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I hate SERPA holsters. I think they’re difficult to use properly and without the proper training they increase the likelihood of putting holes where holes shouldn’t be. [ED: SERPA redesigned their release button after RF pointed out its specific design defect.] But there’s a problem: they’re convenient, and they work. They provide effective retention of the handgun, yet the mechanism is dead simple to disengage even under stress. Finding something that provides the same retention and ease of use with a different mechanism is rare, but they exist. HT Holsers took a stab at that problem, and their solution is the Speed Draw concealed carry holster . . .

The trick to making a good SERPA alternative is designing a mechanism that releases the firearm when you do something you would normally do during your draw stroke anyway. The SERPA works when you index your finger along the side of the holster. Safariland’s ALS holster releases when you drag your thumb along the inside of the holster. Both are things you’d normally do anyway. They only require a little extra pressure to activate. For HT Holsters, they’ve gone in a different direction.


Some holsters release when the gun is shifted in the holster itself (N82), but HT has gone a step further. In their design, the gun stays static but there’s a little paddle along the side that needs to be moved forwards. In theory this should be automatic, as it’s positioned such that you’d need to move it anyway to get a proper grip on the gun. In practice, it’s not exactly that smooth.

Out on the range, the holster works. It keeps my GLOCK 19 snug and secure, no matter how many jumping jacks I do. The holster also carries the gun in a very comfortable position, solidly strapped to my belt and with a great mounting system that allows the holster to be canted to whatever degree the end user wants. The holster itself feels solid and well built, using the usual polymer compounds its a slick finish that doesn’t scratch your gun and isn’t abrasive. And as an added bonus, it keeps the gun very snug against your side for easy concealment. Which is all good.


Drawing the holster isn’t quite as easy as I’d like, though. Disabling the retention mechanism requires a good deal of forward pressure, more than normally present in my usual draw stroke. I found that using this holster versus the Safariland ALS increased my draw time (buzzer to first round fired) by a good couple tenths of a second simply due to the need to push forward harder than normal. “Speed holster” indeed.

That said, it works. It keeps the gun retained while allowing a relatively quick draw. With some practice, you could get very good at getting your gun out in a hurry. I like the slim form factor, the ability to customize the cant of the holster, and the general look and feel. But while it works, it isn’t my ideal retention system. I love that there are more and more options on the market, but this isn’t my particular slice of cake. Then again, cake in general is off the menu these days.

Specifications: HT Speed Draw Holster

Price: $30

Ratings (out of five stars):

Comfort: * * * * *
Easy to wear, and no sharp edges.

Concealment: * * * * *
Even a chunky GLOCK 19 disappears under my shirt with this holster. I like that.

Ease of “Installation:” * * * *
You need to thread it through your belt, but I like that. It feels more solid and secure. But you need to remove your belt to put it on and take it off, which might open you up for cat-calling and having singles thrown at you.

Overall: * * * 
I love that it adds more options to the market, and provides a new method of retention. It works, it’s made of quality material, and it’s well priced given the market. But like I said, it’s not my cup of tea.

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      • My friend, the quote was “dead simple to use.” That means to operate, to do the task. You likely can’t “do the task” of single-handedly lifting a telephone pole off of your foot.

      • Darling fascist bully-boy. Give me some more money, you bastard. Boom Shanka, May the seed of your loins be fruitful in the belly of your womaaan. Neil

    • Simple to use, as in its easy to hit the button. Difficult to use properly as in ensuring that you don’t slip your finger onto the trigger during the draw stroke takes practice.

      • I agree that this holster is not for everyone but I also say that about people carrying guns. It requires one thing to use safely and that is keeping your trigger finger straight. It is unfortunate that this is not taught more when using every kind of holster. A straight trigger finger is an extremely effective safety.

        The people that get into trouble are pressing it with the tip of their curled finger and with enough force it will accelerate into the trigger guard. The training for me involved a few minutes of purposely doing it the wrong way until I finally made it happen with an empty gun. That was the end of the story. I kept with the same draw training from decades ago when I used a 1911 in a holster with no retention and everything has been fine.

