My BlackHawk "SERPA" holster came in yesterday - 1st impressions...
The SERPA is for my G-17 which I'll carry for a while and then rotate to a Beretta PX4, Sig 226/9, XD Tactical for a while - that's very frustrating BTW.
Anyway, Rocky posted some pics of the SERPA here:
I'm going to try to make some pics tonight with it on.
In the mean time:
I was very impressed with the construction of the holster. For a non-leather holster, it's well done and you can't tell from the pics, but the holster is completely enclosed on the front and rear. So many Kydex holsters are open on the "back" edge of the holster.
One thing that I was disappointed with was the fit to the gun. The width is about perfect, but the front-to-back is a bit loose and allows the gun to rock a bit back and forth. All movement, micro-wears the gun's finish on the holster - not good!
The holster is made of a carbon fiber and nylon mix and is very compact. Some holsters have a lot of extra material here and there and you can see from Rocky's pics, the SERPAs are tight.
Every OWB adjustable cant holster I have ever seen, has too much stuff between the holster and the belt to really draw the gun in tight to the body. This one isn't too bad. It holds the gun in acceptably tight although I did notice a slight amount of wobble when I took Tangle walking yesterday evening.
The cant system is good; it is of the "indexed" type. I.e. it can be changed in increments, not continuously. The cant seems to be straight, +/- 7.5º, and +/- 15º. The holster cant can not be adjusted while on the belt; three screws have to be removed, the belt or paddle oriented, and then the screws re-inserted.
The belt loop widths are also adjustable with screws and it may be possible to get even more cant by being creative with the belt loop stops.
The paddle attachment is included with the holster. To attach it the three "cant" screws are removed, the belt loop attachment is then replaced with the paddle attachment. The paddle has the same cant adjustment positions and ranges.
I didn't try the paddle on the holster, but I did slide it over belt and pants to see how it fit, etc. The thing is more like a bear trap. It is stiff and has "claws" inside and out of the pants. I thought I was going to have to cut my pants and belt away from it to get it off! However, I think the outer "claw" can be ground down and it will be easier to get on and off. A contributing factor is the the "paddle" is kinda like a really strong clamp and the three "claws", well, if it doesn't break it'll never budge drawing the gun.
I think the method (three screws in slots with widened indexes to set screw locations) used to attach the belt loop and paddle attachment is weak. Lou Alesis watched a demo where some guy brought in every kind of paddle holster he could get his hands on and proceeded to break every one of them in a gun retention drill and demo. Since Lou makes paddle holsters and didn't cry "foul", I think we can assume paddles are weak. I believe the attachment method on the SERPA falls in the same category; it just doesn't look that substantial to me.
The SERPA has an ingenious release. Every time I work with a thumb break holster, I am disappointed - just way to many misses or jams. The SERPA's release is released by the trigger finger and has no strap to get in the way. I like it. However, with the little work I have done with it so far, it may be a bit risky. For one, if your timing is off just a little bit such that you get upward pressure on the gun before the release releases, it ain't gonna release. Second, I've found that while the release works easily, it's still easy to miss; I would think esp. so under stress. Third, I'm not sure how substantial the lock is. It's a rather small piece of plastic (or carbon fiber/nylon) that engages the front of the trigger guard. I'm not sure it would hold up to a bona fide gun snatch attempt.
Over all I really like the holster. It is lightening fast, well, if you don't blow the release. When everything works right, it is really smooth and fast.
There's a model without the security lock. I got the security version because, hmmm, why did I get that version? .......Oh yeah, a little brain drop-out there for a moment, I got it for a bit more security against in advertent de-holstering of any kind, including running, jumping, falling, struggling, and even a gun grab attempt.
The SERPA release allows you to get a perfectly normal grip on the gun for the draw stroke and release the lock with your trigger finger as a part of the normal draw stroke. It's really easy, but you can certainly miss - more training I guess.
The holster has a small raised ridge around the top of the holster and it appears that if I were to do a lot of drawing, that little ridge would make a raw, or at least tender, trigger finger.
Another potential problem is the holster may come too high on the outside to permit a CT laser sight to be used. I don't know for sure about that.
Oops - too long again.