Why I Don’t Recommend SERPA Holsters

4-Jul-11 – 11:24 by ToddG

Part of the email I send to students just prior to each class:

All else being equal, I’d prefer students NOT use SERPA holsters. You won’t get kicked out if you’ve got one, but I will take some time to explain why I recommend against them from both a safety and security standpoint.

Tex Grebner recently had an experience that demonstrates my reasoning behind this. To his tremendous credit, he posted the details and even a video of the accident on his YouTube page. The video has some strong language and shows the result of the accident and as such may not be appropriate for young or squeamish viewers:

YouTube Preview Image

Mr. Grebner specifically says that he doesn’t blame the gear, and that is commendable. Nonetheless, the SERPA retention mechanism certainly lends itself to such accidents more than most other holsters. Instead of keeping your trigger finger well clear of the gun during the initial part of the drawstroke, the SERPA and its clones require you to press your trigger finger toward the trigger as you draw.

Best wishes for a speedy and completely recovery go out to Mr. Grebner along with a sincere thank-you for sharing this very serious experience with the world.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

(and thanks to orionz06 for posting the video on pistol-forum)

  1. 114 Responses to “Why I Don’t Recommend SERPA Holsters”

  2. TCinVA: “With all due respect, [‘blame the training’ is] a non-answer.”

    I agree. I think Todd nailed it quite early on with “any piece of gear is safe if you run it perfectly every time”, but people are human, and it doesn’t matter how much training you get, how good that training is, or how hard you try to be safe, the simple fact of reality is that some people are *not* going to “run it perfectly every time”.

    The occasional idiot who thinks it’s fun to “dry-fire” his “unloaded” weapon at his buddy’s head aside, most people don’t deliberately set out to violate the cardinal rules and shoot themselves, and harping on about the cardinal rules isn’t going to do a thing for those accidents which occur when people are not deliberately violating them. Training can help you actually apply the cardinal rules more consistently, but if training was all it took, we’d never see highly trained people having accidents, and we certainly do see that.

    The fact is that people are going to make mistakes, and they’re going to screw up, despite everybody’s best efforts. The next time it happens could be to anyone reading this blog now, me included. Therefore, as part of an overall approach to managing the risk of training with firearms, it’s worth looking at your gear and thinking about *if* you do make a mistake, what kind of mistake is that gear likely to cause to to make. And even if it lines up your finger with the frame, a holster that requires you to press your finger towards the trigger has the potential to cause you to make a pretty serious mistake, compared with a holster that does not require you to do that. Whether or not this actually does result in a greater accident rate or in more severe accidents is not something I’d want to speculate on without some actual data.

    Training with firearms is an inherently dangerous activity, as we’re often reminded, and risk has to be managed, not eliminated. It may be worth taking an additional bit of risk with a particular piece of gear *if* that gear confers a corresponding benefit which other products do not. As has been pointed out, I don’t think the SERPA does, without even getting to the possibility of the locking mechanism getting jammed.

    Yes, it *is* possible to use gear like the SERPA without incident, and the majority of people who use it probably do so without incident, but putting it down to training is completely missing the point. *Obviously* the guy in the video screwed up – he wouldn’t have shot himself in the leg if he didn’t. But putting it down to “training failure” or “operator screw-up” and then stopping there is a total non-explanation, about as helpful and enlightening as “pilot error”.

    It really doesn’t matter if you *can* use a piece of gear safely, and if the piece of gear did not *cause* the accident – if that piece of gear *actually did* contribute to the accident, or *actually did* contribute to the severity of its outcome, then that is relevant information, and it’s relevant information even if it the only reason it contributed is because the operator didn’t use it right, because reality consistently shows us that people do and will continue to occasionally fail to use gear correctly, however well-trained they are. To put it simply, training doesn’t magically prevent you from ever screwing up.

    If you have two pieces of gear which are identical in all respects except one is more forgiving of operator misuse than the other, then I’d think it should be an obvious choice. Whether or not that’s what we actually have here is another question, but in the absence of data I’m certainly inclined to agree that a holster which requires you to press your trigger finger towards the gun sounds like asking for trouble.

