Enemies of Liberty are ruthless. To own your Liberty, you'd better come harder than your enemies..

Friday, August 22, 2014

Holsters as Safes

This is a Blackhawk! Serpa.  I am behind the curve on LEO holster rigs - I'm told you have to push a button, rotate, then pull from a proper angle in order to draw the pistol - from some retention rigs.

I don't care if that is accurate - I do want to know what is the state-of-the-art LEO rig out there right now, and what manipulations do you have to go through to draw?



  1. I bought one of these things for the wife who rides a horse. Good unit for that given the angles and movement. Keeps the thing (S/W M&P 9mm) secure. Just my .02 worth.....

  2. While I am a fan of Blackhawk gear, the Serpa is a questionable piece of equipment. If we're talking about close quarter pistol, it sucks. I know people who have shot themselves with it. Wanna good holster? Take your ass on over to Blade Tech. Top notch stuff.

    1. This gentleman did just that (shoot himself with his own handgun while drawing from a SERPA).


    2. Alan....Bladetech extremely expemsive, poor weapon release lever, and hardware on holster made in Red China. The positive to your brand suggestion is Bladetech will make a holster for almost any weapon on the planet.

    3. I keep hearing about some fool shooting himself drawing from a serpa, so I paid particular attention to where my trigger finger hits the gun when it come out of the holster. It hits above the trigger guard in the IDPA approved "where your finger goes" position every time without trying. IMHO If you shoot yourself drawing from a serpa you are doing it wrong. I like them. The gun locks in on a re-holster without my having to manipulate anything and it comes out easy without doing anything other than pushing the button. I've seen videos of someone other than the wearer trying to grab a gun (blue gun) from a serpa and theoretically the angles involved make it very difficult especially if the wearer is fighting you at all.

  3. The Serpa is all I use. Yes, it requires practice, but I'm comfortable and fast using it.
    Alan, can you explain why it's not good for close quarters? I'm willing to change if need be.
    Also, not sure about rotating and angles - I just hit the button on the way up and the gun is drawn. No weird rotating.

  4. G-Code!, enough said!

  5. Fer open carry the Blackhawk is great I have not met anyone who has shot themselves while un holstering or have I ever had any problems while using one myself,
    as fer leo and what they are using? I have no clue

  6. Are you guys fans of mechanisms that need to be manipulated to clear leather? I don't even like the leather strap and snap. But I do see the need for some sort of retention.

    1. The Blackhawk Serpa is a good system for open or discreet carry - it sucks (as most outside the pant systems) for concealed carry.

      Todd Jarrett gives a demo: http://youtu.be/HgtkMLNZ5B4


  7. Weaponsman had a fantastic post in regards to the SERPA holsters (and why he does not recommend them).


    I have used a SERPA, and I liked it, but that was on a square range/controlled environment, and the focus was not on handguns, so I made my movements very deliberate and rather slow to be on the safe side (rifle to handgun transitions).

    Safari-Land offers excellent retention holsters, which do not require you to manipulate a release mechanism that is in almost the same position as your handguns trigger. That is one of the big worries about the SERPA and it's accompanying (and in some cases documented) risk of a negligent discharge. See my above response to Mr. Mullenax.

  8. I like my Serpa a lot. It doesn't actually take a press to activate it. Your straight trigger finger slides over the release then a straight pull to draw. Trigger finger is then in the correct position along the side of the pistol. Anyone who shoots themselves with this holster is likely to shoot themselves with any holster because of poor trigger discipline.

    The most valid criticism I've seen is the possibility of the mechanism jamming. If you expect to be rolling around in the dirt, I could see the risk of something getting in there and jamming it.

    I practice my draw every time I go out shooting. Done at least 100 draws with no jams. I have missed the release a couple of times after too long between practice sessions. I assume this would be typical for any active retention system, however.


  9. I've used one for my 21 for many years and it's just press the lever with you index finger and out it comes.

  10. I cut snaps...As long as trigger is covered I'm confident in my awareness and don't worry about chambered da/sa. I keep a serpa on my chest rig as its secure for running laying sliding jumping. I'm not aware of an angle needed for release. Just a button. Other than that I use blade techs every day. And the old cut snap leather junker that works great unless it's hot

  11. Also, forgive my impertinence for completely dodging the initial question. There is no special maneuver needed to withdraw a handgun from a SERPA. As far as I was able to tell, you simply actuate the lever on the holster and that releases whatever tension there is on your handgun. From there you simply draw, no special twists or turns needed, and I don't see why you would need to turn your weapon any specific way. The button itself is what is securing the weapon in place, not any manner of friction-fit or tension beyond that.

    At least that has been my limited experience with my SERPA. I've never OCed the thing around town, and it strikes me as bulky enough to make it a poor choice for concealment, unless you are in heavy clothing or a master of disguise.

  12. May I suggest you visit the G-Code Holster website at www.range5.com

    Their holsters are all Kydex, manufactured in North Carolina and very reasonably priced compared to brands like Bladetech and Safariland.

    G-Code's retention holsters are their XST models. They use a retention hood over the hammer/striker. Weapon is removed by downward pressure on the thumb release, retracting the retention hood, and allowing the draw of the weapon. All in one motion. Pretty slick.

