Snub Training – BlackHawk SERPA holster

BlackHawk SERPA holster for the J-frame

BlackHawk SERPA holster for the J-frame

The SERPA is a proprietary plastic constructed holster from BlackHawk and is worth special note. While marketed as a security holster I believe a superior role for this unconventional holster is for snub owner looking to optimize his draw stroke skills. The unique feature on the SERPA holster is its “active retention lever.” The active retention lever is the description given by BlackHawk to describe a spring tension release button located flush to the exposed portion of the holster. This active retention lever retains the weapon in the holster under spring tension while its release requires the shooter keep his finger out and straight along side the holster. When the finger is extended along the outside of the holster it is in position to depress a lever that will permit the shooter to draw the weapon straight up. This straight up draw stroke is very reminiscent of “South-Narc’s” Extreme Close Quarter (ECQ) theory of practical draw stroke. I would like to note that having trained with South Narc in his ECQ gunfighting method I am a complete convert to both his theory of ECQ fighting and the validity of his draw stroke under those conditions. If the shooter is an adherent to South Narc’s school of integrated hand-to-hand/close range gun fighting then the SERPA is one of the best tools for training and maintaining those skills needed to succeed in that arena where gun fighting meets no-holds barred martial arts. If the shooter had never had the opportunity to train with South Narc, he can at least work with one of the best self-training tools available and gleam some of the fundamental mechanics of South Narc’s system even if he does not posses first hand exposure to the nuances of the draw stroke. That said, the SERPA does have its detractors. Of particular note is the well known and highly respected Paul Gomez from Baton Rouge, LA. Paul is a vocal opponent of the SERPA and in particular its spring tension release button. Paul is of the opinion that the exposed button is susceptible to the introduction of dirt and grime that will under certain circumstances prevent the shooter from drawing the weapon. Rather than speculate as to how valid this concern may or may not be, I prefer to focus on the holster’s unique ability to optimize the shooter’s draw stroke skills. If a shooter after training in a controlled and clean environment believes that the chances of the lever getting compromised is a non issue then he may have found for himself an excellent self-defense holster. If the shooter after mastering his draw stroke considers the objection of sufficient value to heed, he is free to research an alternative fighting holster while having given him a solid grounding in the incredibly important and wholly under-value martial skill of the draw stroke.


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