    By Paul on Jul 6, 2011

  3. Good video to show the value of sticking to one platform and that over confidence can reach out and bite anyone.

    By Riggs on Jul 6, 2011

  4. Serpa = good. Yes thats right. I think it does a good job of training newbies to keep the finger on the frame (as blackhawk states). However, I would not recommend the Serpa with retention for a cocked and locked heavy single action gun!

    What you have here is the combination of the heavy 1911 with a short and lighter trigger AND racing to take the safety off before you clear your body AND pressing the serpa button with the tip of your finger.

    1) This would be much harder to do with a DA/SA or even a long stroke DAO. Try to do that with the Sig P250–it would be very very hard. How many of these ND have been with a gun like that?

    2) the disengagement of the safety on the 1911 was crucial to this ND–it makes the sympathetic reflex harder to resist.

    3) I bet his trigger discipline was mediocre to begin with AND he probably has a stable of REVOLVERS in which he knows he has to STAGE the trigger to shoot quickly.

    4) the method of depressing the tab should be done with a STRAIGHT FINGER not a curled one. Why? A straight finger will resist sympathtic response and provide the safety margin should you have a reflex. This is why those israeli manuf itac holsters really are BAD; they require you to use the tip of your finger. Those deserve a bad rap not the SERPAs.

    “What logical argument is there for encouraging someone to apply inward pressure with their trigger finger while trying to draw a handgun?”

    To release the retention quickly while acquiring and maintaining continously a good high master grip and keep the finger straight and place it along the frame.

    Let me try another question and question the high priest John Moses Browning’s design of the 1911: What logical argument is there for encouraging someone to apply inward pressure with their thumb and cause a sympathetic response in their trigger finger while trying to draw a handgun?

    Kemit has it right with the SERPA and the I will add those comments to the 1911: “It’s a specialized holster [gun], requiring specialized practice, and within that specialization, performs its role admirably.” Indeed. Are there options with a higher margin of safety. You bet its called DA/SA with israeli carry (;-)).

    Let the israeli carry and JMB flames begin ;-).

    By p30man on Jul 6, 2011

  5. I am horrified by many of the comments I read on youtube, apparently from other gunnies, scolding Grebner for having had the ND at all, and especially for posting video of it.

    As a right to arms advocate myself, I read those comments as a claim that only the perfect should exercise their right to arms.

    I don’t know any perfect people. The arrogance of these commenters is so great, I have to believe that their overconfidence will betray them someday. I can only hope that when they commit their NDs, they don’t hurt anybody else.

    We are all human. None of us is perfect. Our right to arms cannot, must not be conditioned on being perfect.

    It is our “meet right and bounden duty” to reveal our errors to each other and to the world, so that we can all learn from each other’s mistakes. Tex’s confession was brave and necessary.

    Those castigating Tex for being an idiot with no muzzle control, unable to keep his booger hook off the bang switch, too clumsy to be trusted with something as simply as a SERPA holster, a traitor for revealing that liberty has its risks, think their righteousness makes them better than the rest of us, immune to misfortune.

    But when the grabbers come to their doors, they will lose their guns along with the rest of us mere mortals, because to the grabbers, only a badge makes you perfect enough to own a gun.

    By dmoore on Jul 6, 2011

  6. Follow up: “What logical argument is there for encouraging someone to apply inward pressure with their trigger finger while trying to TACTICAL RELOAD AN HK or WALTHER?”

    Same arguments being presented here against the Serpa could apply to those guns. Yet I dont think ToddG had one ND with his P30 or HK45; I know he was using that trigger finger to drop the mags not the thumb. It’s a training and practice issue. However, with poorly made bulky gloves it may be possible to ND those guns in SA during a tac reload. Any reports?

    I’ve had IDPA RO saying finger to me when I’m reloading with an HK. I’ve said to them thats how the gun is designed to be operated. Same with the SERPA.

    I dont blame Mr Greber. Its just that he was flying pretty fast and the margin for error is very very small with that combination of gear and with his earlier training with the thumb drive holster it set him up for failure.

    Perhaps the next set of NDs with be with thumb drive holsters and the 1911 (safety coming off too soon)?

