OC and retention holsters

This is a discussion on OC and retention holsters within the Open Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; My OC only occurs when I come back from hunting and have my glock in a shoulder holster (around the house/property) and whenever my cover ...

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Thread: OC and retention holsters

  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    OC and retention holsters

    My OC only occurs when I come back from hunting and have my glock in a shoulder holster (around the house/property) and whenever my cover garment moves away. In PA, I can OC and never stress about printing or showing; However, being on the border of NJ with many NJ transplants, I really have not OC'd. I am absolutely sure I would receive grief from local leo / sheep.

    But, I do like the idea of being able to OC when I want to.

    That being said, I would not feel comfortable with a holster that did not have some type of retention capabilities.

    I know of the thumb break retention holsters. What other type of retention holsters are there? And what about the pros/cons of each?

    And what about switching between manually de-activated retention holsters and regular friction type retention holsters? Caveats?

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    Distinguished Member Array SubNine's Avatar
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    The Blackhawk CQC Serpa holsters are quite popular and readily available in most gun stores and sporting goods stores. The retention is great, and the draw is very natural. Safariland I hear also makes great retention holsters.

    The Serpa holsters have a lever on the side that you press to draw the weapon, and is in a position that is very natural. When you reholster the trigger guard engages the lever and locks in place, no thumb breaks to fumble with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SubNine View Post
    The Blackhawk CQC Serpa holsters are quite popular and readily available in most gun stores and sporting goods stores. The retention is great, and the draw is very natural. Safariland I hear also makes great retention holsters.

    The Serpa holsters have a lever on the side that you press to draw the weapon, and is in a position that is very natural. When you reholster the trigger guard engages the lever and locks in place, no thumb breaks to fumble with.



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    Alot of the OC holsters have some form of retention be it like the blackhawk serpa or like some others where is tightly molded and takes a good upwards snap to get it out.

    I have a Fobus for my 642 for when I OC it. Its retention is it holds on to the gun like tomorrow aint coming because of its mold.
    You literally have to JERK it straight out to get it out, lightly pull or any off pull from front or back she aint coming out.
    I DONT LIKE IT lol.. I will probably sale it and get a blackhawk!
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  5. #4
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    the options I see:

    thumb snap: My right thumb has an injury and using the thumb break is not pleasant for me.

    blackhawk SERPA: index finger, some seem to like it. I thought I remember incidents where they would lock up and disable pulling the gun from the holster. Something due to sand/grit in the mechanism. Anyone have info on that?

    Bianchi Carry Lok - middle finger activated. This looks good to me. Not sure how I would perform with this model holster.

    Desantis Redi-lok: thumb activated between the holster and the body. That thumb thing again. I am not sure how this would work for me.

    Safariland ALS - some type of thumb activated hood or something or other.

    Right now, I think the SERPA (if I can get enough info that the dirt/grit will not cause malfunction) or the bianchi carry loc would be good options.

    It would be for carrying a glock.

    My concern is that it will take an inordinate amount of time to become proficient with any retention system. And that I would have to always train with retention system so as to not have a problem getting the gun into play in case of emergency.

    What say ye?

  6. #5
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    I don't think it takes all that much time to train on the Serpa or -carryloc. I have not tried any others so cannot comment on them.
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    Distinguished Member Array JerryM's Avatar
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    In my view one does not need a retention holster. If you will try a holster from Sparks, for example, the problem is drawing the gun. A holster has to be broken in and due to the tightness and angle of the draw there is no chance of someone coming up and ripping out your gun.

    A cheap or loose fitting holster would be different, but get a good holster, and don't be concerned.

    Regards,
    Jerry

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    I have a Safariland 3. Its got 3 different retention mechanisms. Its supposedly one of the best out there and it is made for many guns. Most of the cops around here use them and they work very well.


