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Thread: SOCOM adopts Blackhawk Serpa

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Not trying to start another Serpa's are good/bad thread. This is for information only. Make your own decisions about the product.

    Blackhawk press release yesterday

    ************************************************** ******************

    BLACKHAWK!® SERPA® SYSTEM SELECTED FOR OUR NATIONS ELITE WARRIORS


    NORFOLK, VA (October 2009) BLACKHAWK! Products Group™, the world leader in manufacturing tactical gear for the military, law enforcement, industrial security and outdoor markets is proud to announce the selection of the BLACKHAWK! SERPA retention holster system along with select accessory components for the Elite Warriors of the United States Joint Special Operations Community.

    In a head to head comparison conducted Q2 '09 the BLACKHAWK! SERPA system was selected by a panel of active duty service personnel representing the various SOF Commands. Key to the SERPA selection was the active weapon retention, system modularity, speed and commonality of training.

    The basis of the system is built around the award winning SERPA Auto Retention holster which combines an intuitive drawing motion when presenting the weapon with automatic engagement of the locking mechanism upon re-holstering. The holster body is available in Concealment, Duty,Tactical, Level II, Level III retention models. Mounting platforms include a traditional belt mount, drop leg platform and a MOLLE chest mount. Color selection for all models and accessories include Black, Olive Drab, Foliage Green and Coyote Tan. Critical to all agencies, the training time is reduced due to the commonality of training across all models and retention levels of the SERPA system.

    "The active retention of the SERPA Holster combined with BLACKHAWK!'s Quick Disconnect system allows SOF to configure their equipment based on mission or environmental needs," stated Steve Matulewicz Executive Director of Operations for BLACKHAWK! "The versatility of the Quick Disconnect system allows operators to rapidly move their weapon from a thigh or belt mounted platform when on foot patrol to a vest mounted position for easy access when on a vehicle mounted operation."

    The SERPA holster system and components are now fully authorized for use within the Joint SOF arena, approved for purchase at the Command/Unit levels and will become an issued item as part of the US Government Load Carriage System (LCS) supplied to all of SOF.

    The extensive range of options with the SERPA Holster system allows the operator to choose security level, mounting position, weapon angle and is offered to accommodate the BLACKHAWK! Xiphos™ light.

    "The selection of the BLACKHAWK SERPA by the Elite SOF community is a tremendous endorsement for our products and I am honored that we will be supporting their mission," stated Mike Noell President and Chief Executive Officer of BLACKHAWK

  2. #2
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    Rule #1 for government contracts: Lowest bidder always wins.

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    hmm somethings not adding up here. iv seen serpas since i joined last year, and my buddies that were over seas (07-08) all had serpas for their m9's

    i cant imagine basic infantry had blackhawk gear before socom

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    r6-rider wrote:
    hmm somethings not adding up here. iv seen serpas since i joined last year, and my buddies that were over seas (07-08) all had serpas for their m9's

    i cant imagine basic infantry had blackhawk gear before socom
    They've been selling Serpas at military exchanges on base since they came out. I'd assume the ones you saw were purchased rather than issued. Lord knows I bought a lot of my own gear when I deployed.

    I've always been skeptical about the Serpa design, so this news kinda surprises me. I wonder if they did any actual field testing on them. I've already seen that it's relatively easy to jam the mechanism with the right sized pebble, or a bit of dirt. Of course on the other hand, thousands of people use the design daily w/o incident.

    I'll just stick with my Safariland .

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    DreQo wrote:
    I'll just stick with my Safariland .
    +1

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    DreQo wrote:
    snip....
    I've always been skeptical about the Serpa design, so this news kinda surprises me. I wonder if they did any actual field testing on them. I've already seen that it's relatively easy to jam the mechanism with the right sized pebble, or a bit of dirt. Of course on the other hand, thousands of people use the design daily w/o incident.
    Seen or heard of? The "pebble problem" was potentially due to the open rear edge design of early Serpas - the design change apparently fixed that concern.

