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US Army Announces Improved Modular Tactical Holster Winners

Way back in December, 2012, the US Army released a pre-solicitation for a new Improved Modular Tactical Holster (IMTH) for the M9 pistol. The concept was to look for:

improvements to be made to the current Army Tactical Drop-Leg Configuration Holster System for the Army M9 specification Beretta 92F / 92FS pistol. The improvements sought are increased modularity including a drop-leg configuration, that can be quickly transferred to a hip configuration, as well as the capability to be worn/attached to current Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment (MOLLE), load carriage equipment such as rucksacks and the Tactical Assault Panel (TAP) or on individual body armor such as the Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) or the Solder Plate Carrier System (SPCS).

Just over a year later, on December 19th, 2013, Natick announced the winners. Interestingly, the Army split the award between ADS Inc ($24,288,000.00) and Military Hardware, LLC ($49,000,000.00).

As we understand it, ADS bid a Serpa system from Blackhawk, probably similar to what they successfully won the Marine Corps contract with. To be sure, the Serpa is popular and has been adopted by militarized all around the world.

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Military Hardware on the other hand, offered a G-Code system that we have covered here on SSD in the past.

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The Military Hardware/G-Code holster consists of the XST holster along with Duty Drop Leg, H-MAR adapter for vests and MOLLE belt mount. The Kydex XST features an two forms of retention; the Over the Top, Power Assisted, Retention Canopy as well as their Adjustable Pro-Safe Tensioning. It is also outfitted with G-Code’s RTI (Rapid Transition Interface) which allows the user to securely move their holster from mount to another.

According the the pre-solicitation the overall 5-year IDIQ contract would not exceed $49 Million and consist of 225,000 holsters. Considering the ceiling on the Military Hardware award meets this, we are unsure how the Army plans to leverage this contract vehicle. Doubly so as they bid entirely different systems from different manufacturers, featuring different retention mechanisms. However, based on the two award amounts, it looks as if the Army expects to purchase twice as many G-Codes as Serpas.

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On a final note, earlier this year, US Air Force Security Forces opted out of using the Serpa and mandated the Safariland 6004/6005. Likewise, the 75th Ranger Regt as well as other SOF organizations also issue the Safariland holster.

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41 Responses to “US Army Announces Improved Modular Tactical Holster Winners”

  1. Haji says:

    Interesting. Since the trend has been away from drop leg platforms of any sort over the past several years, it’s curious that they decided to go down this road again at all, much less for a quarter of a million holsters. At least these are modular holsters. I guess the price of the slurpa is attractive, but the construction of that holster leaves a lot to be desired.

  2. Harbinger of Doom says:

    Sooo I guess that whole “Pure Fleet” thing is out the door huh? Honestly, I don’t agree with the adoption of the SERPA by the USMC, especially considering the decision to field it to the Infantry was based on the opinions of Box Kickers, Lable Lickers and Truck Drivers firing on a static range. And yes, I know every Marine is a “Rifleman” and the afore mentioned were assigned to Weapins and Field Training Battalion, but they were still POGs. I will ascertain that the same boondoggle went on with this. Either way, ATK is happy and at least the mounting platforms are backwards compatible between the systems.

    Having experianced an “issue” with the SERPA during SFAUC/SFARTEC while using a Glock 17, I understand why the mandated holster is the Safariland.

  3. Case says:

    What garbage, the army contracting and acquisition program is dicked up beyond all recognition. Have fun training and working in that monstrosity. Wonder how many patrols and off sets the down select committee did with that thing hanging half way down thier leg. Oh shit guys we didn’t even think about that. Oh well, they’ll make it work.

  4. Sean L says:

    I find that a drop leg holster balances out my Costa Leg Rig very nicely. Plus, running everything on my legs keeps my Crye JPC from sagging too much, since I spent the money I had set aside for plates on one of Chris Garland’s Battle Blades.

    • El Guapo says:

      Wait… you bought a PC but spent the rest of your money on a knife? What’s the point of a PC with no plates?!?

      I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that the Army is going with the SERPA, a holster notorious for ND’s when the Safariland ALS is faster and much safer. I know the system is obviously broken (ACU / UCP, IOTV, KDH PC, M855A1, ASU’s, etc etc), but when they pick a holster so dangerous most professional weapons trainers don’t allow them into classes- it’s called a clue.

    • straps says:

      I see what you did there. You win the interwebs.