    Review their website and Facebook page. It's worth your time.

    PS: Please stay away from that Serpa holster you pictured. Those holsters have been banned from many firearm training facilities. The weapon release uses the trigger finger and have resulted in numerous negligent discharges.

  13. I use a Safariland 6004 holster. It has two different different type of retention methods. You can have either, or both, depending on your preferences and make of pistol.

    Both systems use your thumb during the draw stroke. One you push down and forward with your thumb to move a rotating hood out of the way (the SLS system). The other uses your thumb to pull backward on a small lever on the thigh side of the weapon (the ALS system).

    Both are very natural and fast to use. The firearm is VERY secure until released and yet easy to access. Plus your finger doesn't end up in the vicinity to the trigger during the draw like it would with the above depicted model. Safariland has holsters for a multitude of different pistols and carry styles (belt, drop leg, etc.) with the ability to have mounted weapon lights on some models.

    I'm extremely happy with mine.


  14. like I said open carry this is a great holster, don't know about the angle yer talking about I own the Blackhawk sporter for my Glock26 and a Ruger sr9 and it only takes a push of the button great retention with this holster

  15. The proof in the pudding on the Serpa is that many of the top shooting schools wont allow the Serpa on their ranges due to safety issues. Also the Serpa has shown to lock up if any dirt or debris gets in the action. Gabriel Suarez had clients have to cut the holster off of the gun. Also it requires a manual of arms to draw the weapon that is completely different than what people are used to. It also places the trigger finger right over the trigger on the draw and accidents have happened. I'd stay away from it.

  16. Sorry, the only holster I use for concealed carry is my Galco Jak. It retains my 45 extremely well because it's tight and fits my weapon. No latches, straps of gimmicks. No synthetic material, just good ol' leather. In moments of stress I can pull it out and shoot.
    If you have to worry about a bad guy pulling it out, then you let the bad guy get too close. Simple as that.

  17. There is a large contingent of people out there who swear AT the Serpa. The biggest complaint has been previously mentioned - the possibility of the release mechanism jamming if dirt or debris gets into the holster. There have been several reported instances of this, though I don't roll on the ground when I use mine, and haven't had that issue.

    As to the guy who shot himself using one, that (IMHO) was a training issue. He had spent several hours previously using a Glock in a DIFFERENT holster that had a retention mechanism that required him to sweep it out of the way with his thumb - an action that resulted in his FIRST DRAW of a 1911 out of a Serpa with sweeping the safety off, and when the gun didn't slide smoothly out of the holster, he gripped it hard. His trigger finger hit the release, and as the gun came free of the holster, it slapped the trigger.

    If you use a retention holster, DON'T CHANGE DESIGNS BETWEEN GUNS. You're ASKING for a negligent discharge.

    I use my Serpa in USPSA competition, or I did when I shot USPSA, but I understand some ranges no longer allow it as there have been SEVERAL incidents of negligent discharge when reholstering. Again, I think that's mostly a training issue - keeping booger-hooks and other items out of the trigger guard when holstering.

  18. I will chime in. First off that one guy is not the only guy to shoot himself with a SERPA. Do some digging its a problem with the holsters even among police departments. I have heard (but seen no evidence so YMMV) that there have been a numbre of departments that have banned their use. I have one. I purchased it before I knew better. I didnt carry on my person at that time and just had not thought it through. When I got it and began to work with it I realized that on a range your finger on the release will fall right on the slide of the handgun....the problem is that a gunfight is not on a range. During a high stress condition we begin to lose feeling in our finger tips, Thats why we want gross motor functions not fine motor functions. Any holster that requires you to manipulate a retention device is not a holster that can be counted on to draw quickly from. That is not to say that there is no place for those types of holsters. Police have a need for retention devices because of the nature of their work. We dont. We have the ability to carry in almost any manner we see fit. If the bad guy is unaware that you are armed until the gun is out and you shoot him in the face then he cant very well fight you for retention of it.
    The fact is that I have personally seen an instructor rip a SERPA off of another instructors duty belt in a simulated fight for retention. This is not a problem unique to the SERPA that just happens to be the brand being used at the time with a blue gun in it. The backing plate pulled free of the belt clip sheering out the screwholes in the process. The fact is that nothing is perfect. Dont let yourself get pulled in by a piece of gear and lulled into a flase sense of security. I think this is where K is going with this. If you think that you need a SERPA because you have a need for open carry with retention...then you need to learn to fight with a dude right up in your grill while he trys to rip that gun out of the holster and kill you with it. The time to realize that your fancy holster is a piece of shit is not when that dude is drooling in your ear.


  19. Grenadier1:

    Yes, that's why I use my SERPA on my competition rig, not as a carry holster. All of my carry holsters are non-retention.

  20. For you folks considering G-Code Holsters, here is a coupon code for 15% off. This will be the last coupon of 2014 !

    Here is their Facebook page announcing the coupon: https://www.facebook.com/GCodeHolsters

    You can get to G-Codes web store here:

    FYI....I don't have any vested financial interest in G-Code. I just find their product well-made (in USA) and very unique and reasonably priced.

    Enter "LABOR911" to receive 15% off any item in the web store! Good now through 9/11 2014.


Please post anonymously. III Society members, please use your Call Sign.