    By p30man on Jul 6, 2011

  7. This isn’t a SERPA holster issue- this is a 1911 issue. When I draw my DA/SA Sig P220 from my SERPA

    By Bruce on Jul 6, 2011

  8. It surprises me to see how many people are dismissing this as “rushing things.” What, exactly, do these people think you are inclined to do in a situation where you *need* to deploy a weapon?

    Further, I’m puzzled by the inisitance that you just have to keep your finger straight; your index finger is going to naturally want to curl in a sympathetic manner when establishing a firm grip on the firearm. A design that *encourages* this natural physical response seems to bring potential problems in tow.

    By commandar on Jul 6, 2011

  9. This isn’t a SERPA holster issue- this is a 1911 issue. When I draw my DA/SA Sig P220 from my SERPA holster, and if I were to deviate from the intended use of the holster and drag the trigger with my index finger, I would have 7 lbs of DA trigger to keep me from shooting myself. “Cocked and locked” pretty much means that the stored energy of the hammer can go at the smallest mistake. The gun carried that way is inherently unsafe. That’s why it has a manual safety and the DA/SA triggers typically don’t.

    I have also never rolled in pea gravel before drawing the gun either, but I can’t imagine that pebbles really could get locked in the holster and cause a problem. Maybe mulch, maybe ants, but not pebbles.

    By Bruce on Jul 6, 2011

  10. There is a subcategory of “hindsight bias” called “self-justification bias”.

    It could make for some fascinating hours of googling. I’m just sayin’.

    By Tam on Jul 6, 2011

  11. ok then. Excellent article, informative video and enlightening comments, but lets take this to a more practical level.

    For those of us who already own two or three Serpas and who while never experiencing an ND have always considered the Serpa a particularly viable candidate for one, what do you guys suggest as a reasonable alternative for OWB carry?

    By Billy Shears on Jul 7, 2011

  12. “This isn’t a SERPA holster issue- this is a 1911 issue. When I draw my DA/SA Sig P220 from my SERPA holster, and if I were to deviate from the intended use of the holster and drag the trigger with my index finger, I would have 7 lbs of DA trigger to keep me from shooting myself. “Cocked and locked” pretty much means that the stored energy of the hammer can go at the smallest mistake. The gun carried that way is inherently unsafe. That’s why it has a manual safety and the DA/SA triggers typically don’t.”

    Bruce, so you find it acceptable he had his finger on the safety, just with the wrong gun? The tendency to put the finger in the wrong spot and deviate from what we know is a safe draw is the issue, not the gun. If the trigger had a 30 pound pull it would still be wrong to have your finger there.

    By Tom on Jul 7, 2011

  13. Hmmm…
    Me again. I have to support SERPA haters side. After this article I did kinda experiment: tried to draw many times in a high speed. As fast as I only could grap the pistol, and… my pointing finger always found itself on or near the trigger (I do not mean pressing it, but anyway…). Haaa. Bad news really. Newer noticed that cause allways tried to grap the gun confortably and only then draw. This slowed my motions quite mutch, I gues. So newer found my finger on the trigger. will still use it to carry my gun thougt, as I can not carry it chambered, but the news really dissappointed me.

    By Ryklys on Jul 7, 2011

  14. This weeks Tosh.0 video breakdown and web redemption.

    By Riggs on Jul 7, 2011

  15. And the Serpa stories keep racking up. I threw my Serpas in a burn barrel a couple years ago. I’ve been a firearms instructor for a dozen years or so and I don’t recommend them to anyone after seeing the increasing number of issues. In addition, I’ve seen a few rendered useless by a tiny piece of debris that keeps the locking mechanism from releasing.

    After all the ND’s associated with these, it’s amazing to see the apologists try to blame everything except the holster design. A Serpa story gets posted and the “experts” fly out of the woodwork. Step back and take an objective look rather than using your emotions. Leave that to the moonbats.

    On a side note, the target he’s using is an MLEOTC qualification target. The pic is that of my old police academy director/instructor.

