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Blackhawk! Good or bad?


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#1 OFFLINE   getsumishin

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Posted Feb. 05 2010 - 01:39 AM

I would just like to get some opinions on Blackhawk products. I just got their catalouge and their products seem pretty good. But when you do a search for reviews alot of people say their stuff is garbage and to stay away from it like the plague. One person said if it says Blackhawk stay away. I was thinking of purchasing a SERPA CQC carbon fiber holster and maybe their light bearing SERPA holster/light combination. So stay away from their stuff or not? :CONFUS12:


#2 OFFLINE   Rampy

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Posted Feb. 05 2010 - 08:53 AM

SERPA holsters are bad, they set you up to fail...


#3 OFFLINE   BadKarma

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Posted Feb. 05 2010 - 09:13 AM

I have a buddy that loves his Serpa holster. I have never tried one but plan on doing so.


#4 OFFLINE   SOWT

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Posted Feb. 05 2010 - 11:21 AM

SERPA has issues with the release mechanism jamming. usually gets sand, dirt, snow/ice into the holster which prevents the release from working. I have a SERPA and like how it hangs, but the release issues will probably force me to go to another holster (ironically a Blackhawk).


#5 OFFLINE   AFmech

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Posted Feb. 14 2010 - 07:46 PM

I ordered some Blackhawk gear last trip to iraq. Big Mistake.


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#6 OFFLINE   Ronald H Levine

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Posted Apr. 26 2010 - 11:46 PM

"Bad" ... "Big mistake" ... Elaborate please. Tell the details.

Not knowing why has me uncertain if a dislike is based on something like enjoying the smell of leather or how leather fits. The post on a release problem sounds serious because it MUST release when it is needed. But, in the same category of reliability, your gun must BE THERE when you need it as in after a tumble it needs to remain in your holster and that becomes particularly important when it is life or death as in being fired upon with life saving rapid motions of taking cover -- that would be a bad time for your gun to be on the mountain somewhere instead of your holster. If there is a release problem, then define it more because it either needs to be solved and maybe one of us will have a solution or I will find one or at least we will have to find what does work. The traditional leather with a retention strap might not be as fast. I've never tried it. Those who have tried both, please compare the two. If SERPA is the fastest and most secure and there are other advantages of shape retention, good firm position, adjustable, lightweight, low abrasive and moisture retention, etc. (I choose all of those qualities), then let's not give up all that when there might be a simple solution. But, I need some hints or more on the nature of the problem and it's causes. If there is a release reliability problem, then I would look for a solution. It's not an obvious problem as it has never occurred for me, but I don't want to be surprised by it at the worst time. What are we talking? Is it the one in a billion chance that just the right twig will lodge in just the right place when I tumble down a mountain trail? For that low odds and many other things, I have my backup pistol instantly available. What's the odds both fail at the exact same time? OR is it something that happens from a defect in a part? Tell me and I'll look at it and make a design improvement in mine and post what I do about it. If you have seen the problem and looked at it, then please describe what is going on to facilitate me knowing what sort of solution is needed. Perhaps my prescriptive is different. I'm innovative and make things, so if something needs to be modified, I will do that.

I like my SERPA holsters and I'm about to buy more. Tell me now what's good and what's better and why? I'm wanting reliability. I'm open to alternatives, if that is the solution. Thanks in advance.

Edited by Ronald H Levine, Apr. 27 2010 - 12:00 AM.



#7 ONLINE   Pepper

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Posted Apr. 26 2010 - 11:55 PM

I'm not a fan of Blackhawk gear. The SERPA is interesting, but IMHO, a problem child. Through aggressive marketing, and product placement, Blackhawk became "tacticool". Not because it was any better, but because all the cool kids use it. You want a good thigh holster? Get a Safariland. You want a concealable holster with a device that locks it in place? Bianchi Carry-Lok. Or, use the tried and true thumb break of many different manufacturers.


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#8 OFFLINE   cheez

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Posted Jul. 08 2010 - 07:08 PM

I love my Blackhawk Serpa and have never had any issues whatsoever with it. But I have never rolled in the mud with it either.


#9 OFFLINE   steelvipersedg

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Posted Aug. 26 2010 - 12:05 AM

I served in Afghanistan for 15 months (probably up there for dusty places) I tumbled down mountains, slept in the mud and the whole time the serpa thigh holster was on my leg. I never once had even a hiccup despite constant abuse. Now a serpa is one of only two holsters I routinely use and still no mysterious jams that seem to plague every owner but me.

