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Old January 21, 2009, 04:52 PM   #1
only1najeep
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SERPA holster

Does anyone use or know someone who uses the Blackhawk SERPA holster. If so how do you like it.
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Old January 21, 2009, 06:36 PM   #2
sholling
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I had one briefly. It's a great system to covert a would-be fast draw into a wrestling match with a holster. The problem is that not everyone has the same sized hand and if your trigger finger doesn't fall exactly on the release 100% of the time then you might just be dead before you get your weapon out. My finger isn't one of those that land on the release 50% of the time.
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Old January 21, 2009, 06:57 PM   #3
Wagonman
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I really like the SERPA. I have one for all my firearms. I am using it on duty right now due to damaging my duty holster.
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Old January 21, 2009, 09:45 PM   #4
Erik
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I have one; though do not use it much, mainly because it is not particularly concealable. What it is: It is affordable, fast, secure, off-set relatively far from the body, and somewhat controversial because of the seeming reality that a certain percentage of users seem to find their trigger fingers inadvertently engaging the trigger immediately upon clearing the holster; a matter of training, ergonomics relative to hand size, possibly both. They are very popular in the LEO circles I'm familiar with, where the offset is not such a concern because of the realities of working around body armor.

Note: "Engaging" does not mean to the point of firing; though that's been documented, certainly.
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Last edited by Erik; January 21, 2009 at 10:22 PM.
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Old January 23, 2009, 02:24 PM   #5
McClintock
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I just got one for Police Pistol Combat competition use (we need 2 levels of retention for competition, and the tension screw and pushbutton release count as 2 levels). So far, I like it, but would have to agree with Erik, that it doesn't seem very concealable. I can draw reasonably quick with it, and the release button fits my hand size well. I use the belt loop instead of the paddle (I need a belt for the mag pouches anyway), and I like that you can adjust the cant forwards or backwards.

Depends on your intended use. Not sure how much fun it would be for concealed carry (I don't carry, those permits are difficult to get up here), but for my purposes, it is more than sufficient.

For the price (I think I paid $40 at copsplus.com), it's a decent deal, in my opinion. The nice thing is, if you buy one and you don't like it, your're not out a couple hundred bucks like you would be had you bought, say, a SafariLand rig.

My $0.02.

Last edited by McClintock; January 23, 2009 at 04:59 PM.
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Old January 23, 2009, 11:22 PM   #6
Wagonman
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I agree it's not super concealable, need a large concealing garment. I have heard the accounts of ADs, I haven't had any problems in many many practice draws. I liken the holster to the Glock. It isn't a heirloom it just works.
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Old January 24, 2009, 12:01 AM   #7
ActivShootr
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Some shooting schools don't allow them.

This is from a well known training academy www.tacticalresponse.com . These individuals eat, sleep, and...uh, live firearms training so I am inclined to at least consider the following:

Quote:
Why no Serpa holsters?
An answer from our friend Paul Gomez: Begin Quote “Over the last year, I have developed some serious concerns with the Blackhawk Serpa Active Retention holster design. Various persons have brought these concerns to the attention of Blackhawk on several occasions and Blackhawk has chosen to ignore these very real issues.

The ‘Serpa Active Retention’ design consists of a plastic L-shaped component which functions as the release button [from the outside of the holster] and as the lock [which engages inside the trigger guard]. The short leg of the L-shaped lever pivots inward [toward the pistol], while the locking tab pivots outward to release the pistol from the holster.

According to the Blackhawk website, ”The release is made using your normal drawing motion, with the trigger finger beside the holster body. … As your trigger finger naturally comes to rest on the SERPA lock’s release mechanism, simply push the mechanism as you draw the weapon and it releases the gun for a smooth, fast draw.”

While Blackhawk may intend for the end-user to apply inboard pressure with the flat of the index finger, under stress, shooters tend to push the button with the tip of their index finger. After all, this is the manner in which most people have the most repetitions pushing buttons such as keys on a keypad or phone or ringing doorbells. When the finger pushes in on the release button and the user initiates the upward motion of the draw stroke, the finger tends to stay in motion and as the trigger guard clears the holster, the finger enters the trigger guard and contacts the trigger, with possibly tragic results.

I am aware of two instances where trained personnel have shot themselves using this holster in conjunction with Glock pistols. In August of 2004, a situation occurred with a live weapon that resulted in the shooter losing a 10cm piece of her femur. The other occurred with nonlethal training ammunitions in a force-on-force event in April of 2005. The impact of the NLTA was in the same area as the actual gunshot wound previously mentioned.

Following each of these events, Blackhawk was contacted and advised of the problems observed and concerns raised. In the first instance, they claimed that they were unaware of any previous issues with the design and insisted that the design had been ‘thoroughly tested by law enforcement and military personnel’.

