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Old January 17, 2010, 04:06 AM   #26
T. O'Heir
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"...we're smarter than what we carry..." Exactly. Machines don't make mistakes.
"...Glocks tend to go "Bang!" when they shouldn't a lot more than other designs..." Operator failure. Machines don't make mistakes.
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Old January 17, 2010, 10:13 AM   #27
1911rocks
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Rethinking it

T.OHeir stated it very well. After thinking it over a bit, after my 2nd cup of coffee (Cafe Verona). If I was an Instructor I would really KISS. You can't make anything foolproof, fools are ingenious. I mean when I think about what an Instructor in the context of this environment gets, man!, I would be wearing Body Armor, Helmet, etc. I keep forgetting not everyone has the need or affinity for firearms that many posters/lurkers on this forum have. As my son (USMC Reccon) stated, not everyone gets USMC/Military Firearms training. Most people in the US get there training from the Big Screen or Little Screen. So, back to the holster matter. I would take the same approach. No Serpas, No Cross-draws, No Mexican Carries. If it was an Entry Level Course, no Glocks, or MPs without manual safeties . You've got to try to mistake proof it! It's vital that this is the Students best experience with a firearm if it's their first serious exposure. IMO
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Old January 17, 2010, 12:15 PM   #28
Glenn E. Meyer
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In human factors work, the distinction between expert and novice users is a very, very big concern. You get different accident profiles, etc.

The Glock point is well taken - the NY Trigger is a mechanical fix for non expert users.
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Old January 17, 2010, 12:41 PM   #29
45Gunner
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I have two SERPA holsters and like them. Like everything else, it is a matter of training. It is just a natural thing for me to draw with my trigger finger on the guard instead of instead of it. IMO, it beats having to undo a retention strap.
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Old January 17, 2010, 03:27 PM   #30
raimius
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Glocks generally go "bang" when the trigger is pulled...

I just picked up a SERPA, and did some blue-gun tests with it.
Yes, there is an increased potential for a ND. If the tip of your trigger finger disengages the retention lock, there is a good chance it will continue toward the trigger. This could be especially troublesome for people wearing gloves, IMO.
At the same time, if you activate the lock as designed, the finger winds up along the slide, in a "picture perfect" place.

As to the connection weakness, well, don't use it as a "retention holster" in a fight. I view it as an additional way to make sure the pistol only leaves the holster when I want it to, not when gravity or walls/branches decide to act upon it.

IF (big and very important IF) you can train to where you ALWAYS correctly disengage the lock, and don't expect to be wrestling for the pistol, it is a good design.
If not, look elsewhere.
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Old January 19, 2010, 03:21 PM   #31
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I have yet to jump on the serpa bandwagon, but it seems to me that education and training is the number one way to avoid ND's. So, it seems to me that the blame should fall onto the instructor. Had he made students draw and aim with an unloaded weapon until he was sure that students were proficient in drawing and aiming the weapon before issuing ammo, there may have been no accident at all.

Seems to me like an instructor blaming a product to cover up his own negligence.
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Old January 19, 2010, 05:28 PM   #32
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Quote:
Seems to me like an instructor blaming a product to cover up his own negligence.
May work in some LE circles, but private trainers like Gomez and Suarez don't issue ammo to their students.

The instructors only have a limited time to impart their material to the students. Is it right to hold back those that are prepared and have paid good money for the class because someone else shows up with a problem piece of equipment?
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Old January 19, 2010, 05:45 PM   #33
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I trained with the Serpa, and was told to activate the release with the first nuckle of the trigger finger. As raimius says, your finger will come up right along the slide.

Haven't had a malfunction of the release in the past year of daily outdoor use.

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Old January 19, 2010, 05:57 PM   #34
ohen cepel
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I don't care for the Serpa but that is my preference. I think it's a poor design asking for ND's.
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Old January 19, 2010, 06:31 PM   #35
Glenn E. Meyer
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The instructor is at fault?

Some instructors teach a weekend beginning class. So they are supposed to run students through 3500 reps of correct usage, maybe with their knuckles to guarantee proper usage. Remember that students come with various holsters.

Not feasible. Folks, like I said before - the 'follow the instruction' mantra as a solution for a risky product isn't a solution that human factors work as found to be successful.

Let's be real here. Have you folks ever taught something like this? Or computer use - read the manual, follow the instruction, don't press that button?

Don't make me laugh.
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:10 PM   #36
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Having observed the regular, unintentional contact of Serpa user's trigger fingers and their triggers, and having observed mechanism failures resulting in both no retention or the guns having to be cut out of the holsters, I don't recommend them.

