Special Operations News

The CQC Serpa Holster Review


  • Type: Handgun Holster
  • Producer: BlackHawk Industries
  • Material: Varies, various types of carbon fiber & injection methods
  • Pricing: $58.99 Level II (shown right) & around $120 for some thigh rig models.
  • Options: Comes with paddle and belt attachment. Some models include a law enforcement style break. Thigh rigs and holsters for pistols with lights are also available.
  • Testing Configuration(s): Right handed Level II model for the Sig Sauer P226 (photo shown on left). Right handed Level II model for the Glock 19.


The level II Serpa is a unique and advanced holster/retention system. We ran the Serpa through a series of tests to determine its effectiveness and durability. The standard level II holster comes with a belt attachment, and paddle holster attachment that adjust with a Phillips head screwdriver.

The retention mechanism is what makes this holster completely different from the others. With the push of your index finger, you release and draw the weapon in a quick and smooth motion. An adjustment screw located just below the locking mechanism allows for you to adjust the release tension. The other obvious plus to the system is that your index finger automatically sets just above the trigger.

Water and sand didn’t have much of an effect on the retention mechanism, however mud did. The holster was immediately operational again after pouring some water into it.

We also noticed a small issue for the thinner guys drawing under stress. If their belts weren’t fastened tight, pulling the pistol out of the holster took a split second longer than usual. Obviously a split second means everything in some tactical situations.

Currently the Serpa comes in other variations that include thigh rigs, concealed carry, and a level 3 holster designed for Law Enforcement Officers. Blackhawk also carries a Serpa for pistols that have lights mounted underneath.

After reviewing this product, it is clear that the future of holsters is here.

Serpa Adaptable Configuration

Product Pros and Cons

Thumbs Up Available for over 27 different pistols (the thigh rigs are currently limited however), and each model is available for lefties or righties.

Thumbs Up Quick draw, and when pulled from holster, your index finger is automatically set above the trigger.

Thumbs DownThe "Carbon fiber finish" on the level II holster is basically just a cool looking sticker wrapped around the plastic.

Thumbs Down

Everything pretty much relies on the latch.

Overall Rating = Thumbs Up

ShadowSpear conducts extensive reviews of all types of tactical products. If you would like to have your company’s product(s) reviewed, you may contact us for additional information.


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  1. I purchased the tan matte finish for my M9. I was very pleased with the system. I slotted a knife extender onto the belt attachment and wore it canted forward and just a bit back on my hip. After a few training sessions, drawing and holstering were like second nature. Very easy to get used to.

    However, the "carbon fiber" sticker bit is FUNNY! I didn't know that.

  2. You said, "Water and sand didn't have much of an effect on the retention mechanism". Water, I can see, but you say that sand didn't have an effect on the retention mechanism? I've seen to opposite, more than once. Also, with the Glock model of pistols, drawing the pistol under stress has resulted in more than one unintentional discharge…

    Your mileage may vary…


  3. I disagree with Yancey's assessment above. I have used the holster in the box on a number of occasions and had all sorts of sand blowing through the thing. Despite feeling the grains inside, I was able to draw and reholster every time. Also, to claim the holster was responsible for a accidental discharge is just absurd. It is a great holster, providing you know what you are doing. Even then, it is idiot proof…or at least I thought it was.

  4. I am glad to hear that BHI has since fixed the issues regarding the Serpa Acive Retention Holster for Glock series of pistols. I have seen several service members here in Iraq uing the Serpa for their M9's and I have seen no issues that I experienced in the past with this holster with the Glock pistols.

    While the statement that the holster was responsible for ND' with the M9's is absurd in the Capt's eyes, it was not with Glocks.


  5. realy after a few training sessions, drawing and holstering were like second nature. Very easy to get used to.

  6. I really love this holster but have found on more than one occassion if in a fight with a subject trying to grab you firearm the belt loop rings tend to break as soon as anyone rips at the holster, some sort of lethaer or reinforced lining is needed

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