SERPA, it isn't "unsafe", the truth

This is a discussion on SERPA, it isn't "unsafe", the truth within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok everyone. I own several Blackhawk SERPA holsters and I use them I also practice with them very regularly, as anyone should with their carry ...

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Thread: SERPA, it isn't "unsafe", the truth

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    SERPA, it isn't "unsafe", the truth

    Ok everyone. I own several Blackhawk SERPA holsters and I use them I also practice with them very regularly, as anyone should with their carry holster(s) no matter what they are made of, kydex or leather, level 1 or level 2 or level 3 security. If you don't practice with your gear, you are going to screw up something and you may end up injured.

    Now, for some time I have been hearing this BS that the SERPA is in some way "unsafe" and I have heard several people on this very site repeat this nonsense. It has been my experience that folks who repeat this disinformation about the SERPA tend to be folks who 1. Don't own one themselves and are just repeating something that they read or "heard" for some "expert" or 2. Own one and have never taken the time to train properly with the holster and just decided it was too hard to learn it because it has one extra motion involved in drawing the gun.

    As I have said on other threads, I have, unfortunately, had to draw for real twice this year. (Never had to before but this year, twice. Go figure) Both times were from a SERPA and both times were very stressful. I had no AN/ND and was able to draw fast enough that in one case, a witness was amazed. I have trained consistently with my SERPA holsters and I have every confidence in them and my abilities.

    I have attached several photos that show the proper draw sequence from a SERPA and what is REQUIRED to be done incorrectly to even make an ND possible when drawing from a SERPA. Hopefully this will put some of this nonsense about the SERPA design being dangerous to bed. But I doubt it.

    1. Grip the gun in preparation to draw.


    2. With practice, the trigger finger naturally lands on the release button of the holster


    3. The trigger finger depresses the release button


    4. The draw stroke is begun while pressing the release button


    5. As the gun is pulled up and out of the holster, you can see that my trigger finger has not moved down toward the trigger


    6. With the draw nearly complete, you can see that my trigger finger is up on the frame, above and away from the trigger where it should be.
    Last edited by TN_Mike; May 6th, 2009 at 10:45 PM.
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Good pictures and explanation, Mike. I've never used one, just heard a lot about them.

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array TerriLi's Avatar
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    ......sorry but nice belt.
    As to the Serpa thing, thanks for the info. I never had one.
    I know not what this "overkill" means.

    Honing the knives, Cleaning the longguns, Stocking up ammo.

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Now, here is what you HAVE to do to screw this up:

    1. Press the release button to begin the draw


    2. Then you would HAVE to MOVE your trigger finger from point A to point B toward the location of the trigger as you draw and keep pressing at least slightly with the finger as you draw!


    3. Then and only then would your trigger finger be in position to contact the trigger as the trigger cleared the holster thus allowing an ND.


    4. The release button CAN NOT be actuated by pressing on this part of it


    I hope this shows some of you out there that the holster works well, is designed very well and if someone has an ND with a SERPA, it is because THEY SCREWED UP, not because there is any design flaw or other deficiency with the holster. All that is crap. And I really don't care who you heard won't allow it on their range or training site.

    I can see them not allowing it because there are just too many pin heads out there using them who do not train with their gear. There are stupid people all over. But there isn't anything wrong with the holster.
    Last edited by TN_Mike; May 6th, 2009 at 10:47 PM.
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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array grady's Avatar
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    Oops, maybe I posted too soon. Didn't realize you were going to also include the wrong way to draw it.

    The photos explain a lot. Looks like it's all in the proper training of how to use it.

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grady View Post
    The photos explain a lot. Looks like it's all in the proper training of how to use it.
    I think that can be said about any gear or equipment if you are really serious about knowing what you are doing with it.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    I have a Serpa for both my Glock 19 and my 1911 and haven't had a problem with either.

    I think the problem is that some respected instructors like Suarez have said that they are a problem.

    Of course, I believe that Rob Pincus has said that they have been using Serpa's for years at Valhala and haven't had a problem with them.

    I guess you just need to try it yourself and make your own decisions.

    I like the Serpa especially when OC'ing. Nice retension rig.

