We all know that training and education, not avoidance, makes firearms owners and users safer. For instance, hiding our guns from our kids does not make them safer because they don't learn how to safely unload or handle a firearm. If all you do is tell them not to touch it, that's not educating, that's avoidance. People that learn how to safely handle a firearms are many times safer.  

But, there is a product out there on the market that has contributed to handgun owners experiencing negligent discharges while drawing their handgun. Most notably, the Blackhawk SERPA Lock holster system.  

I was looking for a solution that would afford users of these holsters to learn, practice, and properly utilize the system (education vs avoidance) but in discussions with legal counsel and the staff instructors, we found that we could not implement a system during our class curriculum without compromising the overall safety of the class itself.  

We at RPD, LLC will be looking for a way to educate users on these holsters, but that will come in time.  

In assessing the safety of our students on and off the range, I have been concerned about the SERPA lock holsters from Blackhawk (and other similar types) ever since I have started to see reports come out where users have had ND's where injuries resulted while utilizing this system.

Basically, for those that are unaware, the SERPA utilizes a 'paddle/lever' lock to secure the handgun in the holster. That lock clicks around/near the trigger guard and is designed to be released by pressing the index finger and then drawing the gun. The issue is that the use of the lock places the trigger finger either onto or inside the trigger guard when the gun clears the holster.  
The index finger on your shooting hand is for one thing - to press the trigger to shoot the gun. Under stress, the small muscles of your hand will contract, thus creating a curling effect. Drawing with this contracted hand condition will cause your trigger finger to slip inside the triggerguard and press the trigger.  

The SERPA lock system:
The red arrow is where you would press to release the gun form the holster. Note that the triggerguard opening is directly below that point. The green arrow points to where your trigger finger SHOULD be when drawing the gun.   

There have been a few documented incidents of serious injuries.  

(Remember Tex Grebner? - go watch this video - warning- not safe for workhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvAxLX6OzE )  

Most of the injuries involved the upper thigh, buttocks, or lower leg. Some even shot the person standing next to them! 

When I first became aware of this, the reports were few and far between. I have been seeing an increase of reports and after actions lately.
As we value our student's safety as well as our reputation as a safe training entity where we ensure our students are not injured needlessly, we need to evaluate this issue and come to a conclusion.  

The Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) has banned the use of the SERPA.
Insights Training Center does not ban them, but informs their students of the risk and provides a replacement holster or encourages the student to obtain another type.
Progressive Force has banned the use of the SERPA
Some IDPA competitions have banned them. One IDPA organization in Florida stated: "ATTENTION: ALL retention style holsters that require the use of the index finger of the strong hand to release a lock prior to drawing the pistol (similar to, and including the BLACKHAWK SERPA), are BANNED from Regional IDPA matches."

Numerous police deptartments are removing them from service. Now, from my point of view, someone that has trained extensively would most likely not have an issue with this system. BUT, very few people train extensively as we well know. No matter what WE think about or own skills, we have to consider our students and THEIR skillsets. Not ours.


Other places that have banned them:  Gunsite, Wilson Tactical Training, Progressive Force, Many IDPA competitions, the USAF OSI, Tactical Response, The USMC ordered 10k of them and then cancelled it because of the concerns, Larry Vickers, Kyle Defoor, ...The list continues to grow.

The reason I hesitated on this is because we are in the business of education, not avoidance. We deal with potentially dangerous firearms whenever we are on the range and what is our goal? To teach our students how to handle those dangerous items safely. In some respects, we need to figure out how WE can be more progressive than the others. How can WE teach people to be safe with those holsters but still maintain our safety? This policy may change in the future but for now, I am not willing to risk a 1 million dollar policy over a 35.00 holster. Nor am I willing to risk our excellent safety record and reputation.

I also do not want to leave you high a dry without any options. I would like to suggest the following holsters (we can add more as we find reliable systems)

For Kydex/ Injection Molded holsters:
Blade Tech


I would rather steer you to a quality leather holster.  
Milt Sparks
Bob Durbin
Kramer Leather

As of 4/4/2012, ANY holster that utilizes the index or trigger finger of the shooting hand to disengage a locking device to release the handgun is now disallowed from ANY Rochester Personal Defense, LLC class, training, event, or any function that we host or have involvement with.  

I am also implementing the same on Tuesday Night's CCW Shoot.  

If you have one of these holsters, I would encourage you to obtain another carry system that is safer.

This rule is non-negotiable. It is for your safety as well as others.   

If you have any questions about this notice, feel free to contact me.  


and the staff or RPD, LLC 



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