Blackhawk CQC Serpa Holster - Observations and Questions [Archive] - Glock Talk

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bear62
01-28-2013, 17:55
I recently bought the Blackhawk CQC Serpa Holster for my new Glock 17.

I plan to use it primarily as range holster and perhaps when out in the backcountry in Colorado and Utah. I've only worn it around the house for a few hours now.... haven't had time to go "outdoors" with it.

I think I will like it a lot and will consider using it while in the house as part of my HD plans. It's really very comfortable.

Couple of things I've noticed: 1) It doesn't fit really tight up against my body (I wear it on the belt and don't use the paddle) and 2) My Glock 17 has some "wiggle room" in that it move very slightly forward and backward... (no movement to the side)

Has anyone noticed the slight forward/backward play? And do any of you use this holster for concealed carry? Any thoughts?

Thanks .......... :wavey:

ChuteTheMall
01-28-2013, 18:11
I recently bought the Blackhawk CQC Serpa Holster for my new Glock 17.
...... Any thoughts?

Thanks .......... :wavey:

Yes....there are good reasons that major training organizations from Gabe Suarez (Suarez International) to Jim Yeager (Tactical Response) to IDPA to Gunsite to FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) to USAF OSI and countless others have all banned the Blackhawk Serpa.

It's dangerous. Don't show up for a class with me, don't even stand next to me at a range, if that's what you are packing.

http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1421788

http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1394788

Please, feel free to research this issue, and please also buy a better holster.

Even Glock's inexpensive Sport/Combat holster is superior, and rides close and tight.

bear62
01-28-2013, 19:09
Seems like opinions from those two threads are varied with many claiming operator error ...... many claiming design flaw.

Anyone else have a current opinion ....... Thanks...:wavey:

JohnnyReb
01-28-2013, 19:23
Operator error.

RyanNREMTP
01-28-2013, 20:09
Just like any holster opinion will vary from person to person. I have two Blackhawk holsters and I like them. But I will add that my duty holster is a Safariland holster with light attachment.

My conceal carry is a Blackhawk Serpa. Just like any holster there are pros and cons to each one.

toshbar
01-28-2013, 20:14
Operator error 100% of the time. Not knowing your equipment is YOUR fault.

I use the paddle. It gets the gun closer to me and spreads the weight out better. The fore/aft rock is what I would consider 'normal' for the SERPA.

bear62
01-28-2013, 21:23
Operator error 100% of the time. Not knowing your equipment is YOUR fault.

I use the paddle. It gets the gun closer to me and spreads the weight out better. The fore/aft rock is what I would consider 'normal' for the SERPA.

I haven't tried the paddle yet. It would be a plus if the Glock were in tighter.

toshbar, how easy "on/off" is the paddle? The paddle holsters I tried in the past were extremely difficult to get off.

toshbar
01-28-2013, 21:26
I haven't tried the paddle yet. It would be a plus if the Glock were in tighter.

toshbar, how easy "on/off" is the paddle? The paddle holsters I tried in the past were extremely difficult to get off.
I forgot about THE TALON :wow:

That is what everyone refers to the hook at the bottom of the paddle as. You must remove your pants to your ankles in order remove the paddle, unless you hack off the talon as I did. Paddle comes off easy now, I just rock the gun in towards me to unhook the hooks that go under the belt on the outside.

bear62
01-28-2013, 22:06
I forgot about THE TALON :wow:

That is what everyone refers to the hook at the bottom of the paddle as. You must remove your pants to your ankles in order remove the paddle, unless you hack off the talon as I did. Paddle comes off easy now, I just rock the gun in towards me to unhook the hooks that go under the belt on the outside.
Thanks, toshbar......... I will consider doing that.........

UtahBassKicker
01-28-2013, 22:07
I've used my Serpa for a month now and really like it. I realize a month isn't long but my 23 fits very snug, no wiggle room, and with all my research it seems that user error is what has caused problems with these holsters. I use it with the paddle and only at the range so beyond that I have no useful information. But I do really like it.

larry_minn
01-28-2013, 22:20
Yep the dang thing just goes off by itself in SERPA holster. Lets see mine had gone off............"never" on its own. I may have a 2nd SERPA holster soon.
IMO its too large for CCW most times. Excellent for Carbine courses, other. Keep in mind. IF you keep your finger on trigger when holstering the gun (esp if Glock) will go off when your finger pushes trigger to rear.
Keep your finger (pocket knife, shirt,etc out of trigger guard when reholstering and no issues.
One issue I have found. IF you pull up HARD before you hit release it may not release. AND I have been told if you get lots of sand in works it may jam up. (so if you plan to roll on beach first you might want to consider another holster)
Schools have to plan for most inept students. BTW I can remove my SERPA in car (say before going into Post Office) easy. Slide hand inside waist while rocking it/belt hooks. Then stick it under seat, go in, come out, put back on. Folks don't even notice.