  1. I continue to read everyone’s dislike for the Serpa holster. And although the author of this piece as well some of the others who pan the setup are of good repute, I love it. Much better than the ALS (I have both for my 1911’s) I shoot and draw quite a bit and can’t understand how with that weapon, manage to fire it unintentionally during the draw. I cannot speak to the glock lovers out there, but it retains very well and is very fast. As for the ALS, it protects the gun a bit more as it covers much more of the handgun, but it’s much more difficult even after modification to come out with the grip I will need to stay with in an emergent situation. Beside retention, the key factor for me is getting a full and correct grip which is where quick accuracy starts even when point shooting.

    • Same here. I dig the Serpa because drawing from it feels natural to me and puts my index finger where it would be, anyway.
      Fobus, on the other hand, didn’t work for me. Pushing my finger down as I’m pulling the gun up felt completely unnatural.

  2. I wish you had posted this earlier. I just bought a pancake retention holster for OWB OC and CC. This looks more promising.

    Edit: I just looked them up. Looks like they only make holsters for three guns, one of them being the caracal C. I also don’t see any lefty models.

  3. Thanks Nick for validating some research I did awhile ago, after my gun coach pointed out that IDPA was banning the Serpas due to guys like Tex shooting themselves in foot.

    The Safari-land ALS is best, most natural, I found, for me- sturdy kydex and doesnt stick out quite so far…

    but good as it is, now I need something to keep the G23 from falling out,
    as I tumble over rock ledges into poison oak brambles, thinking I can still boulder like in my 20s,
    or run like a girl thru the river willow, having stepped on something big, wiggly, and buzzing under foot…

    (true stories, and proof of why you don’t want to hunt with a noob like me)

    I’d use the thigh rig that USMC issues with the Serpa attachment, for the Safari land, but the thigh straps just chafe me raw after a few miles, so I am back to screwing with belts and y-harnesses for holding water bags and other hunting gear at waist level, just to be able to keep the handgun on a rigger or other heavy belt at same place for muscle memory on OC while hunting which is really only for peace of mind while wandering around in mountain lion country, head down trying to find pig and deer sign, in the near dark.

    (my hope by keeping the OC close to hand in roughly same 4 oclock that fits my OFWG terrain, that I can IWB, and find it under duress, using same flail-ex of gross motor skills I’d expect under pressure,

    in the mall, etc scenario, say in my 90s which is about how long it looks like it will take for SCOTUS to force Kali to give the law abiding the right to defend oneself outside the home.

    BTW, for all you tactical FUDDS, I’d be interested in meantime on your feedback, while waiting on TK and NIck to carry out my orders,

    maybe a review of something like this holster – but mounted in such a way to keep the G23 hooked on and handy, say on or in a chest bag, or on outside of pack when the total load requires something like a backpack with a hip padded waist belt, and the handgun has to go someplace, reachable, not on thigh.

    I’m not a fan of tactical-coolish-ness of upside down Gerbers, etc, not just because it scares the crap out of enviro nitwits hiking on same trails I use to get to pig-ville, but because I am more likely to lose it, in my senior moments, or the same issues crashing thru bush, crawling thru pig tunnels in creekbeds,
    where stuff gets ripped off if its not tied down…


    so if anyone has a low key, not- tactical-looking rig that actually works, one-handed to grab to shoot the mountain lion off my neck, I’d be grateful for your feedback…

  4. My solution to this problem is a Bianchi snap retention OWB. It has a bit of retention and is reasonably fast. I can do pull ups and run with it on, but I don’t do just moving jacks.

    Since its leather, I can fit my G27, G23, or G2319 (modded Glock w/ 9mm conversion barrel).

    But I might take a look at this because that holster is wearing out.

  5. For those that claim SERPAs are bad and reference Tex Grebner who shot himself in the foot as proof is not proof. That incident and the very few others are proof of when a person puts their finger into the trigger guard and then pulls the trigger before the muzzle is on target.

