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As TTAG reported earlier, the Marines have bought 27,000 Serpa holsters to replace the old M-12 nylon models. Reviews have been mixed…in the same way they were for Heaven’s Gate. There’s no shortage of YouTube footage featuring Serpa-related issues, but now GearScout’s gear wiz, Rob Curtis, a Serpa skeptic, has produced his own footage detailing what he sees as the holster’s three main drawbacks.

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  1. Serpa’ problems are well known and well documented. It is the only holster that I know of that is banned at many tactical schools due to safety issues.

    The biggest problem is that on most guns, the trigger finger of most people lies too close to the edge of the pistols slide after the draw, making it easy for the finger to slip down to the trigger. I say “most guns’ and “most people’ because the trigger finger placement after the draw differs by gun design, some are better than others, but none are good. Also, some folks have long enough fingers that their finger lies past the forward end of the trigger guard preventing the finger from touching the trigger.

    When not shooting, trigger fingers should be high on the slide or cylinder, not on the frame.

    Serpa’s issue with dirt keeping the gun locked in is also well documented. A redesign has lessened the issue, but apparently has not eliminated it.

    Breaking screws and mounts are a shame. Shame on Blackhawk for building it so poorly and shame on the military for buying 27000 copies.

    • ¨When not shooting, trigger fingers should be high on the slide or cylinder, not on the frame.¨
      I like Rabbi´s posts, but my trigger finger stays level with the trigger. It never goes on the slide nor cylinder. I have short fingers myself. Of all of the handguns that I have handled, my finger reaches the trigger guard.

      • That’s fine if your finger is long enough to extend past the trigger guard, if not it should be high on the cylinder or slide

    • Forgot: I give no props to the demo of the gun locking up if you pull before the lock is disengaged.. that is supposed to happen and it happens with all security holsters.

      If a security holster is needed, there are much better systems out there such as Safariland’s ALS. In addition to no safety issues, I find the draw to be faster and more reliable from the ALS compared to the Serpa as well.

  2. I like my Serpa holster. I have never been in a fight with it and had someone throw me into gravel and it get jammed, nor someone grab and rip it off me. I like the button release not just for solid weapon retention, but because it to me seems to reinforce trigger discipline by keeping your trigger finger straight while drawing the weapon. Someone who is yanking on their gun to get it out in a hurry without their trigger finger placed right can´t get it out. The button release also makes it more difficult for a bad guy to snatch the gun (unless he goes through the process of twisting and breaking screws).

    • Lots of people like products that others don’t because they simply may have not yet found the problem. While you may not have yet been in a fight and thrown to the ground, I know of people who have and had their Serpas lock up.

      Unfortunately, the Serpa does NOT reinforce proper trigger finger discipline, it does the opposite. If forces the trigger finger to be straight when in fact it should be angled upward and placed on the slide or cylinder.

      Safariland’s ALS is a far superior system

  3. Rabbi – ease up.

    The only real “rule” is to keep your finger off your trigger until you’re on target and ready to fire. The rest of your “angle” argument is just another guy’s opinion. As long as the trigger finger is clearly indexed away from the trigger and straight along the frame I could care less what angle my students follow. Do you take a protractor to everyone shooting an Isocoles variation, too?

    As for the SERPA, if you don’t like it, don’t use it. If you run your own school, you can choose whether to allow it. If you own one, practice with it. If you are a fan of Tex Grebner, find a new hobby.

  4. Then buy a different holster.

    I really appreciated my Serpa holster. The highway patrolmen and police officers and deputies that formed the core of our military police platoon also chose the Serpa holster. I asked my church to donate money so that we could buy a Serpa holster for each member of our platoon who did not already have one.

    No negligent discharges and no hangups and no issues. Other members of the company chose to purchase a Serpa holster. A few purchased Safariland holsters. Many just used the POS holster we were issued. Their choice.

    Running with the Serpa was much easier than the other holsters we tried. Maneuvering in and out of our vehicles was also easier with the Serpa holster. It is a damn fine holster and is serving in large numbers (mostly at soldiers’ personal expense) in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    But if you don’t like, buy a different damn holster. It is a poor mechanic who blames his tools.

    If you experience a negligent discharge, IT IS BECAUSE YOU PULLED THE TRIGGER ON YOUR WEAPON. Not because of your holster.

  5. It is the only holster that I know of that is banned at many tactical schools due to safety issues.

    I know that SERPA holsters are banned at many tactical schools, but I can’t say that I know why. Sometimes, relying on second- or third-hand information can lead to wrong conclusions. Anyway, I tried the holster and I just don’t like it. YMMV.

    • Same for me. A day long training session had me fumbling the draw several times. My fault, not the equipment. But I don’t need equipment that makes things more difficult.

  6. Ralph, it’s all about risk management on the part of the instructor as a student who sends a round into his or her leg is bad press, and not worth the trouble. SERPA, while safe in the hands of a trained shooter, has a reputation for punishing those who can’t figure it out or fail to give firearms due respect.

    I’m not ‘advocating’ the system (but I use it on occasion) and I’m not going to say it’s intrinsically unsafe (because it’s not), but most other active retention systems require the thumb, not the trigger finger, to deactivate.

  7. I have a Serpa and I’ve used it without issue in the past, but I don’t carry it any more. I don’t like systems on holsters or guns that require your trigger finger to do much more than engage the trigger. That’s the one issue I have with my HK45. I have much less chance of squeezing the trigger with my thumbs when I’m manipulating mag release buttons, slide stops, safeties, weapon lights, etc.

    My Serpa is mounted under a table and holds a cocked and locked 1911 pointed at a brick wall. That way I have to engage both the safety and the trigger accidentally/negligently to have a boo boo. The chances of anyone who is unfamiliar drawing the pistol are also slim.

    To each his own, but I think the military effed up this one. Hopefully those marines in theater will have the dough to carry the design of their choice, as I’ve heard that’s an option.

  8. That was the worst review I’ve seen. Going out of your way to try and make the Blackhawk Serpa look like crap. The review only proved that if a Marine is unconscious and someone rips at the holster for 45 seconds they will likely de-pants him. By this time his fellow Marine has already ended the bad guys day.

    So what, in your opinion, should the Marines have purchased?

  9. Raven takes 16 to 18 weeks to construct individual orders, so I’m not sure if that was a joke or not. Just the same I have a Raven Concealment being put together this week.

    As far as multiple levels of retention, I agree with the Rabbi. The ALS system is top notch although I’m sure there are some internet reviews knocking those too.

    The last time I checked the Serpa was limited in it’s ability to accommodate a weapon light to Blackhawk’s own proprietary model. That’s a non issue with either of the above options, and weapon lights and lasers are certainly a big part of modern fighting.

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