      BTW, Costa has a dog now. I wonder what kinda dog I’m gonna get. Expect to see a Rock Tape solution for hip dysplasia soon.

    • Patrick says:

      you got one of the battle blades…..DAMN…..I spent my plate money on James Yeager’s Kickstarter.

  5. straps says:

    Anybody got a part number for that Safariland holster?

  6. Toby says:

    Or…. you could buy just ONE system that will work with any pistol that has a rail or a rail can be added to, right or left handed off of one platform, any light, any suppressor, any combo of the two, and still be able to run it virtually any where. With adjustable retention, be it level two, one, or with full customization. That would be awesome! Some one should make that!

    • Mnky says:

      Look at the bad company holster system. I don’t think thats a drop leg…. There’s definitely set up to be worn on the belt loop. That material is actually an old school style flap that goes over the gun

      • Jason says:

        Mnky: look at who Toby works for. He’s referring to Bad Company lol.

        Just pass your mouse over toby’s name. The link is to bad company’s site

        • Toby says:

          Drats! Foiled again! Just flipping some shit your guys way, lol. Sorry for the plug. I couldn’t help myself. I am a small fish in a big ass pond.

          • Mnky says:

            Kew, I really want to snag a few of your holsters for 320 use on my next rotation. Trying to talk our armorers into working it

            • Toby says:

              MNKY,
              You let me know brother. The Soldier Enhancement Program is testing the system as we speak and the word on the street is some are viewing the R2S as the next military standard for attachment of weapons and equipment. I can promise from our product life time warranty to all of the combat use that has been done this is the next evolution. I have already bet my life on this product personally. We are in full production and many many big things will be happening over the next 3 to 6 months.

              • Mnky says:

                Any SOCOM contracts in the works?

                • Toby says:

                  Not yet. We just started with big mil but we have our feelers out. First thing is first, we have to build our name and reputation. Our product will do that, but it takes time brother. If you know of anyone please feel free to pass it along.

          • Jason says:

            Haha damn, sorry, I feel like the spoilsport who tells everyone the Duffelblog is satire.

            • Toby says:

              Not at all Jason. If I took everything personally I wouldn’t of been able to do 20 years in the SOF community. Not to mention my invention, either people love it or they hate it. Well until they actually use it then everyone has loved it then. But hey haters gunna hate. Lol

  7. Hussar says:

    I probably have a much a different concern than others regarding this contract and the Air Force and Marine contracts referenced earlier. Is DoD going down the same road it did with different camouflages for each separate service? I mean during WWII when the principle side arm was the old Colt Model 1911 there was just one style holster and apparently the 16M Americans in the military then were able to defeat Nazi Germany and Japan in a little over 3 ½ years. I don’t believe having separate style holsters (with the exception of a shoulder holster option) was the norm until the mid-1980’s when some Special Ops units began wearing drop leg holsters which were then referred to as SAS Rigs. Going into our second decade of the “war on terror” is it absolutely necessary for each service, and each branch within each service to have their own separate style holster? I want our shooters with the best gear possible, but somewhere don’t we have to draw a fiscal line. I am by no means an expert here, but wouldn’t one agreed upon and approved holster actually be better, and maybe save DoD some money that could be better spent elsewhere.

    • straps says:

      There is a justification for mounting options that allow the end user to wear a pistol on her/his armor (no better solution for a right-handed driver operating a left-hand drive vehicle–hell, the TC has access to a second pistol in this situation), on a belt (rigger or battle) on a drop leg (over-used because it was SOF cool) or (bite down and swallow hard) a shoulder rig. My preference is Safariland holsters on G-Code mounts (using their G-Code adapters). This allows 1 holster body on 3 mounts. We won WWII without night vision and helicopters too.

      The real issue is that Big Army has been blowing off holsters (and slings–hey Big Army did you see what USMC went and did?) for too long. NOBODY who “gets” assymetric warfare is running around among HN civilians with a Bianchi UM-84. Individual units have been buying everything from Uncle Mikes (makes Serpa looks like the best thing ever) to Safariland.

      I think splitting the bid is a bad move; I’ve seen with mine own eyes what happens with the trigger fingers of untrained SERPA users, and ejection-port retention (SERPA or ALS) can go bad in sandy/rocky/muddy environments. Both issues have a leadership dimension.

      • Hussar says:

        Thank you for your well thought out and written response, it is truly appreciated.