Gombey
01-28-2013, 22:43
I'm forced to use one. I hate it. Safariland is better.




I have spoken.

ChuteTheMall
01-28-2013, 23:00
Operator error is facilitated by this design, unlike others.

I take back what I said about not shooting next to someone who has a Serpa. I have a small trauma kit in my range bag, but I need actual hands on practice. TK, IBD & gloves.

:faint:

It's not very concealable for CCW, therefore it's mostly a range toy, banned from competition and training.
I have a Fobus in my range gear in case I get the urge for a cheap plastic paddle holster that sticks way out. Haven't worn it in years.

:cool:

Gills63
01-28-2013, 23:10
I own 3 of them, 2 of which I've carried on duty. No complaints, never had any problems. The paddle doesn't come off easy, which to me is a positive.

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gooffeyguy
01-28-2013, 23:31
I have both a Blackhawk Serpa and Safariland 6378 ALS for my G23. I like them both, but they each have their ups/downs.

With the Serpa, ALWAYS make sure your trigger finger stays pointing straight on the release mechanism using the pad of your finger while drawing and not bent and using your finger tip. When done correctly your finger will stay laying flat along the side of the frame just below the slide. This is not a problem for me, it is the way I've trained and practiced drawing for years with any holster. It just comes natural for me.

I like the small size of the holster. I also like that you can adjust the cant of the holster with the multiple mounting positions on the back.

As far as gun movement/looseness, try tightening the screw in front of the trigger guard. It will bring the back side of the holster in for a tighter fit around the trigger guard. You can also change out the plastic spring that sits in front of the trigger guard with one that runs further down the holster under the barrel that puts some tension on the gun and takes out any play while in the holster. The non-serpa style holsters have this bigger spring, and you can also get them from Blackhawk (usually for free if you call and complain that your gun moves too much/rattles in the holster).

The Safariland has a retention that is released with the thumb and is very natural also. The holster is lined and feels nice, but is a bit bulkier and covers more of the gun. I think it would be harder to use for concealment than the Blackhawk. There is also no multiple mounting positions when using the paddle, only one, but if you use the belt mount there is.

Bottom line, I feel totally comfortable and confident with using the Blackhawk Serpa, but sometimes I go out shooting with family or friends that aren't as experienced and when they use my gun I put it in the safariland.

PVolk
01-28-2013, 23:50
Opperator error. It's not the holster's fault when the finger enters the trigger gaurd and causes a ND. I've carried with one with my Glock and Springfield XD for 6ish years and no problems. And I have used it in practical matches as well. No issues with safely and quickly drawing here. I own 7 or 8 holsters, and my Serpa is my favorite.

I carry concealed too. With any jacket or sweatshirt on, I conceal my G23 just fine.

IndyGunFreak
01-28-2013, 23:59
http://youtu.be/GDpxVG9XFJc

I like this video and think he explains the "issue" very well.

Not on my belt.

PVolk
01-29-2013, 00:33
I like this video and think he explains the "opperator issue" very well.

Not on my belt.
Does anyone have to bend their finger to deliberately stab the button to release the lock and draw a Glock? Specifically a Glock and not a 1911...? Because I sure don't. But I could defintely understand how 'doing it wrong' could have negative consequences.

PEC-Memphis
01-29-2013, 01:49
http://youtu.be/GDpxVG9XFJc

I like this video and think he explains the "issue" very well.

Not on my belt.

Once again we agree - 100%

An earlier poster stated that IDPA bans this holster, but that is not true (we will see about the next rule book) but some ranges that have club matches ban the holster. We have had two near misses (really near hits) with shooters using a sherpa holsters. Our (former) AC says it is the worst design ever available to the public, and seconded by the international AC. Arguably, the only worse design is the FFDO holster, at least while locking and storing.

