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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Because of the notoriety and sheer volume sold, Blackhawk SERPA holsters are bound to come up in any holster search. Given their price point and military contract, they seem attractive, but people are finally getting the message about these holsters. The primary issue with them has to do with negligent discharges resulting from sympathetic/residual index finger pressure engaging the trigger immediately after the retention device is defeated with the index/trigger finger. Here it is illustrated by the now world-famous "Tex" Grebner, and YES, that is a SERPA:


In addition to this, the locking mechanism has been known to trap the weapon in the holster of clogged with dirt/debris. The latch/locking mechanism is also known to break easily and leave the weapon stuck in the holster.

http://link.brightcove.com/services... _E0TWMBUpCe8YivKyjrCCqn&bctid=1155868233001

Also, SERPAs perform poorly for weapon retention as they can be easily broken away from the paddle or belt loops. There are also cases of the holster portion splitting open:



But don't just take my word for it. Here is an email from FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Center) regarding an incident similar to the above video:


SPECIAL BULLETIN
National Training and Emergency Operations Branch
Officer Safety Bulletin



Good Afternoon,

In our efforts to continually stay abreast of issues relating to officer safety, the National Training and Emergency Operations Branch (NTEOB) routinely evaluates the law enforcement equipment issued to or carried by OI personnel.

Recently, one such piece of equipment, the Blackhawk SERPA Auto Lock System holster, has come under scrutiny due to safety concerns involving the design of its retention safety device. There have been several recent documented cases, involving law enforcement and civilian personnel, where unintentional discharges have occurred while weapons were being drawn from this holster. Many of these unintentional discharges have resulted in gunshot injuries to the officers/agents involved.

The SERPA is one of the only holster system designed to use the trigger finger to release the retention safety device. This method of releasing the safety device is contrary to our training methods and techniques, which emphasize attacking the holster from the "top down." In addition, this retention system is completely different from the standard thumb-break holsters currently issued by OI. While it is true that one of the Cardinal Rules of firearms safety was violated by the individual placing his or her finger on the trigger before they were ready to shoot, we believe that the design of the SERPA holster facilitates this action by engaging the trigger finger well before the individual is prepared to shoot.

In light of these events and in accordance with OI policy, specifically Part 2, Section 2, Subsection IV B, NTEOB is suspending all use of the Blackhawk SERPA Auto Lock System holster by OI agents acting in an official, on-duty capacity. NTEOB will thoroughly research and evaluate the safety and effectiveness of this holster system and report on its findings.

In the meantime, those agents who may be affected by this safety bulletin should be directed to utilize their standard agency-issued holster to secure their weapon on their person. As a reminder, new standard issue holsters were previously issued to all OI 1811s. This is the recommended holster system. Should agents wish to purchase a holster, they should be informed that all holsters have to be approved by National Firearms Coordinator/NTEOB, as per policy.

Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.


Here is a nice letter from the US Forrest service:
Safety Issue: Prohibiting Use of Blackhawk SERPA Holsters


Also here is my tally of professional instructors who BANNED the SERPA from their classes and/or facilities:

Larry Vickers
Kyle Defoor
Ken Hackathorn
Todd Green
Jason Falla
Travis Haley
Gabe Suarez
John McPhee
John Murphy (FTF Training)
Jeremy Wilson (Wilson Tactical Training)
Jeff Gonzales (Trident Concepts)

Pat Rogers hates them, but says he will not ban them due to the high number of .mil that are REQUIRED to use them as issued.

Kyle Lamb has openly criticized the locking mechanism in articles about the USMC adoption of SERPA holsters.

Chris Costa commented on facebook on Dec of 2011 that he discourages them and was considering banning them at that time.

Gunsite previously discouraged them, but I am hearing rumors of a full out ban on SERPA as well...confirmation is pending
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Carrots, I'm sorry if this is in the wrong area. There are consistent inquiries about these, and I just wanted to hit all of the key points for those new to carrying/holsters.
 

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Thanks for the heads-up...I will pass the link onto the shooters in my groups
 

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Couldn't agree more! I've never cared for Serpa, and thought they where cheap junk! (my pistols deserve better) Obviously the design is flawed, and can be unsafe with new shooters. Or in the case of "highly experienced" shooters like Tex...(what a DONKEY!) 
Hey...If the big boys are banning them...that saying something!!
 

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Couldn't agree more! I've never cared for Serpa, and thought they where cheap junk! (my pistols deserve better) Obviously the design is flawed, and can be unsafe with new shooters. Or in the case of "highly experienced" shooters like Tex...(what a DONKEY!) 
Hey...If the big boys are banning them...that saying something!!
The important thing to realize is that Tex shooting himself doesn't necessarily qualify him as a moron. People get that perception, and segregate themselves from reality with the idea that, "only idiots shoot themselves or have ND's" which is entirely not true in reality. Even well qualified, experienced, level-headed shooters have shot themselves or had ND's while using SERPA's. Kyle Defoor's experience base with the SERPA is largely based on his tenure at Blackwater's training facility with combat veterans/well-trained guns-for-hire. Clue. High level competition shooters not known for unsafe habits have shot themselves with SERPA's as well. Clue.

All of us are human, thus all of us are flawed. We can all have ND's.....ND's are not the domain of new shooters, the stupid, the ignorant, or those who don't properly train. In fact, most of the people who I always see posting, "Whatever! It's a training issue, the holster isn't flawed!" can't really reference a strong training resume to start with...........hmmm..........
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
There's a famous saying:

"There are 2 kinds of shooters: Those that have had ND's, and those that will"

SERPA ownership is not a guarantee of having an ND, but it brings increased risks to shooters of all levels. On top of that, it can be subject to mechanical failure/breakage beyond the reasonable level for a "duty-grade" holster.

