Conflict over holster


wuzfuz

New member
Someone recently posted some material from Suarez International. On SI's ad, at the bottom it said the Blackhawk Serpa holster was not allowed in their classes. As this is the holster I have chosen, I wrote SI and inquired as to the reason for the prohibition. I received an email from Gabriel Suarez that said he believed the holster was poorly designed and had been the reason fo rsome accidental discharges in his classes. I responded that if he had meant the old LAPD clamshell I could agree, as the trigger finger had to enter the trigger guard to press the release button. With the Blackhawk, the active retention release lies under the trigger finger when the hand grips the pistol. When you push the release and draw the gun, the trigger finger naturally lies alongside the slide, whish is the proper way to hold a pistol until you fire. He stated that the finger naturally slipped down into the trigger guard. When I was iin the academy and later, in CCW class, it was pounded into our heads that there is no such thing as an AD, it is a negligent discharge, the finger has to be on the trigger. He insisted that he had seen SWAT members have ADs in the field due to the holster design. I then wrote to Dr Ignatius Piazza, of Front Sight for his take. Dr. Piazza stated that he had never had a problem with the Blackhawk holster, and that Front Sight trains more shooters in a weekend than SI does in a year. While D. Piazza did not say anytihng about SI's policies, I feel that Gabe Suarez is a lazy instructor who would rather ban a fine holster than properly train his students in gun safety, and gives them an easy alibi by accepting the AD fallacy instead of being sure they do not have an ND. If I had the chance, I would attend Front Sight, and forget about Suarez International.
 

Landor

New member
This holster has been used in the presence of a lot of ND's. Was it the holsters fault? I do not know. There was a recall on one version of it. Is it a bad design? I do not know. I have a few friends that love theirs but I do not own one. I own three Glocks and people say they Kaboom. SI has the right to ban these holsters from their classroom if they wish. It is better to be safe then sorry in their eyes.
 

Aggressive1

New member
If a student enters one of his classes aren't they there to be properly trained. And if they enter with a hostler that an unexperienced gun handler may misuse then isn't it a danger to the class. In my opinion he has the right and you are questioning his abilities because you feel your holster is worthy. I didn't read his site, but does he suggest against the use of that holster AFTER his class which would be at the time he has had a chance to train you? Just my $0.02.
 
As an instructor, I will advise my students as to what gear is required for my class. I will also advise as to what equipment is "acceptable" and what I would "recommend". If I feel strongly about a proper piece of eqipment as being "unsafe", I will prohibit it from my class. I feel that Mr. Suarez is an excellent instructor. I've trained many who have attended his classes as well as many who have attended Front Sight. Both instructors schools have techniques that I agree with as well as disagree with. If Mr. Suarez wants to prohibit a specific piece of equipment from his class, it's his option. Is it his responsibility to train students proper holster draw? It all depends on the class. I would consider most of his classes to be for the "advanced" shooter. Most "novice" shooters will be intimidated by him and his agressive techniques. In the end, it's up to the individual to decide which class they will take.

I know of one school that I WILL NOT attend. I won't post their name here, but for those who want to know, PM me and I'll give you my opinion. Though many people wish to attend the particular school, and they get a lot of referrals from friends, family, etc, I still won't attend because their teaching methods are far from what I would consider to be "safe" or "quality". Keep in mind that there's a school that will tell their students not to do any "dry fire" practice at home due to the probability of a "ND". As a NRA instructor, I encourage my students to "dry fire" practice. They are trained how to properly prepare for their dry fire practicing, and are given written instructions. One part of the process is to SECURE ALL LIVE AMMO. By following the necessary steps, they will avoid the possibility of a "ND".

I suggest that we carefully review the techniques and philosopy of the schools we want to attend. Keep in mind that just because you don't agree with a particular aspect of a school, that the rest of the program isn't beneficial. You could always modify the techniques to fit your individual situation and beliefs.



gf
 

HK4U

New member
Keep in mind that there's a school that will tell their students not to do any "dry fire" practice at home due to the probability of a "ND". As a NRA instructor, I encourage my students to "dry fire" practice. They are trained how to properly prepare for their dry fire practicing, and are given written instructions. One part of the process is to SECURE ALL LIVE AMMO. By following the necessary steps, they will avoid the possibility of a "ND".


