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Safariland Solis OWB Holster: Full Review

By blending the convenience of an open-top design with the security of ALS retention, the Solis makes its case for the title of the most versatile light-bearing holster on the market.

Safariland Solis OWB Holster: Full Review

(Photo courtesy of Brad Fitzpatrick)

For years shooters had to choose between the peace of mind of a retention system and the convenience of an open-top holster. Safariland changed that with the release of new holsters like their Solis OWB which offers the benefits of both retention and open-top designs. By blending the features, Safariland has created a holster that is versatile, convenient, and safe. The Solis keeps your gun accessible and makes reholstering quite simple, but that simplicity and convenience does not come at the price of security. If a bad guy manages to grab your gun, the firearm will remain locked in the holster.

Safariland Solis OWB Holster
(Photo courtesy of Brad Fitzpatrick)

The Benefits of ALS Design

Safariland’s ALS (Automatic Locking System) securely attaches to the ejection port of your pistol when it is inserted into the holster. To release the firearm, you simply press forward on the tab that is located near the mouth of the holster. It’s an intuitive release design that doesn’t slow or impede your natural draw stroke. Positioning the lever on the body-side of the holster accomplishes two important things. First, the thumb of your shooting hand naturally rides along that side of the holster when you reach for your firearm, and that means you won’t have to actively reach for the release when drawing the gun. Second, the release tab is located close to the body where it is more difficult for an attacker to access. Even if you are involved in a physical struggle it’s extremely difficult for an attacker to retrieve the gun because they have to simultaneously access the tab while pulling up on the pistol.

Safariland Solis OWB Holster
(Photo courtesy of Brad Fitzpatrick)

Solis Works with Weapon Lights

Whether you’re a law enforcement professional or carry a pistol for self-defense, having a weapon light is a major benefit. Many shooters never practice in low light conditions, but violent assaults often occur in near or total darkness when lighting conditions favor the attacker. A compact weapon light can turn the tables by providing a blinding light source that disorients attackers.

For years, the problem with weapons lights was that there were no holsters that would accommodate them. The Solis holster is designed specifically to fit popular rail-mounted pistol lights. Having the ability to illuminate your surroundings offers a major advantage in a confrontation. Best of all, Safariland managed to create a light-bearing holster that isn’t excessively bulky or extremely large.

Safariland Solis OWB Holster
(Photo courtesy of Brad Fitzpatrick)

Durable Construction

One of the reasons so many LE and military professionals choose Safariland is the reliability and durability of their holster products. Like other Safariland products, the Solis is constructed from rugged SafariSeven blended nylon that is both durable and lightweight. SafariSeven is a non-marring material that won’t damage the finish on your gun or light, and it is water and heat resistant. I’ve tested Safariland SafariSeven holsters by leaving them on the dash of a vehicle on sunny days when the temperatures inside the vehicle exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Never during those tests did the holster warp or lose shape. SafariSeven also offers a level of lubricity that exceeds other holsters which results in a smooth, fast draw with no hang-ups.

Safariland Solis OWB Holster
(Photo courtesy of Brad Fitzpatrick)

The holster shell of the Solis is thicker than most competing holsters, and that also increases durability and eliminates any risk of the holster losing shape. Safariland’s holsters utilize sturdy hardware components that are easy to adjust, and the ALS system is rugged enough to withstand years of use. The open muzzle allows moisture and debris to exit the holster and it also accommodates threaded barrels. Additionally, the holster is designed to accommodate most reflex sights.

Safariland Solis OWB Holster
(Photo courtesy of Brad Fitzpatrick)

Unmatched Versatility, Maximum Security

The Solis is available in either a belt loop or paddle configuration. No matter which configuration you select, the holster rides close to the body. The Solis holster shell measures just 5.25 inches long and 1.5 inches wide, so it's a trim design considering it will accommodate weapon lights. With a medium weight cover garment this OWB holster still allows you carry concealed.

I prefer the convenience of an open-top holster, especially when I’m training and will be drawing the pistol frequently. Open top designs also make reholstering much easier and safer. I do not, however, carry in a holster without a retention device. Carrying without retention — especially open carry — is asking for trouble. Most law-abiding citizens would never imagine grabbing a holstered gun, but violent criminals may think differently. Open carry indicates to potential assailants not only that you have a firearm but also which hand is your strong hand. In a situation where I have to open carry I wouldn’t do so without at least level 1 retention such as the Solis offers.

Safariland Solis OWB Holster
(Photo courtesy of Brad Fitzpatrick)

Range Testing

I wore the Solis while carrying a Glock G43x with a Ruger ReadyDot sight and a Streamlight TLR-7 weapon light. That’s a lot of gun and gear for a lightweight OWB holster, but the Solis managed just fine. Despite weighing a scant 5.4 ounces, the Solis is sturdy enough that it stays planted on the hip when walking and during the draw.


The ALS system is ingeniously simple and is the most intuitive retention device on the market. The thumb naturally rides along the body side of the holster so it’s very natural to press the tab when building a shooting grip on the pistol. With very minimal practice it’s possible to draw a pistol from the Solis as quickly as you would from a non-retention holster.

Though it's designated as a duty holster and serves that role well, it’s possible to conceal the Solis under a mid-weight button-up shirt or light jacket in summer. An unusual cold snap in June allowed me to carry the holster concealed, and I found it to be more comfortable than most IWB holsters. The Solis rides at roughly the 3 o’clock position for right-handed shooters, but it is thin enough that it is concealable. It’s also noticeably more comfortable to wear when driving a vehicle than a standard IWB holster. I have two friends who refuse to use IWB holsters for daily carry because they find them to be uncomfortable, and if you feel the same the Solis is your best option.

The lightweight, rugged, Solis is one of the best holsters to come to market in many years. Its innovative design is versatile and safe, and it’s clearly well thought-out. What else would you expect from Safariland.

Recommended


Safariland Solis OWB Holster

  • Construction: SafariSeven nylon blend
  • Attachment: Belt loop or paddle
  • Retention Level: 1
  • Light Compatible: Yes
  • Red Dot Optic Compatible: Yes
  • Open Muzzle: Yes
  • Length (Holster Shell): 5.25-inches
  • Width (Holster Shell): 1.5-inches
  • Weight: 5.4 Oz
  • MSRP: $80-85
  • Contact: Safariland Holsters
Safariland Solis OWB Holster
(Photo courtesy of Brad Fitzpatrick)
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