        As I am by no means an expert on all aspects of this issue, I would like to get more of your thoughts on it. While I fully understand the importance of standardization for cost, efficiency, training, and certain operations does there come a point where perhaps individual preferences should be allowed? Is the holster issue one where the services should allow individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines to choose their own? Would this also be an option for slings—single point, double, etc..? What about retention devices on side arms? Should this be left to the individual to decide or should there be a service wide regulation? I can see potential arguments on both sides on this issue, I am just wondering where do the boots on ground stand on this. In short, how much leeway should an individual shooter have in how they are equipped? I would think that since it’s my life on the line, I would be making some pretty good decisions here, vice some bureaucrat back in DC.

        • ninjaben says:

          The first issue is the difficulty with the military producing something in a timeline, that when it gets to the force it is relevant. Thanks for providing infantrymen something that can swing around their legs as they walk through the mountains of afghanistan. I know we though drop legs were cool in 01-03. The second issue is ensuring the individuals who test and select the militaries next piece of equipment have the knowledge base to make good selections. Lets test the new joint service pistol. Lets get a bunch of privates on hold over at benning to shoot different pistolos and tell us what they think. Lets not turn to the SMUs who have been refining pistol selection for the last several decades and who have selected a frame that has not only combat reliability, but with minor modifications (barrels/sights) shoots better than 99.99% of the military can. Which is why I would recommend pushing as much procurement of low cost items to the lowest levels. The last issue is education of the command. Commanders look at property books and see a dozen ea Safariland ALS Glock holsters, bladetech glock holsters, Safariland 6004 berretta holsters, Galco IWB holsters, and then question why the team is requesting Makarov holsters on a DSOR. The same goes when a team tries to turn in PoS single point slings to get Adjustable two points, only to learn that a bunch of new single points were just procured. In the end everyone is frustrated and soldiers end up buying their own equipment. Often at a elevated “contract” price. Seriously $180 for a safariland ALS holster for a glock w/X300?

  8. defensor fortisimo says:

    Just fyi, apparently the as far as the security forces is concerned, the SERPA apparently hasn’t quite gone the way of the dodo. I’m currently at a location that requires us to carry concealed and as a result we’re all rolling around with SERPAs.

    • SSD says:

      It’s a strange thing. OSI somehow got themselves on BAMS and specified the Serpa for concealed carry. You may well be dealing with some collateral damage from that moment of brilliant thought. Nothing like issuing holsters with different retention systems for different applications .

      • Eric B says:

        Exactly right, nearly no thought at all to equipping people with multiple methods of drawing their weapon under moments of high stress. Seems like no practical considerations taken into account there.

        • defensor fortisimo says:

          The class we took for “concealed carry” was just bizarre. We showed up to catm, unbuttoned our blouses and took turns practicing our draws. No firing, no practice actually applying the techniques to civilian clothing, and only two holsters between us because the s4 didn’t actually have any serpas to issue us. And I’m like, what are we actually learning from this?

          • Eric B says:

            As an aside, after 10 years as CATM and then Security, I never really felt like we were able to teach AF personnel much of anything beyond some BASIC marksmanship…even the SF units. Lesson plans were set in stone, training time was minimal and always seemed to be rushed to get guys to chow, actual time learning weapons handling was mostly nonexistent. I loved the job, but we never had enough time to really train people to fight. Also, when CATM was a separate AFSC (here comes some Red Hat heresy), most Red Hats didn’t know shit about teaching combat skills and didn’t care to. I visited a buddy on Active Duty at the range a couple years ago and nothing seemd different. Your experience does not surprise me DF, but it still disappoints me greatly. But I digress

    • MED says:

      That’s pathetic. Sorry to hear.

  9. MattF says:

    Are either these holsters spec’d in the solicitation document as being Foliage Green or Tan 499?

  10. Bill says:

    I’ve never gotten an explanation as to why the Safariland family is so freaking expensive. Plus they require a code book to figure out the bits and pieces.

    But it is cheaper than orthopedic surgery immediately after drawing or getting shot because your holster decided to hang onto your pistol.

  11. Dark Chicken says:

    Price point price point….price point! That Serpa rig cost Always Trashy Kit 13 bucks to make, which means they can price it way below everyone else…plus anything that’s defective and returned can be ground up and used again…shame they sold gcode away when they burned…mean bought eagle. They could have had both holster designs….