EDITOR'S NOTE: From the ATK media seminar and official grand opening in Manhattan, Montana, Rich Grassi shows and describes a few new holsters that are in development from ATK's Blackhawk operation. These holsters aren't available now. Don't bug your local dealer or call the distributor.
This Blackhawk CQC Askins holster is made of Italian leather for the S&W Shield. It'll soon be available at a lower cost in nylon.
SPECIAL TO THE SHOOTING WIRE -- Some of these holsters will launch at NASGW - oddly enough on November 6, 2012 when the Outdoor Wire Special Edition on Concealed Carry will be sent out network-wide. Others will be available at around the time of the SHOT Show.
Among other nylon products, Liam Yarborough, Senior Product Line Specialist, showed the Askins style holster in nylon. Having handled it and knowing how reasonable the price is, I think it's a screaming deal. For those who came in late, the Askins is a strong side belt carry holster with a trailing belt loop (to the rear of the pouch). The advantage is that it pulls the butt of the pistol into the body, enhancing concealment.
The Alaska Sportsman -Guide holster is a chest rig for the fly-fisherman or someone otherwise involved in outdoor activities in bear country or anywhere you'd need a large caliber revolver.
Whether you have the Streamlight TLR or Surefire X200/300 weaponlight on your Glock pistol doesn't matter to the EPOCH holster; it'll take either.(Preproduction prototype)
The new iteration of the CQC standard carbon fiber reinforced polymer holster is a re-issue with a very short cut and a new lower price - suggested $22.99. A holster for the Taser X26 has a side-directional draw - the better to differential between electrodischarge restraint and a firearm.
The big news? Two holsters stack up as game changers. The EPOCH is a duty holster that will (at the outset) fit the Glock 17-22-31 size pistol with the Streamlight weapon light TLR1 or TLR2, or in the alternative the same gun with the Surefire X200 or X300.
The same holster will fit your duty pistol while it's wearing the two most popular gun-lights. The EPOCH will be available at your dealer at the time of the hard launch at SHOT.
With offset pancake-style belt loops, the butt of the pistol is pulled into the wearer's side. A thumb release allows the pistol to be drawn. (Preproduction prototype)
Meanwhile, for those of us who carry concealed, we have the GripBreak. This Chuck Buis holster is leather, running around $72 expected recommended retail or, for much less, in nylon. It'll eventually be featured in an injection molded holster. The GripBreak uses the thumb to release the locking device. The belt loops are pancake-like, allowing a slight forward cant or straight up draw. The polymer holster faced in leather is curved along the back, making for a close fit.
We tried prototypes at the range, a picture of one appears with this feature. I believe that this holster design will be very popular. It's secure and, with a minimum of practice, is very fast.
"Blackhawk was a nylon product manufacturer who made holsters," Chuck Buis, Senior Product Marketing Manager, said, talking about the company not that many years ago. "Now, Blackhawk's a holster maker that also makes other products." It was the SERPA that did that.
"The SERPA came along at a time when plainclothes cops were concerned about weapon retention." Then elements of U.S. Special Forces got interested in it, followed by larger military components. Nonsworn citizens are a big market for SERPA as well.
The SERPA is so popular that it's hard to supply demand, hence the new factory in Manhattan, Mont. It's faced four major military contracts: the German Army, SOCOM, the U.S. Marines and, lately, the British Army - the SERPA won the contracts in each event, four for four.
Blackhawk's holster line is still in ascendency. We'll be watching and keeping you posted.
-- Rich Grassi
Grassi is editor of our companion service, The Tactical Wire (www.thetacticalwire.com).