I can't figure out why people defend the design so vigorously. It doesn't conceal well, it can become inoperable with debris, and it lends itself to ND mistakes - particularly under stress. I paid good money for one, and figured out its short comings fairly soon (without a discharge, or near miss); and the store has a no-refund policy - and I still will not use it. With so many better choices, there is no reason to.

IndyGunFreak
01-29-2013, 02:02
Does anyone have to bend their finger to deliberately stab the button to release the lock and draw a Glock? Specifically a Glock and not a 1911...? Because I sure don't. But I could defintely understand how 'doing it wrong' could have negative consequences.

I don't dispute that it's an operator error. I just think the holsters poor design, could turn what would probably be a minor issue on most holsters, into a tragedy.

PVolk
01-29-2013, 04:09
I paid good money for one, and figured out its short comings fairly soon (without a discharge, or near miss)
So, you had problems with your index finger entering the trigger gaurd by accident on the draw?


I draw from all of my OWB and appendix carry holsters all the same. With my trigger finger extended above the trigger gaurd. It's no different with the Serpa- which is a huge benefit actually. It's a natural draw that I didn't have to change to accomodate the Serpa. That's kind of the whole point to the design of the Serpa. But it begs the question that if the draw is the same on all holsters, why would anyone have problems with the Serpa? No matter the holster, my draw is the same and my trigger finger is positioned the same before, during, and after the draw.

PVolk
01-29-2013, 04:12
I don't dispute that it's an operator error. I just think the holsters poor design, could turn what would probably be a minor issue on most holsters, into a tragedy.
In your opinion, what would need to be changed on the holster to alleviate the potential operator error issue?

IndyGunFreak
01-29-2013, 05:54
In your opinion, what would need to be changed on the holster to alleviate the potential operator error issue?

Very simple, the release button is in a bad place for a belt holster. Watch the video I posted above, and pay attention. He very clearly lays out the problem with using this holster as a BELT holster.

I'd say the Safariland 6000 is a much better choice.

IGF

ticktwrter
01-29-2013, 06:45
I've been using a Serpa for several years and love them. I usethem on and off duty. I hae never had any problems with my finger in the trigger. The draw to me is a natural feel and holstering is easy as well.

Bill Lumberg
01-29-2013, 07:23
Paddle holds it tighter to the side than the belt attachment does.
Not a great holster for concealment- sticks out a bit.
No safety issues with the release mechanism, but someone fundamentally inept at firearms handling can ND with this holster as with any other. It's not a biomechanical issue, it's straight up user fail to ND with this holster. To actuate the release requires you to position your finger away from the trigger, in the proper index position.
Some play is normal. A lot is not.
Any user prone to safety issues with this holster need to rethink carrying a gun period, particularly one with a round chambered, regardless of holster. I recently bought the Blackhawk CQC Serpa Holster for my new Glock 17.

I plan to use it primarily as range holster and perhaps when out in the backcountry in Colorado and Utah. I've only worn it around the house for a few hours now.... haven't had time to go "outdoors" with it.

I think I will like it a lot and will consider using it while in the house as part of my HD plans. It's really very comfortable.

Couple of things I've noticed: 1) It doesn't fit really tight up against my body (I wear it on the belt and don't use the paddle) and 2) My Glock 17 has some "wiggle room" in that it move very slightly forward and backward... (no movement to the side)

Has anyone noticed the slight forward/backward play? And do any of you use this holster for concealed carry? Any thoughts?

Thanks .......... :wavey:

PEC-Memphis
01-29-2013, 08:05
So, you had problems with your index finger entering the trigger gaurd by accident on the draw?


I draw from all of my OWB and appendix carry holsters all the same. With my trigger finger extended above the trigger gaurd. It's no different with the Serpa- which is a huge benefit actually. It's a natural draw that I didn't have to change to accomodate the Serpa. That's kind of the whole point to the design of the Serpa. But it begs the question that if the draw is the same on all holsters, why would anyone have problems with the Serpa? No matter the holster, my draw is the same and my trigger finger is positioned the same before, during, and after the draw.

Watch the video. The safety problem is a biomechanics issue, not everyone will have the same problem. The other issues are pretty much universal.

I wanted to like the Sherpa.

Arc Angel
01-29-2013, 08:29
I recently bought the Blackhawk CQC Serpa Holster for my new Glock 17.