    They arent cheap, but then, how much is your life worth?
    Safariland&#160;SSIII Mid-Ride Duty Holster, Retention, Level 3, Black
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryM View Post
    In my view one does not need a retention holster. If you will try a holster from Sparks, for example, the problem is drawing the gun. A holster has to be broken in and due to the tightness and angle of the draw there is no chance of someone coming up and ripping out your gun.

    A cheap or loose fitting holster would be different, but get a good holster, and don't be concerned.

    Regards,
    Jerry
    I already have good holsters, but would feel comfortable with some type of retention system on an OC holster. Thanks.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotGuns View Post
    I have a Safariland 3. Its got 3 different retention mechanisms. Its supposedly one of the best out there and it is made for many guns. Most of the cops around here use them and they work very well.


    They arent cheap, but then, how much is your life worth?
    Safariland*SSIII Mid-Ride Duty Holster, Retention, Level 3, Black
    It looks nice. A little bulky, but nice. I'll have to check with one of my friends (leo) and see if that is what he has.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array Rob P.'s Avatar
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    I have a Bianchi Carry-Lok for when I'm OC or OWB with my weapons. The Carry-Lok is a GREAT system. Positive retention and easy to use. Plus it does NOT rely on the trigger finger at all. No chance of the trigger finger getting accidentally into the guard and causing an ND like some holsters have had a problem with (Serpa comes to mind but don't know why).

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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sojourner View Post
    ...blackhawk SERPA: index finger, some seem to like it. I thought I remember incidents where they would lock up and disable pulling the gun from the holster. Something due to sand/grit in the mechanism. Anyone have info on that?...
    Yes, actually. There have been other discussions about the Serpa holsters about a month ago, but my take is a little different.

    About four years ago, firearms trainer Paul Gomez posted a strongly worded and damning post about Serpa holsters having a severely-flawed design. He cited two ND's with Glocks, one that resulted in an injury to the shooter, and one involving an NLTA-modified Glock, where, under stress, the shooters had slipped their fingers inside the trigger guard after the trigger guard cleared the holster. He also cited another incident involving an NLTA-modified Glock, where the Serpa Autolock mechanism was completely siezed by a single piece of gravel "about the size of the head of a pin"; in fact, he said the pistol was wedged in place so tightly that two people could not remove the pistol from the holster, and in trying managed to separate the holster from the belt plate (citing yet another 'flaw'). Allegedly, the three screws that secure the holster to the belt plate managed to slip out of the slots in which they are located when the holster is properly secured to the belt plate or paddle. Allegedly, neither the holster nor the belt plate were damaged, yet the holster was separated from the belt plate, suggesting that the belt plate was so flimsy and weak that it allowed the screws to slip through.

    Gomez went on to post links to "other discussions" about these same issues on four or five other forums, without mentioning that those other threads were his, as well.

    As popular as he was on the training/lecture circuit, it is little wonder that his internet posts got picked up and repeated in the manner of urban legend (you know - FOAF posts, "I heard", and claims referring to unnamed, unindentified accidents as fact rather than second/third/fourth-hand information). Four years later, the same incidents are still being cited, anonymously.

    It also seems that Gomez's comments have been picked up and repeated by some Safariland instructors, and there appears to be a certain amount of Chevy vs Ford-style rivalry between Safariland fans and Serpa fans.

    When pressed, Gomez had to revise his statements to say that they were restricted to the Serpa used with certain Glocks, and that in most cases with other pistols, the holster worked without failure. He continued to insist that shooters under stress manage to end up with their finger on the trigger during the draw, in effect saying that people fail to draw from the Serpa holster according to proper training, but even then, in order for the described misuse to occur, one would also have to move the trigger finger away from the autolock button by more than an inch for the trigger finger to end up inside the trigger guard instead of on the slide.

    About six months ago, an individual on a police forum claimed that Serpa holsters are deadly, and said he was at the point of banning them from his department's classes. He referenced the Gomez ND cases, without citation or detail, claiming them as 'his' experiences, and the debris under the autolock mechanism, claiming it as 'his' observation during extreme FoF training. He also claimed to have contacted Blackhawk about this problem with no response. He also claimed that his training classes involved very hard use, and that his force-on-force training was not normal.