    By sgtlmj on Jul 7, 2011

  16. Is it my reading or did Todd recommend against buying a serpa holster? I can remember Blackhawk portraying it as king of the hill 4-5 years ago. But who was selling it back then?.. so, I’m confused. Or do we know more about the Serpa Holster after years of field training and useage about a design that has / had hidden faults only now comming to light. A lot of the trainers in the US are banning this rig for training / use for this very reason. (ND) So watch the commericals on the “networks” with a grain of salt and do some of your own prouduct investigation before you buy. ( don’t get cought up in the hype)
    G Bussard

    By Grant Bussard on Jul 7, 2011

  17. At a police equipment trade show a couple of years ago, the Serpa guys were trying to sell me on how good their holster was. I mentioned a nearby local LE agency had outlawed their holsters due to the trigger finger being used to defeat the locking mechanism and some negligent discharges that occured due to the design.

    The salesman poo poo’d that and proceded to show me and a couple of other guys that was not possible. “there is no way the trigger finger can accidentally go to the trigger” he said. On his third draw guess where his finger was at when he cleared the holster with his red gun…… right on the trigger. I and the other guys saw it and called him on it. He was very embarrased and insisted it was a fluke and would not happen again…. He began drawing again to show us just how safe the holster was and just 4 draws later, back on the trigger was his finger.

    The other guys walked away shaking their heads. We had seen enough.

    This was the company saleman, self promoted as a gun expert and certainly proficient with his product. While I cannot say with certainty that his finger on a real gun’s trigger would have caused a discharge….I can say that just the possibility of a finger going to the trigger before the gun has cleared the holster and being pointed towards a threat, was enough for me to say that was not safe.

    By kennyt on Jul 7, 2011

  18. p30man, if you’ve watched much of Tex’s video clips he’s not likely to have many revolvers much less know how to stage the triggers.

    By George on Jul 7, 2011

  19. p30man,

    …he has to STAGE the trigger to shoot quickly.

    Huh. I’ve been shooting my revolvers wrong all along. Shows what I get for reading that Miculek guy’s advice… :(

    By Tam on Jul 7, 2011

  20. “…he has to STAGE the trigger to shoot quickly.”

    You and me both TAM.

    By RSA-OTC on Jul 8, 2011

  21. “What logical argument is there for encouraging someone to apply inward pressure with their trigger finger while trying to TACTICAL RELOAD AN HK or WALTHER?”

    The magazine release on an H&K or a Walther must be pressed down to release the magazine, and it is located behind the trigger. It’s quite impossible to release the magazine *and* pull the trigger at the same time with the trigger finger on either of those weapons.

    That could be why there isn’t a single documented instance of anyone doing so and no level of concern among knowledgeable shooters or instructors about the magazine release on either weapon. The same cannot be said about the Serpa.

    It’s an apples to zebras comparison.

    An acquaintance of mine is a hardcore woodworker who has spent the better part of 20 years working with a particular power tool. Recently (about 6 months ago) he had an incident with a table saw he had used literally thousands of times before that resulted in thankfully minor injuries. One day he forgot to do one of those things you’re always supposed to do when you use a tablesaw. It had never been a problem before. It was just fine until it **wasn’t**.

    …and that’s the issue, here. “Always” isn’t always when human beings are involved. There isn’t a human being alive who ALWAYS does things exactly the right way. That’s why there are checklists for flight crews that have to be gone through by every person involved in flying, servicing, and fueling the plane. That’s why patients are asked to write on their own body to indicate the area they are supposed to have surgery on. In every endeavor that matters you see layered safety procedures built around the assumption that any one will fail because human beings frequently fail.

    Since it’s been demonstrated that people ranging from relatively inexperienced newbies to professional shooters and firearms instructors can translate the action of releasing a handgun in a Serpa holster into getting their finger on the trigger at an inappropriate time it seems perfectly logical to assert that all of us are sufficiently human to make the same mistake.

    Those who assume they won’t make the mistake because they are depending on “always” are treading on thin ice. You layer safety by assuming your “always” won’t be and then having a backup plan. I always try to reholster in my AIWB holster carefully, but I assume that in tens of thousands of repetitions of a reholster I’m going to mess that up sooner or later. So I changed to a weapon that has a longer, heavier trigger and a hammer that I can block with my thumb. When my “always” fails (notice I said “when” and not “if”) I have taken measures to increase my margin of error which will hopefully prevent a hole in my anatomy.

