from Paul Gomez:
“Over the last year, I have developed some serious concerns with the Blackhawk Serpa Active Retention holster design. Various persons have brought these concerns to the attention of Blackhawk on several occasions and Blackhawk has chosen to ignore these very real issues.
The ‘Serpa Active Retention’ design consists of a plastic L-shaped component which functions as the release button [from the outside of the holster] and as the lock [which engages inside the trigger guard]. The short leg of the L-shaped lever pivots inward [toward the pistol], while the locking tab pivots outward to release the pistol from the holster.
According to the Blackhawk website, ”The release is made using your normal drawing motion, with the trigger finger beside the holster body. … As your trigger finger naturally comes to rest on the SERPA lock’s release mechanism, simply push the mechanism as you draw the weapon and it releases the gun for a smooth, fast draw.”
While Blackhawk may intend for the end-user to apply inboard pressure with the flat of the index finger, under stress, shooters tend to push the button with the tip of their index finger. After all, this is the manner in which most people have the most repetitions pushing buttons such as keys on a keypad or phone or ringing doorbells. When the finger pushes in on the release button and the user initiates the upward motion of the draw stroke, the finger tends to stay in motion and as the trigger guard clears the holster, the finger enters the trigger guard and contacts the trigger, with possibly tragic results.
I am aware of two instances where trained personnel have shot themselves using this holster in conjunction with Glock pistols. In August of 2004, a situation occurred with a live weapon that resulted in the shooter losing a 10cm piece of her femur. The other occurred with nonlethal training ammunitions in a force-on-force event in April of 2005. The impact of the NLTA was in the same area as the actual gunshot wound previously mentioned.
Following each of these events, Blackhawk was contacted and advised of the problems observed and concerns raised. In the first instance, they claimed that they were unaware of any previous issues with the design and insisted that the design had been ‘thoroughly tested by law enforcement and military personnel’.
After the second event, they were contacted by at least two people. Again, they stated that they were unaware of any concerns and had heard nothing similar from any sources.”