View Full Version : Blackhawk Holsters

November 28, 2008, 10:45 PM
I use the locking blackhawk holster for all my m&p handguns and i love it because of the lock on it and it is so strong the only problem i have with it is when i am taking it off the paddle hooks are rough sometimes lol.

November 28, 2008, 10:53 PM
I posted this on another thread last year. It's a review written by Paul Gomez about the Serpa.

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 drawstroke, 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.

If this were not disturbing enough, in October 2005, while assisting with a class in Casa Grande, AZ, additional concerns surfaced. During a force-on-force evolution, when a student attempted to draw an NLTA-modified Glock 17 from his Blackhawk Serpa holster, he was unable to free the gun from the holster.

In fact, the gun was so tightly held in the holster that, with one person applying both hands to the release button and another person applying two hands to the pistol, the gun could not be freed. Upon inspection, a small piece of gravel, approximately the size of the head of a pin, had managed to work itself into the Serpa release button and wedge the lock in place.

While trying to effect a release of the pistol from the holster, the entire holster popped off of the belt. The three screws that attach the holster body to the belt plate simply slipped through the tracks in the belt plate without apparent damage. Of what use is a retention holster that does not keep the gun on the belt?

In my opinion, the Blackhawk Serpa Active Retention holster is a severely flawed design. It offers the theoretical advantage of security while, in reality, offering none. It does not hold up to the rigors of realistic training. It accentuates the possibility of an unintentional discharge. It is unsafe.

If you, or anyone known to you, are currently using one of these holsters, please reconsider.


Paul Gomez

November 28, 2008, 10:58 PM
Nice to see a fellow M&P enthusiast!! I have the same issue, so I use the belt loops. I really want to try the shoulder harness for my serpa.

November 29, 2008, 07:18 AM
I am a rather large fellow and my paddle holster never came off easily. I always had to take the gun out then undo my pants and wiggle the holster out, I no longer use them. Try a Bulldog, they hold the gun and an extra mag, cost about $15.

December 14, 2008, 10:46 PM
I've been using a Serpa with a Glock 21SF and it has been a great holster, but the Fobus without the retention button works well too.