I also hear of some saying the release on the serpa conditions shooters in a way that can lead some to inadvertantly indexing their trigger and cause a neg discharge. Again my finger seems to to index right along the frame where it is suppose to be.

In closing I say it is rugged, has excellent retention but is still ultra fast. Every soldier I deployed with issued a M9 carried theirs with out complaint nor aquired a different holster (says alot if you know soldiers.) And now at my PD about 90% of the officers have at least one they use routinely for off duty carry. If their is a higher praise I can't think of it.


#10 OFFLINE   theforge

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Posted Dec. 22 2010 - 09:40 AM

I have used a serpa for multple firearms in three-gun (in mud and rain) and IDPA competions and have never had a so called Jam, I also know many departments locally issue the Serpa as well as the Navy SEALS. These any of the above situations are going to test a holster beyond the average user's abuse threshold. I have heard, but never known anybody, who has had jams. But it would take a rather large pebble to cause a jam. I have also heard, but never known, of accidental discharges as a result of these holster. But the actual but placement requires a correct draw technique which would place the finger on the slide upon release. All I can thank, is if these things really did occur, it was a result of rolling in rocky mud and poor drawing technique. Is the Safariland SLS better, I don't have experience, but from looking at it, I would say probably, but it cost significantly more as well. Whenver you deal with active retension devises like levers and straps, you run the risk of failure. None of which should be catatrophic, but could result in seconds on the draw. Let's not forget, I have heard from shooting professionals and police range officers of more cases where police who only shoot once a year to qualify have had holster buttons rust together.


#11 OFFLINE   redbarron06

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Posted Dec. 22 2010 - 10:23 AM

I have SERPAs for both my 1911 and my issue M9. No problems with either. I have used them mounted to MOLLE platforms, belts, and on the TAC platform. A year in AFG with no problem. I used it to carry my 1911 on my time for more than a year with no problem. It is not the most friendly holster to conceal and the last time I checked with Blackhawk they only made light compatible holsters for Glocks and 1911s and then you could only use the Blackhawk light. This may have changed but you want to check before ordering it.

I am currently wearing a Blackhawk riggers belt that I put on in 2006 in AFG and have worn it with my uniform evern time I put it on since then. I had a black one that I wore for more than 3 years prior to that. Had to retire it because the army changed the belt color.

All of that being said many of the Blackhawk products are no longer made in the US and that is a turn off for many.

One specific story about the SERPA holster from AFG. One of our pilots wore his M9 in the holster you are refering to. He had the holster mounted on the paddle paltform. When not flying he wore it on his belt. Because of the body armor he would take it off of his belt and mount it on the chest strap of his aircrew vest (center line of his chest) when he was flying. He was involved in a crash. It was so violent that the back seater was ejected from the airframe during the crash. He was not, but crawled 100 yards from the wreckage before passing out face down in the sand. He still has the holster to this day and as far as I know has never had a malfunction with it.

Now I have seen video and heard trainers preach about the shortcomings of the SERPA. I am not saying that they are not true but only that I have never witnessed them. My SERPA will be carrying my M9 on my next tour while I am flying. When not flying I will be using a simple nylon holster on my belt and transfer the pistol to the TAC rig when I gear up for the flight. A pistol in just about any belt holster sucks when you have to wear IBA, or air crew body armor.

SERPA is one of those systems that most folks either love, or hate. Not much in the middle.


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#12 OFFLINE   Agent19

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Posted Dec. 22 2010 - 11:51 AM

I would just like to get some opinions on Blackhawk products. I just got their catalouge and their products seem pretty good. But when you do a search for reviews alot of people say their stuff is garbage and to stay away from it like the plague. One person said if it says Blackhawk stay away. I was thinking of purchasing a SERPA CQC carbon fiber holster and maybe their light bearing SERPA holster/light combination. So stay away from their stuff or not? :CONFUS12:



I've heard the rumors of them being unsafe from several but have yet to see it happen.
I personally don't like them not because there unsafe or could be a problem I find them hard on the finish of guns!!!!

Honest wear and tear is okay but they put an extreme shine mark on one of my guns just sitting in the holster/wearing it for a week.

