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Loving the Blackhawk Serpa CQC

Discussion in 'Carry Issues' started by Goodrich, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. GlockItToMe


    Feb 1, 2005
    Smyrna ,TN
    Myself, I like the Blackhawk SERPA, but you will find a lot of haters on this board. Of course from what I've read most members can hit the 10 ring offhand on a galloping horse. ; )
  2. firefighter4215


    Nov 2, 2009
    After seeing some people use them successfully during quite a bit of training, I bought one for my 1911. After trying it myself, I bought two more. You don't bend your finger to activate the button. If you keep your finger rigid it will line up exactly on the frame. I dunno. Like an earlier member said, I too am unable to consistently shoot the 10 ring from a galloping horse, so maybe that's why I like the holster.

  3. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

    Dec 16, 1999
    I have one. Heard all the "horror stories" and actually had decided not to buy one. Then I ran across one cheap.
    I learned the "advice" I got was not worth $.02
    I would like a couple more. I have repeatedly offered to accept "Those dangerous SERPA holsters" (with pref for models for 1911, G17, G26, Hs2000 "father of XD" I would even take some left hand versions. (I have injured Right hand before so not bad to have)
  4. SCSU74

    SCSU74 St. Cloud Proud

    Jul 24, 2010
    The Northwoods
    Just don't go rolling around in the snow, or dirt, or anything that could lock up the holster..

    Posted using Outdoor Hub Campfire
  5. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

    Dec 16, 1999
    Yes that is true. I often do mention that. Like any car/truck/gun/tool/holster... there are concerns. IF you roll around in sand, dirt and get the opening mech gummed up the gun will NOT release.
    Also if you pull UP before you hit release its dang hard to make it release. (so PRACTICE the draw, most folks are smart enough to practice with UNLOADED gun at first) When you practice do things wrong and see what happens. Maybe you can't keep your finger off trigger. (so chamber empty is good choice for you) :0
  6. Spiffums

    Spiffums I.C.P.

    Sep 30, 2006
    When a quality holster costs $70+......I wouldn't trust $30 holster anymore than I would carry the bargain white/Yellow box hollow points.
  7. bennie1986


    Dec 29, 2012
    So i guess you shouldn't carry your cheap $500 glock because there are more expensive guns like 1911's that cost $1500. Thats make them more reliable right?
  8. B.Reid


    Jun 20, 2005
    something to think about.

    [ame=""]SERPA Security Failure - YouTube[/ame]
  9. PVolk


    Oct 2, 2009
    I wish Blackhawk would develop SERPA holsters that accomodate popular weapon lights like the TLR-1. As much as I love my SERPA, I won't be using it much anymore because I recently started carrying with a light.
  10. IronWalnutz


    Feb 3, 2013
    SE, PA
    I winter carry my G27 in a Serpa holster and have never had one complaint. I find my finger in the perfect position, along side the trigger guard, upon drawing the gun and it is comfortable and secure while holstered. I have large hands and still don't need to bend my finger to release the locking mechanism so I fail to see how that is an issue. Proper amount of training with this holster should be all you need. Just my .02 though
  11. Joey

    Joey Millennium Member

    Sep 14, 1999
    Got to love those emotionally invested in the serpa and calling those who see how dangerous the serpa is haters & making fun of them like saying haters got to hate....

    Fact of the matter is the SERPA holster has been banned at many major firearms training institutes & ranges, some federal LEO's are forbidden to use it...people with more trigger and training time & who do it for a living thn the vast majority of people here have said it's dangerous...yet the fan boys argue how it works for them...and how great a holster it is....all cuz they are emotionally invested in a cheap piece of injection molded plastic....instead of actually getting a expensive quality holster....
  12. IronWalnutz


    Feb 3, 2013
    SE, PA
    People get emotionally invested in many items they purchase, hence someones passion for a Glock vs. Sig, Ford vs. Dodge, etc.
    I prefer my $40 Serpa holster to my $80+ Don hume leather holster for winter carry. My favorite holster is my Crossbreed Supertuck for year around carry. I also have a Galco King tuk for my G19 along with a drawer full of other name brand holsters I just don't use anymore.
    It's not just a money thing, it's about preference and experience. While I won't discount the fact that there are crappy holsters out their, Fobus, Uncle Mike's etc. They still serve their purpose for some and I would put the Serpa in line with affordable, quality, for the average to experienced shooter. Again just my .02 but, I don't over generalize something just because it doesn't suit my needs, I base my opinion off of experience.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  13. Hedo1


    Oct 1, 2007
    SE Pennsylvania
    No issue with the three I have and I don't baby them at all.
  14. Joey

    Joey Millennium Member

    Sep 14, 1999
    Law Enforcement and Investigations Leadership Team
    Several law enforcement agencies, including FLETC, have experienced incidents where students and field agents/officers using Blackhawk SERPA holsters have had accidental discharges resulting in personal injury and or property damage.

