Safariland SLS Holster Hood Guard - ITS Tactical

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Safariland SLS Holster Hood Guard

By The ITS Crew

ITS Tactical Safariland 01The Safariland SLS (Self-Locking System) Holster has proven itself in combat and on the streets, but for everyone that run a newer SLS, you may be asking yourself… What is THAT for?

Well, “THAT” is what Safariland calls the hood guard. We here at ITS call it a big turd. Yes, Safariland may claim “The Hood Guard helps protect the SLS from impact and premature release especially in an attempted takeaway.” But to us it’s more of a hinderance than a help.

The hood guard can get caught on all kinds of stuff, including your gear. It can also increase the time it takes to transistion from your primary weapon to your secondary, which isn’t a good thing.

Some of us have been using the a Safariland SLS long enough to remember a time before the hood guard was included, and know it worked fine before it’s inception.

ITS Tactical Safariland 02I remember a story that was told to me awhile back that the reason for the hood guard’s development was that a border patrol unit kept forgetting to raise them up, and their seatbelts were removing their weapons from their holsters.

I can’t back that information up or quote the source, but if that was the real reason the hood guard was created, it seems like a training issue to me. You train like you fight, and not having the muscle memory to remember to lift the hood up is almost as bad as forgetting to put the seat down…

ITS Tactical Safariland 03To remove the hood guard from a Safariland SLS Holster first locate the allen wrench that should be included with the holster.  Most holsters have a spot for it to clip into on the back side of the leg shroud.

ITS Tactical Safariland 04Now remove the holster body from the leg shroud by lifting up the velcro and finding the three screws that make the attachment. When removing these, be careful not to loose the plastic washers.

ITS Tactical Safariland 05Next locate the two screws that secure not only the hood guard, but also the rotating hood. When removing these, be sure to hold the rotating hood in place so it won’t come loose. You’ll be putting these screws back in as soon as you remove the hood guard.

ITS Tactical Safariland 06Finally reattach the rotating hood screws, retighten, and reinstall the holster body onto the leg shroud. Tighten those bolts and you’re ready to roll…

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  • MAP

    A different view point.

    The hood is a good idea for LE duty use. Our agency uses Safariland holsters with the ALS system. The hoods are frequently being unintentionally lowered. Seatbelts and body size (read that as big guts) are the main culprits. The hood guard prevents this.

    Just my opinion.


    • Mike,

      Thanks for the comment. Do you find that the issue still occurs even with the hood guard in place?

    • MAP

      The hood guard does help. Our duty holster sits much higher than the 6004. This adds to the accidental hood activation. With the lower 6004 I believe that there is less chance of accidental activation. Body size and higher holster carry are major contributing factors.


  • thehammer

    Do not be afraid to modify your gear…you are the operator!!!!!
    OK…here is the deal, if you buy a new ALS holster which I am most fond of, the hood guard is no more than just an extra piece of junk to get hung up on things. Also on the ALS holsters if you remove the hood guard you need to purchase or shorten (and re-thread) the screws so the hood seats completely or it will malfunction. The solution…it’s real simple take a pair of diagonal cutters and cut then trim the hood guard off at the base without removing it, then follow up this step by running a file across it till it is smooth and shaped correctly. This gives the operator a smoother less hindered draw with still minimal fine motor skills. Smooth is fast.

    • Thanks for the comment! Good tip on just cutting the shroud, you can also use washers when you replace the screws if you go the route of just removing it.

  • Mike

    I have to admit, I have limited experience with pistols and holsters. However, as soon as I got my 6004 out of the box and strapped it on my leg, I thought, “what the hell is this thing on here for?” So I grabbed an allen wrench and removed the hood guard. Now, months later, it’s good to know this wasn’t the product of my inexperience and was an issue that others had as well.

  • SF

    I have 10 yrs using 6280 and 6004 holsters for LE duty and tactical use.

    *I* prefer having the guard guard. A few years ago, we had 4 LEOs killed during gun grab incidents in WA state in a period of 13 months, so this is a real concern for LEOs.

    Don’t care for the bulk of the guard though, so I trim it to make it work for me (I use a razor blade to remove the aft 50% of the guard) and improve access to the hood.


  • Erik

    I used the old style 6004 in the Marine Corps, when I got out I bought one of these with this new hood thing. I wasn’t comfortable with taking it apart (I have a habit of breaking things I’m trying to fix) so I just cut it off as low as I could and smoothed the rough edge off. I’ve heard that these are used to negate the gun grab, but I think that trying to use equipment to fix a training and mindset problem is a waste and promotes laziness.

  • TacZen

    I work for a fairly large department. We use this holster as our standard issue.
    As a point of issue, we are REQUIRED to remove the Hood Guard.
    We have a “range staff / command” along with G.O.s (Orders) that are strickly enforced so no modifications (other than what is performed by our Range for everyone uniformly)are allowed.
    Before this, my experience was always with the Nylon drop holsters, this is the first of this type I’ve used. Personally, I like things VERY simple… I don’t care if you have all the training in the world, in a gunfight too many things will go wrong to add anything extra to the mix. If i had my way, we would have the locking system only, wouldn’t even have the “Hood” at all, much less a hood guard. Do i train with AL/SLS constintly, every day! Do i constintly hear from our training staff staff that with training the hood doesn’t add to time of draw etc… all the time. Do i buy it? Sorry, like i said, it doesn’t matter how much you train, how much “testing”, once combat starts, too many things that weren’t accounted for happen. One more part means one more chance of something breaking, one more moving part means that much chance of it not working as planned and tested. I like technology, but I like the KISS rule more.
    Oh, and yes, LEOs may lose thier weapon, they may also die when they can’t get thier gun out in time, both can be addressed by training, but neither can be eleminated, and unless you have clear facts showing a gross inbalance between the two events, it becomes a “pick you poison”. I pick the poison were I get to fight it out with the bad guy, not the one I have to fight it out with my own gear.

  • I removed the hood from all three of my holsters. With the thumb release I’m not too worried about someone getting the gun out of the holster during a grab.
    I’m not sure why they changed though, the previous model with the thumb switch before the hood release was just as fast once you practiced.

  • Joe

    I work for a police department that told us to take if off our holsters. We could have it if we wanted but it was “highly recommended” that we remove it. I tried it and hated it.

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