    I don't feel worried at all when using the Serpa.
    fortiter in re, suaviter in modo (resolutely in action, gently in manner).

  9. #8
    BAC
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    Oh, it works great, until you're under stress. It isn't that the system is unsafe, it's that it's potentially unsafe when it matters. Draw against the timer, draw while trying to move onto/away from a threat, draw while running, draw while fending off someone already close-in, or someone about to be close-in... The hand naturally wants to clench, and that's a very hard instinct to overcome. Since at least part of your hand is required to in order for the Blackhawk holster to work, you've already given the O.K. for that instinct, hence the NDs associated with the system.

    It's not an accident some of the more experienced folks in the training world speak poorly about the SERPA. Training can mitigate some of the risks involved, but what advantage does the SERPA have over other retention holsters that don't share the same sort of "finger-uncomfortably-close-to-the-trigger-to-draw" risk? I see cons, but can't see any pros.


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  10. #9
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    One of the things I like the most about the Serpa, is that as you demonstrated, it forces you to place your trigger finger where it should be in relation to the frame. You have to move it to get your finger in the trigger guard. Non-Serpa holsters would allow you to index incorrectly and have your finger low in the trigger guard every time.
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    Oh, it works great, until you're under stress. It isn't that the system is unsafe, it's that it's potentially unsafe when it matters. Draw against the timer, draw while trying to move onto/away from a threat, draw while running, draw while fending off someone already close-in, or someone about to be close-in... The hand naturally wants to clench, and that's a very hard instinct to overcome. Since at least part of your hand is required to in order for the Blackhawk holster to work, you've already given the O.K. for that instinct, hence the NDs associated with the system.

    It's not an accident some of the more experienced folks in the training world speak poorly about the SERPA. Training can mitigate some of the risks involved, but what advantage does the SERPA have over other retention holsters that don't share the same sort of "finger-uncomfortably-close-to-the-trigger-to-draw" risk? I see cons, but can't see any pros.


    -B
    Perhaps you fsiled to read my entire post BAC. As I stated I have had to draw TWICE this year under stress, for real, and one of these times the scum bag was uncomfortably close to me when I did so. No ND. No "clenching". I'm sorry but, if someone can't overcome what you call an instinct with training, then they shouldn't be carrying at all.

    As for the advantage that the SERPA has over a holster with a conventional safety strap, everyone knows how to operate that, and there isn't a bad guy out there who can figure it out in about one second if he didn't already know. The SERPA isn't instinctual to operate so it is more resistant to a gun grab. And it is much harder for someone to operate the retention system if they are not the person wearing the holster making a gun grab that much more difficult and unlikely.

    And one more thing, no matter if you are using a SERPA or a holster with a strap or just an open topped holster, by your reasoning BAC, anyone who draws under stress will have an ND because no matter what type of holster you use, your trigger finger should be EXACTLY where mine is in the photos demonstrating the proper draw technique from my SERPA. I think a lot of people like ot bad mouth the SERPA because a few big name trainers have said some very stupid things about them.
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  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array SubNine's Avatar
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    I like the Serpa design, it's natural and fast on the draw. I have one for each my handguns, but I really only use them when I go to the range and open carry. For concealment I use leather belt holsters. I don't think they're anymore unsafe than other holsters.
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  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TN_Mike View Post
    As I stated I have had to draw TWICE this year under stress, for real . . .
    Twice is not not exactly a big sample size.

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    Member Array soflasmg's Avatar
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    I've been to training where it was specified that Sherpa holsters not be used.

    That's enough for me.
    The Marshmallowist

  15. #14
    Member Array gunster99's Avatar
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    Any piece of equipments will hurt you if used it improperly. I have used many different kind of holsters, including the Serpa. Never have problems. I have used Serpa for many tactical training and stress shooting training. With everything, perfect trainings are required for one to become proficient in using of such equipment....just my 2 cents.

    Stay safe...

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array matiki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackeagle View Post
    Twice is not not exactly a big sample size.
    That's exactly why this bothers me so much. We've got what, one, maybe two incidents at most? How many other negligent discharges have been made using other holsters? Where's the big list of holsters that "aren't safe"?
    "Wise people learn when they can; fools learn when they must." - The Duke of Wellington

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