    FLETC recently issued a notice to all Partner Organizations, advising of two recent incidents where students with Blackhawk SERPA holsters have had accidental discharges resulting in personal injury. On April 17, 2012, FLETC held a meeting with Partner Organizations and advised that holsters with an auto locking/finger release, such as the Blackhawk SERPA holster will immediately be banned from use in the training environment. FLETC had recently banned all instructors from using the SERPA Blackhawk holster while on FLETC firearms ranges and while working with students and was expanded to any use of these holsters on the firearms ranges at FLETC. However, DHS OGC is now reviewing the ban and FLETC is awaiting the OGC opinion before making their final determination.

    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 when the weapon is holstered).
    While Blackhawk may have intended for the end-user to apply inboard pressure with the pad of the index finger, under stress and given time constraints, users tend to push the button with the tip of their finger disengaging the retention device with direct inward pressure of the finger-tip. When the finger-tip pushes in on the release button and the user initiates the upward motion of the draw removing the weapon from the holster, the finger-tip tends to stay engaged in the same position used to disengage the retention device and can enter the trigger guard, making contact with the trigger, causing an unintentional discharge.
    The Blackhawk SERPA release button can result in an unintended continuation of the movement of the trigger finger toward the trigger due to the “push button” motion required to complete the weapon draw. This unintended movement of the trigger finger has been observed during training with students and field agents when placed in some form of elevated stress situations.

    In addition, there have been several reports from law enforcement and the military of debris (such as a pin head size pebble) getting lodged behind the release button inside the holster, making the withdrawal of the weapon from the holster impossible. Exterior examination of the holster is unable to detect whether debris has entered the internal working mechanism of the retention device within the holster. Thus, realization by the user that the holster has become
    Law Enforcement and Investigations Leadership Team 2
    inoperable due to debris will only be realized when the user unsuccessfully tries to draw the firearm from the holster and is denied access to the weapon.

    The Air Force, Office of Special Investigations, (OSI), had incidents where debris has made the holster inoperable, thus making the withdrawal of the weapon impossible. Air Force OSI has banned the use of the Blackhawk holster. Also there are other federal agencies that have discontinued the use of these holsters.

    The National Academy does not issue these types of holsters to our new hires, however, it is my understanding that several officers and agents in the field have purchased these types of holsters. The National Academy also does not currently issue the SERPA Taser holster to new hires. We issued the holster for a short time and discovered when there was significant stress on the holster, such as the officer engaged in ground fighting, the holster would release retention and the Taser would fall from the holster.

    With the above in mind, due to safety concerns regarding the SERPA Firearm holster and SERPA Taser holster, the use of these types of holsters and any other holsters with the same type of auto locking/finger release is no longer authorized. Please ensure that any of your personnel who utilize these types of holsters discontinue their use until further notice.
  15. Joey

    Joey Millennium Member

    Sep 14, 1999

    As a result of four separate incidentsi related to auto-lock, trigger finger manipulation holsters [Blackhawk SERPA CQC Level II holsters (ii) (low wall)], the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) requested that a study be conducted to identifY any common causative factors unique to this holster design. The study was assigned to Firearms Division (FAD) at FLETC-Glynco with assistance from the FLETC Field Training Directorate (FTD). A subsequent companion study of the Blackhawk SERPA CQC Level II Holster (high wall) was also conducted which resulted in similar findings.

    The scope of both holster studies was devised to identify any safety related problems unique to the deactivation of the retention device while drawing and presenting the firearm. This testing included the following components:
    a review ofthe current FAD curriculum;
    review of FAD Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs);
    an interview of the student involved in the FLETC-Glynco accident; a search to identify and verifY other outside incidents within the firearms training community;
    and psycho-motor skills testing(iii) of the process of drawing a weapon from the auto-lock trigger finger manipulation holster.

    The participants completed written feedback critiques at the conclusion oftheir session. Also, there was limited video recording of certain portions of the testing.

    The conclusions and results gathered from the analysis of holster testing and participant feedback was captured in separate reports at the completion of both the studies.

    ~ Duress is experienced by the shooter when draw-stroke steps are executed out of order. This sequencing error can then initiate a cascading series of failures (iv). This series of failures is first recognized by the shooter as an inability to draw the firearm from the holster.

    • This inability is caused by:
    o The tension caused by the upward pressure of the draw stroke occurring prior to the
    deactivation of the retention mechanism.
    o Unless deactivated prior to the draw action, this feature "locks" the pistol in the holster.
    Once locked, the shooter experiences a greater amount of duress.
    o The shooter then tends to use more force in an effort to remove the weapon from the
    holster and tends to transition from digital-pad to digital-tip pressure which causes the
    trigger finger to bend. Also, the associated increase in grip pressure causes all of the
    fingers of the strong hand to flex, further increasing the flex or bend of the trigger finger.
    o When the firearm is finally removed from the holster, this bend in the trigger finger
    positions the finger proximal to the trigger or on the trigger.

