Serpa holsters

M1911

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1) For concealed carry, you don’t need a retention device. A good leather or kydex open top holster has all the retention that you need. I’ve tripped and done a full shoulder roll and my full size gun stayed perfectly in the holster.

2) if you insist on a retention holster, then get a Safariland.

3) the Serpa holster is fundamentally a bad design. To release a Serpa holster, you push inwards with your trigger finger. If you are drawing under time pressure or without paying attention, this can result in your index finger ending up prematurely inside the trigger guard, and thus cause a negligent discharge. This has happened often enough that some federal training centers and some defensive shooting instructors have banned Serpa holsters from their classes. In contrast, with a Safariland retention holster you release the gun from retention using your thumb, which cannot end up in the trigger guard.
 
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so many better choices for retention holsters, why chance a design that make whoopsies easy?
bladetech
safariland
ghost
and any number of other manufacturers make a good reliable secure thumb drive retention that keeps your finger no where near the trigger.
 

Len-2A Training

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I know all the bad press about the Serpa. However I bought a Serpa 1911 before all the nay-sayers had their say.

So I have tried it with a blue gun and at no time did my finger slip into the trigger guard. I think it is mostly a lack of training issue and lack of discipline in keeping trigger finger extended along a slide that causes the problem. I will agree that it is a problem with some gun owners and perhaps other models make it a more realistic issue.

In any case I ccw IWB with a high-end holster that most people won't spend the money to buy, so it's a non-issue to me and the Serpa is just one more in a box of holsters.
 

wmass

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Apparently I’m not high speed enough. I have no problem with serpas. My hands are 2xl so my trigger finger is long enough that I hit the release tab around the middle knuckle. As I draw my finger naturally runs along the dust cover. I’ve used both Glock and M&P models for uspsa and 3 gun.
 

allen-1

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The mind does funny things under stress. How many times have you read or heard about someone stepping firmly on the accelerator when trying to step on the brake? I looked at Serpa, read about it and gave it a pass.

I have a SafariLand ALS retention holster that I use for 3Gun because there's a lot of running around, dropping to kneel and prone firing positions. For IDPA/USPSA I use good kydex OWB holsters, they have sufficient retention not to need a "lock". For concealed carry, I use good kydex IWB.
 

Ranger007

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I know all the bad press about the Serpa. However I bought a Serpa 1911 before all the nay-sayers had their say.

So I have tried it with a blue gun and at no time did my finger slip into the trigger guard. I think it is mostly a lack of training issue and lack of discipline in keeping trigger finger extended along a slide that causes the problem. I will agree that it is a problem with some gun owners and perhaps other models make it a more realistic issue.

In any case I ccw IWB with a high-end holster that most people won't spend the money to buy, so it's a non-issue to me and the Serpa is just one more in a box of holsters.
BINGO!!!!!
 

M1911

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So I have tried it with a blue gun and at no time did my finger slip into the trigger guard. I think it is mostly a lack of training issue and lack of discipline in keeping trigger finger extended along a slide that causes the problem. I will agree that it is a problem with some gun owners and perhaps other models make it a more realistic issue.

Bad things can happen under stress and people can make mistakes. Why use a holster that might result in a finger in the trigger guard if you screw up, versus a holster like a Safariland which uses a thumb release instead? Why use a Serpa when a better designed holster is available?
 

Cap'n Mike

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I used a level 3 SERPA for years and really liked it.

I think most of the people who banned them were instructors who weren't worried about shooting themselves, but worried about other people shooting themselves.
Given the lowest common denominator of our fellow citizens, I probably cant blame them.
A person is smart, people are stupid.
The people that shot themselves seemed to be either learning how to use the holster, trying to figure out how it was possible to shoot yourself with a SERPA, or switching from one holster design to another while drawing with the safety off.

Compared to the level 3 Safariland, the level 3 SERPA was much faster and instinctive to draw from for me.
With the SERPA, squeeze your trigger finger and thumb toward each other slightly, pushing inward on the levers at the same time and draw straight up.
With the Safariland, push down on the lever with your thumb and then rotate the hood forward with your thumb, then draw straight up, two different motions that slows down your draw.

I switched to the level 3 Safariland last year because I started carrying a weapon mounted light, only the Blackhawk light will fit in the SERPA and the Blackhawk light was proprietary. I didn't care for the blackhawk weapon light design.
The Safariland light bearing holster will accommodate a streamlight TLR1
 
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FiremanBob

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The Serpa holster is an inherently terrible design. I don't think the objection of potentially of shooting yourself which most people raise is a serious risk PROVIDED that you train with it properly. The button puts your index finger in line with the frame, and IF you train thoroughly and practice keeping that finger straight until you have both hands on the gun in the retention position, your risk is minimized. But there have been enough incidents involving heat of the moment or distraction that on the bottom line, the risk is real.

However, if that button should break or if something should get lodged in it, such as dirt or debris, it will jam and you will never get that pistol free without several minutes and some destructive tools. For that reason alone, its unreliability makes it ineligible to be called a holster for carrying a firearm.

If you need retention on an OWB holster, the Safariland is a better system. But for retention on a belt holster my preference is the thumb break strap. IWB I recommend a tuckable model that allows complete concealment. The pressure of your belt on an IWB holster usually provides sufficient retention.
 

daekken

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Just to echo what many have said...lots of stories of NDs or near NDs. Doesn't necessarily apply to everyone though.

