By Vic Laboy

No matter who you carry a conversation with in this line of work, everyone can confirm that BLACKHAWK! has grown to be one of the most reputable tactical companies on the market today. Although they primarily channel their gear towards law enforcement and military, most of their designs apply to the civilian sector as well. From duty belt setups, to flashlight holsters, or even magazine pouches, one of their more commonly requested products is the BLACKHAWK! Serpa Holster. This high-grade kydex holster has found itself on the hip of many firearm enthusiasts, operators, as well as local and federal law enforcement agencies.

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Level 2 Retention

To engineer a holster that is fit for duty and will not fail you in any carry situation, this holster is equipped with either level 2 or level 3 retention. To begin, you are given the ability to secure this holster to your hip using either the paddle or belt rig. Whether you are engaging in a foot pursuit, or going about your everyday routine, you do not have to worry about being disarmed in most instances. In the BLACKHAWK! Serpa Level 2 configuration, this works by securing the handgun around the trigger guard, preventing any unintentional removal from the holster. To remove the weapon, simply press the release button resting on the side and pull up. It is imperative that you are wary of your trigger finger when drawing as your trigger finger does rest just above the trigger when presenting. Once there is no longer a need for your weapon to be drawn, the wide-bored opening allows you to re-holster your weapon with ease. Once secured in the holster, there is an audible click, assuring you your firearm is secured in place.

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Level 3 Retention

The BLACKHAWK! Serpa Level 3 utilizes the same method as the level 2 in addition to a second retention point on the rear of the pistol. Along with the finger release to the side, there is also a thumb release that will drop the rear hood, so you may clear your weapon to engage. This is more commonly found with law enforcement and military who endure more rigorous combat scenarios. Also, these are known to be light-bearing holsters that are mostly fitted for the X300; however, they will also properly secure a TLR-1. If you are seeking concealment, it is best to consider the Level 2 Serpa as the bulkiness is extremely difficult to conceal. Although the most common form of carry is by securing this to the belt, the level 3 Serpa is commonly found on drop-leg holsters due to its larger dimensions. When re-holstering, the only requirement is that you remember to reset the rear hood to utilize the full capabilities of the level 3 retention; otherwise, this is a bulky Level 2 Serpa.

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Advantages to the Serpa

One of the main advantages is the security provided by this rig. You can engage in a foot pursuit, execute 3-gun competitions, or simply carry a secondary weapon without worrying about disarming yourself. For those who are keen on running a Glock 19 with a Streamlight TLR-1, you are not restricted from using this holster as some variants do include the ability to holster your weapon with a WML. The downside is the increased weight that may become overbearing for some; however, a suitable leather or thick nylon belt will help alleviate most of this weight.

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BLACKHAWK! Serpa Holster Negatives

Even though this holster is commonly used for several platforms, there can be drawbacks for some users. The most common complaint of the level two retention is placement of the release button. Without the proper training, those who are new to this setup may find their finger falls close to or on the trigger, rendering you susceptible to an accidental discharge. Of course, consistent and correct training techniques will help prevent this occurrence. The key is to maintain proper trigger discipline to avoid depressing the trigger unintentionally. In addition to this method, some may find they are unable to locate the release, causing the shooter to merely tug their pants leading to an unsuccessful draw attempt. Once again, proper training will reverse this habit and will soon become muscle memory. This will provide the assurance that you are ready to engage when necessary.

Next, moving away from potentially lethal errors, another disadvantage many voice with the Serpa is that it is difficult to fully conceal, especially during warmer weather as this is an OWB holster. Although there are a plethora of options available, some may find difficulty locating a holster fit for their model. This can lead users to seek another option, however remember that BLACKHAWK! may soon manufacture a Serpa holster for your distinct needs. One thing this company prides itself on is its exceptional customer service and listening to what their buyers have to say. If you do not see one available for your P226, or Ruger American, they are bound to offer this with higher demand.

BLACKHAWK! – Well-Trusted

BLACKHAWK! is well trusted among shooters across the world for EDC, competition, and higher level defensive tactics. This brand built its foundation upon equipping those whose lives depend on their products. Next time you’re going about your day, take a look around and you may find a local officer sporting this holster. Take the time to consider adding this to your daily carry. Available in both right and left-handed configurations, no shooter is left behind as BLACKHAWK! has options for any firearm advocate.

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Final Thoughts

Using their patented SERPA Auto-Lock Technology, this product offers a smooth draw, easy re-holster, and unparalleled handgun security. This sleek, durable holster is not only affordable, but may be applied in any tactical outfit. Available in black, FDE, carbon fiber, or basket weave, you are sure to find one that fits your needs and meets your satisfaction. If you are in the market for a holster that you can depend your life on, visit our website at 1800gunsandammo.com, or visit our retail store in Arlington, Texas to see if this is the right fit for you.