Wow! I did not anticipate such divergent opinions regarding pistol lanyards when I decided to try the MiniCoil Tether and Basic Belt Loop Sling pistol lanyards by Cetacea. Some refer to them as “idiot cords” or “dummy cords.” Experienced veterans recall missions with jumping, running, rolling and swimming through dense brush, jungles, and water while not wanting to be “that guy” who lost his secondary somewhere before reaching their objective. others refer to the difficulty of retrieving an unthetered gun out of the tank of an outhouse. The reports lead me to believe that real life is full of times when having a leash on your piece can save you grief.
There are other proposed benefits of pistol lanyard use. Most will provide a wee amount of tension opposing your extended arm while aiming. This has a stabilizing effect which can benefit pistol aiming. There are some who purposely wrap the lanyard around their wrist or forearm to further stabilize their aim. The final benefit claimed by pistol lanyards is ability to pull the weapon back if an assailant grabs it. Some believe lanyards prevent gun damage by preventing dropped guns from striking the ground, but they do not prevent either damage or reaching the ground. Not everyone will benefit from a lanyard, but if it’s your pistol that falls out, a lanyard will more than recoup its cost.
Cetacea makes a line of nine different lanyards specifically for use with pistols. The difference between models comes mainly from the attachment on the end of lanyard which is not attached the gun. Options include a simple plastic quick release clip, Grimloc quick release, tac link, split bar molle attach, surface mount with back-plate, and quick release lanyard only.
The Covered Mini Coil Pistol Lanyard and the Basic Belt Loop Pistol Lanyard both come with the basic belt loop plastic quick release clip which is wrapped around a belt or webbing material and clipped together. The pistol end of the lanyard is a simple closed loop of cord which is poked through a hole or loop near the back of a pistol grip. The opposite end (quick release clip end) of the lanyard is then pulled through the loop until the loop closes on itself. This requires the operator to first attach the lanyard to the pistol before attaching the other end to a belt or webbing. The corollary is also true; the lanyard must first be removed from the the belt or webbing before being removed from the gun. This can be resolved by getting a model with an in-line quick release clip and alternate attachment. The difference between the two models I reviewed was the plastic coiled section of the lanyard. The Basic Belt Loop model has large plastic coils while the Covered Mini Coil model has tighter plastic coils covered in webbing material. I prefer the look and feel of the Covered Mini Coil, but it costs nine dollars more than the Basic Belt Loop model. There Covered Mini Coil also does not come with options for alternative attachments.
Actual operation of both lanyards is similar. I did not appreciate any difference between the use of the two lanyards except for more tension felt with the Basic Belt Loop compared to the Covered Mini Coil. The difference was minor. Neither lanyard broke with as much force as I could apply using my hands to apply traction on the ends. The cord loops thread easily though the lanyard holes of M9 and WE G17 pitols. I was disappointed to find that there was no lanyard hole in my old KWA G17 or Echo1/Socom Gear LoneWolf. I considered wrapping the cord through the trigger guard and around the grip, but this proved to be too awkward for quick draw action out of the holster. The other negative aspect of the lanyards is just having another line to get in the way. The lanyard sometimes falls in the holster when returning the pistol, blocking holstering. It also gets caught on other points of my tac vest. On the positive side, it does its job. I never lost my pistol while using it.
Will I use it again? Quick games on a limited AO have little call for a lanyard. Operations played on larger areas and over longer times, especially at night or in thick cover, would be an appropriate application for lanyard use. My preference, though, would be to have the split bar molle attachment so I could attach the lanyard to my molle and easily detach it when removing my vest, leaving the lanyard attached to my gun. I would also love to have a retention device for pistol magazines, as I have lost pistol magazines from my gun during play, but I have yet to lose a pistol. I have had a pistol fall out of its holster, but so far I have always been aware of it. With this lanyard I no longer fear losing a pistol if it falls out again during intense play.