For me, I don't need crazy retention, kydex and or kydex/leather hybrids have always had enough retention. I do try to keep my handsprings to a minimum when carrying though.
 

weekendracer

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I've carried the Sherpa for over a decade (forget when I went to it, but it's been a while). I draw and fire in under .8 sec from a random tone. I've never had an issue with it. FLETC banned it, that's a primary training center, so new gun handlers are the standard, so I can see where they are coming from. The 'indexing' the trigger finger is a non issue for me because you index your trigger finger in the exact same place no matter the holster. The 'squeezing' the trigger finger onto the trigger will happen no matter the holster if you are inclined to do so under stress.

I'm looking at the ALS mainly because it's 'free' from the .gov supply house and my current holster has been through some use. The ALS also allows the 'standard' WML my agency tends to buy us.
 

andrew1220

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Just after reading this thread, I was at the customer service desk at Market Basket and there was an armed guard from Dunbar taking/delivering money. Needless to say, he had a dropped offset Serpa holster....
 

DarthRevan

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GCode makes a solid level 3 if that's what you're looking for with plenty of carry or vehicle mounting options. It's usually overkill for Joe Everyday but it's a sweet piece of gear I dont regret buying but regret not using it enough.
 

Davidk

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Serpa is the only holster that I have ever seen banned from training classes. Numerous top instructors have banned them.

It is NOT a training issue. When the gun is withdrawn from the holster, it places the trigger finger on the edge of the frame, making it easy for the finger to slip off and on to the trigger. The likelihood of an ND with the Serpa increases under stress.

That said, it is gun and user dependent. Some gun designs and some trigger finger lengths make it more susceptible to NDs than others. If you have a long trigger finger that extends beyond the trigger guard you won't have a problem. I have tested it myself and found that all three of my carry guns are susceptible to NDs with the Serpa.

Regardless, the Safariland ALS is a FAR superior system and is NOT susceptible to NDs.
 
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I've carried the Sherpa for over a decade (forget when I went to it, but it's been a while). I draw and fire in under .8 sec from a random tone. I've never had an issue with it. FLETC banned it, that's a primary training center, so new gun handlers are the standard, so I can see where they are coming from. The 'indexing' the trigger finger is a non issue for me because you index your trigger finger in the exact same place no matter the holster. The 'squeezing' the trigger finger onto the trigger will happen no matter the holster if you are inclined to do so under stress.
.

You have been doing .8 draws for a while. If you try for .6s, you never feel you finger brush the trigger?
My finger indexes a lot higher on non-sepra holsters.
Screen Shot 2018-11-12 at 2.47.12 PM.png
 
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I used one with a M&P a few times for 3gun until I switched to CZ (and corresponding blade tech holster). I experienced no issues nor could I foresee any despite the reputation. IIRC I used the knuckle of my index finger to draw from the Serpa which precluded sticking my finger inside the trigger guard, but I've moved on to holsters without active retention. YMMV.
 

weekendracer

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You have been doing .8 draws for a while. If you try for .6s, you never feel you finger brush the trigger?
My finger indexes a lot higher on non-sepra holsters.
View attachment 254113

To me, saying the holster is inherently dangerous is the same as saying a gun without a safety is inherently dangerous. If you don't practice safe procedures, you won't be safe. Don't draw faster than you can safely do it. Start slow and slowly work on speed. I don't blame equipment, especially in the LEO field where most people simply don't practice anything, much less drawing at speed. The 'fun' part is shooting, you can get guys to do that if you are lucky. Drawing the weapon is relegated to the 'do we have to' folder.
 
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For me, I don't see pushing my trigger finger towards the trigger, then stopping it before the trigger is clear, a safe practice. I don't want my finger heading in a direct route to the trigger during the draw. Can it be done fast and safe?..sure, you are proof of that, but I see it as an additional safety step to add with no benefit from the holster.
 

Davidk

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To me, saying the holster is inherently dangerous is the same as saying a gun without a safety is inherently dangerous. If you don't practice safe procedures, you won't be safe. Don't draw faster than you can safely do it. Start slow and slowly work on speed. I don't blame equipment, especially in the LEO field where most people simply don't practice anything, much less drawing at speed. The 'fun' part is shooting, you can get guys to do that if you are lucky. Drawing the weapon is relegated to the 'do we have to' folder.

The Serpa IS inherently dangerous because for most shooters, it forces the finger too low on the frame making it easy for it to slide off and onto the trigger. This is dependent on the gun and finger length. For many its a problem, for some its not. This is NOT a practice issue.
 
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northframingham

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I rarely have such a strong opinion on anything but since you asked...they are unsafe and should never be used, under any circumstances. I think no matter how much you practice with it it's fundamentally a bad design that under stress can cause you to shoot yourself.

Agreed! Watch Tex with his Serpa Holster

 

M1911

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To me, saying the holster is inherently dangerous is the same as saying a gun without a safety is inherently dangerous. If you don't practice safe procedures, you won't be safe. Don't draw faster than you can safely do it. Start slow and slowly work on speed. I don't blame equipment, especially in the LEO field where most people simply don't practice anything, much less drawing at speed. The 'fun' part is shooting, you can get guys to do that if you are lucky. Drawing the weapon is relegated to the 'do we have to' folder.

A user interface can reduce the chance of error or increase the chance of error. The user interface of the Serpa increases the chance of user error. There are retention holsters that have interfaces that reduce the chance of user error (for example, Safariland ALS).
 

Varmint

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I know all the bad press about the Serpa. However I bought a Serpa 1911 before all the nay-sayers had their say.

So I have tried it with a blue gun and at no time did my finger slip into the trigger guard. I think it is mostly a lack of training issue and lack of discipline in keeping trigger finger extended along a slide that causes the problem. I will agree that it is a problem with some gun owners and perhaps other models make it a more realistic issue.

In any case I ccw IWB with a high-end holster that most people won't spend the money to buy, so it's a non-issue to me and the Serpa is just one more in a box of holsters.

did you try it with people shooting at you?
 
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