Having the ability to switch out gear quickly and easily in competition can make all the difference. The Safariland ELS (Equipment Locking System) competition rig is used by Team Safariland member Doug Koenig for its speed and adaptability.
“It’s extremely versatile, and you have to have that versatility if you’re going to compete in the shooting sports today,” says Doug Koenig, winner of national and world championships in practical shooting, action shooting, all-around competitions, rifle events and steel shooting. Check out his demo on how the ELS locking system kit works with the Model 032 ELS competition belt and Model 014 Open Class competition holster.
The ELS rig is ideal for providing a mounting platform for any Safariland tactical or competition accessory for quick transfer to the two-hole mounting platform of the ELS competition belt. In addition, the Model 014 holster allows you to rapidly and easily make adjustments, so it can be used for multiple guns.
“I don’t have to reset the holster, have a separate holster and have that all set up,” says Koenig. “It’s just one system, one setup, and the gun is always in the same position. That way my draw doesn’t change, whether I’m shooting USPSA, Steel Challenge or NRA Action.”
One of the reasons Koenig loves using the Model 014 holster is that “It’s all about being consistent, fitting my body and fitting the system that I’m using,” he says. “It has adjustments for the cant, inside and out, and front to back so it really fits the shooter.”
Why is the perfect fit so important for competition shooting? If the pistol isn’t in the correct spot on your body—for example it’s canted too far forward or in or out—every time you draw and your finger hits the trigger in a different spot, you’re not going to get consistency.
“For accuracy it’s important to have consistency, it’s not necessarily about the speed draw, it’s about the gun being in exactly the same place every single time I draw the pistol,” he explains.
Add and remove accessories just as quickly with the ELS competition belt. “I can have single mag pouches, I can put on double mag pouches, I can put on AR 15 pouches, and once you put the receptacle in, it just slides in and you can adjust them on the belt.”
Over the past 30 years, Doug has won more major championships than any other shooter in the world, thus earning the title of “The World’s best All-Around Shooter.” Doug has entered and won national and world championships in practical shooting, action shooting, all-around competitions, rifle events and steel shooting.
His shooting titles include:
“The process of getting good, the process of achieving the status where you’re successful is not an easy process,” says Keith Garcia, Team Safariland Ambassador. “And you have to be very detail orientated, and you have to break everything down to its base movements and then see where you can improve.”
It’s his method of continuously learning, and a dedication to practice that are just two of the ingredients that have made Garcia a six-time USPSA Law Enforcement Multi-Gun National Champion and two-time USPSA Multi-Gun National Champion.
We’re pretty excited to have Garcia join Team Safariland, not only because he knows his stuff and can teach others to be successful, but because his desire to improve and innovate fits right in with Safariland values.
You might be surprised to discover that before Garcia got into law enforcement, he’d only fired a handgun once or twice in his life. In the police academy he had his first exposure to shooting, and was serious about becoming proficient. Five years later he joined the SWAT team and was introduced to competitive SWAT team shooting. “So you run a mile, shoot one shot, crawl through a bunch of bushes, shoot one shot kind of thing, but it was a lot of fun and it was team building and it was exciting.”
As a result he was invited by one of the guys to a handgun shooting match. “It happened to be an all law enforcement match, a handgun match and I went to it and I ended up winning it — which was probably the worst thing that could have happened because I was totally hooked on it at that point.”
Not only did the win have him hooked, Garcia was under the impression he was pretty good. So he signed up for a civilian shooting competition and didn’t do well at all. “Even though I could win a law enforcement match, win a SWAT competition, I would be in the lower to bottom third when shooting against civilians.”
What was the difference, he wondered? Garcia realized that for the civilian competitors, shooting was their passion. They weren’t just doing it because they were told they had to carry a gun or had to qualify, like most officers. Even though Garcia humbly describes his early efforts in the competitions as “terrible,” it became a challenge for him “to be better, and be better with the people who were the best.”