    Strive for always, but *never* have absolute faith in it.

    By TCinVA on Jul 8, 2011

  22. I also advice against serpas when I train people. I use the safariland ALS holsters. Due to the way you release them with your thumb, it orients your hand to a propper firing grip everytime. No having to fire a shot or two with a somewhat lower grip then have to re-adjust. Also had a couple of deputies serpas shatter when bumped during cold weather leaving glocks on the ground. Considering they were both responding to a hostage situation not the best time to have to stop and pick a pistol up because a crappy holster failed.

    By ammotroop on Jul 8, 2011

  23. Billy Shears: I think SERPAs are lousy for OWB concealed carry. I think they are more of a range holster since they stand off the body too much. The problem I see is that in my area no one stocks any decent kydex holsters and recently the wait times have been crazy for some of the better kydex and leather holsters. The other problem is that one likes interchangability of parts and options for cant, ride height, and paddle/belt. The SERPA has that covered. Most other manufacturers do not. Bladetech is decent and has some options but I think they are overrated and overpriced (double the cost of the SERPA); they also do not have retention options in the modular systems. Safariland is another choice with retention but not as many mount options or modularity. See their 6377 for OWB with retention example. If you dont want modularity or retention then there are a lot of options: Raven Concealment (Phantom), Ntac, Sharktac, FIST. Leather is a another animal.

    By p30man on Jul 8, 2011

  24. What I took from the video were several simple concepts.

    1. Do not mix and match multiple holster and pistol systems.

    2. Do not attempt to speed shoot after training on multiple holster and or pistol systems.

    3. Train on similar equipment only. If you must diversify your collection of boomers and boomer holders then do not mix and match on the range.

    4. Did I mention not to mix and match? :)

    I will add that I got rid of my last 1911 because I train so much on the DAO style guns I carry for work and personal defense. The 1911 was more a memento from my army service than an everyday carry piece. Since I would pack it about on occasion I found the occasional practice and competitions I attempted were not up to speed with the different manual of arms. As such I decided to let it go and stayed with the DAO guns I use so much.

    By Tom in Orlando on Jul 8, 2011

  25. I use a Serpa holster with a Glock 35. When I draw the weapon, I press the release with my index finger and when I draw the weapon my finger is indexed along the receiver…the perfect placement for safe weapon handling until your up on target! If you release the lock with a hooked finger you could obviously have an ND. Even more obvious (and I’m surprised no one has said it) is that you need to DRY FIRE practice with your gear before you go hot. I’d be willing to bet, this clown didn’t dry fire and practice his draw with his new holster before shooting himself.
    As for having problems with the Serpa locking mechanism, I’m sure it’s happened before, but I roll around on my holster when I’m running courses (every week) and have never had a problem. I also PMS (take care of) my gear every day. He didn’t blame the gear…why are you?

    By Chris on Jul 9, 2011

  26. I have heard of the Serpa having more failures the Safariland ALS. I have been used a Serpa for five years. I have been using the ALS at work for about four years. I was going to start using the level 3 Serpa at work last year. When I got my level 3 Serpa I put it on my belt and didn’t really feel comfortable with it. I can’t really explain it. It kind of turned me off. Maybe I felt the level 3 wasn’t built sturdy enough, or it just didn’t feel right. Either way I stayed with the ALS. I felt more comfortable with my ALS Holster for duty use. Plus, I get to use the light I want to use :) Training is key with any holster. I liked my Serpa off duty holsters. I do have to train with it. I can tell you I have not used it for a while (I have been carrying IWB more) and I forgot to press the button to release my Glock all the way and I could not get my Glock out. Training is key.

    By Dave S on Jul 9, 2011

  27. Chris, he has used that SERPA in many of his videos. You seem to be missing everyone saying the design contributed not caused the ND.

    I’m really not sure why so many people have this it hasn’t happened to me so it never will attitude.

    By George on Jul 10, 2011

  28. The SERPA holster is just fine if you draw with a locked straight finger. His problem was that he curled his finger and put on the trigger and pulled it. It wasn’t the holsters fault. Sorry dude, watch it again in slow mode.

