Beware the Serpa

I used to be a fan of the Serpa holster. However, the more and more I used them the more problems I had. I don’t recommend them to anyone and suggest just about anything else over the Serpa. A brown paper sack is preferable in my opinion.

Problems I’ve personally seen:
1. Failure to depress lock mechanism completely, which results in the pistol not releasing during a quick draw.
2. The gun being jerked out of the hand somehow, resulting in a draw stroke that ends with the gun being tossed away from the shooter.
3. The lock failing and ending up with the gun being stuck in the holster.

18 thoughts on “Beware the Serpa”

  1. I like that this guy had the smarts to post this and take ownership for the ND even though pressing the index release button and draw caused the finger to curl into the trigger gaurd.

    Freak accident but it still takes the operator to pull the trigger.

    I will never ever buy a holster with that type of retention device and I thank him for the lesson and give him props.

    Nice to see you came to some conclusions on your own, George, and this guy validates your concerns.

    One tough cookie there walking away from that wound. I tip my cap to his focus in dressing his wound and calling for help.

    Thanks.

  2. For a while I wore one, and didn’t have a problem with it. But I didn’t draw all that much from it. I was tired all the time from the long foot patrol and third shift work, and didn’t practice as much as I should have. The few times I did draw weren’t quick draw situations, having the pistol out to clear areas where alarms had gone off, or a construction sight where an armed suspect at construction sight was a possibility. I don’t remember even thinking about the draw, I was more concerned about not getting in the way or puting they guy(s) with me in front of my muzzle. After I stopped working security I threw it in a drawer. After this report it can stay there.

  3. Dodged the bullet on this one, literally. About two years ago I purchased a Serpa for my 1911 Officers, on the very first fit check (unloaded, no magazine) the weapon stuck in the holster and it would not release with out dis-assembling the holster. Needless to say the Serpa was returned to the place of purchase. I think I’ll stick to my Dillion DP Leather Belt Slide.

  4. I’m at work and can’t listen to the audio, but in watching the video I find myself impressed by his muzzle control after the ND. That would appear to be the result of training and illustrates a couple of things. 1. Well trained people are still capable of making mistakes, therefore constant training is needed to mitigate that danger, and 2. when S**T hits the fan, training and discipline take over. I’m thankful he wasn’t hurt any worse.

    1. Reminds me of the video of the LEO who popped one off in a hallway full of criminals. He was supposed to be securing it some sort of lockbox before entering the prison. Well, he wound up dropping the gun on the ground while all the criminals stood there and watched him wander off down the hallway in a panic, with a gun laying on the floor… Oops. I got the impression he was one of those cops who carries a gun but doesn’t really respect it or think much about it. You have to treat your weapon like a living entity to really understand it and use it to its full potential. Respect it like it has a mind of its own, and it will treat you right and serve you well.

  5. I would say that if your index finger doesn’t reach the front of your handgun’s trigger guard, this holster is not for you.

    I have no problem drawing from my SERPA duty holster with my index finger STRAIGHT. But, then, I have Magilla Gorilla hands…..

  6. I’m glad I saw this. I had seriously considered using a Serpa on a vest (even though I don’t like the exposed/open area on what would be the top of the holster) – but wondered what sort of problems I might have with my smaller hands (They aren’t ‘tiny’ but they certainly aren’t large and my fingers aren’t long by any stretch).
    I started having some doubts when I read that the release had failed – occasionally – when it was dirty; and this has pretty well killed any thought of using a Serpa.

    On that note: does anyone have any suggestions of a holster that can be mounted on a vest? My next choice seems to be the M-12/UM-84 with a thumb-snap.

    1. I just use the regular tension screw Serpa. It’s a range holster anyway for casual use.

      Mamba, try G-Code’s RTI system, I’ve been using the adapter for Safariland for a while now and I can definately say it’s worth every penny.

      1. Louis-
        I just went to look at them – and I was impressed. I think I’ll be giving one a try pretty soon.

        Thanks for the tip.

  7. I’ve used a serpa with a Beretta 92(a buddies gun and rig I was trying out), with no problems. A good video explaining the problem of (serpa)NDs can be found here…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUCqk00SKBU

    Also, while I commend Tex for owning up to putting his booger hook on the bang switch a little too soon, one does wonder why the safety was not engaged on a cocked and locked 1911. In the end I think this is no different than all the people who worry about NDs with Glocks due to the lack of a manual safety.

    1. He disengaged the safety while drawing. He had been using a different SERPA holster where the release was actuated with the thumb, and when he switched to the other muscle memory caused him to accidently switch the safety off. He explains this in detail in the video.

      1. This has also happened to guys shooting XD’s and Glocks. The finger slap can happen if one doesn’t think about it for just a split second. I don’t like the position of the lock. It’s very easy, as you just saw, to fumble the draw.

      2. “when he switched to the other muscle memory caused him to accidently switch the safety off.” Which would have happened had he switched to a simple “friction fit” holster such as a fobus. None of this still points to being the SerpaII’s fault. It was much more of what was pointed out in the video I linked above, trying to be a quick draw with a single action auto pistol.

        1. I respectfully disagree… With a friction fit holster, your trigger finger isn’t having to press into the trigger area.
          This is just one of the reasons I am not digging the Serpa holster anymore.

    2. Two things:
      If the safety was not engaged, it’s not “cocked and locked” – it’s just “cocked.”

      No mechanical safety is worth a damn. It’s mechanical, and it can break. So you have to treat the firearm with the same respect you would give it, with the safety off. Given that, why bother engaging it, at all? I switched from a H&K to my 1911, six years ago, and I’ve never carried it with the safety on.

      1. Well I gotta disagree on running a 1911 cocked and unlocked(if I’m understanding you Flint).

        Mechanical devices can always fail but that isn’t always reason to avoid them especially when it’s an extra safety.

        Breaks in a car can fail as well but I don’t recommend people always coast to a stop to avoid their use. If your running a double action with a safety then feel free to leave it off. But at least in my opinion they are useful on single actions(well and I run mine on my doubles as well since they are in the same location as my 1911).

        Luke

        1. I wouldn’t recommend not using your brakes.

          But I also wouldn’t recommend using your normal brakes, /and/ your parking brake, every time you come to a stop.

          The “brake pedal” for any firearm is a properly-designed holster, which retains the firearm well and covers the trigger completely. The thumb safety is like using the parking brake.

  8. Please do not forget, or neglect to notice, that the guy with the video is a fool. Watch some of his other videos. Especially the “Cross-cock carry”, where he sticks a Kimber 1911 in his underwear and tries fast drawing it. The same Kimber he shot himself with in this video. The man is reckless and ignorant, and he passes on dangerous information.

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