To add to TGS's sentiments:

As a person's amount of gun-handling increases, the more opportunity exists for ND's. While experts "know better" because of experience, the complacency that often accompanies it can cause issues.
 

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The important thing to realize is that Tex shooting himself doesn't necessarily qualify him as a moron. People get that perception, and segregate themselves from reality with the idea that, "only idiots shoot themselves or have ND's" which is entirely not true in reality. Even well qualified, experienced, level-headed shooters have shot themselves or had ND's while using SERPA's. Kyle Defoor's experience base with the SERPA is largely based on his tenure at Blackwater's training facility with combat veterans/well-trained guns-for-hire. Clue. High level competition shooters not known for unsafe habits have shot themselves with SERPA's as well. Clue.

All of us are human, thus all of us are flawed. We can all have ND's.....ND's are not the domain of new shooters, the stupid, the ignorant, or those who don't properly train. In fact, most of the people who I always see posting, "Whatever! It's a training issue, the holster isn't flawed!" can't really reference a strong training resume to start with...........hmmm..........
As a person's amount of gun-handling increases, the more opportunity exists for ND's. While experts "know better" because of experience, the complacency that often accompanies it can cause issues.
Well stated by both of you.
 

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A fault with the push-button retention holsters is that they do not fit the gun tightly, allowing extra stuff to be holstered with the pistol. This can lead to an untucked shirt activating the trigger in the holster.

I will not say do not use any of these, but one must use them with caution. When I am RO, I make sure that anyone with this type of holster has his/her shirt securely tucked in pants and that there is nothing loose around the holster.

As to the holsters coming apart, anything can break. Check ANY holster for issues like cracks or loose screws before you put your gun in it.
 

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A fault with the push-button retention holsters is that they do not fit the gun tightly, allowing extra stuff to be holstered with the pistol. This can lead to an untucked shirt activating the trigger in the holster.

I will not say do not use any of these, but one must use them with caution. When I am RO, I make sure that anyone with this type of holster has his/her shirt securely tucked in pants and that there is nothing loose around the holster.

As to the holsters coming apart, anything can break. Check ANY holster for issues like cracks or loose screws before you put your gun in it.
You forgot to add the most important part...Saving a Buck isn't always cheaper...you get what you pay for and a cheap plastic POS is NOT worthy of my HK....
 

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Those things are garbage. I never understood why they caught on to begin with, and became the cool toy all the kids had to have in Iraq among the officer elite.

BTW I am a life-long NCO, I can talk trash about the "Gentlemen" all I want to. Been there, done that.

Anyway, buying the stupid things on your own is one thing, but then they started ISSUING the things. It honestly made me wonder if anyone had ever heard of sand, or if the moron who made the call had ever deployed.
 

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Those things are garbage. I never understood why they caught on to begin with, and became the cool toy all the kids had to have in Iraq among the officer elite.

BTW I am a life-long NCO, I can talk trash about the "Gentlemen" all I want to. Been there, done that.

Anyway, buying the stupid things on your own is one thing, but then they started ISSUING the things. It honestly made me wonder if anyone had ever heard of sand, or if the moron who made the call had ever deployed.
There's plenty of SERPA's floating among the untouchable, infallible, been-there-done-that knows everything NCO elite as well. :wink:
 

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They are absolutely not kidding about debris locking the Serpa's up. I had my lvl 3 Serpa jam up on me while trying to transition to my sidearm while out in the field. Went back to the Safariland SLS that night when I got home. I can't believe my agency issues that POS.
 

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Thanks for posting this!

I guess the million dollar question is who makes the best holster, including belt, thigh rig and molle?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for posting this!

I guess the million dollar question is who makes the best holster, including belt, thigh rig and molle?
"Best" is way too subjective to answer.

Our Safariland (SLS) duty holsters are nearly bomb-proof. My original issue was one of the initial ones purchased by our dept. God knows how many years ago. The rotary hood got a little gritty about 5 years ago, and some silicone spray cleared that right up. During the academy, I was dragged across the gym floor with the suspect holding the holster during a weapon retention exercise. I have also picked and officer up by his Safariland during a similar drill. Since then I have purchased 3 more SLS holsters for duty Glocks, 1 for 1911, 1 for Sig P226, and 1 for my HK45.

I believe that for duty or tactical purposes, Safariland is the gold standard. I am certainly not alone in that thinking. CCW; however, is a different story with many more options and variables to consider.

As far as belts, I was issued the plain'ol Uncle Mike's duty belt. While it works, I hate the plastic buckle. When I go to sit down in my squad, the bottom part of the clasp can come undone; leaving only the top clasp and safety button engaged. I have a few personally-owned rigs with cobra buckles, and I absolutely love them.
 

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Safariland makes exceptional stuff. For an open top retention holster you can't beat the 6377. I just wish the made it for the USP45.

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk
 

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As I write this my compact is resting securely in a serpa holster on my belt. The whole shooting myself while drawing the pistol scared me at first. But like it wa said before practice with what you use. My serpa hasn't failed me and have not shot myself lol. Just my $.02
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
As I write this my compact is resting securely in a serpa holster on my belt. The whole shooting myself while drawing the pistol scared me at first. But like it wa said before practice with what you use. My serpa hasn't failed me and have not shot myself lol. Just my $.02


Seriously though, its issues extend beyond the ND's...as I state. I absolutely hope your experience with the SERPA remains issue-free. My goal is not to get everyone to throw their SERPAs into a heaping bonfire, but to inform those who have less expose to it on what issues may potentially arise.
 
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