    By Justin on Jul 10, 2011

  29. Justin: “The SERPA holster is just fine if you draw with a locked straight finger.”

    *If* you draw with a locked straight finger, yes. Running around with your finger on the trigger the whole time is just fine, too, *if* you never actually press it until you want to fire, but nobody recommends doing this.

    “His problem was that he curled his finger and put on the trigger and pulled it. It wasn’t the holsters fault.”

    If you fire 200 rounds each week from the draw, you only have to do what he did once every 416,000 draws to shoot yourself in the leg during 40 years of shooting. If there is no discernible benefit which would justify taking the additional risk, I’d personally rather choose gear that requires from me a level of perfection somewhat less than that. Sure, there’s no guarantee that you’re not going to stick your finger in there drawing from a different type of holster, either, but if the design makes it easier for you to screw up in a bad way, choosing a different design is something worth serious consideration.

    George: “I’m really not sure why so many people have this it hasn’t happened to me so it never will attitude.”

    Agreed – especially when there’s a video of it happening right at the top of this page. Not many people deliberately set out to shoot themselves – accidents are relatively rare, and everyone thinks they’re safe and that their gear is fine until the day it all goes wrong, so the fact that it hasn’t happened to someone before is not a particularly reliable indicator of how likely it is to happen to them in the future.

    By Paul on Jul 11, 2011

  30. Yes, guns are dangerous that’s why there are weapon safety rules. For example “keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you are ready to fire.” He put his finger on the trigger so he must have been ready to fire. I’m just saying the cause of shooting himself was prematurely put his finger on the trigger not the holster. He could have shot himself not matter what holster he was using. Your argument is on the same logical scale as saying guns kill people. Holster don’t shoot you in the leg. Accidents happen.

    By Justin on Jul 12, 2011

  31. From years of use of the Serpa system, starting out an advocate of the system due to initial work with the holster and being friends with one of the guys involved in designing and marketing it, then years of daily use both on and off-duty, and then discovering the issues, I am no longer a Serpa advocate and do everything I can to steer people away from the system.

    I feel the retention release has some serious training issues involved, however, comma…. even if it did not then the design and execution of the holster is a real problem.

    I have seen these holsters literally fall off of people’s belts, broken paddles, multiple stuck retention tabs, and multiple cases where the little flat spring that powers the retention device has broken thus leaving the holster with less than zero retention due to a lack of molding you would find in other plastic or kydex holsters.

    Because others have thrown out the experience bit, I’m 24 years on the road, 18 years SWAT, 23 years as a firearm instructor and at one time running our firearms program for 325 shooters.

    By Chuck on Jul 12, 2011

  32. Justin: “Accidents happen.”

    Yes, and when they do, we take a look at them and try to find out *why* they happened, in an attempt to avoid the same mistakes happening over and over again.

    Justin: “I’m just saying the cause of shooting himself was prematurely put his finger on the trigger not the holster.”

    And other people are trying to find out what it was that caused him to prematurely put his finger on the trigger in the first place. He had an accident *with a system of equipment*, and you can’t divorce the equipment from the accident. Sure, people can and do have accidents for any reason, but eliminating the cause of even one type of accident is a step in the right direction.

    By Paul on Jul 12, 2011

  33. I still can’t get over the: “After I shot myself, my training took over and I called my parents…” part.

    By Billy Ng on Jul 12, 2011

  34. RSA-OTC stated: “If you use a system like the Safariland ALS or the 5.11 thumb drive that causes you to do an action that would/could take your 1911 style safety off, then you might want to rethink your holster selections. I’ve seen muscle memory bring back actions that the student or myself left behind years ago, but under the stress of FOF or the clock that muscle memory kicks in and those actions come to the fore. Muscle memory can be a bitch.”

    It boggles my mind that people can suggest that the Safariland ALS & the 5.11 “Thumb Drive” retention systems are a liability due to them requiring the shooters thumb to perform similar movement to disengage the retention as is needed to disengage the thumb safety on a 1911, but can’t comprehend that the SERPA’s retention system requires you to perform a similar movement with your trigger finger in close proximity to the trigger as is required to actually pull the trigger and fire the pistol. It is placing the trigger finger on the trigger and pulling the trigger that makes the pistol actually fire on every single modern pistol design, not the damned thumb safety!

