May 23, 2022
By Brad Fitzpatrick
More than 10 million people purchased their first firearm in 2020. This influx of new gun owners has created growing demand for carry holsters, and, not surprisingly, building “custom” holsters has become a cottage industry. Largely, these custom holsters are basic Kydex shells in a variety of colors and patterns.
Want a snakeskin pattern to match your favorite boots? Winged skulls? Leopard print? No problem. But what gun owners—and new gun owners in particular—fail to recognize is a stylish holster is not nearly as valuable as a holster that has practical features that keep your gun secure yet allow for a fast, smooth draw.
Safariland’s 575 GLS Pro-Fit inside-the-waistband holster is a sensible carry solution. It comes in basic black—no flying skulls here—but what you’ll learn to appreciate about this holster is the build quality and ease of use.
It features Safariland’s Grip Locking System. When the firearm is inserted, it compresses the spring-loaded catch, and the catch pops into the front of the trigger guard once the gun is fully inserted.
The release is located just under the trigger guard, and when it is depressed the GLS releases. During a normal draw stroke, the shooter’s middle finger should come into contact with the release button and free the pistol from the holster; the holster maintains a solid hold on the gun until the release button is depressed.
The more I carry the more I believe this level of retention is not only advisable but essential, and if you find yourself tussling with an attacker who has his hands on you, the only hope you have of surviving is that he doesn’t access your gun before you do.
Having a retention holster makes sense even when you’re not in a life-and-death situation. I know at least two people who have had their carry guns simply fall out onto the floor because they weren’t properly secured, and in 2017 there was a case in Cincinnati where an off-duty police officer’s carry gun accidentally fell to the floor in a movie theater and prompted a panicked rush for the doors.
The 575 GLS Pro-Fit shell is constructed of SafariSeven, a proprietary DuPont nylon that can withstand temperatures from -50 to 300 degrees. The holster can also be submerged and won’t lose structural integrity, so you never have to worry that moisture from daily carry will damage the holster. The finish on the test holster was a non-glare matte black, and there are several aspects of the holster that will appeal to those who carry every day.
First, the edges of the holster are rounded. This not only helps with concealment, but also prevents the sharp edges of the holster from digging into your skin. The model I had fits multiple firearms, including the Glock 43, Springfield Hellcat and Springfield XD-S 3.3-inch, so this holster offers a level of versatility not found in competing holsters.
A cutout in the top of the holster allows it to accommodate red dots, and the left side of the holster extends all the way to the rear of the slide to keep the gun away from the skin. That not only improves comfort but also prevents corrosive perspiration from reaching the slide.
Holster adjustment and operation are straightforward. The provided T-handle hex wrench allows the owner to adjust the tension, and it’s easy to fine-tune the 575’s tension settings.
Both a belt hook and J-mount attachment clips are included. The belt hook attaches overtop of belts up to 1.5 inches, and the aggressive hook at the bottom of the clip holds the holster in place during the draw.
A J-hook clip is also included, and it fits between the wearer’s belt and pants. Like the belt mount, the J hook features a pronounced hook that surrounds the bottom portion of the belt and secures the holster. The J-hook also comes with a pair of adapters (short and long) that secure the holster to the top of the belt for added stability.
Swapping out hardware on some holsters is needlessly complicated, but Safariland did an admirable job designing the 575 GLS Pro-Fit so that swapping between the belt mount and J-hook isn’t burdensome.
Using the included hex wrench, simply unscrew the mounting hardware and replace it. The adapters fit snugly against the J-hook and offer a bit of vertical travel so you can adjust them to fit your belt. You can also adjust the cant of the holster to your preferred angle.
One complaint levied against inside-the-waistband holsters is the use of cheap hardware, but that’s not an issue with the Safariland 575 IWB. The round-top screw that holds the attachment in place is substantial and won’t strip.
Cant position is secured by connecting interlocking teeth on the mounting hardware and the holster body, and those teeth are large enough that they hold the holster in the proper position.
These holsters also come with a “tuck device,” a 2.75-inch piece of molded plastic that rides on the bottom of the holster. A lip on the tuck device causes the handle of the pistol to ride close to the body, which helps prevent the grip from protruding under light clothing. The tuck device is held in place with two No. 6 screws so it can easily be removed.
The 575 GLS Pro-Fit weighs just 3.3 ounces with the belt mount and tuck device, so it’s not adding much weight to your carry setup. Overall length of the holster is 6.25 inches, and the shell measures right at 1.25 inches wide, not including the mounting hardware.
The 575 GLS Pro-Fit IWB is available in both right- and left-handed models, and with a suggested retail price of $68 the Safariland is competitively priced considering the quality construction and versatile design. It’s available directly through the Safariland website.
I used the Safariland 575 as my carry holster for several days and found it to be comfortable. The sleek sides and round edges prevent the holster from digging into the body when carried at the three o’clock position, and cant is easy to adjust. I carried the holster with both one- and 1.5-inch belts and it worked well with both.
The holster keeps the pistol’s grip tucked close to the wearer, which prevents it from printing and giving away the fact you’re carrying concealed.
I’m a fan of the GLS system. Placing the button the bottom of the trigger guard makes for an intuitive release when you draw the gun, and during testing I never had any instances where the gun didn’t free up when I stared my draw. In fact, it’s almost as fast as drawing from a holster without a direct retention system at all, which is the ultimate goal of any retention device.
When the gun is locked in place, however, it isn’t going anywhere. I couldn’t remove the gun from the holster without pressing the release button no matter how hard I tried, and that offers considerable peace of mind while carrying.
I spent time carrying with both the belt mount and J-hook and found I preferred the former simply because it was easier for me to remove at the end of the day. I do believe the J-hook is easier to conceal, but both options work well, and it’s nice to have a choice between the two. I also like that the cant is easy to adjust.
With the growing popularity of red dot optics I think owning a carry holster with a reflex sight channel makes sense. You may never elect to mount a red dot on your carry pistol, but at least you have the option.
My only complaint is I wish the No. 6 screws that hold the tuck device in place were hex heads like the clip holster and adjustment screw. This way the included tool would be all you’d need to adjust the holster.
In a world where retention holsters are more of a necessity than a nicety for concealed carry, the Safariland is a good option. It allows you—and only you—rapid access to your defensive pistol, and that’s even more important than owning a holster that matches your boots.
Safariland 575 GLS Pro-Fit Specifications
- Type: Inside the waistband
- Material: SafariSeven nylon
- Mounting System: Belt mount and J-hook
- Retention: GLS button release
- Submersible: Yes
- Cant Adjustable: Tes
- Weight: 3.3 oz.
- Length: 6.25 in.
- Width: 1.25 in.
- Price: $68
- Manufacturer: Safariland, safariland.com