+1. Don't know how you would have a ND with and empty gun. If someone is dry firing with a loaded gun then they fail to understand the term dry fire. As the saying goes you can't fix stupid.
 

wuzfuz

New member
Conflict

I agree wholeheartedly with GF. Maybe the techniques of one instructor are too advanced for novices. The way I was taiught to teach anyone, regardless of whether it is shooting or making Chicken Cordon Bleu is to assume at the beginning that the student knows absolutely nothing about the subject. To me, the first step in firearms training is to train the student to prevent NDs, then go to the range. It is my strong belief that if a person will put his finger in the trigger guard with the Blackhawk holster, then he will do so with any holster on the market. I commend Hollywood, as I have noticed that more and more actors are shown holding their pistols correctly, with the trigger finger along the slide. When you draw from the holster in question, that is where your trigger finger is. This is not the type of holster that your finger enters the trigger guard to release it. The holster makes you hold the pistol corrctly when you draw it. I thank everyone for their input, and am grateful we live in a country where we are free to discuss our opinions without fear of Hobnail booted thugs kicking our door down and hauling us off in the night. God Bless America!

HK4U, a couple of Indianapolis police officers used to play fast draw with their empty revolvers in the locker room. One day one of the officers, (a guy I went to school with) had his buddy yell whatever their challenge was. My freind had loaded his revolver for duty, and whirled, drew and shot his fellow officer. Fortunately, he survived, but that is how you can have an ND with an empty gun. One of the prime rules is handle every gun as if a bullet will come blasting out of the barrel any second, and never point a gun at anythng you do not intend to blow to smithereens.
 
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HK4U

New member
I agree wholeheartedly with GF. Maybe the techniques of one instructor are too advanced for novices. The way I was taiught to teach anyone, regardless of whether it is shooting or making Chicken Cordon Bleu is to assume at the beginning that the student knows absolutely nothing about the subject. To me, the first step in firearms training is to train the student to prevent NDs, then go to the range. It is my strong belief that if a person will put his finger in the trigger guard with the Blackhawk holster, then he will do so with any holster on the market. I commend Hollywood, as I have noticed that more and more actors are shown holding their pistols correctly, with the trigger finger along the slide. When you draw from the holster in question, that is where your trigger finger is. This is not the type of holster that your finger enters the trigger guard to release it. The holster makes you hold the pistol corrctly when you draw it. I thank everyone for their input, and am grateful we live in a country where we are free to discuss our opinions without fear of Hobnail booted thugs kicking our door down and hauling us off in the night. God Bless America!

HK4U, a couple of Indianapolis police officers used to play fast draw with their empty revolvers in the locker room. One day one of the officers, (a guy I went to school with) had his buddy yell whatever their challenge was. My freind had loaded his revolver for duty, and whirled, drew and shot his fellow officer. Fortunately, he survived, but that is how you can have an ND with an empty gun. One of the prime rules is handle every gun as if a bullet will come blasting out of the barrel any second, and never point a gun at anythng you do not intend to blow to smithereens.


I have been told, but do not know for sure, that one deputy killed another in Fort Worth in the 1950's or early 60's doing the same thing.
 

tattedupboy

Thank God I'm alive!
I also read somewhere earlier this year about some unintentional discharges (not sure whether they were accidental or negligent) that resulted from the use of these holsters. If the design of the holster caused the discharges through no fault of the holster wearers, then I'd have to say they were accidental. If poor technique was the culprit, then I'd consider them negligent.
 

toreskha

Titles are un-American.
I have a Serpa for a 92/96. The piece that locks the gun into place goes into the front of the trigger guard, but the button that the finger hits is outside of the guard. Someone who makes a mistake with the Serpa would probably make a mistake anyway, as it would at some point require moving their finger to the trigger rather than the slide when they shouldn't.

Alternately, it might be possible to make the holster "pull" the trigger by forcing the weapon into the holster with such effort that it would probably break the entire thing. At least on this model, I don't see how it's possible for the holster to somehow magically pull the trigger while drawing. There has to be a finger involved somewhere.

IMO, students of anything who don't learn to properly use a variety of platforms and tools, particularly those that are widely utilized and commonly encountered (whether they're necessarily the best available tools or not) are at a significant disadvantage. You never know when you might have to resort to using your least favorite type of (fill in the blank) in a pinch.
 

mp301

New member
Your Post

Hey, I just got back from front sight and I am already scheduling to go back at the end of Jan. You owe it to yourself to go to Front Sight if at all possible....all the claims they make turn out to be true and I doubled my already good skills in a four day period....Screw Suarez - I agree...very lazy...
 

HK4U

New member
I do not know if there is a real problem with the holster or not. I guess the bottom line is If an instructor has something he does not want at his course that is his right. He has his reasons. Also if any of us can't live with that fact then we have the right not to take his course and go somewhere else. For me the holster thing is not a big deal.
 

Gabe Suarez

Suarez International USA
Speak of the devil and, well...BOO. Here is the transcript of my discussions with Mr. Wuzfuz. Since he used my name, I will use his.

