We have yearly cycles of sales for certain products in our store, or we get asked about the same products every time there is a graduation from a Police Academy. There is a mad rush of people graduating that need all of the basics, they may not have their duty gear yet but they know they need an off duty holster which usually is one of the following, any Glock 9mm, Glock 45 or Sig 229 or Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm or 40 cal. Those seem to be the most common firearm holsters every year because that’s what most of their employers are issuing. “I just need a retention holster” or a “Level II” they say.
I’m all about letting the customer choose what they want, but if there is any hint of them being a Novice, I push them away from the Blackhawk Serpa Holsters, I personally think the Safariland ALS is a better starting point although the holsters are very heavy, One other holster we have considered stocking are the 5.11 Thumbdrive holsters. Using your thumb to release your firearm is a much safer approach than using your index finger. We also noticed this year that Elite Survival Systems is releasing a Thumbdrive holsters and we will do a thorough comparison between the two in the future. Definitely consider these 3 for Level II retention, Safariland ALS, Blackhawk Serpa, and the 5.11 Thumbdrive holsters. Bladetech worked with for their level II and it seems to be a very well accepted holster.
We can’t accommodate everyone in this industry because the tactical world is much like the restaurant business. What do you want for dinner? Are you for Italian Food, Seafood, going away camping? There are a lot of advantages with Kydex holsters but we’ve seen so many of them break, that leather still seems to have an edge for longevity, even the cost of various types of leather holsters can vary in quality and features. I’m still old school with shoulder holsters, especially when I’m toting a large frame revolver or semi-auto handgun. The Galco Miami Classics are still very popular with detectives but there are plenty of people buying smaller “off duty” handguns and recently many of our Law Enforcement are looking for Diamondback .380 holsters and Glock 42 holsters. It always takes awhile for the holster market to catch up to the sales of new firearms but if it’s a good firearm, someone is going to make a holster for it.
If you are looking for leather holsters, we often point people towards Desantis Holsters, Galco Holsters and Don Hume holsters. Each of these holsters has different qualities and styles and the vary from expensive to inexpensive depending on the one you want. If you are looking for inside the waistband gun holsters there nylon holsters like the Elite Survival Systems belt clip holsters which are very universal and fit a lot of firearms and are also ambidextrous. The Desantis Insider is pretty popular because they are a little over $20 but leather sometimes has its drawbacks in very hot weather. The new rave seems to be tuckable holsters and Galco Holsters has a pretty big selling rate for the Smith & Wesson bodyguard, check out all of the products we sell and if you don’t see what you are looking for feel free to ask.
That’s my short answer on the Blackhawk retention holsters if you wanted an opinion. I’m not a big fan of taking novice gun owners or new recruits with a holster like this because I’ve seen it all on the firing line. The NRA has really good standards for training new students, children and even adults. I have rarely seen a new handgun shooter start off shooting on a table but I’ve gone back to that when watching new people walk up to a firing line and do the dumbest things. You can judge competency by someones education level nor the muscle mass. I’ve grown tired of being at public firing ranges whether indoors or on a State Game range and looking down the barrel of someone taking their girlfriend to the range or a newly hired Police Officer that was issued a sidearm but can’t handle the 45acp recoil.
When my life is on the line which it is every time a gun is unholstered, I have my tolerance levels and keeping a controlled environment is my protocol. Once someone has been trained on using a firearm, adapting to a retention holster like the Blackhawk Serpa holsters is just learning another device. It’s a bad idea starting out with both and many, many departments hire not on experience, there are always new people learning to shoot and it’s very common to see firearms instructors put bans on this holster system when training new students or unknown discipline. I do use these holsters as a paddle holster as well is the drop leg format and I do have respect for them.
Much of the Concealed Carry world is about personal choice and our diverse product line of Don Hume gun holsters should fulfill most of our customer needs. If you are not looking for a locking holster and want something fast and easy to and comfortable to wear, try the Don Hume Jit holsters for your Glock 19, Sig 239 or whichever semi-auto or revolver you need. The Jit holster sits securely on your belt and sits at a very comfortable level for easy retrieval. Pocket holsters are must to avoid problems with firearms rotating and the pocket holsters will place your holster in a secure upright position and help keep lint and other nasty things a pocket can hold away from your handgun.
