The Surefire booth at SHOT 2017 had enough space to play a full team vs team street hockey game. And yet, surrounded by bullet proof lights, milspec silencers and well, more lights, it was strange that the one product that really caught my attention was a holster. For one, the Masterfire holster system is unique in that it engages the weapon light rather than the gun itself. Two, its open front design allows for the carrying of pistols with muzzle devices and suppressors. And to top it off, the Surefire Masterfire holster can be configured so that the weapon light switches on when the pistol is drawn.
Anyway, I was pretty excited about Surefire’s release; I rarely ask to review a specific product (I take what the bosses see fit to assign) however this was one I couldn’t pass up requesting as soon as I got home.
Let’s get my clarification statements out of the way early: I am not a modern day Wyatt Earp. I don’t practice 1000’s of draw strokes or shoot steel plates until they are unrecognizable. As such, I don’t consider myself a holster expert. But like all of my reviews, I feel like I can give you a real-world take on how a particular product would fit into your bag of tricks. Finally, please adhere to all of the firearms safety rules – act like lives depend on your proper storage, use and carrying of guns.
Enough of my blabbering, let’s check out the Masterfire.
Surefire Masterfire Lights:
Since the holster itself is centered around the weaponlight, let’s start with model compatibility. Chances are if you use a Surefire light on your pistols, it probably won’t work with the Masterfire. Surefire only recently released the models with the needed attachment points. So you will most likely need to buy a new light to go along with your new holster. A little disappointing? Sure. A deal breaker? No. Remember, since the holster keys off your light, whatever gun has the light mounted is by default compatible with your new holster.
Here are three generations of Surefire X300 weapon lights. Moving left to right, my five year old X300, a six month old X300U-B and the Masterfire ready X300UH-A. Notice the cutouts on the bezel of the last one.
- Max Output — White Light 600 .0 lumens
- Tactical Runtime** 1 .75 hours
- Length 3 .7 inches
- Bezel Diameter 1 .125 inches
- Weight w/Batteries 4 .4 oz
- MSRP: $300
- Cam-slotted bezel and rear locking lugs on battery housing interface with MASTERFIRE holster for secure weapon retention
- Serves as the interface for the MASTERFIRE holster system for almost any pistol with a tactical rail
- Special high-performance LED produces 600 lumen
- Custom TIR lens creates smooth, far-reaching beam with a larger center spot beam
- Integral ambidextrous momentary- and constant-on switching
- Attaches securely to both Universal and Picatinny accessory rails
- Weatherproof O-ring and gasket sealing
- High-strength aerospace aluminum body, Mil-Spec hard anodized for extreme durability
- Accepts optional pressure-activated DG switches for precision control without altering grip on weapon
- Backed by SureFire’s No-Hassle Guarantee
The X300UH-B was created to interface with SureFire’s revolutionary MASTERFIRE Rapid Deploy Holster. This compact but powerful WeaponLight features a unique bezel with cam slots, and pin slots on both sides of the body, that lock the light into the holster, securing the weapon at an advantageous angle for quick deployment. The X300UH-B is designed to automatically activate when the weapon is drawn from the MASTERFIRE holster (if the holster is manually set for this function), saving valuable time in high-stress situations and making one-handed manipulations easier. Because the MASTERFIRE holster interfaces with the WeaponLight instead of the pistol, and features an open design, most any X300UH-equipped pistol can be accommodated by it.
Besides the X300UH-A (B), Surefire has additional models that are compatible with the new holster in varying price and feature ranges.
So why do you need a new light for the Surefire Masterfire holster? Let’s take a closer look at the mount points for lockup and retention.
In the middle of the Masterfire, two stainless pins act as the retention mechanism. The pin pictured on the top is disengaged with the thumb-break style Level 3 actuator. The pin pictured on the bottom can be set as an additional Level 3 retention mechanism using the side mounted switch.
In the front, two stationary stainless pivot point pins engage the light’s bezel:
The light drops in easily and snugly into the retention area. The polymer used to make the holster is solid, unlike Kydex, with virtually no give or play. I’d describe it as similar to the material used to make Pelican cases.
