Do not like ’em

Just found this very honest review on binding up the retention mechanism of the Blackhawk! Serpa Holster.

My every-day carry holster is a Galco Miami Classic II which uses a leather thumb-break as a retention mechanism. Because this is a horizontal holster I think its a necessity, but I find it to be a quick and reliable retention method. I personally think that if you carry in a conventional belt holster you’re better off relying on a well-fit holster that naturally fits your gun snugly, or is tension adjustable. This is a sign of a good holster

That’s my Dragon Leatherworks Flat-Jack holding my heavy stainless 1911 fully inverted.

A good holster will allow a natural draw stroke, but will resist an odd pull, such as somebody from an odd angle grabbing at your gun. Also if you put your hand on the butt of the gun its NOT coming out of the holster.

Of course the last thing you want is to be in a dangerous situation with you holster locked shut.

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0 Responses to Do not like ’em

  1. Jake says:

    Now imagine you’re a cop wrestling with a bad guy in the snow, and he breaks away long enough to pull a knife. You’re very likely now a DEAD cop, because by the time you realize your holster is jammed he’s already on top of you.

    Yet departments around the country are now requiring these holsters (or the Level 3 version, which adds yet another failure point mechanism) for their officers. While it’s not likely to be an issue for most civilian carriers (not that I’d trust my life on it), there’s a good chance it will be a problem for the police.

    Sometimes a neat idea is also a bad idea. The SERPA Blackhawk is one of those.

  2. Old NFO says:

    I had a Serpa lock up due to blowing sand at the range… It was thrown out immediately after I got the gun out of it (which was a protracted issue)…

  3. Blackhawk101 says:

    I used to carry a Serpa but I’ve had two friends who had lock failures. One was in Iraq where sand/grit had bound the lock and the other was a Mass. State Police SWAT sniper who was laying in snow- the snow melted and refroze forming a block of ice around the lock. In the first instance my friend used a dremel to cut the holster away from the gun and the latter they just waited for the ice to melt.

    Now- granted I dont roll around in the snow or sand BUT if I ever get in a life threatening situation I wont know where I will be- I could just as easily be having a shootout in my carpeted living room as lying down in a muddy embankment. SO my view is why take the chance? Is my life worth junking an $80 holster for one that wont have that particular failure potential? The answer to me is yes. All of my Serpas have now been replaced with BladeTech holster which I am VERY happy with.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I generally don’t roll around in the snow, sand or mud either. I also generally don’t get in shootouts. This means that if I DO have to draw my piece in defense of life and limb, I have NO idea what the circumstance will be. I very well could be in a snowbank, or sandpile, or mud-filled ditch. I certainly have found myself rolling around in such conditions when I hadn’t planned on it before….

      My range and (hopefully when I get off my dead-ass and run an IDPA course) competition holster is a bladetech. I LOVE it. It was inexpensive, but its solid and has amazing retention with the adjustment screws.

      My only complaint is one of the screws backed out while on the range and I lost the screw and washers. Do you know where I could get replacements for that?

  4. Mr_T says:

    I use a Serpa level 3. I chose this holster, well knowing the limitations and liabilities inherent in the mechanism. My department had been issuing the Safariland holster with the ALS ‘system’ (mentioned at the end of the video as the next upcoming test), however, and that is a HORRIBLE holster. I threw my ALS away as soon as the Serpa was authorized for use; the ALS is THAT bad.

    First, it shares the same ability to get ‘locked up’ with debris, but to a greater degree. The ALS uses a rotating bale, a strap that is fixed on each side of the holster and rotates up over the back of the slide to secure the pistol in the holster, as well as a passive “tension” screw near the triggerguard. The bale can -very- easily get a stick, a branch, or a rock caught between it and the pistol, rendering the bale unable to rotate, and thus make the pistol impossible to remove. I had this happen at least twice, chasing someone through bushes/brush; thankfully, neither suspect got violent. So far, I’ve not managed to get the Serpa jammed once, despite -two- similar failure points (level III Serpa). It’s just harder to jam something into the Serpa’s mechanism than it is with the Safariland.

    Additionally, the actual mechanism for the rotating bale on the Safariland ALS is a closed mechanism, riveted shut and impossible to open up without destroying it. Unfortunately, it is NOT sealed, only riveted. Dirt and water can quite easily get into it, making the mechanism crusty and rusty, with no way to open it up and clean it out. This ALSO happened to my holster. The Serpa has an “open” mechanism, easily rinsed out, cleaned, and oiled with the pistol removed.

    And finally… while the holster will lock up when you want it to open, due to foreign debris, dirt, and rust, it will ALSO open when you want it closed. That rotating bale is very easily bumped open by seatbelts, elbows (when running), and anything else that hits it. I know several people in my department who had pistols fall out, due to an accidentally-opened bale. I had my own open up on me multiple times; fortunately, I never had my gun bounce out. The tension screw is worthless, too; if it’s loose enough for the owner of the gun to draw the pistol, it’s loose enough to fall out. I see just as many Safariland holsters with no tension screw as I do with the tension screw. Without that screw, the holster’s a very crappy Level I holster. So far, I’ve not seen any tension screw fall out with the Serpa.

    The ONLY failure I’ve seen with then Serpa so far, is with the screws securing the actual holster to whatever mounting system you have (belt slide, thigh rig, etc). These screws, with use, can loosen up, and come out. It’s incredibly obvious when this starts happening, however; the holster gets a little loose on the mounting bracket, and is easily re-secured with a Phillips screwdriver. Anyone who allows the screws to get loose enough to fall out rather obviously not only never draws his pistol, but never even sets his hand on it to check that it’s still there; a moment’s attention will alert the carrier that his holster’s coming loose LONG before it ever becomes a problem.

    Between the Serpa and the Safariland ALS, I’ll take the Serpa, warts and all. While it CAN jam, it’s a lot harder to lock up than the ALS, it will NOT allow the pistol to bounce free while running/fighting as the ALS has done, and it doesn’t reduce itself to a level I, as I’ve seen the ALS do. Yes, it has more failure points than a standard thumb-break. No, it is not the “worst holster ever” (that moniker belongs to the Safariland ALS).

    wv: “yect.” My response to the Safariland piece-of-crap they call the ALS holster.

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