Safariland 7304RDS v 7385 7TS: Head to Head

Recently released, the 7304RDS (RDS for Red Dot Sight) and the 7385 7TS Drop-Rig holsters are among the latest of Automatic Locking System (ALS) series by Safariland. While each includes some of the same fundamental aspects that lend themselves to the Safariland legacy, each holster is slightly tailored to a different end user. Knowing these can help the end-user decide which is best. 

Shared Values

Both the 7304RDS and 7385 holsters are made from Safariland’s proprietary blend of injection-molded, nylon polymer called SafariSeven™. The SafariSeven™ material is a DuPont product that makes the holster and mounting system very durable and highly resistant to moisture, oil, or resins. In addition, SafariSeven™ can withstand extreme temperatures between 300F degrees to -50F. It also features an open-top design with multiple interior risers that give ample distance, or an “air barrier” between the holster and all firearm surfaces.

The top of both the 7304 and 7385 include a removable hood guard to help prevent firearm takeaways or close contact with the ALS Lever when drawing/holstering a firearm.

Both holsters feature Safariland’s ALS design. This element ensures a solid locking mechanism when the firearm is holstered. De-activated by a thumb-pressure lever, the ALS locking mechanism is released, and the firearm can be easily drawn straight up. As noted, small risers inside the both holster also help maintain that “air barrier” so that any water or debris inside the holster can easily fall through and not obstruct function.

Like many other Safariland holsters, both the 7304 and 7385 come with a thigh mounting platform, with a single or double leg strap (based on end-user selection), and quick-release buckle off the belt is also an option. The thigh platform also includes front and rear mounting holes for magazine holders or other accessories.

Likewise both holsters are configurable at the time of purchase for a variety of popular weapon lights, such as the Streamlight TLR-1 HL (featured). The Safariland light-bearing holsters include a muzzleplug, thus if purchasing a holster for a pistol that has a compensator the end-user must select the next “size” up. For example, if using a compensated G17, end-users will need to select a holster for a G34.

Where They Differ

Perhaps the biggest area where the 7304RDS and 7385 7TS holsters differ is in the incorporation of a protective hood for Red Dot Sight in the 7304 (enclosed just within the Self Locking System (SLS) rotating hood), or without an RDS hood in the 7385.

While they both feature the ALS, the 7304RDS features a red dot shroud/paddle design shielding the RDS when holstered, as well as a rotating Level II SLS protection hood. In contrast, the 7385 has neither the RDS shroud nor SLS hood.

The 7304RDS is only currently available for Glock, Sig, HK and other patterned handguns and is available in Black (featured) and Coyote. TLR-7 as well as TLR-1/X300U variants available.

The 7385 is only currently available for Glock, Sig, S&W, HK, and other patterned handguns and is available in Black (featured) and Coyote. TLR-7 as well as TLR-1/X300U variants available.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostFair (2/5): Both the 7304RDS and the 7385 7TS have a variety of options (draw hand, finish, color, etc.) that are available, as well as recommended add-ons that effect the overall cost, but the 7304 starts at $283.00 while the 7385 starts at $215.00. This price reflects the size, materials and (most importantly) Safariland’s specific RDS design/fit in contrast to those of similar configuration. Both the 7304RDS and the 7385 7TS are full-coverage holsters (meaning they fully enclose the firearm). This included an optic shroud (on the 7304RDS) or rear sight coverage (on the 7385 7TS), that protect the firearm while keeping it within easy and immediate access. Other market alternatives similar in holster design include the Thigh Holster ($110) from Ares Tactical, the SERPA Level 3 Thigh Holster ($149) from Blackhawk!, and the Leg-Drop Holster ($169) from Stealthgear USA. However, in all these alternatives, they lack the comprehensive design, safety features, and materials as what Safariland has. And while the 7304RDS or the 7385 7TS are indeed some of the most expensive holsters on the market—that price is fair for the safety features and materials included in the purchase.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): Overall the fit of the thigh platform on both the 7304 and 7385 against the leg were more comfortable than other manufacturers experienced. The quarter-crescent shape of the platform contoured to the mid-thigh due to the material’s semi-flexible properties, whereas other vendors have used a more rigid and half-circle platform that didn’t contour as well. Otherwise from a comfort aspect, disengaging the ALS locking mechanism on both holsters was simple, and the draw itself felt smooth. The interior rails that contact the slide to provide retention did not bind nor lock up the gun or WML, nor resist/jam when re-holstering. The SLS design and RDS dust cover of the 7304 likewise did not inhibit the draw of the weapon during movement, whereas the 7385 was a more simplistic design without the augmenting SLS. Overall both holsters felt smooth in function and there was no observable hard-angle, overmolding, or unfinished edges.
  • Durability – Good (4/5): As with most of its holsters, the 7304RDS and 7385 7TS were both made from the same proprietary DuPont polymer blend called SafariSeven™. Safariland maintains this makes the holster more durable to wear, and oil resistant. That said, continual drawing/holstering and strong arm racking off the holster did eventually leave some surface marring along the interior of the holster (most likely from the front sight post or optic or incidental contact with external surfaces) but left no marring on the firearm’s slide or RDS. Extensive attempts were made at drawing/removing/shaking the firearm free of the holster while keeping the ALS engaged, even to the point of two individuals attempting to pull the holster and pistol apart, however none of them were successful and the holster/hardware was not compromised or damaged. As before, the only noted negative was that as abrasion increased (from drills, or contact to ground or other surfaces), some corresponding marring along the exterior was noted. Surface blemishes to the exterior of the SafariSeven™ holsters could be resolved by using a lot-grit pad to buff out the marring. An easier solution to avoid the marring issue would be for end-users to consider an aftermarket Cordura wrap.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Functionally the biggest difference between the 7304RDS and the 7385 7TS was the “paddle” style RDS dust cover in the 7304. The RDS cover was very reminiscent of the “break away” feature in some hardware that, when unlocked, there was absolutely no restriction in movement of the firearm as the paddle fell freely away. This aspect alone necessitated a slight design shift inside the 7304 holster to allot for the RDS cover and SLS retention. With its design, the 7304 felt more appropriate for duty and field work, with its protective enclosure around the RDS and added retention. When released, the SLS provided quick mechanical movement to clear the weapon retention strap and allowed for free movement of the hood during the draw. The 7385 lacked these added retention values, but the ALS (which is a staple in many Safariland holsters, and in the 7304) still positively retained the weapon inside the holster despite varied stressor drills or movement. One suggestion to Safariland would perhaps think about making the actual ALS button larger in both models so it would be more tactile and easily found (especially when not looking). As a current solution, Oregon Trail Defense does offer its aftermarket Nub Mod for RDS, ALS, and SLS switches, which increases the surface are and angle to a more ergonomic profile.
  • Weight Average (3/5): The weight difference of both holsters was miniscule with the 7304RDS coming in at 1.5 pounds (with thigh platform and leg straps) and the 7385 7TS at 1.4 pounds (with thigh platform and leg straps). This weight was mostly attributed to the mass of material needed for both the polymer thigh platform, as well as the holster itself. In both cases the overall holster was still light enough so as not to be burdensome or off-balancing on the outer thigh, nor fatigue the hip. In comparison, the Thigh Holster (1 pound) from Ares Tactical, the SERPA Level 3 Thigh Holster (1 pound) from Blackhawk!, and the Leg-Drop Holster (15.2 ounces) from Stealthgear USA all show that while slightly heavier, both the 7304RDS and 7385 7TS  are right around the appropriate (or average) weight for holster of this style and material.

Overall Rating – Above Average (17/25)

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I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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