    There is no SERPA demon possessing people and making them shoot themselves.

    The people who have shot themselves did not take the time to train correctly for that piece of equipment. Many more have shot themselves have shot themselves but they did not have a SERPA demon holster, so what was the problem? They ignored the safety rules and were trying to go fast when they shouldn’t have been. So its not an equipment problem, its a training problem where people ignored the rules and did stupid for doing so.

    Now I know some people will not believe this and still hold to the belief there is a demon assigned with each SERPA holster but there is nothing I can do about that.

    Now if you don’t like SERPAs because of personal preference, thats fine but don’t say its because the design is flawed and it makes people shoot themselves.

    just saying

  6. It is amazing how lucky I have been with all the dangerous equipment I’ve used. Many thousands of times drawing and reholstering GLOCKs from Serpa holsters without a ND. Maybe I should start buying lotto tickets.

  7. Referencing the “Tex” Fellow regarding his AD and the Serpa is not correct. Watch the video, he simply pulls the trigger when he should not. One of the problems switching between the Serpa and the ALS with a 1911 is that the ALS thumb operated release is exactly where the safety is on that firearm. It takes conscious effort not to disengage the safety when drawing with the ALS in a hurry. In my opinion, he thumbed the safety because of muscle memory caused by previously using the ALS. When using the Serpa, there is no reason to disengage the safety until ready. Just pulling the gun sharply or even fingering the trigger alone will not discharge the weapon.

  8. I’ve never understood the issue with the SERPA holsters (I have several). I’ve never had my finger slip into the trigger guard while drawing from one.

  9. Nick opined, “I hate SERPA holsters. I think they’re difficult to use properly and without the proper training they increase the likelihood of putting holes where holes shouldn’t be.”

    I call bull$#it on that embarrassingly lame statement. If there were any validity to the asinine and unprovable assertion that the Serpa design somehow mysteriously causes irresistible and involuntary mid draw finger pressure to the bang switch, Blackhawk would be up to their neck and bankrupt from civil judgments and settlements, but that hasn’t happened and there’s a reason. Many who jumped on the “I hate SERPA holsters” bandwagon have minimal familiarity with the holster.

    The reason the “I hate SERPA holsters” fad has subsided while the sturdy dependable and affordable holster remains a favorite of many civilian and LE shooters and a top seller for Blackhawk is that extensive and exhaustive testing by everyone and their dog clearly establishes that a negligent discharge by a shooter drawing from a Serpa Holster is no different than a negligent discharge when drawing from any other holster, the primary contributing factor is a shooter who negligently places the trigger finger inside the trigger guard and applies pressure to the trigger as the weapon is drawn instead of properly indexing the finger outside the trigger guard on the pistol frame above the trigger, which is exactly where the release is situated on the Serpa design which aligns the trigger finger with the proper position on the frame above the trigger guard exactly where it should be.

  10. Huh. You’d think they’d have a model that fit the 1911, but I guess they’re not popular enough.

  11. I’m a huge fan of the safariland ALS. I use it with all my competition guns just so that my muscle memory is really THERE. Mainly because it is not totally natural. Yes, there is a button located where your thumb normally falls.

    But you have to swipe that button. And its not automatic.

    However, a solution lies elsewhere in Safariland’s model lineup. Its the GLS. With the GLS, the mere act of getting a grip on the gun releases the holster. The down side, it the release prevents you from getting as high a grip on the gun as is optimal. But it works, flawlessly, every time, with essentially no training.

    For someone not willing to do the hundreds and thousands of presentations necessary to make drawing from a retention holster truly INSTINCTIVE, the GLS is the hot ticket.


  12. “SERPA redesigned their release button after RF pointed out its specific design defect.”

    Umm, What? The release is the same as it’s always been.

  13. I see your point, but it’s not worth replacing mu Serpa to get just a little closer to perfection.


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