I've mentioned several times on this blog that I have a Blackhawk holster for my Sig P226. It's not as sleek as many other holsters I own, but for the clothing I wear outdoors, it was a holster that a number of people recommended. This particular holster is unique in that there's a locking mechanism that keeps the gun in place during other than just strolling movement, as well as acts in preventing someone else from grabbing it.
Cabela's says "Thumb breaks can slow your draw and get in the way when you re-holster. But you won't experience those drawbacks with Blackhawk's patented SERPA Technology™. It engages the trigger guard as you holster your firearm and secures it until you release using the normal drawing motion with your trigger finger alongside the holster.
I noticed when I bought it how SECURE it was. It just flat out didn't budge and though it was a tad bulky I was happy with it. Until a weekend ago.
I went to a LEO range with a colleague and decided to do some "draw from holster" with it.
That's right. Facing off to Mr. Paper Bad Guy. I went to do a quick draw and it wouldn't come out of the holster. I checked the snugness of my belt. I checked the angle. Everything was normal. Same gun, the only gun I carry in it. I tried it the way I always do. Nothing. The gun would not come out. On about the 4th try it came out, reluctantly After that it worked, but not every time. I had Rangebuddy try it as well next time out with it. He's an ex Army Ranger and is as knowledgeable about weapons and their accessories as anyone I've ever met. He's quite familiar with Blackhawk. It stuck on him too.
A jam, equipment malfunction or a misfire on the range is frustrating. Hunting it will certainly ruin your mood. I'm sure more than one of us has been out there, muzzle loading or shotgun hunting for whitetail or Elk. You''ve been up since well before dawn, treading out into the woods across the sheen of first snow as quietly as you can, like walking on buttered glass, trying not to fall, trying not to make too much noise . You've waited, and waited, belly empty, bladder full, for that perfect shot. Still, you feel that old lift of your heart, that pristine feeling of new adventure, as if on your first day, as if you'd never lose it, no matter how long you've done this, the best of it all, the risk, the humility the pride. And you wait, until that perfect moment, the target clearly identified and in range and you pull the trigger and there's nothing but the snicker of metal against metal and nothing happens. The shot that wasn't lingers in the thick streaming air and your breath exhales as your 12 pointer and the does he was chasing bound away to the next county. It's not a good feeling.
But I don't carry this holster and this weapon for the range or for the hunt. I carry where I am the prey, and a"click click" instead of a "boom boom" may be the last sounds I ever hear.
I've worn this holster for over a couple of years, not daily certainly, but on regular weekends out in the city, drawing from it enough for practice until I found it easy to use. The SERPA button is very lightly sprung, I'm guessing by known weights of single action trigger pulls it's probably just a little over a pound. Point being, it's light, and doesn't require must of a conscious effort to operate it, no tugging or strength of hand, so I never noticed any impediment to a natural, instinctive draw stroke.
The holster has not been exposed to any heat or conditions that would warp it. It's not dirty. I wasn't doing a one-handed reload where I might have inadvertently inserted the gun in the holster facing backwards (when you do that I understand the tension device in the holster can lock behind the front sight, locking the gun in the holster.) I don't pull up on the weapon at all before or while pressing the button. I drew exactly as I've drawn it hundreds of times, having bought a couple of these over the years.
The SERPA button just stuck.
The manufacturer's website said The ‘Serpa Active Retention’ design consists of a plastic L-shaped component which functions as the release button [from the outside of the holster] and as the lock [which engages inside the trigger guard]. The short leg of the L-shaped lever pivots inward [toward the pistol], while the locking tab pivots outward to release the pistol from the holster.
My hand is as large as far as finger length as that of most men, so it's not the length of my index finger. It might be a piece of grit of something that not noticeable to the eye or just a defect in this one piece that showed up over time. Frankly folks, I'm at a loss as to explain, but I won't be using this holster for concealed carry any more. I'm not going to badmouth Blackhawk. Look, we all have issues with things, people, products etc. But I'm not going to put a label on someone or something for the entire interweb to see just for one problem. I still think they have a fine product overall. Certainly this one has worked for me for a LONG time. Anything made by man, even by the best of companies, has the potential to fail. Anything mechanical can fail. Looking at it closely I couldn't see any defect, scratch, dirt, etc. Nothing that would explain the failure when used in the same manner it's always been used. But I do know I will replace this one for concealed. I don't think I'd trust my life on it now.
I replaced it with the the Sig Arms/Sig Sauer Paddle Holster. They make one of these for the P220, P226, P229 and P250 models. It's polymer and fits over the waistband (which may be nice as I'm not a big belt fan) It seems to fit pretty secure and drawing from holster with it went off without a hitch. Sig advertises is as "one of the fastest drawing holsters you can find." and, like the Blackhawk, advertises "an easy to use retention system which holds the weapon secure. To access the pistol, simple depress the holster retention lever and draw the pistol from the holster. " The holster is fully adjustable for cant. I'll let you know how I like it after some range work.
I hate to let the Blackhawk sit. I've counted on it a long time. Trust is a two way street, if you ask for it you should give it back. And this old holster let me down.