Allen Benge wrote:

Someone posted the information on your class on the usacarry website, and at the bottom of the listing, just above the Instructor's name was the announcement that Blackhawk Serpa holsters were not allowed in the class. As I selected this holster after several days of examining very closely all the holsters availeable for the Springfield Armory XD-45, I would sure like to know why you prohibit it. The holster that came with the pistol is okay as far as it goes, but only covers the trigger guard andejection port, leaving most of the pistol uncovered. It also only has a passive retention device, which is fine, if no one ever tries to take your weapon. The Blackhawk covers the pistol from the magazine release to the muzzle, and has an active retnetion device that automatically sets you up for the proper pistol grip. I have thoroughly tested this holster, and found that if someone tries to take the weapon and doesn't know how the retention device works, they will just lift you by the belt. I cannot imagine why you are so down on this fine holster, unless you think it is like the old LAPD clamshell holsterswhere the rtrigger finger had to go through the trigger guard to push a release button. I would sincerely like to know what your problem is.

Allen Benge

**********************************

My Reply - Allen,

The Serpa Holster - Why We Don't Allow Them In Class

Simply put...the Serpa is a poorly designed but brilliantly marketed holster that causes a user to press in with the finger tip as they draw their pistol. In many cases it ends up with the trigger finger right on the trigger (and pressing inward) prematurely. In other words...long before it would be safe to do so.

I am aware of five situations where this has caused an AD on the range. Twice where it led so a self-inflicted gunshot in other school's classes and several times in the Force On Force environment in my own classes. And these guys were either highly experienced shooters of seasoned operators.

If I allow a holster like that in class, having seen the problems and knowing the problems, and a student shoots themselves...it really would be my fault. As I understand it Yeager at Tactical Response disallows them too.

Invariably, Serpa devotees will point out to the shooter and not the holster. Now on the lack of muzzle discipline, finger on the trigger, and other issues that contribute to problems, would Serpa Aficionados, say I should ignore those? I will bet not.

So If I cannot ignore these shooter-created problems, should I ignore a holster that makes them worse? What would some of the Serpa-crowd say if "Gabe doesn't care if you put your finger on the trigger, or if you ignore muzzle discipline and sweep everyone"?

So if as a trainer, I am duty-moral-and honor bound to make sure people, at the level they are training, understand the safety issues as required for their level, am I not also in the same position with what I have seen to be UNSAFE GEAR?? I would say so.


His reply - Allen Benge wrote:

I feel I have to disagree with you on the positioning of the trigger finger. Using the release most certainly does not put the finger on the trigger. If you were talking about the old clamshell holster where the trigger finger had to go into the trigger guard to press the release button, I would stand by you in a New York minute. However, with the Serpa, pressing the release and pulling hte pistol out of the holster results in the finger lying alongside the slide, and nowhere near the trigger guard.. If the shooter drops his finger down and into the guard, that is stupidity, not poor holster design. I have been practicing daily with my Blackhawk, drawing the (unloaded) pistol suddenly, as if reacting to an attack, and my finger has never entered the trigger guard. Every draw results in the proper hold for the pistol, which I might mention, movies and TV are finally starting to get right, with the actors holding the pistol with the finger outside the guard, but ready to drop if they need to fire. While I agree that you have the right to decide what your class will do, I think your reasoning is specious, and you are doing a great disservice to a fine piece of equipment.. The holster that is sent with the XD-45 is okay, but it only has a passive retention device, which keeps the pistol from falling out of the holster accidentally. I take it from your decision that this holster would be okay. I do not agree. I was a deputy sheriff, and weapon retention is uppermost in my mind, and the Blackhawk has an excellent active retention device that will prevent someone from taking your pistol out of the holster long enough for you to clock him. I will not post your reply. Sorry, but I vehemently disagree with you. In addition to being a former deputy, I was also certified as a Range Master, Range Safety Officer, and Basic Marksmanship Instructor in Arizona, and I believe iin the Blackhawk and proper instruction. Proper instrruction will overcome any poor habits on the part of a shooter. I submit that you lack enough class time and dry fire practice to detect those who would not use the equipment properly, maybe in the interest of saving time. Perhaps a bit more class time before you take the people to the range would benefit. Perfect Practice makes Perfect. Just Practice alone, unless it is practicing the proper method does no good. You could practice drawing and presenting the weapon forty hours a week, and if you practice it sloppily, all you are doing is reinforcing poor shooting habits. I am sorry you have had students, because of poor training, who had negligent discharges. There is no such animal as an accidental discharge. The shooter's finger has to be on the trigger, so it is negligence, not accident. Not one of the students I taught ever had a negligent discharge, because I saw that they were properly trained. I wish you luck, but I cannot in good conscience ever refer anyone to your class. I cannot send someone to an instructor who is too lazy to see to it that the students are adequately taught in pistolcraft so that they don't shoot themselves.