Beside, I prefer leather.


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#13 OFFLINE   redbarron06

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Posted Dec. 22 2010 - 11:55 AM

I've heard the rumors of them being unsafe from several but have yet to see it happen.
I personally don't like them not because there unsafe or could be a problem I find them hard on the finish of guns!!!!

Honest wear and tear is okay but they put an extreme shine mark on one of my guns just sitting in the holster/wearing it for a week.

Beside, I prefer leather.

That is a very good point. By the end of my year in AFG the finish of my M9 on the trigger guard where the lock makes contact had worn it down to bare metal. I could pick my pistol out of a line up in the arms room. I am not really worried about Uncle Sugars pistols but for mine I dont want to have to have it refinish it every year or so.


#14 OFFLINE   TheSilent1

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Posted Feb. 17 2011 - 12:05 AM

Nothing, no matter what iti is, is 100% foolproof. Every product out there can be made to break or will have failures or shortcommings under some circumstances. Sometimes, it is due to owner neglect or misuse, so they choose to blame the item instead of their own stupidity. Once saw a guy walk into a tent with a very good quality backpack. We had a small "natural combustion" (wood burning) stove that he did not notice, and he put his bag down right next to the stove. Soon, the bag melted. Instead of accepting the fact that heat melts nylon and he put the bag near a stove, he blamed the bag as being "crap."

I've had good luck with SERPA holsters working well and being reliable for me on various handguns for several years.


#15 OFFLINE   Nest

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Posted Feb. 17 2011 - 12:44 AM

The only problem I have with holsters that have locks is that if they fail, you're screwed. If the lock jams up there is absolutely nothing you can do to get your weapon. Regular old thumb snaps are an old proven method, and I have never heard of them failing. I have heard of blackhawks jaming up, I have heard of safariland hoods getting stuck in place. I have never heard of a thumb snap jamming. You may have to pry it harder due to some form of corrosion, but they will open. Have not heard one way or another about the Bianchi lock systems, but have been looking into getting one of them. Personally I stick with good leather with no snaps or locks. Just a good quality snug fitting leather holster. The weapon won't fall out, hard to yank out, but nothing will stop it from coming out with a good straight draw stroke.


#16 OFFLINE   Rev. DeadCorpse

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Posted Apr. 07 2011 - 04:04 PM

I have a Serpa CQC for my Witness. Works just fine. I've never had a problem drawing from the holster, jamming, etc...

I'm Left-handed as well, kudos to Blackhawk for not forgetting us Lefties.


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#17 OFFLINE   Hammer Drop

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Posted Apr. 10 2011 - 09:49 AM

There is nothing wrong with the Serpa. I've had mine for years with ZERO issues and that's what all our team members carry on a daily basis, and these are full-time, not part-time teams so the wear and the abuse they receive is enough to make anything fail and they haven't.


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#18 OFFLINE   cheeseheds_mania

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Posted May. 04 2011 - 05:48 PM

I have a SERPA also, although I don't use it every day. I haven't every had a problem with it. I will purchase another soon


#19 OFFLINE   AZranger

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Posted Nov. 12 2012 - 12:51 AM

I have a CERPA holster and I love mine, I wear it everyday for the last 3 years and have had no issues. I do farm work, cut trees, ride ATV'S and horses, i've fallen and buried my gun and holster in mud, I wiped it off and checked the barrel and it worked flawlessly.

The only issue i've heard is, people will use there finger tip to release the lock and draw, which the death grip they put on it usually puts the finger on the trigger making the firearm discharge....

If you use the finger flat and draw which puts the finger flat along side of the firearm where it should be until you need to shoot.

Preaching to the quire... I know :wink:


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#20 OFFLINE   Psywarrior

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Posted Nov. 12 2012 - 07:27 AM

A lot of schools will not allow them. The main issue is that some people, as previously stated, use their finger tip to unlock the catch. When you do this, your finger tends to drop into the trigger guard. If you use your finger flat (like you are supposed to), it will ride along the frame above the trigger guard. I had enough faith in the Serpa that I gave mine to my grand daughter. The main issue I had with it was that it was a beotch to conceal. The mounting system pushes it out too far from the hip and makes for a bigger bulge. As a range or tactical holster, it is great. As a CCW holster (for which it was not designed) it sucks.


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