After the second event, they were contacted by at least two people. Again, they stated that they were unaware of any concerns and had heard nothing similar from any sources.” End Quote

This is neither a shot at Blackhawk or a plug for Tactical Response. Just something to think about.
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Old January 24, 2009, 12:51 AM   #8
fbrown333@suddenlink
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serpa holster

I have one of the sportsman models and I love it. I have nly had it about a month but love how it works. I use the paddle as I often don't wear a belt. The only thing is you need to wear a long jacket or vest. All in all I give it two thumbs up.
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Old January 24, 2009, 11:52 AM   #9
Wagonman
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Sorry, if TacticalResponse said that a 1911 was a single action I would look for a confirming source. His escapades overseas are quite in a fog. Plus, and more importantly, that was the forum I was kicked off right before I found TFL. So, I would counsel seekers of knowledge to look carefully at any claims made on that site or by the leader of that school.

I attended a course at Blackwater and the instructors had good things to say about the Serpa.

BlackHawk does at least read feedback. I have sent a couple of e-mails about products that were answered by a real person.

Last edited by Wagonman; January 25, 2009 at 03:51 AM.
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Old January 25, 2009, 11:02 PM   #10
Erik
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I forgot to mention concerns about failure associated the design; I suppose that it is to be expected given the price point, but something broken here, something ripped or stripped there, and the lock failures are not entirely confidence inspiring.

Of course, the competition, Safariland, charges considerably more.
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Last edited by Erik; January 25, 2009 at 11:12 PM.
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Old January 25, 2009, 11:27 PM   #11
azsixshooter
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I agree with wagonman, that tacticalresponse commentary read like a hot load of steaming dung. I recently got a SERPA holster and it has been excellent. Just this past week I was practicing draw, aim, fire, reholster drills and had no trouble whatsoever. I started slow and over the course of the afternoon increased my speed to an acceptable pace. Never once did my finger slip into the trigger guard and engage the trigger. If those dbags at tacticalresponse are whining about this holster it's probably due to some liability concerns cooked up by their over-paranoid litigious personnel rather than being a real-world problem.

I would recommend this holster to anyone, but you should check it out at a store or maybe at the range if you have weird hands like the previous posters mentioned. I can't imagine it not working for anyone with human-sized hands and the most basic dexterity, however if you have a claw, hook or flipper instead of a normal hand then you might want to try before you buy.

By the way, if you do buy this holster it is available through the NRA store, I would encourage everyone to buy from them. That way you can kill two birds with one stone, their prices are great and their version has a little black freedom eagle carved in the holster. Also, I've always experienced outstanding customer service when dealing with them.

The other thing I'll say about this holster was that the paddle really engages tight to the waistband/belt if you chose to use that method of attachment. It took me a while to get used to taking it off compared to my old XD gear kydex paddle holster. This one really doesn't want to let go (which is great). Now I kind of slip one side up and off then turn it a little and slip the other side off. I've had it about a month and it's definitely much easier to take on and off now.
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Old February 26, 2009, 09:31 AM   #12
hercules
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I am using a Serpa holster (among other holsters) with a G23. Like it a lot. Good and secure retention system. If you put your trigger finger in the trigger guard after drawing a weapon out of ANY holster, you really need to go back to basics and retrain your muscle memory and you safety habits. I don't care if you draw your weapon from a Serpa or a Walmart grocery bag. If you are finding your trigger finger inside the guard after the draw, retrain.
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Old March 4, 2009, 10:21 PM   #13
Zak Smith
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Tactical Response has excellent training. However, that aside, these facts are damning for the SERPA
Quote:
I am aware of two instances where trained personnel have shot themselves using this holster in conjunction with Glock pistols. In August of 2004, a situation occurred with a live weapon that resulted in the shooter losing a 10cm piece of her femur. The other occurred with nonlethal training ammunitions in a force-on-force event in April of 2005. The impact of the NLTA was in the same area as the actual gunshot wound previously mentioned.
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Old March 5, 2009, 01:52 AM   #14
Wagonman
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I don't know---these incidents might be the reason BH redesigned the holster.

However, I have one of the "bad" holsters and you have to re-holster at such a severe cant to have an AD you would almost have to be trying to cause the weapon to fie.
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Old March 5, 2009, 03:05 AM   #15
ghosst
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I have a BH Serpa Lv3 for duty, and there's no way my finger could slip into my trigger guard after pushing the lock release. Each and every time my index finger ends up on the slide above the trigger guard.

I am about to purchase a Serpa CQC for my off duty Sig, I like them that much.
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Old March 5, 2009, 09:07 PM   #16
jg0001
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I have a Blackhawk CQC Serpa for my 1911 (left hand side) and just ordered a right hand side holster for my Sig P226. This holster is excellent. Unlike other plastic holsters, this one doesn't rely on tension. A simple flick of the switch and your gun slides right out. Like the above poster, my finger lands on the low end of the slide each and every time.
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Old March 5, 2009, 09:14 PM   #17
GuyMontag
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I have a level II for my HK USP Compact. I love the holster for what it is. I agree that it's not the best for concealment. I plan to use it while teaching pistol classes so I don't have to keep putting things down and at the range. It definitely holds the pistol away from the body especially if you're thin.