    Pressed for details about his position, he eventually admitted to being a part-time, unpaid, volunteer constable whose regular job was as an owner of several businesses. Pressed for details about the training, he stated that the FoF training he claimed to teach was neither required nor regular training for his constabulary. When confronted by Blackhawk's Serpa product manager about who at Blackhawk the constable had contacted, the constable hedged at first and then eventually stated that he had spoken to someone at the Blackhawk booth at the SHOT show.

    Surrounding these posts were replies by Serpa fans saying they would swear by their Serpa holsters, and Safariland fans saying they would stick with their Safariland holsters.

    Amazingly, on-line gunrags repeating Gomez's dirt-under-the-lock claim, also happened to be advertising Gomez training classes or featuring Gomez articles.

    All I can say is, at least on my Blackhawk Level II Serpa CQC Autolock holster, the screw heads that secure the holster to the belt plate are wide enough that they could not possibly slip through the slots in the belt plate or paddle, that there is enough clearance in the design of the autolock that it would be difficult to even get debris to take a purchase around or under the mechanism, and that I cannot draw from the holster and get my trigger finger into the trigger guard during the draw, without doing something extremely awkward and unnatural with my finger (that doesn't look right...lol). If I draw naturally, my trigger finger ends up extended along the slide, as it should be.

    My take on OC and retention: My needs for an OC holster that can be concealed or open, as needed, are very different from a LEO's need for a duty holster. I don't need Level III retention. I prefer to CC, when possible, and only OC when required by law. I want a holster that holds my pistol, securely, even if I am running or being moderately rough and tumble. For IWB, my Brommeland MaxCon V holds my pistol very securely, walking, running, or even rolling on the ground (not comfortable, but it holds onto the pistol). For OWB, my Serpa CQC, in paddle configuration, does so as well. Yes, I could have gotten a nice leather holster to go with my Brommeland, but the Serpa was on sale, and it is hard to beat at $32.

    Passive retention is built into a good holster. Both my Brommeland and Serpa have good passive retention. I wanted a little more for my OWB holster, precisely because it is OWB. So, mine has active retention, as well. Perhaps it is like belt and suspenders, but it works for me.
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    thx for great and informative post

    Tom,

    Thanks for the thorough reply and information. My google-fu showed me some Gomez posts, but I was not able to make heads or tails about the "situation" other than his posts.

    It sounds like I should not have any problems. For the price, it sounds good to me.

    BTW, I am a belt and suspenders kind of guy too.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to fill me in on the SERPA's history.

    Regards,

    l

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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sojourner View Post
    Tom,

    Thanks for the thorough reply and information. My google-fu showed me some Gomez posts, but I was not able to make heads or tails about the "situation" other than his posts.

    It sounds like I should not have any problems. For the price, it sounds good to me.

    BTW, I am a belt and suspenders kind of guy too.

    Again, thanks for taking the time to fill me in on the SERPA's history.

    Regards,

    l
    It's just my personal perspective over the last several years. Others may disagree. Blackhawk is just one of many good options out there. The most important retention is you - maintaining situational awareness and avoiding situations where holster retention must even be a factor. Good luck finding what you want.
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  15. #14
    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom357 View Post
    ...For IWB, my Brommeland MaxCon V holds my pistol very securely, walking, running, or even rolling on the ground (not comfortable, but it holds onto the pistol)...
    Clarification: I meant that rolling with a full-size pistol in my IWB holster is uncomfortable. My Brommeland MaxCon V is, without a doubt, the most comfortable holster I've ever worn. Just wanted to clear up that ambiguity.
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  16. #15
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    For OC (and while deployed), I use my Blackhawk CQC holster for my P229 (home) and M9 (deployed).

    I haven't had a problem drawing from my Blackhawk holster in the last 8 months...despite the many times I've been rolling around/training with the Afghans (and other nations).
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