Friday, October 23, 2009

Color me dubious.

I know that ¡Blackhawk‼ (FTC Disclaimer: The ¡Blackhawk‼ Corporation has given this blogger a box of free swag approximately 1'x1'x2' in size, as well as let her ride on their rock star bus and watch war movies) makes some pretty decent gear, as well as being the world's third-largest consumer of exclamation points, after Bolivia and Third-Grade Book Reports. Their pouch-y vest-y tactical-y stuff is great, their MOD knives are top-shelf, their new clothing line is comfy and practical... However, I've just never gotten that... you know... "gotta have it" vibe from their plastic holsters.

Now, I have some plastic holsters for 1911s; the aforementioned ¡Blackhawk‼ unit that I use for when I remember to go bowling pin shooting, a G-Code paddle (FTC Disclaimer: The G-Code paddle came out of a big box of prototype holsters for free at a Thanksgiving shindig that this blogger attended along with the owner of G-Code some four years before she started blogging) that also sees use as a range holster, and a Safariland 6280 (FTC Disclaimer: The blogger is not entirely certain where the Safariland rig came from, nor is she quite sure why she has a tactical drop-thigh holster in the first place, as she needs one about like a hen needs a flag) so it's not like I'm totally opposed to the concept. In a completely unscientific "Gosh, this feels sturdy!" test, the Blackhawk CQC stuff seems to fall somewhere between regular type kydex holsters and the run-it-over-with-a-tank Safariland gear. Mind you, I haven't tried destroying my own holsters with a hammer or anything to find out which is actually the X-Tremest!, although I'll be happy to break someone else's gear in the name of science.

What I find interesting is the email I just got from ¡Blackhawk‼ announcing the "selection of the BLACKHAWK! SERPA retention holster system along with select accessory components for the Elite Warriors of the United States Joint Special Operations Community."

Maybe the elite warriors of JSOC aren't as tough on their gear as our local Hoosier gunbloggers?

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Had one. Went to a 3 day carbine/pistol class with it. 95 of 100 drawstrokes, no issues. Those five times where my index finger was searching for that button though.. Back to my well worn Blade-Tech and a young deputy friend has a new holster...

W/V - mompa - where a single parent kid is unsure of his parent's gender...

HTRN said...

Needs more FTC disclaimers. :)

Brian Dale said...

Thanks for the link to Brigid's report. I think that it'll be Comp-Tac or Blade-Tech for me.

Lorimor said...

It's still perfect for covert de-animation operations though.

Tam said...

No, that's DorkOps... er, DarkOps knives.

James E. Griffin said...

SIGH. That "joint" thing again. Everything's "joint" now-a-days.

The good thing for the civilian side is bleed-through from special operations making demands on manufacturers. If something can go wrong, they'll find it, and whatever design changes needed will be done. And we civilians will benefit as it bleeds-through to us.

For anyone who's endured the Teutonic disdain of civilian HK customer support, it's eye opening, and heart warming to see them jump at a special forces "request."

Lorimor said...

Damn you're good. No more confusing Nighthawk with DorkOps. :)

Owen said...

A least 2 shooting schools have banned the SERPA because of issues with NDs. Turns out that somepeople never release their finger pressure, and their bugger hiikk finds its way to the bang switch about the time the trigger clears the holster...

tomcatshanger said...

No personal experience actually using the Serpa retention holsters for me, but what I've read concerning the lever becoming hard to operate makes sense when I look at the lever in the store.

Boat Guy said...

Since I don't think my earlier post damning Serpa holsters never made it in the site, forgive me if I restate; I used a Serpa ONCE and will never do so again. I didn't give it away 'cause I don't want to be responsible for someone else's mishap.
Oh, while we're at disclaimers; I was (emphasize past tense) a Blackhawk customer. In fact an early one. I sent no fewer than three of their "three day" packs back for failures (and I was at the time a field-grade staff pogue with my real operating days well behind me and the packs still fell apart). The customer service degraded faster than the packs did. Unfortunately by that time my Joint-SOF unit had already bought a bunch of BH stuff based on my initial recommendation. Those items have since been replaced.
The company that BH aspired to be and should be does exist; it's called S.O.Tech and run by a great guy named Jim Cragg (disclosure; Jim has never given me stuff but we worked together for a short while). S.O. Tech stuff is better and MADE IN THE USA. Jim doesn't promote himself quite as effectively as Mike Noel does but his gear is far better.