    Another thing that I have been taught since the academy was the “Startle Response” and the “Sympathetic reflex” theories. It was explained to me that the most common human reaction to being startled was to clench your fists and lower your center of gravity amongst other reflexes. Add this into the mix of pushing in with your trigger finger to release the SERPA retention system while drawing the pistol while you are under attack and it shouldn’t be too difficult to see where the SERPA retention design is flawed.

    I have also seen multiple SERPA’s ripped off of belts during training, and others simply fall apart at the belt slide/screw attachment points.

    I have also seen first hand the SERPA retention button get fouled and locked up during training.

    For those of you that insist on defending the SERPA holster design, exactly what benefits does it offer over the Safariland ALS or any of the other quality retention holster systems on the market?

    By Nick Drakulich on Jul 13, 2011

  35. “The Pinto is a perfectly safe car, as long as you don’t get rear-ended in it. All those people that got burned to death when the car caught on fire after it was rear-ended were just bad drivers that should have been paying more attention”.

    “Sure, there are other cars on the market that haven’t been associated with dozens of cases where the gas tank blew up and killed people – but my Pinto is paid for, and I’m such a great driver that it will never happen to me.”

    A product with a flawed design doesn’t have to hurt every user for it to be inherently unsafe.

    By KR on Jul 15, 2011

  36. Did I just read a Pinto example? It is truly a dark day. 😉

    By George on Jul 15, 2011

  37. I don’t blame the equipment! I blame TEX! He put HIS finger ON the trigger! I don’t like Surpa holsters, not for me…no other reason. I don’t know how to fire off a tank, but I bet it has a trigger, and it has to be pushed or pulled, either way…..finger off the trigger means…finger off the trigger no matter what.

    Give an idiot a weapon and something stupid will hapen.

    By Scott on Jul 16, 2011

  38. So much for knockdown power 😛

    By JRas on Jul 18, 2011

  39. Scott, you are missing the point. This holster
    is inherently unsafe due to the location of the release button which requires it to be defeated by use of trigger finger. Under stress the pressed trigger finger used to press the release follows the gun up out of the holster and can go right to the trigger without the shooter doing anything. I watched it happen with the salesman. I watched it happen with a couple of other “gun” experts and have no doubt this is what happened to Tex. I watched this video over and over and that is exactly what happened. Unless you know Tex personally, how can you say he is an idiot.

    By kennyt on Jul 20, 2011

  40. It was NOT the SERPAs fault. When used properly, the trigger finger ends up indexed on the frame of the gun and NOT on the trigger. The blame is on the user. Any holster you use, when you grip the handle of the gun, your trigger finger is indexed along the side of the holster which is where the SERPA LOCKING MECHANISM IS on the SERPA holster. That ND can be caused using ANY holster because the user jammed his booger hook on the bang switch. Also, I’ve put paperclips, buttons, twigs and pebbles into the mechanism and tried to jam it with very little success. Most of the time the item fell out of the back where there is a hole designed to let objects that could potentially jam the mechanism to fall out. I eventually got the mechanism to jam after forcing 5 paperclips under the button. People who are saying this holster is inherently unsafe are just plain ignorant.

    By Jeff on Jul 20, 2011

  41. kennyt, have you watched many of Tex’s youtube videos? If you watch them is some type of chronological order you find him making declarations about equipment, technique, that which is legal, that which is GTG, then only in the last year or so he takes his first class of any type and in the last 4 months or so does his first drill with more than one target. I used to watch his videos for comic relief. I did warn him over a year ago (and the comment was removed) to take a real class from a real professional teacher before he shot himself.

    By George on Jul 20, 2011

  42. Nick Drakulich, you are a liar.
    “I have also seen multiple SERPA’s ripped off of belts during training, and others simply fall apart at the belt slide/screw attachment points.”
    That is a flat out lie. The holsters are VERY durable and do not just break like a cheap toy.
    Also, you have never seen any serpa mechanisms get “fouled”.

