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LAPD Bans Use Of Blackhawk Serpa Holster

Earlier this week, we began to hear rumors that the Los Angeles Police Department had banned use of the Serpa Holster. We now have confirmation.

On June 8, 2017, LAPD issued a directive to its personnel disapproving use of the Blackhawk Serpa holster as well as all auto-locking trigger finger manipulated holsters. The memo goes on to add, “These holsters violate sound weapon manipulation practices and may increase the likelihood of a negligent discharge.”

The Official version of the memo seen above has been disseminated throughout the Department and was signed by the Officer In Charge of the Police Sciences and Training Bureau and countersigned by a representative from the Office of the Chief of Police.

The LAPD is one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States and a leader in the development of policies and procedures. They now join numerous federal agencies who have also banned use of the Serpa holster.

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28 Responses to “LAPD Bans Use Of Blackhawk Serpa Holster”

  1. mandingo says:

    The SERPA had it’s time and place. It came to a market dominated at the time by FOBUS and fixed many things that sucked about those.

    They solved the Level 2 / mechanical retention issue in what was seen as the most straight-forward and apparent method (at the time).

    Unfortunately, that method teetered on the ledge of a safety issue, and the market needs products that facilitate lowest-common-denominator policing and instruction.

    With so many options available for non-trigger-finger release, it is surprising that LAPD took this long to evolve. Wait, did I just sat that?

    • H says:

      I think LAPD mostly issued Safariland before.

      • mandingo says:

        This decision specifically pertains to off-duty and plain clothes concealment holsters.

        The SERPA duty holsters were never authorized for LAPD. One of the few departments that allowed those was San Diego PD, and they have since been de-authorized.

        Their off-duty / non-uniformed guideline previously only offered the following guidance, “shall carry the firearm in a secured manner”.

        Now that guidance will be amended.

    • Kinetix says:

      Respectfully, I don’t quite know about that. Hasn’t Safariland been cranking out holsters of varying retention levels far beyond the Serpa?

      The Serpa’s advantage is that it’s cheap compared to Safariland. But what you give up to get that benefit is a truly horrendous holster design from a safety perspective. The design of Serpa’s “violate[s] sound weapon manipulation practices at a bare minimum”, it’s design is not optimized for safe weapons use under duress, which is the exact time that equipment needs to facilitate safe handling and ease of use to the highest degree that it can.

      I like Blackhawk and think they have good stuff, but the Serpa is just awful.

  2. PNWTO says:

    About time. I’m sure the defenders will have their moment, but they are working against a huge body of knowledge and experience.

  3. Gerard says:

    LAPD sets a lot of trends in police equipment. This could finally kill the SERPA

  4. corsair says:

    Two words:

    Tex Grebner

  5. Airborne_fister says:

    Hey I’m all for #serpalivesmatter! But I was issued one in Afghanistan and it was good on the range but when we went out on patrols or movements. I bought a Gcode. Can’t imagine anything else when you want to draw the holster you push the hood release and it snaps out of the way. Then you draw and you have positive control of the firearm and trigger finger is clear of the well trigger.

  6. Justaguy says:

    How long before the lovers of old come out and claim LAPD would be fine with it if they could only train better…
    In 3…2…

  7. Bobby davro says:

    I’m truely amazed I’m still alive to this day for over the years serpas and eotech have holstered my pistol and were on my rifle my 226 bore the scars of the plastic and my rifle had the speed of the holo sight, how times change

  8. John Andrews says:

    If I am not mistaken, I believe the Chicago Police Department prohibited the use of Serpa holsters for duty use some years back.

  9. BCH says:

    I’ve been carrying Serpa’s since they came out, no issues, no holes blasted into anything due to negligent use on my part (nor from anyone else I know who uses them). Perhaps they are simply too nervous of liability but then again, it may also reflect possible decline in training standards. Simply said, I don’t want anyone around me operating a firearm if they are unable to safely use a Serpa Holster (or any other design) because if they are prone to have an ND with that design, they are IMPO unsafe and incompetent with any firearm. Insofar as the reliability of the Serpa, I have ran my 3 through a good bit of use and yes, even torture testing and thus far, no failures. Anyhow, it’s their call and so be it. I’m fine with my Serpa rigs and plan on keeping them for now.

    • willy coll says:

      Never had a problem with my serpa. I have never been able to jack a round in the chamber by holstering my weapon. I did have a holster for a rim fire auto that did chamber a round making the weapon unsafe.

  10. NCO says:

    Didn’t the SAS guy from the recent picture have a Serpa holster?

  11. rearmount says:

    It’s been said before by some SMEs that many SOF guys aren’t really “gun guys” or give a damn about the latest and greatest gear– they just use what they’re issued, so I wouldn’t take what you see in pics that “if these HSLD dudes are using it, it has to be the best”.

    • JB says:

      This goes double for our allies.

      • Bobby Denard says:

        Goes double for pistols. Lots of hard guys that are deadly with a carbine pay little attention to their secondary weapon. I don’t condone it but that’s how it is.

    • Bobby davro says:

      Go with what you know are trained to use and have confidence in, just because it’s new and expensive doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone and as a foot note the sig has never had a drama with the Serpa from the anecdotal evidence it seems the biggest issue is with trigger safeties such as glocks? And on the flip side to that if someone fucks up its easyier to blame the kit than themselves

  12. Esteban says:

    Scratching my head? I have a serpa level 3. I have been using it professionally for a while now. I am trying to figure out the “unsafeness” of it? I find the holster to be quite quick. I like the fact that it can be retained effortlessly on a hasty re-holster when I have to transition to another task.

    Then again, I am not a fan of LAPD and how they do their job.

  13. Biagio says:

    I had a Fobus holster, for me it was a nightmare, I immediately abandoned, I disagree with everyone. Then I met Serpa, it’s a little better, the button is higher than the trigger, but the problem does not work out. Your finger gets used to pressing even when you do not want to shoot. They are very dangerous mental conditioning. In my experience as producer instructor and consultant I have always opted for this system. There are other operating systems with index finger that are safe but do not find them.