Anonymous said...

The SERPA levers are also known to jam if they get sand or small gravel into the mechanism. I recall an article about training schools where half the cops had their guns stuck in the holsters from a "get knocked on the ground and draw" drill.

Tam said...

Boat Guy,

While I've never had any experience one way or another with their customer service, in all fairness, Blackhawk does have their field gear made in the USA now.

When the ChiComs bought Uncle Mike's, Blackhawk bought their old facility.

Jeff the Baptist said...

I have a SERPA for my 1911. Don't really like it that much honestly. Maybe I need to play with the cant angle but I can't get my hand in comfortable position where I can disable the SERPA lock and have my thumb ready for the manual safety. I find thumbsnaps a lot easier to deal with even though they have their own issues.

Caleb said...

I like my CQC holster - it's the same as the SERPA but sans the SERPA locking mechanism. What's neat about it is that it's lower cut in the front that most of my other holsters, so when you adjust the cant for a muzzle forward draw, it is probably one of my "faster" holsters for shooting gun games.

MCSA said...

I find the Safariland ALS system a better design - your thumb falls into place on the holster much more consistently than your trigger finger...

I skipped the SERPA system because at the gun store I actually tripped the trigger on the demo model/gun and... Pressing too hard. (BTW, the Glock holster seems most prone to this issue because of where the trigger is in relation to the lock, etc...)

MCSA said...

I'm with Caleb - the non-Serpa holster is great holster for range/practice/newbie comp. shooter.

There are better "Production" holsters out there for USPSA (DOH from Blade-Tech), but the CQC holster will serve well for IDPA, USPSA, etc...

BTW - Blackhawk did beef up the screws, mounting plate, etc (I love mounting and screwing...) making the newer CQC holster very strong!

Paul Gomez' take on it...

Caleb said...

The dropped and offset from Blade Tech is probably the very tippity top of competition rigs. It's also not legal for IDPA, but the neato thing about Blade Tech is that the pieces are all interchangeable. So you can take the offset part off and mount the holster on the regular belt mount (or the Tec-Lok) and then BAM SAID THE LADY it's legal for IDPA.

Thane said...

MCSA -

As someone who has used the Safariland ALS, I can say I hate it, and absolutely do NOT trust it. The bale can jam if you get something small like a twig in it. The bale -will- get gritty and difficult to open if you live in any kind of dusty environment, and the hinge is riveted shut; you cannot take it apart to clean it out. The hinge rusts if you're in a rainstorm and/or deep puddle, and remember, you can't open it up to clean out the water and let it dry. I've had all of these happen.

If you somehow manage to keep the hinge in good condition, the holster can open at the most inopportune times. Seatbelts will open it. Brushing your elbow against it will open it. If you're in a profession where body armor is "advised," the bottom edge of the chest panel can sometimes bump the bale and open the holster. I've had all three of these happen, as well. And despite the "tension screw," a pistol can and will fall out of an open holster -very- easily. I've been fortunate enough to avoid having that happen to me, due to constant checking of the holster; however, I know people who have lost pistols, and I've personally seen two pistols bounce out of holsters that opened when they weren't supposed to.

Yes, the Serpa has "issues." But I trust it FAR more than I do the Safariland ALS; the Serpa's problems mainly deal with user error, while the ALS is simply poorly designed.

Just my $0.02, derived from my personal observations. Your mileage may vary.

WV: "slesh"- what you say when you reach for your pistol, and discover that your Safariland ALS popped open and dropped your pistol a quarter-mile ago.

TBeck said...

Have you shot then with a Nytrillium bullet? That's an EXTREME test!

Jeff the Baptist said...

"the Serpa's problems mainly deal with user error, while the ALS is simply poorly designed."

Not really, any significant amount of dirt or grit near the trigger guard lock and you will have to pry your gun out of a SERPA. This is a design flaw.

For that matter they can never make a SERPA for my BHP because of the location of the slipstop pin in relation to the trigger. Which means I might as well stick with thumbbreaks for all my guns and not confuse my motor skills.