If you’re looking for a durable, clip on holsters it’s hard to beat Don Hume holsters. Don Hume holsters in soft pocket clip on, waistband clip on with thumb break, front pocket ambidextrous, Ankle safe and much much more. Don Hume holsters are made for your concealed carry gun or duty holster needs and are made for your revolver or semi-auto. IWB is hands down the most concealed carry friendly method and the IWB clip on gun holsters are very reliable if a good gun belt is used. Pocket carry is becoming more and more the norm these days with more reliable compact semi-auto guns. The pocket protectors are a must for anyone trying to keep lint off a firearm which can affect the reliability and performance.
I have people walk in our tactical store all the time asking for some odd ball revolver holsters ect. I understand people being sentimental about carrying a gun that you had since 1973, but if you have a gun that has been out of production for 30+ years, don’t except to many holster companies to be making a holster for it. We direct people to a local custom kydex company because it’s too much work for us to call around to find a holster that once it comes in, it’s not what they wanted. Some leather holsters can cost up to $150 or maybe more depending on what it is you want, but that’s really a royal pain to deal with. We still get Police Chiefs that want to always try something new or in all honesty, you wonder if there are kick backs or something because they ended up with a Beretta PX4 instead of a Glock, M&P or Sig Sauer.
The next headache we deal with is the amount of research we need to do to get a holster for concealment that takes all of the tactical lights that are Police Officers are using on the streets. The Blackhawk Serpa holsters we have been selling are very popular but there are not a lot of options if you want a Level 3 or a TLR flashlight. So many people are putting lights on firearms, and that was not common at all a few years ago. It’s always good to have a light on your gun because identify a threat is probable the most important thing you can do and given the statistics for when crime happens (low light) you don’t want to be without one. You might want to think about a Glock.
There are so many modes of carrying a firearm and not everyone is going to like carrying in a certain manor. We have guys that stop in here that can’t complain about the Blackhawk level 2 retention holsters and then there are others that hate them. I’ve watched all of the holster videos on Youtube that talk about all of the bad things that can happen when using your Glock 19, Glock 21 or Sig 229 handgun in one of them. The military has adopted these for their M9 pistols and some hate this because now and dirt can cause the holster to not function. Safariland holsters have a very popular history with Law Enforcement but some guys still don’t like that thumb/ flip carry style. Level 3 holsters are gaining ground and Safariland and Blackhawk have them.
Carrying a flashlight can cause you to have limited choices for your standard sidearm but there are some new Level II and Level II holsters from Blackhawk this year. We have primarily Glock 21 and Glock 22 handguns being issues by local police departments but many detectives are using the Blackhawk Serpa holsters because it’s a little lighter and not as hard on your wallet. Recently we had a few detectives turn in their Fobus holsters and switch to Blackhawk Serpa holsters just for the ease of mind of knowing that if you are in the middle of struggle and trying to handcuff a suspect you get an extra second or more to react to them if they reach for your firearm. Recently here in Pennsylvania a police officer was attacked by a mob that
Blackhawk holsters on Sale for Glocks, Sigs, Beretta and Springfield XDs.Blackhawk holsters are used by Law Enforcement and Military. Blackhawk holsters are superbly designed for serious use. The Blackhawk locking system is the most secure way of avoiding a mishap while being out in the field. We’ve seen plenty of novice shooters on the range loose sidearms during training sessions. The Serpa locking system is easily by the index finger which is in the safe position and above the trigger while being released. We have found it to be superior to the older thumb break design. Blackhawk concealment holsters come in a matte or carbon fiber finish. All Blackhawk CQC holsters come in paddle or belt loop designs.
