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SERPA vs Safariland

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Old March 5th, 2009, 02:19   #1
Rock 'N' Roll Outlaw
 
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SERPA vs Safariland

Hey there folks. I am currently in the market for a new holster, and Im trying to decide which of these two would be better bang for your buck. Ive looked around the board here and find ALOT of differing opinions, some say SL is the way to go, others say SERPA is the way to go. Ive yet to see any direct comparisons of the two systems though.

Ive had a SERPA before for my KJW M9, but thats gone now, since that is no longer my primary GBB, and my PTP wont fit due to the tac underside rail. Ive yet to have any experience with a SL though.

What are the advantages of either system, as well as the disadvantages. I will more than likely prefer to have my P226 holstered in it, since not ever field will allow use of the PTP since its a pretty hard shooting GBB. But I will listen to pros and cons of the M9 varients as well, and if they will fit the M9A1 with the tac rail or not.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 02:22   #2
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First question: real or replica? It changes a lot of things.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 02:26   #3
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Well from what I hear theres little differance in price so naturally I would go with real. Unless there are any replicas that are on par with the real thing, or close to and are substantially lower in price, then it would be replica. But until then...
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Old March 5th, 2009, 02:59   #4
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Well do you prefer a locking mechanism or a strap-ish mechanism? I like Serpa's because they lock your gun in.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:13   #5
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Safariland are used far more by real special forces and that, I don't know exactly why but I'm sure there's a reason. Personally I chose Blackhawk SERPA over Safariland because the difference was $50 to $150.

If you want to have a tac light permanently on the gun you would have to go with Safariland as there are no SERPA's I know of that have room for an integrated light. With a blackhawk you need a rail on the platform to mount the light on and then stick it on when you draw it.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:46   #6
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I find the SERPA mechanism provides a faster low snag draw.

Occasionally I failed to completely open the loop on the Safariland I had which would snag the rear sight and foul things up. The gun suede in the Safariland gives an ultra luxo plush feel, but I found that it could sometimes retain sand which I wasn't crazy about. I later added a slide mounted RDS which screwed up my draw even more so that was the end of my Safariland.

Conversely, the SERPA has a relatively loose fit, low stick surface which lets sand fall through. The catch has a more positive means of opening, but I bet it has some retention problems in the field. I don't mean that your gun would fall out, but the outside button is very easy to reach which would make it easy for someone else to remove your gun. Not really a problem in airsoft, but I wouldn't like that kind of nonsecure retention on a duty gun. There are new versions of the Serpa with a thumb release which makes the retention a heap more secure.

I think the SERPA also has more mounting options. You can get leg rigs, hip paddles (most common), and there's even a MOLLE panel you can bolt on to put your holster on your vest which is a really neat feature. The hip paddle is typically standard with the holster, but the MOLLE panel only costs about $15. The leg rig adds about $50 to the package cost. I think you have to make transformer sounds while you change mounting configurations though.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:54   #7
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I think you have to make transformer sounds while you change mounting configurations though.
This is very true, I tried to switch mine over without making the noises and it fell apart.

This past weekend I ran my SERPA at an indoor game in the cold. My Hi-Cappa would jam in and would take quite the effort to draw. I think it may have contracted due to the cold as I never had that problem last summer/fall.

To get a Hi-Cappa to fit in a SERPA, buy a 1911 and dremel out the area where the trigger guard goes. A 4.3 Hi-Cappa will fit in a Glock 17 Safariland but as far as I know there is no way to get a 5.1 Hi-Cappa into a Safariland.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 04:07   #8
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Ugh. It takes some work to make a 1911 SERPA fit the Hicapa just right.

First off you have to carve out a chunk of mat'l for the trigger guard. It's not easy to take material out of there. It would be easier to round the lower corner of your trigger guard if you were ok with hacking your guns. Then you have to widen the whole thing a bit to loosen things up a bit. A combination of radiant heat from a stove coil and some focused anger can flare out the holster just right. If you drill a small 1/16" hole at the latch pivot pin, you can push it out with a small punch. Take the latch out and resurface the contact face. I find the stock contact angle binds with the trigger guard a bit if you pull the gun while the latch sweeps out. Change the contact angle so it's less catchy for more reliable draws.