    Yata hey
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    DreQo wrote:
    Rule #1 for government contracts: Lowest bidder always wins.
    But if the SpecialForcesRangersSEALSDeltaForceForceRecon guys use 'em, they HAVE to be good
    Quote Originally Posted by Open Carry.org Member View Post
    I really disgree with this one! That means that we can have any yahoo running around with a gun with out the proper training. This really scares the hell out of me. Just my two-cents!
    Quote Originally Posted by KansasMustang View Post
    Joe Schmedlap out there with a loaded weapon thinking he's going to deter crime and he's not even trained to fire his weapon safely just kinda makes my hair on the back of my neck stand up.

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    Grapeshot wrote:
    DreQo wrote:
    snip....
    I've always been skeptical about the Serpa design, so this news kinda surprises me. I wonder if they did any actual field testing on them. I've already seen that it's relatively easy to jam the mechanism with the right sized pebble, or a bit of dirt. Of course on the other hand, thousands of people use the design daily w/o incident.
    Seen or heard of? The "pebble problem" was potentially due to the open rear edge design of early Serpas - the design change apparently fixed that concern.

    Yata hey
    Seen, felt, caused lol. Granted, this was during a "lets see if we can break this" session, so it was intentional. The point was that we were able to disable the mechanism with objects that could easily find there way in there, especially when low crawling through sand or mud.

    I am not aware ofwhich "version" of the holsters it was, though.

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    DreQo wrote:
    Grapeshot wrote:
    DreQo wrote:
    snip....
    I've always been skeptical about the Serpa design, so this news kinda surprises me. I wonder if they did any actual field testing on them. I've already seen that it's relatively easy to jam the mechanism with the right sized pebble, or a bit of dirt. Of course on the other hand, thousands of people use the design daily w/o incident.
    Seen or heard of? The "pebble problem" was potentially due to the open rear edge design of early Serpas - the design change apparently fixed that concern.

    Yata hey
    Seen, felt, caused lol. Granted, this was during a "lets see if we can break this" session, so it was intentional. The point was that we were able to disable the mechanism with objects that could easily find there way in there, especially when low crawling through sand or mud.

    I am not aware ofwhich "version" of the holsters it was, though.
    I have never understood the "pebble in your Serpa will make it jam" argument. It is a quasi mechanical device. If a foreign object is introduced into the mechanism, it does have a possibility of a malfunction or failure. I would venture to say that doing the same to a firearm would have the same result. Drop a pebble into the action of an M4 and what happens? As gun owners we appreciate the correct mechanical function of a firearm and the importance of keeping a weapon clean to insure that proper function. Why does this not apply to ancillary devices as well? Blackhawkhas never made claims that the holster would function under any and all conditions as far as I know. I have 3 Serpas for different handguns and while I am not in the military (that was 35 years ago) , mine do get used for carry, and I've never had any kind of problem with any of them. I assume SOCOM was aware of the claims made against the Serpa and hopefully tested that functionality as well. The Serpa was still chosen.

    The Serpa is a moderately priced holster that does provide a certain level of retention. It doesn't claim or guarantee this level of retention in any situation that I am aware of. May not work for every person in every situation. Works for me and many others however.

    YMMV

    Stu

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    Look at it this way: The Serpa has a mechanical retention system that can be jammed by an object introduced externally while the weapon is in the holster. This malfunction could either allow the weapon to fall out, or trap the weapon in the holster.

    As an opposite example, Safariland's ALS system has a spring mechanism that locks into the ejection port. There are no pivoting parts, only one flexing part. This system is completely internal, and is impossible to access when the weapon is holstered. It cannot be affected in any way by a foreign object.

    Both systems require only slight pressure applied naturally during a combat grip on the weapon.

    Has your Serpa ever jammed? Nope. Have thousands of others? Nope. Would a situation requiring movement through brush, broken buildings, and crawling through dirt and sand greatly increase the potential for a failure? Probably. I say definitely.

    You say the my argument doesn't make sense. I say taking unnecessary risk doesn't make sense. :?

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    My point was a weapon can jam because of debris in the action. How do you prevent that? I agree that taking unnecessary chances is not good. My point was that concentrating on just the holster and not the entire "system" of weapon and holster seems like a bad idea. Yes, there have been OLD reports of a Serpa jam. So can your weapon. That as my only point. As a combat soldier, your needs may be very different than mine as a civilian.