But... They are cheap, seemingly secure absent evidence to the contrary, and offset enough to allow for rounder body types or the use of ballistic vests, and are therefor very popular. And as noted, they are marketed very well.

"Need" what they supposedly offer? Safariland offers a superior product line.
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Old January 20, 2010, 11:43 PM   #37
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Quote:
Simply put...the Serpa is a poorly designed but brilliantly marketed holster that causes a user to press in with the finger tip as they draw their pistol. In many cases it ends up with the trigger finger right on the trigger (and pressing inward) prematurely. In other words...long before it would be safe to do so.
The holster is not designed to be used in this manner. It is designed for the operator to place their entire trigger finger flat, not the tip of their finger to be curled...

Use of any device in an "other than intended" manner can often have disastrous effects...

"Do not operate this motor vehicle while under the influence of any substance."

"Do not place child restraint seat in front seat of vehicle."

"Do not place your trigger finger inside the trigger guard until you are aimed on target and the decision to fire has been made."

"SERPA holsters are designed to be drawn with the trigger finger indexed along the frame."

People who will not follow simple instructions should not attempt to operate devices that are smarter than they are, much less attend a training course with such a device.


As a side note, I've been carrying my Glock 20SF (10mm) all over Alaska for a few years now, all in a SERPA holster. I've slid down rock faces, been through mud, creeks, rivers, and up and down mountains in Kodiak, Valdez, Nome, Anchorage, Fairbanks, Seward, and Homer... Never had an issue with my SERPA holster retaining the gun. Nor have I had any issue with the locking tab becoming locked in place due to foreign debris...

Also, I've used the Level III SERPA on countless boardings from the South Pacific to the Arctic with no issues.

To each his/her own... SERPA works for me and I'll buy their products again.

You don't like em? Buy something else, that's how the free market system works.

My vote is that the banning of SERPA in training classes is knee-jerk reactions by instructors who neglected to ensure competency on their line prior to the use of live ammunition. It's also the result of people seeing something and automatically assuming they know how to operate it and incorporating it into their daily life without properly familiarizing themselves with the equipment, the advantages of it, and the drawbacks of it.

YMMV...
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:21 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgcoastie
My vote is that the banning of SERPA in training classes is knee-jerk reactions by instructors who neglected to ensure competency on their line prior to the use of live ammunition. It's also the result of people seeing something and automatically assuming they know how to operate it and incorporating it into their daily life without properly familiarizing themselves with the equipment, the advantages of it, and the drawbacks of it.
If the trainer has to go out of their way to ensure you have spent extensive time mastering your holster before class goes hot, I can understand not wanting to deal with that. Also, I'd imagine a lot of people who can manipulate it perfectly when not under stress might be more likely to not precisely conform to the specific techniques needed to safely operate the holster. If a fraction of an inch change in your draw stroke is the only thing seperating safe draw from ND I'd think that design is sub-optimal.
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Old January 21, 2010, 01:11 PM   #39
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If you really want to avoid ND's, then ban all ammunition from the range...or better yet, ban all weapons. Problem solved, the guns won't go off.

It's the same line of thinking "I know better than you and I'll dictate what's best for you" Just like anti-gun politicians.

You don't like the product, that's fine. I don't particularly care for the holsters either. That really isn't the point. The holsters do not cause ND's.

DOL
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Old January 21, 2010, 01:34 PM   #40
Glenn E. Meyer
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J - that statement is fine but it ignores the reality of people who have to deal with human factors and the idea of affordances. That is a tendency of a mechanism to increase the likely of a certain action.

You may not like that and think training and responsibility is it but humanity is flawed and the executive, moral or motivation ideal being implemented is not the real world of practice.
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Old January 21, 2010, 01:39 PM   #41
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You don't like that a trainer has banned a certain holster (or anything else) from his class, don't take his class....problem solved.
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Old January 21, 2010, 02:08 PM   #42
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Yes, humanity is flawed. Thats the reason for extra caution. I already stated that I was not a fan of the serpa design, but on the other side, blaming the holster for the ND is preposterous. It was operator failure pure and simple. That being said, since the operator was under instruction at the time, it is my feeling that the instructor also shoulder part of the blame, because he either didn't pay close enough attention to begin with, or had instructed in a manner that didnt jive with said product.

I don't care if the instructor bans the holster or not. If he feels that he can not instruct students in the proper useage of the holster, just dosent have enough time per student, or dosen't trust his students enough to use it, thats understandable. But he did allow the holster to begin with.