    By Jeff on Jul 20, 2011

  43. I have a Serpa and a 1911 and have drawn from it a thousand times without shooting myself in the leg.

    Since purchasing the Serpa I picked up a Safariland ALS holster and found it to be much better made, makes the Serpa look like a piece of crap. No more crappy Serpas for me.

    By Kirk in Utah on Jul 20, 2011

  44. Jeff,

    Have we met? If not, how could you possibly form the opinion that I am lying about my experiences with the SERPA? I have personally ripped SERPA’s off of co-workers belts to prove the point. I would gladly demonstrate this for you on your personal SERPA. I have also personally seen two co-workers SERPA’s fall apart at the mounting screws.

    Not only have I personally seen a SERPA’s retention button get locked up by gravel, there are also multiple videos from well known and respected industry sources showing the SERPA retention device getting locked up from gravel and even snow.

    Anyone who believes that the SERPA CQC holsters are “VERY durable” must play very gently with their gear. SERPA’s are anything but durable.

    By Nick Drakulich on Jul 21, 2011

  45. If people were paid minimum wage for the amount of time they spend on the internet defending their crappy choice in sub-$30 holsters, they could probably earn enough in an afternoon to buy a good piece of gear.

    ¡Blackhawk! makes and markets a lot of quality pieces of gear. The SERPA isn’t one of them.

    By Tam on Jul 21, 2011

  46. I can’t believe some of the ignorant posts on this site. First off, Tex DID say that he is not blaming the holster. This was purely from a lack of training. A novice trains until he gets it right, a professional trains until he cant screw it up.
    The locking button is perfectly placed above the trigger where you naturally place your finger on the weapon, safely, until you are ready to fire. Meaning, when you draw the weapon out, your finger is already straight and off the trigger. If you slow motion the video of him drawing his weapon, you’ll notice that his finger moves to the trigger as the weapon is STILL pointing down towards his leg.
    Don’t blame the gear for an operator error. Here’s 4 simple rules that the Marine Corps teaches, that I’ve fallowed, and have not shot myself in years. And yes I use a SERPA for an HK USP 45 full size.
    1)Treat every weapon as if it were loaded
    2)Never point a weapon at anything you do not intend to shoot.
    3)KEEP YOUR FINGER STRAIGHT AND OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL INTEND TO FIRE!!!
    4)Keep the weapon on safe until you are ready to fire.
    I am not trash talkin Tex, in fact he’s a good man for posting that video. It’s a great lesson on NDs.

    By Seriously? on Jul 21, 2011

  47. Awesome! Tex was just released from a hospital and was likely under the influence of pain relievers. From the slur in his voice during the video I would say that is highly likely. Tex’s opinion on not blaming the holster doesn’t mean that the serpa holster design played no active role in his ND happening. Enjoy your cheap holster for you expensive pistol.

    The growing list of world renowned professional instructors who do not allow serpa’s to be worn during their classes should be a clue.

    By Nick Drakulich on Jul 21, 2011

  48. @Nick Drakulich,
    How rough do you have to be with the SERPA to prove it’s durable, beat the piss out of it with a sledge hammer??? Ya I’m gonna have to agree with Jeff on that argument.

    By Seriously? on Jul 21, 2011

  49. A LOT of cops wear the CQC SERPA for plainclothes duty holsters. “Retention” holsters are designed to retain your pistol during a struggle or gun grab. If a “retention” holster can be ripped from the belt attachment with a couple of solid tugs on the grip of the pistol, then it isn’t retaining anything now is it? If you can’t comprehend the seriousness of the issue I am describing then good luck in your ventures.

    Here’s a video link (cut/paste) showing the exact types of failures at the screw/attachment point as I have personally seen in my experience: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOBEJvMZ_f4

    By Nick Drakulich on Jul 21, 2011

  50. …….You know there’s also a belt loop system for holsters right? Not just the paddle. Everything is operator error

    By Seriously? on Jul 21, 2011

  51. And anything can be snapped and busted when your weapon is being tugged on hard enough. The holster does what its supposed to. Meh, it doesn’t matter. I have not shot myself using this holster and have had no problems with it. Its a way better holster than most. Deploying and seeing other holsters in actual use, I’ve seen A LOT worse

    By Seriously? on Jul 21, 2011

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