    I assume SOCOM tested for this functionality. I wondew hy the Safariland system was not chosen if it's markedly better.

    I don't buy into the Govt buys low bid in all cases.



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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    DreQo wrote:
    Look at it this way: The Serpa has a mechanical retention system that can be jammed by an object introduced externally while the weapon is in the holster. This malfunction could either allow the weapon to fall out, or trap the weapon in the holster.

    As an opposite example, Safariland's ALS system has a spring mechanism that locks into the ejection port. There are no pivoting parts, only one flexing part. This system is completely internal, and is impossible to access when the weapon is holstered. It cannot be affected in any way by a foreign object.

    Both systems require only slight pressure applied naturally during a combat grip on the weapon.

    Has your Serpa ever jammed? Nope. Have thousands of others? Nope. Would a situation requiring movement through brush, broken buildings, and crawling through dirt and sand greatly increase the potential for a failure? Probably. I say definitely.

    You say the my argument doesn't make sense. I say taking unnecessary risk doesn't make sense. :?
    My point was that any mechanical device can jam, not just a holster I wonder why the Safariland system was not adopted if it's superior to the Serpa? I assume that SOCOM can purchase anything they want and not be required to buy low bid.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    I searched for documented cases of Serpa jambs in normal use - not intentional. Guess you already know the answer to that.

    Nevertheless, lets presume that it has happened somewhere, sometime and hypothesize a bit. Suppose the number of Serpas in use, times the number/days of such use , divided into the "failures" and the resulting decimal equivalent will likely look something similar to this: .00001% Unnecessary risk - I don't think so.

    Do I like Serpas - yes. Are they for everybody - no.

    I've made my own decision based upon my set of standards; you make yours based upon your own criteria. It doesn't make either of us wrong - just different.

    Yata hey


    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Activist Member swinokur's Avatar
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    Grapeshot wrote:
    I searched for documented cases of Serpa jambs in normal use - not intentional. Guess you already know the answer to that.

    Nevertheless, lets presume that it has happened somewhere, sometime and hypothesize a bit. Suppose the number of Serpas in use, times the number/days of such use , divided into the "failures" and the resulting decimal equivalent will likely look something similar to this: .00001% Unnecessary risk - I don't think so.

    Do I like Serpas - yes. Are they for everybody - no.

    I've made my own decision based upon my set of standards; you make yours based upon your own criteria. It doesn't make either of us wrong - just different.

    Yata hey

    exactly, Grape

    Stu

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    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Now thousands of operators are going to be killed by grains of sand.

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    Sounds like the whole series 80 issue with Colt 1911s...



    -Gruu

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    If SOCOM uses it, it's GOT to be good
    Quote Originally Posted by Open Carry.org Member View Post
    I really disgree with this one! That means that we can have any yahoo running around with a gun with out the proper training. This really scares the hell out of me. Just my two-cents!
    Quote Originally Posted by KansasMustang View Post
    Joe Schmedlap out there with a loaded weapon thinking he's going to deter crime and he's not even trained to fire his weapon safely just kinda makes my hair on the back of my neck stand up.

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    The gate guards, plainclothes security, and uniformed security personnel (mix of private contractors, Marines, and Federal Police) that I saw at Bethesda Navy Hospital last weekend ALL were sporting Serpas.

    I asked a group of them as I was entering the parking area on Saturday what they thought of them. Of the 4, (3 Marines and one uniformed private security) three said they really liked them. One said he hated it (the ones they had were the ones with the high front--I think they were Level 3 Retention), but then he went on to say that he personally owned a CQC, and that he REALLY liked that model, because it was a really fast draw. He said his main gripe with the ones they were issued was the high front, and it made for an awkward high-lift draw to clear the holster properly.

    If the Serpa is good enough for the Marine Corps, it's good enough for me...


    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
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    Just because SOCOM added them to their inventory doesn't mean they're used. All of the 7th group ODA guys I know have Safariland holsters with the Forward rotating hood which allows them to carry their M9s with the safety off and hammer back. As they say "Holster is safety."

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