However, blaming the holster itself sounds too much like a tactic used by the anti's. Like certain brand guns that dont have external safties, or firearms with very light trigger pulls. They have been designed to be used a certain way. Some things take alot of practice to master. Drawing and firing quickly from a holster of any type is one of them.
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Old January 21, 2010, 03:20 PM   #43
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Blaming an inanimate object is indeed wrong. Pointing out that one inanimate object makes a given outcome more likely is only logical. If the gas, brake, and clutch pedals were all immediately next to each other it would be more likely to cause inadvertently hitting the wrong/multiple pedals at the same time. Sure the root cause is operator error but the design is definitely a contributing factor.

As for all the "I've used X for Y years doing Z things and nothing has ever happened" posts... My Dad is mid-70's and has been driving since his early teen years. Not once in all that time has he worn a seatbelt. He's never been in an accident that threw him through the windshield, therefore seat belts are a scam.

Last edited by Balog; January 22, 2010 at 03:51 AM. Reason: Add a fairly important sentence.
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Old January 21, 2010, 11:34 PM   #44
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A lot of good arguments against the Serpa holster have been posted. I'm not trying to make a case for or against it, but I'd like to hear about some recommendations for an alternative-- based on personal experience. To put it a different way, "Why do you use a particular holster"?
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Old January 22, 2010, 07:19 AM   #45
1911rocks
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Mistake proofing

I agree with Glenn E., I've taught firearms courses (home defense). Notice I said taught, past tense!! Combat didn't scare me as much as these classes. The best students I ever had were the ladies ho really didn't want to be there. They were placating their spouses/significant other. The Spouse/SO usually picked out all their gear. Actually, the ladies were always the most attentive, exacting students. The men, okay, different. When I teach now it's to ESD and PMC personnel. They know about inflicting pain and death. That's usually enough to insure high levels of personal safety. Furthermore, most of these folks were either former military or LEO. They were damn good at following instruction. Civilians on the other hand....... If I was teaching civilians today I would probably restrict the type of gear the Student brings. But, that's just me.
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Old January 22, 2010, 08:56 AM   #46
smince
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I normally CCW in the A-IWB position. Many instructors and most all matches don't allow this carry either. I either don't go to those places, or switch to a holster that they do allow.

Not really that big a problem.
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Old January 23, 2010, 08:01 AM   #47
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I have looked at the Serpa on the Blackhawk on-line catalog and that was enough for me to determine that I want nothing to do with it. I don’t want my trigger finger operating anything while drawing my gun. Yes, the guy on the video emphasized keeping the finger straight. However, that same finger is also doing something upon drawing instead of just staying straight; it’s operating the release mechanism.

Okay, that’s my choice. On to what an instructor might decree:

If it’s my butt on the line of liability I’m going to do all I can to negate that risk. If you’re in my charge for me to instruct you this makes me responsible for what you do. An example is industrial training of an apprentice; if an apprentice or helper gets hurt on the job the journeyman in charge of him is the one who gets written up. This is as it should be and has been for decades.

I agree with the fire arms instructors for banning the Serpa in their classes. Life is too short to spend part of it, and thousands of dollars, in a lawsuit. The law looks at who was in charge.

Before one attends his class and after one leaves his class it is then the students prerogative to use whatever he wants to use; but in class the instructor has the say.
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Old January 23, 2010, 12:38 PM   #48
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Once you release the catch your finger naturally rides the gun and comes to a rest in the proper placement along the side of the frame so I don't really see the issue.

I remember the uproar about the fact that someone had a ND while reholstering with the SERPA. I have the holster in question and tried to recreate the ND and the contortions I had to go into to catch the triple checked by two people unloaded XD's trigger on the edge of the holster makes it a non issue in my view
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Old January 23, 2010, 08:55 PM   #49
billj47
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Carry an XD-40 and a J frame S&W in Serpa's. They need to be adjusted for tension when you get them. They have held the position for 4 years.
My finger comes off the holster along and above the trigger. I practice with this alot to be sure everything is natural and consistant. I have found it to be the best carry holster for me.

Everyone has their own favorite and they probably like it because they practice with it. Holstering practice is as critical as target and combat practice with the weapon.

I have tried other holsters, that other people like and I don't for whatever reason. That's why there are hundreds of them made to accomplish the same end.
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Old January 24, 2010, 12:12 AM   #50
ClayInTx
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I believe many of you are missing the point.

You tell of how you are proficient with the Sherpa and how you are able to draw your gun with your finger positioned as it should be. However, in this case it is you who is responsible for your actions and your safety.

It’s a whole different game when you are responsible for someone else and you don’t know their proficiency. If you don’t believe the instructor is responsible then just wait until someone gets shot and see what happens.

If you become a firearms instructor I believe your attitude will do a 180 in about one minute. Or perhaps I should say: In one court case.
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