afariland has been my go-to holster brand since I got the 6004 for my P226 over a decade ago. I pretty much didn't touch it at all during those years and it just kept going. Other than replacing one screw from the belt mount that was the only trouble I ever had. So my next holster choice was pretty clear when I decided to switch my side-arm to a Glock 19X.
And as I decided to setup the Glock with an RDS and light the choice got even more easier. Sure, I'll admit that also the coolness factor played a role.
I hopped on the 6345DO-train.
Let's start this review about the looks of this thing. I mean it's pretty darn huge (and that doesn't come without problems), but the Multicam cordura-wrap gives it such a sweet look that compliments the beautiful molding, finally the tan parts finish off that look. The cordura wrap also has a real functional benefit of giving improved IR signature reduction to the holster.
To me this is the sexiest looking holster there is. Change my mind. Seriously send me a DM if you want to try.
But let's get into the actual use and functionality of it.
Back in the early 2010's I used to have my 6004 on a thigh rig but that quite quickly changed, those things definitely restrict movement at least in my experience. So since then I've ran my holsters on mid-ride height on the belt. That's what I have decided to do with the 6354 too. I've attached it to a Safariland Mid-Ride belt loop with the Quick Locking System (QLS) which takes up about 3 PALS channels worth of real estate on a belt. Mid-ride height puts the gun at a natural height for me and the belt loop with the QLS pushes the holster a little bit off my side helping clear my draw from the plate carrier. However this isn't perfect, there are some problems in sitting positions.
Sitting in a car seat can be quite uncomfortable as the holster tends be pushed by the seat and into your side, this is where the QLS comes in handy to remove the holster if you have to be seated for longer periods and then reattach.
Another situation I've noticed the same issue is when I have for some reason had to be seated on the ground or have had to drop myself on my ass. Once when I had to do this quickly the holster caught the ground and drove itself with very nice force into my side which hurt quite a bit. I want to be clear that the holster didn't disengage from the belt loop adapter but the belt loop just bent.
The holster is also quite heavy when you've got a fully tricked out gun in it, that means that the belt and the belt loop gives away and the holster sways during faster movement. I believe this is one of the reasons many have decided to run a single leg strap with it. I have yet to try that.
Other than these comfort issues I haven't had any other problems with how the holster rides.
So how is the draw from this holster?
Well in my experience compared to 6004 with Self Locking System (SLS) the 6354's ALS Automatic Locking System (ALS) is way superior in terms of speed and ease of use. While the SLS requires one to push the guard hood off with your thumb the ALS is just a small pull of a lever backward which also is natural to your thumb for getting a good grip on your gun. It does take a little practice if you haven't used it before but after you get the hang of it it's just smooth.
Some have said that the ALS activation lever is a tad small, but because I have small hands I haven't experienced that as a problem, although I can see how making it larger could help. Fortunately there's an after-market part called ALS NUB MOD that solves the issue for those who need it. I haven't tried it yet.
As we're talking about the ease of draw there is one major drawback which can mess with your draw especially if you've got an RDS on your gun... the molding doesn't provide cover for your optic so if you're crawling in a very sandy environment, or maybe moving in snow there's a big chance your optic will get covered in debris and once you pull your gun out your sight picture is blocked.
This is something you as a user need to be aware of if you use the holster in environments described here. Safariland has fixed this issue in newer models where a hood covers the optic.
Also one thing to note is that some optics might require modification to the holster. I've had friends who had to hack the composite a little bit to get their Aimpoint ACRO's to fit, if you've got a Docter-style optic you shouldn't have a problem.
Next, let's talk a little bit about the adjustment the holster provides.
In the picture below you can see a black screw above the model engravings. This is what you use to adjust the holster to a desired friction level. It will adjust so much that you can keep a gun without an RDS or light securely in the holster although as there will be quite a bit of empty space the gun will move a little bit inside. So the fit is definitely best when you have at least a light attached to your weapon.
Although you can't see it in the picture (apologies) the muzzle end is capped to prevent light or laser accidentally emitting from inside, and also to keep debris out from this direction.
To summarise, the Safariland 6354 is a big holster but nice looking holster that isn't always the most comfortable because its size. But it does provide an excellent platform for fast and smooth draw using a pistol with RDS and light. In addition to excellent protection for those accessories. There's also the added benefit of being to able to use it with your gun even without the accessories.
In my opinion if you're looking for a new holster for a pistol with aRDS and light definitely consider the 6354. You might want to check out the newer hooded models rather than the older one without that added protection from debris.
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