Allen Benge

*******************************************

My reply to him -

Allen,

You can disagree and that is fine. I have seen highly trained guys AD during high intensity force on force exercises due to the design of the Serpa holster. We don't play "range games" we test our stuff very hard. In those tests, the Serpa has failed, just like the modern technique taught at your favorite school has failed. As far as you not referring anyone to my class, oh well. Let's just say that I won't lose any sleep over it.

Cheers,

Gabe Suarez
Suarez International
 
Nice to see you here Mr. G.S.! (don't want to be outed like "wuzfuz") :wink: I won't be able to attend the class when you get here in July, but may get a chance to meet you as I'm active with one of the organizations that's sponsoring the classes.



gf
 

wuzfuz

New member
I did not expect Mr. Suarez to follow me here to post our conversation. If he had not identified himslef, but answered my inquiry anonymously, I would have done like hte media when relating a statement by the president but don't want to quote him by saying a high White House source, and I would have stated the administration at Suarez International stated so and so. I have stated more than once that Mr. Suarez certainly has the right to determine what will be used in his calsses. I just happen to feel that his opinion of the holster in question is not based on fact. If I teach someone to shoot, I will not allow them to use oneof the cheapo nylon 'bags' that are sold all over as holsters. Yes, they will hold a gun, but in my opinion not very well, and the weapon can fall out or be taken out at will by an opponent. I certainly wish Mr Suarez well and hope he prospers. I do have some people, believe it or not, who value my opinon and ask me for good shooting schools. Previously, I would have said Gunsite at Paulden, AZ. After finding about what happened there before the passing of Col. Cooper, I can no longer recommend Gunsite. Now, I heartliy recommend Front Sight in Pahrump, NV, based on a thorough researching of Dr. Piazza's ideals and teaching techniques. I asked Dr. Piazza his opinion of hte Blachawk holster, and he says he and his instructors have never had a moment's problems with the holster. It was funny, when I was a depiuty and our sheriff authorized those who wish to carry automatic pistols, the guys carrying revolvers had a basic laether bag. the gun anyone could shoot had hthe least security. the autopistols, however, required the purchase of a leather 'safe' that took a combination of moves to deactivate the retention devices and draw the weapon. In other words, the weapon that required thought had to be locked into the holster, while the recolver coudl be snatched at will, or even fall out of hte holster. Mr. Suarez certainly has the right to speak his opinion, but I also have that right, and just becaue he has the wherewithal to run a school and I don't, does not make him right and me wrong. To Mr. Suarez snd everyone else, have a Happy and Prosperous New Year.
 

ecocks

New member
Uh, guys (and gals) - Gabe Suarez wasn't outed.

He uses his real name as his ID, as do I.

That is most definitely NOT outing someone.

If you use your real name as your ID, you outed yourself or didn't care who knew your name.

Ed
 

HK4U

New member
There are many fine schools out there. Not having attended them I can only go by what I read and the videos that I have as to which I feel is the best. From what I have seen, read, and heard if I had the money and time to attend one Gabe Saurez would for sure be at or near the top as well as the Valhalla Training Center in Colorado and perhaps Thunder Ranch. There are I am sure a lot of other fine schools as well. I know there are a number of posters on this forum, Glock Fan for one, that have had experience at one or more of these schools.
 

Gabe Suarez

Suarez International USA
Glock Fan,

Come on out and visit. We will be at Ewa Beach. Don't have to take the class, just come on by to say hello.

Aloha

Gabe Suarez
Suarez International


Wuzfuz,

The only "wherewithall" needed to run a school is hard work, real world experience and an entreprenurial heart. All of these things are within everyone's reach. I am not special and the only time I can walk on water is when its frozen.
 
For the record, I own several holsters. A few of them are Blackhawk Serpa holsters. I think it's a good holster, never had a ND using it, but now that it's been brought to my attention that there could be issues, I'm going to watch for this. I've done FOF training using the airsoft equivalent of my SD guns, carried in exactly the same manner I usually carry. Of the group I normally train with, only two of us use the Blackhawk Serpa holster. I use my middle finger to disengage the retention device when drawing my firearm. This may be part of the reason for me not having a ND. The other guy who uses a Serpa holster has been caught with his finger on the trigger prematurely, though there's yet to be a ND. I'll pass along Mr. Suarez's comments and we'll adapt our training.

I used to have a Bianchi holster that required the middle finger to disengage the retention device. I switched to the Serpa holster because I liked the fact that it wasn't leather and wasn't affected by the high humidity of the climates where I usually find myself working. So far, so good. Only beef I have with the holster so far is that I think it's severly over priced.



gf
 

Terminal Lance

New member
Well he is an idiot. I have a Blackhawk holster and the gun will not come out unless the internal trigger lock is disengaged. Plus so what it your finger may slip into the trigger guard. Don't take it out unless youre going to end some piece of ****'s life. Instructors quotes are like a textbook. There're a foundation/guideline. Situation dictates.
 

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