If you are a Carbine Operator, the Blackhawk Serpa Level II holster is the #1 selling leg holster rig for those that need to carry a secondary weapons system. Secondary firearms are locked in a secure holster Blackhawk Serpa holsters that are easily retrieved and stays out of the way of your primary weapon. Sling snags ect can be a common problem when too much gear becomes stored on a tactical vest and even the Blackhawk Omega holsters work very well in this platform. Belt holsters and paddle holsters work for Concealed Carry and Defensive training classes and will hold up to the rolling and running that most extreme training courses demand
I have a large number of guys that are detectives or just got hired for a job, and sometimes even first time concealed carry holders that don’t have the slightest idea of what they want. People come in here and ask me “do you have anything for a Glock 26” and point to the holsters I have thinking I’m going to point them to a holster. I then bombard them with “inside the waist” or “outside the waist” “do you want a leather or kydex?” “Righted or left handed?” It not until i start talking about which hand holster they want do they give me any sense of knowing what to say. I don’t think you can compare holster shopping to anything else because it’s not like shopping for tactical pants or gloves. With crime like home invasions and a slow economy people that have money think more about protecting their homes and assets.
I think Kydex probable outsells leather now but with so many people putting lights on their guns it made shopping even harder. Our quick fix or go to problem solvers are the Elite Survival Systems holsters but gun holsters like Fobus are the starting point for the majority of our new gun or concealed carry permit holder. They are very easy to put on and work well with most belts. I do highly recommend people get a good gun belt like a Desantis leather belt, Blackhawk pistol belt or a Wilderness belt. They are much easier to use than putting on a belt through or snap on holster. Getting into retention holsters is another level but sometimes people have to have the right starting point and only an experienced shooter will be the source for good info.
The Blackhawk Serpa holsters became our most popular level II holster due to its easy use and reliability. There are plenty of reasons to not use thumb breaks and locking mechanisms on holsters, but for those carrying openly or using a sidearm as a secondary weapon, having a easy to release locking holster is comforting. For hard use and physical work, holster, gear and magazines can come loose. The Blackhawk magazine holders for double stack and single stack magazines is probable the best made magazine for concealed carry because there are no flaps or covers over them, but they still retain the gun magazine with tension. The design of the Blackhawk holsters works right with your basic firearm safety procedures and will easily be released by the trigger finger while it is in the safe position away from the trigger when be retrieved. The Blackhawk tactical leg holsters are also big sellers for those carrying full size autos like the Beretta 92 or Glock 17.
Angles make a big difference in the easy in which you can deploy your firearm. If you look at some of the Desantis leather holsters there are numerous belt holsters that have different angles, the Blackhawk Serpa holsters that are drop leg holsters are at a lower angle and in my personal opinion less likely to have an operator slide their finger off the holster release button that on the waist. There are always body types and situations where this can cause an issue but for me I like the drop leg holsters more than the belt. There are some attachment devices that you can use to make your Serpa holster a molle compatible device and we are stocking more and more of these adaptives.
I’ve got a pile of gun holsters in my closet and more than 80% of them never see the light of the day. Some of the holsters we have have are made from Galco, Desantis, Elite Survival, Glock, and several more that I can’t name at the moment. Today I had a customer walk in the door and ask me if I Had a holsters for an H&K gun that I never heard of, and when I asked him if he wanted Kydex or leather? IWB or OWB? He started to seem annoyed, I told him it’s his job to tell what holster he wants and my job to find it for him. Not to bash our customers, but we’ve got enough experience to know that we have to direct those questions back to the customer because we’ve had people blame us for suggesting certain options if they didn’t like it and try and see they won’t pay for the return shipping.
Another thing people don’t seem to realize is that if a gun holster says it will work for a gun, that they somehow need to try it on. When I ask the customer if they want a retention, paddle holster i usually reference the diffferences between the Blackhawk Serpa holsters we sell and the Fobus gun holsters. There is a 50% price difference between each product and you gotta know what you want and look for it instead of it finding you. I think people carry the Serpa for the wrong reasons and it is primarly a secondary firearm holster or a Law Enforcement holster, not really a good civilian CCW holster because if you don’t need a reason for retention, don’t use it.