Blackhawk Serpa Holster

I have two of these holsters. One, I bought to demo in my classes, the other actually was used by one of my sons, on rare occasions, when riding around Blackhawk Serpa Level2 Sportsteron our UTV on our ranch. Yes, it was used, but it was not carried in the real world, only on the 10,000 acre ranch to make sure the gun wasn’t lost. Of course, now, he uses a much better holster.

I do not like it, and for good reason. So, let’s review a previous blog about holsters. In that blog, I stated that a good holster will have the following features:

  • Ease of Carry – A holster allows us to carry our gun on our body so that it is as close as possible in the event we need it.
  • Retention – One of the biggest fears of a conceal carrier is that you will see your gun skittering down the hallway of your office or some other public place. Keeping the gun in the holster is important. Also, retention, passive and active, helps keep the gun safe from a potential gun grabber. In other words, the holster needs to keep the gun in the holster until you need to access the gun.
  • Trigger Protection – Proper carry requires that the trigger be protected so that other objects can’t accidentally activate the trigger and cause a negligent discharge that might harm/kill you or others that are near you.
  • Protect the Gun – We tend to forget that a gun is susceptible to sweat, lint, and whatever else you might contact that can scratch the surface treatment and cause corrosion. A concealed carry gun gets lint, even in a good holster, but using a holster that doesn’t keep your gun separated from the environment will lead to greater exposure to corrosive elements and general dirt and lint.
  • Stability of Position – We need our gun to be held so that it is stable and doesn’t bounce around as we move around through the day and night. It is also very important that your gun is in the same place with the same cant every time you train with it and carry it. You need to practice, over and over, and build automaticity can, reflexively, draw your gun when it is needed.

Now, that we have gone over the review, let’s talk about what is wrong with the Serpa.

  • Recognized Safety Issue – While on the surface, the Serpa looks great as it provides active retention, it is the retention design that is a huge safety issue. A quick search on the Internet will provide several examples of issues with the Serpa. The fact that the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) has banned them should be enough. After all, if the Government finds something to be unsafe and takes action when they are the last to ever take action, that should tell you something. There have been many incidents where people have shot themselves when using this holster. In one particular incident, Tex Grebner shot himself when using the Serpa. Many people stated that it was a training issue and that Tex, like many others, needs to properly train with the holster and use it properly. Tex, like others, found that the finger that is used with to deactivate the retention device aligns very closely with the trigger of the gun in the holster, especially when trying to draw, quickly. It is fairly easy to replicate what happened to Tex. Watch the video. Please! While Tex, today, does not blame the holster, many of us do.
  • Retention Device Failures – The other issue that has been discovered is that dirt and other debris can get into the retention paddle and disable it by clogging it up. It happens way too often. With a little dirt or small gravel pieces underneath the retention paddle, it will not depress and you can’t get your gun out. Obviously, this is a concern for those that may need their gun at that moment.
  • Poor Construction – The material is not kydex. It is injection molded plastic and does not have the strength of a kydex holster.

John Correia posted a great video on this subject, earlier today. While I have previously posted about the Serpa in previous blogs, I felt it was worth mentioning again. Please view John’s video. It is well worth the time. In his video, John says that the following issues exist:

  • Safety
  • Flimsy construction of the belt attachment device
  • Debris can prevent deactivating the locking mechanism
  • Locking mechanism can not be inspected or cleaned
  • Many other options available around same price
  • Locking mechanism easily deactivated when fighting for the gun

Banned – This holster has been banned by pretty much every private training center in the US and has been banned by many large police departments. The reason is that it is not safe enough. Again, refer to FLETC and their banning of the holster.

Support for it – This holster, for some reason, has a strong group of supporters. Why? I don’t know. But, they are not about to admit that they made a bad choice when they purchased it, even if they did not know what they should know, now. I about lost my mind the other day when somebody said, “I have carried with it for years and never had a problem.” Well, you know, I heard that crappy logic before from a relative that told me, “I have been drinking and driving for years and have never had an accident.” Yes, it was said. I don’t think I have to explain that just because you have been lucky doesn’t mean that you will continue to be lucky.


Don’t buy this holster. If you have one, keep it and use it to show your friends what not to buy before they buy their first gun and holster. If you see people wearing one, stand far away from them.

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