Garcia kept at it, taking classes, practicing and getting better gear, and eventually wound up making it to the level of USPSA Grand Master.
The everyday practice for pistol-only competitions was taking its toll on Garcia’s arm ligaments, and so he decided to switch to 3-Gun, and found that by adding in the rifle and shotgun to the mix, his arms didn’t hurt anymore.
In 2003 Garcia shot his first National championships. “And I did horribly because I really wasn’t very proficient with it yet, but I wanted to try it and I did, and I saw people who were very good at it and I was inspired by it.”
If perseverance and ambition kept him going, it was practice and trust that elevated his skill level and earned him a second place finish at the National Championships five years later in 2008.
“So that was a good experience,” he adds. “Most of the gear, the belt and holsters, and shotgun shell holders, all that stuff was Safariland gear. And what’s nice about that, is I trusted the brand, because I’d been carrying the same Safariland brand as my police gear, for my whole career.”
In 2013, Garcia had a competition highlight when he won the 3-Gun Nation National Championship and $50,000 against 50 of the top three-gunners in the country. “And that was great to me because what it proved was my practice regimen, my gear and everything was top notch at that point.”
One of the most important ingredients to Garcia’s phenomenal success is his simple, but dedicated practice regimen. He believes that you have to do something every day to get better, or you’re not going to maintain your skills—you’re probably going to get worse. Methodically minded, Garcia broke down his sport into three phases: shooting, firearm manipulation, and transitions.
Because he could only get out to the range to practice shooting once a week, he spent every other day of the week dry firing, which involved practicing firearms manipulation (keeping guns loaded and running, fixing any malfunctions) and transitions (putting one gun down and picking another up) at home for 15 to 20 minutes. He focused on improving his efficiency, and by the time he got out to the range for live firing, he’d already practiced two of the three phases and could dedicate that time to shooting, while adding in the other two drills which were already well-practiced.
With his shooting competition, law enforcement, SWAT and instructing experience, Garcia brings an incredible wealth of experience and knowledge to Team Safariland, and we look forward to his contributions developing Safariland products.
Whether you’re climbing in and out of your vehicle, or having to move fast, a locking mechanism will ensure your handgun stays secure in its holster. We asked Team Safariland’s Scott Carnahan to give us a demonstration of the Safariland 7053 7TS™ ALS® Shoulder Holster, to see how the release and the locking mechanism of the ALS device works.
In a word, he’ll tell you the key is consistency. And consistency leads to speed and accuracy.
Smooth release, secure holstering. These are the advantages of the Automatic Locking System (ALS®). “As I get a shooting grip on the gun, I release the ALS lever with my thumb, and I can simply draw the gun out of the holster,” says Carnahan.
And, once your handgun is holstered, it locks securely into place. It’s simple, as there’s no fumbling around with hammer straps or thumb breaks.
The low-profile 7053 shoulder holster is worn in the horizontal position, and since it’s lightweight and compact, no belt tie-downs are needed. To get the perfect fit, adjust the elastic strap as needed.
Scott Carnahan is VP of Equipment Category for Safariland and Bianchi, and a member and manager of Team Safariland since its inception in 1985. A current member of the NRA World Action Pistol team, Carnahan holds three National Class Titles. He is also a Board member of the CPOA/BLEA California Peace Officers Association, Business Law Enforcement Alliance. Carnahan is an accomplished athlete, having competed at elite levels in sports as diverse as competitive shooting, go-kart racing, waterskiing, golf and motocross.
If you want to win, you’ve got to be fast and accurate. To help you improve your competition shooting we asked one of the most winning pistol shooters of all time to give us his top tips.
Rob Leatham is an 8-time IPSC World Champion, an 11-time NRA Bianchi Cup Champion, a 17-time Single Stack National Champion and a 30-Time USPSA / IPSC National Champion.
In a word, he’ll tell you the key is consistency. And consistency leads to speed and accuracy.
