the locking forks onto the holster. This will allow the holster to snap onto any other system you have the receiving plate attached to.

Next is the receiving plate. This will attach to whatever system you want use to carry the holster. In this case, I am attaching it to the back of the paddle I had on my holster. I already have a receiving plate on my duty belt and leg holster. This will allow me to use this holster on those and the paddle.

To attach the receiving plate, use two T-nuts (see photo below), and two screws that came with the QLS system. The T-nuts will go into the top and the screws from the bottom. There are special grooves that allow the T-nuts to fall into place on the receiving plate. Once the two screws are in, you’re done. The holster can now be attached to the paddle by sliding it on from the top until it clicks into place.

Installing the Safariland QLS receiving plate.
The receiving plate goes on the paddle, belt attachment, or any other system you want to use. Whatever this plate is mounted to will accept the holster with the locking forks. The T-nuts (on the left) go into the grooves on the top of the receiving plate.

Is it practical?

In a simple world, we would have one gun, one holster, and one way to carry that holster. But we are people and we’re not simple. We like to have options and if you’re like me, you want more than one gun. And with each gun comes multiple holsters and different ways to carry those holsters. This system will eliminate the need to buy so many holsters. Besides saving money, however, it makes it fast for switching to a different system. I keep my leg holster in a bag in the back of my patrol car. Because I don’t work the road with the deputies, I often just carry a Glock 19 with dress clothes. But if something goes bad and I need to help the road guys or tactical team, I need to switch gear.

Attaching the holster to the paddle
In this photo, the holster is partway into the receiving plate. Pushing down on the holster will lock it in place to this paddle.

This system allows me to throw on my entry vest and drop-leg rig. I can then remove my holster from the paddle and click it onto the drop-leg rig without carrying two different holsters. If someone decides they want to carry a different gun, they can use the same rig to carry the holster. This means you can switch your holster from one setup to another within seconds. If you carry a Glock but decide you want to switch over to a Sig M17, just remove the holster and snap the M17 holster on your belt. No need to remove everything on the belt, just slide the belt attachment off.

Final thoughts on the Safariland QLS system

Some may not see the need to have so many holsters and ways to carry them, but some of us do. This may be for our job, or this is the system we use at home with our personal equipment. I use the Safariland QLS system both at work and at home. I can have one belt system that has all my stuff on it and change out holsters without messing with my belt system. This is great for training with different weapons or changing up how you carry your gun based on the task at hand. If you want one holster (or multiple holsters) that can attach to multiple platforms this is the best system out there.

Sheriff Jason Mosher is a law enforcement generalist instructor as well as a firearms and tactical weapons trainer. Jason graduated from the FBI-LEEDA (Law Enforcement Executive Development Association) and serves as a Sheriff for his day job. When he’s not working, he’s on the range, eating steak, or watching Yellowstone.

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