    ~ The feedback from the majority of the FAD staff' that participated in the study indicates that a holster that requires multi-tasking of the trigger finger or that has a release mechanism closely proximal to the trigger is potentially problematic by increasing the risk of an inadvertent discharge. Subsequent review of the studies by the FLETC FTD SMEs also concluded that proximity of the finger to the trigger creates an inherent safety risk.

    ~ The proctors that administered the testing are all SMEs (vi) from the FLETC Basic and/or Advanced Firearm Training Programs and. The recommendation provided by these SMEs regarding the use of this style holster range from "hesitant to recommend the use of" to "should not be used in training. "

    ~ The frame by frame review ofthe video from the intern/CITP student portion of the psychomotor skills testing indicates that during approximately 25% ofthe draw strokes the shooter's trigger finger was proximal to the trigger and approximately 13% ofthe draw strokes began out of sequence (low wall study).

    ~ The interview with the CITP student involved in the training accident on December 13, 2011,
    revealed that the curriculum and presentation of that curriculum was appropriate and complete.
    The student indicated that he experienced a sequencing error and discharged his weapon.

    ~ An informal survey was conducted of commercial and private firearms training facilities. Several responses included; this style of holsters can be used but must have the release mechanism disabled, or cannot be used at a facility.

    Based upon the known facts, SME observations and both holster study findings, the FLETC submits the following training decision:

    ~ The FLETC is restricting the use of level II retention, auto lock-trigger finger release style holsters during all firearms training on FLETC firearms ranges. Holsters that possess a single retention release mechanism that is located proximal to the trigger area of the firearm are problematic and pose a safety hazard. Holsters that include additional release mechanisms (level III retention) should be evaluated for suitability prior to use on FLETC firearms ranges. This restriction will be classified as a "local range rule" which the FLETC has used in the past to improve safety practices during firearms training at all FLETC training sites.

    (i) The first incident, an Unintentional Discharge (UD), occurred on July 20, 2010, at FLETC-Glynco. This incident was the result
    of the shooter's jacket becoming entangled in the holster during the process of re-holstering the pistol. The three most recent
    incidents were apparent Negligent Discharges (ND) and occurred on October 27, 2011, at FLETC-Cheltenham, on December 13,
    2011 , at FLETC-Glynco and on March 30, 2012, at FLETC-Cheltenham. All of these ND's resulted in self-inflicted injuries.

    (ii) The Auto-Lock Trigger Finger Manipulation Holster has been available commercially since 2006. It is available for most
    models of pistols and revolvers. This holster is available in both left and right hand models. As a retention holster, this design
    protects and retains the firearm as designed. The holster is designed with an auto-lock system that securely holds and "locks" the
    firearm in the holster when the firearm is inserted. There is no need to manipulate any portion of the holster to secure the
    firearm. The release for the retention mechanism is located on the exterior of the holster on the outboard side, in the area of the
    trigger/trigger guard ofthe firearm. To operate the release the shooter establishes his/her strong-hand grip, extending and
    straightening the index finger (trigger finger). The shooter then applies digital-pad pressure with the trigger finger to the "release
    button". This action deactivates the retention device allowing the shooter to draw and present the firearm.

    (iii) This testing consisted of a series of draw stroke drills that commenced with 4 second facings and were reduced incrementally to
    .75 seconds. These skills were conducted both strong-hand (two-hand) and support-hand (one-hand).

    (iv) A cascading series offailures is best described as non-sequenced, repetitive actions that place the shooter in danger of
    experiencing a Negligent Discharge.

    (v) This group consisted of 49 FAD instructional staff members (FLETC staff and Partner Organization (PO) representatives) with
    approximately 294 years of instructional experience.

    (vi) These SMEs possess 120 years of active firearms training experience. They are the Lead Instructors with program oversight
    for the following programs: CITP, UPTP, LMPT, RSITP, SSTP, LERTP and FITP
  16. Joey

    Joey Millennium Member

    Sep 14, 1999
    Gabe Suarez has banned SERPA from his range/classes, Lary Vickers has banned SERPA holsters from his classes as has Gunsite among other trainers/ranges along with LEO agencies, some local/state & even at the federal level...and more instructors/ranges/departments are banning them all the time, this is what the police call a clue
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  17. Joey

    Joey Millennium Member

    Sep 14, 1999
    [ame=""]Opinion: Blackhawk SERPA and Tex Grebners Mishap - YouTube[/ame]

    You can tell some peole have never been in a situation where they are amped up, how the fine motor skils go to hell and under reald world situations the serpa is extremly dangerous.

    Safariland retention holsters are way better than serpa
  18. larry_minn

    larry_minn Silver Member Millennium Member

    Dec 16, 1999
    PM me for address to get rid of those dangerous holsters.