All those modifications considered, I'd say that the Safariland was a better holster for a hicapa in stock form.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 04:19   #9
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I love my serpa

On the chest like that.. it takes up alot of space... but it keeps the gun nice and clean and it's a really easy draw/re-holster
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Old March 5th, 2009, 04:22   #10
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I personally hated thumbstrap. Not sure which safariland you're talking about, but if it comes with thumbstrap, I'd personally go for BH Serpa. Haven't used both (I'm using Uncle Mike's Kydex Paddle), but from what I read from real steel users, the Serpa's Index Retention switch is quite easy to get used to. Not sure if it's a marketing hype or what though.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 05:12   #11
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i use bladetech holsters and there quite decent , maybe take alook at those too.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 06:05   #12
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My experience with the Serpa and Safariland differs from you guys it seems.
I think I had the first Serpa in the Calgary airsoft scene, but not for long.
It was a paddle and it wasn't too difficult to use. Usual issues arise out of cqc holsters scratching the gun, but thats rad. I used it one day out at Edmonton and duffed. I think my Beretta and the Serpa were chock full of dirt and soil. Jam packed too.
I cleaned everything out. The Beretta still worked like a charm, however the Serpa continued to fail on me. I eventually after a fair bit seemed to get it working better but never in it's original state.

I'm currently rocking the safariland 6004 for my MEUSOC.
Love it. Does not slip, the inside doesn't scratch your pistol, and I honestly trust the thumbreak tons better than with any Serpa.
I've had my Beretta fall out of my Serpa after hitting the ground hard a couple times.

I say stick with Safariland, or just rock a leather hip holster.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 06:58   #13
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Originally Posted by MadMax View Post
All those modifications considered, I'd say that the Safariland was a better holster for a hicapa in stock form.
But are there any Safarilands on the market that can take 5.1 HiCappas? 4.3 Cappas just feel small in my hands, if it ain't at least a 5.1 it not right for me (6'3" 250lbs...I'm a big boy.) I also only had to dremel out the trigger guard area in mine. Other than that it works fine. I found the planer bit for my Dremel works wonders. The thing is totally useless for actual planing but since its like a 4" long drill bit with really sharp cutting edges along its entire length, it makes short work of plastic.

Last edited by LUTNIT; March 5th, 2009 at 07:02..
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Old March 5th, 2009, 18:54   #14
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I assume your speaking about the thigh holsters, as both BHPG and Safariland have a variety of holsters. Its not a true apples to apples comparison, because the method of LVII retention is different. Safariland uses a rotating hood, Blackhawk uses the SERPA release. With the Safariland one must remember to rotate the hood back, the SERPA just reholster, this may or may not be a problem based on your level of training.

SERPA PROs
1.) Relatively Cheap
2.) Readily Available (At Least State-Side)
3.) Variety Mounting Options (Comes Stock OEM)
4.) Comfortable (Thigh Rig Y-Harness v. Traditional One Point)

SERPA CONs
1.) Release Mechanism (LVII Can Jam)
2.) Bare Kydex (Wears on Finish of Gun)

Safariland PROs
1.) Felt Lining (Protects Finish)
2.) Wide Variety of Holsters for Different Makes/Models
3.) Wide Variety of Holsters for Laser/Light Combos

Safariland CONs
1.) Long Turn Around Time (Depending on Make/Model/Laser/Light Combo)
2.) No Variety of Mounting Options (OEM Stock Doesn't Come with Accessories, Must be Purchased)

For non thigh holster recommendations see below...

Ming_the_Merciless Recommended Holster List:
Ankle Holster: Forbus or Galco
IWB (Inner Waistband Holster) w/ Laser-Light (Streamlight TLR-2): Raven Concealment
IWB w/out LaserLight: Crossbreed Supertuck
OWB (Hip/Belt) w/ Laser-Light: BladeTech WRS or Safariland ALS
OWB (Hip/Belt) w/out Laser-Light: SERPA, BladeTech, or Safariland
Thigh Holster w/Laser-Light: Safariland 6004 with Nylon or Kydex Shroud
Thigh Holster w/out Laser-Light: Safariland 6004 with Nylon or Kydex Shroud
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Old March 5th, 2009, 18:58   #15
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The issue with SERPA jamming isn't really important if the user is not the type to mount/use/rub it where it'd ingest a lot of dirt.
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