Fixed Retention Kit Instructions

Your holster needs to lock up firmly to the Enigma faceplate, without rotating. If your holster has adjustable retention, it can be difficult to get the Enigma faceplate tight enough without over-tightening your retention.  The fixed retention kit fixes this problem (buy here).



How adjustable retention works

An adjustable retention holster is shaped like a clamshell, with squishy rubber retention washers between the two halves. The size of the gap between the two sides controls the retention feel of the holster. When you tighten the retention screws, the washers compress, and the two halves of the clamshell get closer together. This squeezes the kydex tighter around the trigger guard of the gun, which makes the retention feel tighter.  

Rubber retention washers on an adjustable retention holster.

When you loosen the retention screws, the springy rubber retention washers push the two halves of the clamshell further apart, which means less pressure on the trigger guard, which makes your retention feel lighter.

When you install the Enigma faceplate, you need the screws that go through the wing to be very tight. With squishy rubber retention washers there, the force required to mount the Enigma faceplate will crush down the retention washers too much, making the retention too tight.

How the fixed retention kit works

The Fixed Retention Kit replaces the squishy retention washers in your adjustable retention holster with hard plastic washers.  The hard washers allow you to fully tighten the faceplate mounting screws without crushing the retention of your holster. 

With the fixed retention kit, you can still control the retention feel of the holster by adding or removing washers from the stack. Adding washers makes the retention feel looser. Removing washers makes the retention feel tighter. 

The hard plastic spacers of the fixed retention kit don’t compress. This allows you to get the Enigma faceplate tight enough without crushing the retention.

How to use the fixed retention kit

Getting the correct retention feel with the kit takes some trial and error. To save time, start by measuring the retention gap on your holster BEFORE you take it apart to install the Enigma. You can dry fit plastic washers into that space to see approximately how many you’ll need. (If you’ve already taken your holster apart, you’ll have to guess and check.) 

To save time, start by measuring the retention gap on your holster BEFORE you take it apart to install the Enigma.

Dry fit your washers to get an idea of how many you’ll need.

The kit comes with thick, medium, and thin washers. Use one or more thick and/or medium washers to give your stack enough height, and then use the thin washers to fine-tune the retention feel.  

You can use any combination of washers that works to give you the height you need, but make sure to use the same heights for each stack. If you use different heights, you can introduce additional stress to the holster shell. Use the same numbers and heights of washers for each side. 

Hold the screw posts in place with your thumb while inserting washers.

The easiest way to add washers to the stack is to insert the screw posts into the shell and hold them there with your thumb. Then gently lift the top half of the holster shell far enough to slide washers over the posts one at a time. Keep your thumb in place, and the tension of the shell will help keep the washers you’ve already inserted from falling out. 

Once you’ve got the number of washers you want, add the rest of your Enigma components, tighten down the Enigma faceplate screws, and test your retention. If it’s too tight, add thin washers until it is correct. If it’s too loose, remove washers, or step down to a smaller size. 

How tight should your retention be?

That’s a good question to discuss with a qualified firearms instructor. It’s a complicated topic, and an instructor can help guide you to the right answer safely.

Here are some general guidelines:

Because retention characteristics can change when the holster is worn, the best way to test your retention is to wear your unloaded gun and do some vigorous physical activity.  You should be able to do burpees, jumping jacks, and sprints without your gun feeling loose or falling out.  

When the holster is off your body, you want your retention tight enough to retain the unloaded gun when gently tipped upside down (you do NOT need to shake it). 

If your retention is too loose, your gun won’t feel secure.  If it’s too tight, your draw will be difficult, and you may have problems with your Enigma belt or leg leash rising too far on the draw. Take your time, consult a qualified professional, and find the correct balance between access and retention.

Adjustable Retention Assembly Video

Here’s a full run through of a complete Enigma assembly using the Fixed Retention Kit.

Do you need extra holster length?*

*If you’re carrying a longer-muzzled gun or a revolver, adding extra holster length may not be necessary for you, but for short semiautomatic guns, it’s often helpful.

Guns with short muzzles can be top-heavy and difficult to conceal comfortably. To solve this, some holsters have extra length added to the muzzle end. Like the keel on a boat, the extra muzzle length helps balance the holster, making it more comfortable and easier to conceal. This is especially true if you have a bit of a belly, which tends to push the grip out more and make the muzzle dig in.

Note that while extra muzzle length reduces grip printing, it can increase muzzle printing, which can be a concern with lower carry positions and tight fitting pants such as leggings or yoga pants. 

Learn more about the Keel Principle here.