I'd buy it again, but not as a concealment holster. I'd use it as a range, training, competition holster.
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Old March 5, 2009, 10:45 PM   #18
partemisio
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I have a level II for my M&P9, actually a glock holster. I can get the gun out as fast as with a holster with no lock because my finger is always in the right spot.
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Old March 6, 2009, 12:01 AM   #19
isanchez2008
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I have a level II for my springfield xd40-4". I tend to use it with the paddle attachment. It works great everytime. Always locks the pistol in the holster. With practice it can become second nature to press the release. It is a fairly quick draw but is rather difficult to conceal. An untucked button up shirt does the trick for me. One thing that I did notice is that when I first began practicing with this holster(pistol unloaded and practice with a safe backstop) there was at least two times that my finger began to slip into the trigger guard. Any type of carry and any type of holster has its pros and cons. I am happy with my serpa
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Old March 6, 2009, 12:24 AM   #20
KellyTTE
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Quote:
I am aware of two instances where trained personnel have shot themselves using this holster in conjunction with Glock pistols. In August of 2004, a situation occurred with a live weapon that resulted in the shooter losing a 10cm piece of her femur. The other occurred with nonlethal training ammunitions in a force-on-force event in April of 2005. The impact of the NLTA was in the same area as the actual gunshot wound previously mentioned.
Couple of facts that aren't mentioned about the SERPA's and this ND in particular. Andy Stanford of OPS was the guest instructor at this incident and relayed to me that the woman admitted that she'd never used the holster prior to the class and the subsequent investigation found that there her training with the holster was inadequate.

Secondly, the SERPA information posted on TR is dated at best. What it doesn't mention is Paul Gomez's later development of a SERPA training system, nor does it take into account Blackhawk's B & C revisions to the platform(s). Plenty of people have ND's with just about every holster out there. Given the enormous number of SERPA holsters shipped (over 100k according to BHPG), two incidents are anecdotal at best.
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Old March 6, 2009, 01:16 AM   #21
FM12
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Debris can get in behind the finger release button and prevent the weapon from being drawn, i.e. it becomes "locked" into the holster. If you carry your handgun in one, keep it clean and check after each "wrestling match", or when in dirty/dusty/nasty scenes or climes. As a fire investigator, I check to see that the button/release depresses each time I come out of a fire scene. I even check it several times a day, out of habit.

AND...if youre not smart enough to operate this HOLSTER, you have no business around a loaded firearm!
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Old March 7, 2009, 12:42 PM   #22
Don Gwinn
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From using my Serpa, I don't see how it makes anyone more likely to put a finger inside a trigger guard. The lock requires that your finger be straight; if you curl it in after releasing the lock and move it down to the trigger, I don't see how that can be caused by the holster.
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Old March 7, 2009, 08:23 PM   #23
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I agree, if your trigger finger moves inside the trigger guard during your draw, you need to go back to gun pre-school... There's no excuse for such carelessness, period.

I have a CQC SERPA for my G20 and I've drawn it many times while fishing and a bear pops his head out of the bushes... I'll gladly give him/her those fish, I just keep that 10mm in the low-ready position just in case. If you think there's a more high-stress situation than encountering a hungry bear please let me know!!! My finger has never left the slide when drawing. Only when I'm on target do I slip my finger down to the trigger. Some may have learned differently, your choice, but that's the only safe way for me to draw a loaded weapon due to the training I've received.

It's a great holster, I've not had any problems while carrying open while hunting/fishing nor have I had any problems concealing it, but my jacket is normally a little on the large size, so yours could go either way... Great quality though...
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Old March 8, 2009, 02:34 AM   #24
isanchez2008
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Quote:
I don't see how that can be caused by the holster.
I agree.
If the holster causes your finger to go in the trigger guard, then guns must cause crime Its a great holster. You just have to learn through training and practice how to properly draw.
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Old March 13, 2009, 05:24 PM   #25
SuperKord
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In Conjunction w/ The Shoulder Rig

I have 2 Serpa holsters, one for my XD45 and one for my J-Frames. The XD holster is a very good holster and I use it as my primary holster as the draw is very smooth. However the J-frame holster is not so good, and it just doenst seem to fit either of my J-Frames very well at all. Oh well. My only complaint with the XD holster is that when used in conjunction with the shoulder rig available from Blackhawk, the gun can and will fall out if pressure from the side of your arm releases the retention button. Happened to me while I was camping once, I leaned forward to pick somehting up off the ground and all of a sudden my gun is bouncing around in the dirt. Kinda scary IMO. This wouldnt ever be a problem with the holster on a belt (unless you were upside down) but it is something to be aware of.

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