I plan to use it primarily as range holster and perhaps when out in the backcountry in Colorado and Utah. I've only worn it around the house for a few hours now.... haven't had time to go "outdoors" with it.

I think I will like it a lot and will consider using it while in the house as part of my HD plans. It's really very comfortable.

Couple of things I've noticed: 1) It doesn't fit really tight up against my body (I wear it on the belt and don't use the paddle) and 2) My Glock 17 has some "wiggle room" in that it move very slightly forward and backward... (no movement to the side)

Has anyone noticed the slight forward/backward play? And do any of you use this holster for concealed carry? Any thoughts?

Thanks .......... :wavey:

In spite of the fact that I own dozens of holsters, for the past year, or so, I've been using a Blackhawk SERPA holster. Personally, I very much dislike the belt attachment, and prefer to use the paddle. I carry, and conceal, at 2:00 o'clock on my belt (appendix carry) with a 15 degree reverse cant on the holster.

It's fast! Only a slight brush on my jacket;and I've got a pistol in my hand! If I have to go into a post office or the county courthouse, the paddle comes right off my belt. (I only use the front hook in order to snag the bottom of my belt. The back hook has been completely removed from the paddle attachment.)

That's a very good critical analysis video that IndyGunFreak put up on the board. I agree that keeping your trigger finger straight on BOTH the draw AND reholstering can be a problem for a great many people; and I understand, 'Why' certain gun schools won't allow their students to use SERPA holsters.

Nevertheless, in the right hands a SERPA can be an effective holster. Do I, however, like having to use my trigger finger in order to release the pistol? No, I do not; and I HAVE EXCELLENT TRIGGER FINGER SKILLS! A word about Tex Grebner's accident: (Tex is a brave fellow to open himself up to so much criticism.) I've watched and rewatched Tex's accident video. (Must have, 'smarted' - Huh!) :wow:

Personally, I don't blame the holster as much as I blame Tex, himself. To my eye, Tex clearly exceeded his own ability-to-perform both safely and well. He made the classic mistake of not, 'setting' his grip BEFORE he began the draw. Then he overcompensated for his poor grip by speeding up the draw stroke. Finally, he bent his finger as the gun cleared the holster - All, a sure recipe for disaster!

Could something like this happen to either you, or me? Yes, an accident like this could happen to anyone who isn't careful or practiced enough while using a SERPA holster. Is this a valid reason to stay away from the SERPA? It may, or may not be. Personally, I like the SERPA; I understand its limitations; and I'm careful with it.

Yes, it's not a highly concealable design; but, it is concealable enough for my own everyday use. (If I needed, 'deep cover' I'd use something else.) Your gun is rattling around inside your new SERPA because Blackhawk keeps on screwing around with the, 'U-shaped' retainer that is (or should be) installed just below the trigger guard.

Do what I did: Call the factory, and tell the nice people who answer the phones that you just bought a new SERPA holster. Give them the make and the model number, and ask them to send you a FULL, 'U-shaped' retainer for your holster. As you've discovered: That little piece of, 'L-shaped' plastic junk that's in there, now, ain't going to stop your pistol from rattling.

Like anything else that has to do with guns: When you use a SERPA holster: (1) You've got to know what you're supposed to be doing. (2) You need experience; and (3) you need regular practice. Anyone who just puts a SERPA on his belt and starts to use it is, in my considered opinion, asking for a non-intentional discharge. ND's can happen anytime you draw or reholster a handgun; it's just that with a holster design like the SERPA, if you're not really familiar with what you're supposed to be doing, an accident is much more likely.

Whenever I'm doing range work out of the SERPA I'm extra extra careful; and I always make sure of two things: (1) I firmly, 'set my grip' BEFORE I begin the draw; and (2) I keep my trigger finger absolutely ARROW STRAIGHT until I'm ready to make the shot. (The front sight has to be, at least, up and, ideally, on the target BEFORE my trigger finger begins to curl into the guard.)



NOTE: I should add one more safety precaution: It's a good idea to either take one step to the rear with your support-side leg, or one step forward with your gun-side leg BEFORE you reholster - OK! ;)

PVolk
01-29-2013, 10:49
Watch the video. The safety problem is a biomechanics issue, not everyone will have the same problem. The other issues are pretty much universal.