“We all think accuracy is maybe just an element of the gun or maybe your trigger pull. But that isn’t completely true. The reality is, when the gun goes from not being in your hand when you’re carrying it in your holster, to when you’re going for your draw, nothing’s more important than that initial contact point to get you a grip. That’s what allows me to shoot accurately.”
In Leatham’s USPSA production rig, he uses a Safariland Model 5197 Open Top Competition holster with a USPSA kit for competition adaptability, a Model 032 ELS Competition belt, and Model 771 Open Front Single Magazine pouches. Leatham advises that consistency is the route to becoming faster and more accurate. The advantage of the compact and lightweight 5197 concealment holster is that you can mount it up exactly how you want, with the right angle, height and cant to get a perfect and consistent draw, time and time again. Leatham adds, “It’s because (the holster) holds the gun perfectly, it holds it in the right place, and it’s fast as hell.”
5197 Holster Features
When Leatham’s not competing, he provides firearms instruction for the United States Military, various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and civilian competitors.
His shooting titles include:
Julie Golob is an American professional sport shooter with two IPSC Handgun World Shoot silver medals (2005 Lady Standard and 2011 Lady Production), one bronze medal (2014 Lady Production) and seven Ladies Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championship gold medals. She also has 2 US IPSC Nationals Lady titles and 13 USPSA Handgun Nationals Lady titles, and is the only seven Division USPSA National Champion in history.
Every once in a while, a special sportsman comes along who redefines what it means to be a champion. Doug Koenig is that once in a generation talent, widely regarded as the best all-around shooter in the world.
Doug’s list of achievements and championship wins is daunting and may never be surpassed. A potent combination of speed, accuracy and skill has sustained him to succeed in various competitions, from the Bianchi Cup to the Steel Challenge. With nearly three decades of professional shooting experience under his belt, Doug continues to find motivation which fuels his hunger to win, by shifting his focus across disciplines throughout the year.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Koenig began shooting competitively at the age of 17. His first competitive match was in the winter of 1986, and from that moment on, he was bitten by the competitive bug. Working as a carpenter for his father, meant Doug had the free time and flexibility to pour his energies into improving and honing his shooting skills.
In 1990, a decision had to be made, and Doug decided to focus exclusively on shooting as a full time career. The change paid off and that very same year he made a stamp on the shooting world, scoring an unprecedented 1920-157x in the Bianchi Cup to take his first major championship. Smith & Wesson, Leupold, and Safariland continue to be major sponsors of his career, along with his Smith & Wesson Performance Center DK 38 Super 1911 has played a major role to Doug securing countless championship wins. Doug is also sponsored in his competition shooting achievements by Hornady, Otis, Gamo, NSSF, Chamber-View, Walkers Game Ear, Wilderness Athlete, Carbon Express, Plano, Bass Pro Shops, Custom Metal Products and H&M BlackNitride.
Doug attributes the incredible successes he’s experienced to always being extremely prepared, focused and disciplined during his range practice sessions to having a strong work ethic. Doug takes that same approach to his hunting and to his shooting competitions, by seeking out equipment and gear which will enhance his performance on the shooting range and afield hunting.
Doug’s TV show, Doug Koenig’s Championship Season promotes an outdoor lifestyle featuring remote hunting destinations to Doug on the firing line. Championship Season features a gritty combination of fast-paced shooting competition and in your face hunting adventure. Whether it’s bull elk, whitetails or competition shooting, one thing is certain…bullets will fly and it’s gonna be a wild ride!
Michael Voigt was president of the United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) for 12 years and has recently returned to fully devote his time and talents to advancing the firearms industry and training the elite military and law enforcement units. He has won numerous world and national titles in handgun, shotgun, rifle, and multigun in his 20+ years of competition.
Bobby McGee is a U.S. Army Veteran known as one of the most well-rounded multi-disciplined competitive shooters. McGee is a USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association) 3-division Grand Master and an IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association) 5-division Master. He holds many championships including an IDPA National Championship. Bobby Is a certified NRA Pistol Instructor.