Holster makers are often reluctant to make new rigs for pistols with lights attached due to the frequency in changes made. In spite of the growing trend to conceal a pistol with a light, it can be challenging to find a quality holster for a full-size pistol and light that’s comfortable to wear. DeSantis’ new Speed-Lite has qualified. $91

Holster makers are often reluctant to make new rigs for pistols with lights attached due to the frequency in changes made. In spite of the growing trend to conceal a pistol with a light, it can be challenging to find a quality holster for a full-size pistol and light that’s comfortable to wear. DeSantis’ new Speed-Lite has qualified. $91

Due to an escalation in societal violence, the need for armed, law-abiding citizens appears to be increasing. My grandfather would never have dreamed of needing personal protection while attending Sunday church service, but that mindset is reasonable by many right now.

As a full-time police officer, I prefer to carry a firearm off-duty that closely resembles my issued sidearm, which I’ve trained with and feel comfortable handling while under stress. I am not interested in attempting to defend my life or my family’s life with a small and unfamiliar compact pocket pistol.

Since my current duty gun is a Glock 22 with a Streamlight TLR attached, I like to carry a similar set-up when not working. The challenge is dressing around a full-size pistol with a light attached. There’s a plethora of holsters for Glocks on the market, but finding an outside-the-waistband (OWB), concealable, light-mounted holster has proven to be more of a challenge.

DeSantis Holster unveiled The Speed-Lite in 2017. It is an American-made holster constructed of saddle leather. It’s a snug, concealable package free of snaps, plastic clips or other parts that could potentially fail — one of the benefits of an all-leather holster. Instead, there are three slots cut for one’s carry preference of forward cant or no cant.

To complete the evaluation of The Speed-Lite holster, I also ordered DeSantis’ plain, lined, 1½-inch leather belt and an ambidextrous, black, Gunhide-leather, single-magazine pouch. The belt threads through both the holster and the mag pouch with little difficulty, especially when broken in.

DeSantis’ 1½-inch-wide belt is made from a single piece of saddle leather and is lined with suede. Black belts come with silver buckles, while tan belts ship with brass buckles. $73

DeSantis’ 1½-inch-wide belt is made from a single piece of saddle leather and is lined with suede. Black belts come with silver buckles, while tan belts ship with brass buckles. $73

30-DAY CARRY After a leather holster has surpassed its break-in period, I love them. Getting to that point can be a bear. DeSantis’ Speed-Lite arrived super snug right out of its bag. It took about one week — and a couple of hundred draw strokes — to wear in comfortably and allow me to present the pistol consistently. Once broke-in, the three leather pieces — belt, holster and pouch — were all molded to the shape of my waistline for a comfortable and ideal OWB fit that no piece of plastic has matched.

Only after living with this rig for 30 days, I observed other unique traits to DeSantis’ design of The Speed-Lite. For example, the bottom of the holster is slotted open over the light’s bezel. The muzzle of The Speed-Lite is otherwise closed and covered. This slot was handy to detect if the Streamlight had been unintentionally activated when the pistol was holstered. With 800 lumens projecting to the ground, it was quickly apparent when it happened. Even in daylight at the range, I sometimes turned on the light during reholstering and learned about it from a friend who quickly brought its condition to my attention.

I also noted that The Speed-Lite featured only single-line stitching rather than double stitching on Galco’s similar model that I’ve also worn. Even so, I have not noticed any fraying or rough edges. What I am seeing is that the leather continues to become softer and smoother each week I wear it.

Carrying at least one spare magazine is important. Keeping it oriented properly and reachable is just as critical of a consideration. DeSantis’ The Reliant mag pouch comfortably gets the job done. $50

Carrying at least one spare magazine is important. Keeping it oriented properly and reachable is just as critical of a consideration. DeSantis’ The Reliant mag pouch comfortably gets the job done. $50

I have spent roughly 90 percent of this evaluation carrying The Speed-Lite in the front canted position. I’ve found this position to be more comfortable when wearing the holster in the sitting position, driving and moving around when compared to carrying it in the straight, no-cant position. The only drawback I found with the canted position with my full-size pistol and light was that it hangs down three-quarters of an inch lower than when the holster is in the no-cant position. This means that I had to be a little more conscious of my off-duty clothing to prevent the pistol printing or flashing the lower portion of The Speed-Lite.

Range time with DeSantis’ rig revealed a couple flaws in my selection of concealment garments. For one, my draw time from concealment was nearly .6 second faster when I was wearing a full-zip jacket over the holstered pistol versus wearing a pull-over, long-sleeve shirt that draped over the pistol. Since I look for ways to shave off time to get that first round on target, I found that this rig is best when concealed under a jacket that can be thrown back. It’s hard to beat range time with a Pact timer to find areas of improvement. I also learned that when I tightened my belt one notch, the holster couldn’t move, which improved consistency in my draw stroke and shaved another two-tenths of a second.

Finding a comfortable and reliable holster is almost as important as finding the right handgun. My first concealment rig was a cheap synthetic holster, setting me back about $20. DeSantis’ Speed-Lite retails for $91. The Reliant mag pouch is another $50, and the plain, black 1½-inch belt was $73. This is a considerable investment. Only you can determine if this carry rig is important enough for this money, but I’ve taken the walk before and ended up here.

If my gun and holster relationship can last 10 to 20 years, The Speed-Lite rig will prove to be invaluable. It would appear to me, that these three DeSantis pieces will provide the carrier of a full-size pistol with a light attached ages of comfortable service.

DeSantis’-Speed-Lite-Specs

 

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