I wanted to like the Sherpa.
I watched that video the last time one of these threads happened. He discusses how a ND can happen when using it improperly (bending the finger to deliberty press inward). If the argument is that there is no safety mechanism to prevent problems when used improperly, then that holds merit. But I still stand by the fact that when used properly by a person capable of using it properly, there are no issues with drawing from the Serpa. And I'm perfectly happy to agree to disagree too. :)

splitfinger09
01-30-2013, 19:29
I have the holster for my 17 as well and I really like it. I prefer the paddle attachment as it stays nice and tight to my body. If you properly draw and index the weapon you will not have any problems.

Kelo6
01-31-2013, 13:05
I don't get it. Tex says himself that he doesn't blame the holster; he blames himself.

He was training with a 5.11 thumb-drive, and then switched to his SERPA without effectively changing the mental steps and/or dry practicing the "new" draw stroke (SERPA) as opposed to the "old" draw stroke (5.11 Thumbdrive)

He gripped the weapon, pushed down with his thumb (reflex from training with the thumbdrive), which disegnaged the 1911 safety, then pulled up, which didn't work because the locking mechanism was still in place.

He curled his finger and applied more pressure to the SERPA release, drew the weapon, and put his finger to the bang switch and it went bang.


How in the heck is this the SERPA's fault? It was a training failure. I have done all of my training with a SERPA and never had a problem.

Knowing now that he was switching between holster platforms, the whole scenario makes more sense.

If you train properly with your gear (regardless of the gear), you shouldn't have any problems.

TEX's original video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvAxLX6OzE&feature=player_detailpage#t=91s

glock1769
01-31-2013, 23:48
Now I'm depressed. Just got back from the range and made an impulse buy..a SERPA for my G26. I really liked it 'til I got home and read this thread. Hmmmm....now what to do.

gooffeyguy
02-01-2013, 01:06
Now I'm depressed. Just got back from the range and made an impulse buy..a SERPA for my G26. I really liked it 'til I got home and read this thread. Hmmmm....now what to do.

Use your unloaded gun and practice unholstering it, then practice some more. When done repeat until it becomes second nature.

larry_minn
02-01-2013, 02:36
Now I'm depressed. Just got back from the range and made an impulse buy..a SERPA for my G26. I really liked it 'til I got home and read this thread. Hmmmm....now what to do.

Just send it to me. I think my wife might like it. OR keep your finger/other stuff out of trigger during reholster/draw. (like you should with any holster)

Actionmonkey
02-01-2013, 02:45
I carry Blackhawk holsters but concealed carry and on duty. Been in several encounters on duty fighting with combative subjects and never had an issue. I stand by their holsters as they have never failed me and I wear it more off duty than I do my IWB comp-tac holster.


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Hyena
02-01-2013, 04:17
I have a serpa as a duty holster. In the academy one of our instructors was a Glock rep. He begged us not to carry a serpa. I get on here and don't have a choice. I practice with it doing dry fire drills at least once a week. The few high stress times I have drawn I didn't shoot myself. Finger should be off the trigger anyway. All on personal preference and if you can remember pull trigger gun goes boom in high stress.

up1911fan
02-01-2013, 09:21
I think it's the biggest POS on the market. Safariland ALS is more secure, conceal's better and has a much better retention system. I use a 6378 when I carry OWB ( normally carry AIWB). It's fast, the gun is secure and it conceal's.

gooffeyguy
02-01-2013, 09:32
I think it's the biggest POS on the market. Safariland ALS is more secure, conceal's better and has a much better retention system. I use a 6378 when I carry OWB ( normally carry AIWB). It's fast, the gun is secure and it conceal's.

I have both and don't think the 6378 conceals better because it is a much bigger holster. Just seems bulkier and covers more of the pistol

Bill Lumberg
02-01-2013, 09:34
It's a good entry level holster. Not priced or designed to compete with duty holsters, but more than adequate and perfectly safe for light duty or concealment under winter garments. Novices may benefit from a holster with passive retention rather than one that requires basic competence to release. If you want to wear it on a duty belt, safariland is a better choice. For concealment/EP (under a suit or overshirt), we issue Strong leather 3 slot or crossbreed supertuck. For uniformed use, safariland. For everything in between, the blackhawk serpa is the issued holster. Zero problems when you use the right one for the job at hand.