Installing Adjustable Retention Holsters on the Enigma Tips & Tricks

Fixed retention holsters are easier to install on the Enigma faceplate.  Adjustable retention holsters can still be used, but they require some modifications. 

Adjustable retention holsters are tricky because the Enigma mounts through the wing mounting holes of your holster. These are usually the same holes used to tighten or loosen the adjustable retention screws.  When you mount the holster to the Enigma faceplate, it’s hard to get enough torque on the screws to prevent rotation on the faceplate without over-tightening the retention of your holster.  

GOOD – no faceplate rock.
BAD – faceplate rocks instead of locking up tightly.

Your holster should lock up firmly to the Enigma faceplate, without rotating. 

There are several methods to accomplish this (Option 3 is recommended).

  • OPTION 1.  You may be able to re-use some of the hardware your holster came with to provide for a secure attachment.  See the video instructions here, starting at 1:31. If your holster doesn’t come with the correct hardware for this step, try one of the other options.
  • OPTION 2.  You can try reversing the mounting screws and posts so that the posts go through the front of the Enigma faceplate, and the screws through the back.  See the video instructions here, starting at 2:49. If you try this method and still get unacceptable rock between the faceplate and holster, use option 3.
  • OPTION 3 (RECOMMENDED).  Replace the squishy rubber retention washers that came with your holster with hard washers from the fixed retention kit by Dark Star Gear.  Eliminating the “squish” factor allows you to fully tighten and lock down the faceplate screws WITHOUT over-tightening your holster’s retention. (Note: if you go this route, to adjust the retention feel, you must add or remove washers from the stack to increase or decrease the height of the space between the two halves of the shell.)  The fixed retention kit includes enough spacers to make fine retention adjustments on most adjustable retention holsters.

Of these options, number 3 is the most secure method, allowing you to get maximum torque on the screws. It also holds up better over time.  However, it requires extra parts you may not have on hand. Option 1 is the next best option, allowing for a secure lockup, but the retention screws are less secure over time.  Option 2 is arguably the worst option, and should only be used if it allows you to get acceptable lockup with the Enigma faceplate.  This process may require some trial and error to get right, and you may need to try more than one option.


The Enigma is modular, and will work with many other manufacturers’ holsters.  Different holsters are made to different specifications, and it would be impossible for us to include everything you might possibly need for a holster we didn’t build and have never seen.  When using the Enigma with another manufacturer’s holster, be prepared to invest a little extra time to make it work.  We are standing by to help you if needed, but be sure to use the educational resources and blog posts first.

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.