- Length 8.25 inches (21 cm)
- Width 4.48 inches (11.4 cm)
- Weight 8.75 oz. (248 g)
- MSRP: $165
- Positions holster at optimized angle for a fast, consistent draw stroke
- Provides Level 3 retention, securing firearm with primary and secondary locking systems
- Indexes off of H-Series WeaponLights (XH15, X300UH, X400UH), not the weapon, so it accommodates a wide range of handguns
- Can be set to automatically activate the WeaponLight and/or laser, saving valuable time in high-stress situations
- Open design accommodates red-dot optics and even a suppressor, including SF Ryder Series suppressors
- Constructed of durable, lightweight polymer
- Customizable for personal preferences and adjustable to fit most any duty belt
The revolutionary SureFire MASTERFIRE Rapid Deploy Holster (RDH) is a lightweight, durable holster that provides a tactical advantage with its ergonomic, one-of-a-kind design. It securely holds most any railed handgun equipped with a SureFire H-Series WeaponLight, positioning it at an advantageous angle for a fast, consistent draw stroke. A proprietary lug-and-cam system locks the firearm in place with Level 3 retention, utilizing both a primary and secondary locking system, which is released by an ergonomic thumb-break for rapid weapon deployment. The holster’s open design also accommodates most any red-dot optics and/or suppressor.
Function Of the Surefire Masterfire Holster:
The holster itself is obviously an outside the waistband (OWB) thread-through belt design. It rides slightly lower than a standard OWB holster, sitting about at the pocket level, giving a comfortable hand placement for draw strokes. The screws on the belt attachment can be switched to a second set of holes that puts the Masterfire at a slight forward cant, depending on your carry style.
Unholstering requires using your thumb to disengage the retention and a slight rock forward on the gun as you pull up. With the light switch in the ‘off’ position, the draw is smooth with little to no resistance. With the light in the ‘on’ position, it takes a bit more force to remove the gun, pulling the holster out and away slightly before breaking free. Configured as a thigh rig, I see the the ‘light-on’ draw being more controllable as opposed to an OWB setup.
Like every new piece of gear, the process to reholster using the Masterfire takes some practice. But after a few dozen draws and ‘return to holster’ dry runs, the process starts to become second nature.
I did attempt to cause a few malfunctions. Obviously, debris inside the holster will prevent the light from fully seating and the pistol locking up in the mechanism itself. However, I didn’t see this as any more of an issue than a standard holster when chaff gets inside.
I also tried to wrench the gun free from the holster both with and without the the second Level 3 lock engaged. And while I didn’t torture it, I couldn’t get the gun to break free without engaging the locking mechanism.
In a pseudo Cowboy-style fashion, I open carried the setup through the dense woods in an attempt to get the gun to work free without actively working the disengagement mechanism. And although the pistol (and optic and sights) are more exposed than other holster designs, I never felt that the whole setup was unsecure or at any more risk than normal. Sure, a hood would protect the Trijicon RMR better, but like all good gear, features are a compromise between utility, protection and function.
Overall, the Surefire Masterfire holster represents true innovation – this isn’t a new take on an old design. Surefire has come up with with a near revolutionary system for a universal holster.
Is it perfect? No, it does have some detractors, mostly centered on the fact that it requires purchasing a new light, but the fact that I am able to carry virtually any suppressed pistol with a SF weaponlight, for me, overrides most of the downsides.
This is an extremely well made system that obviously will see some real world testing in the coming months. I’ll update TFB readers with any reports, good or bad.
- Requires the purchase of a new weaponlight ($150+)
- Price – $160
- Righthand only (at the moment)
- OWB only (at the moment
- Drawstroke with the ‘light on’ feature requires more force than with ‘light off’
- Universal holster for any weaponlight enabled pistol
- Level 3 retention
- Muzzle devices like compensators and suppressors can be holstered
- Easy re-holstering
- True innovation in holster design and function