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Review: BLACKHAWK! T-Series Retention Holster

Blackhawk T-Series Holster - side view

A few years ago, my son carried a BLACKHAWK! Serpa retention holster during most of his overseas deployment.

I purchased the holster on my own time (and with my own dime) because I wanted him to have the best.

The young Captain voiced no complaints on the holster’s performance.

The Serpa demands attention to detail and training. A new holster that is billed as the successor to the Serpa, however, is the T-Series Retention Holster.

This is a retention holster with many good features. Read on to learn more about them.

All About the Levels

As many of you are aware, holsters are usually rated at Retention 1, 2 or 3, depending on the level of difficulty and the number of holster latches or movements needed to release the handgun.

Here’s a breakdown of the level definitions:

  • Level 1 generally means the holster has only passive retention. It may be an open-top or thumb break holster.
  • Level 2 means there is another retention device other than friction or compression. A button, strap, snap or lever is used.
  • Level 3 retention is a holster with both a strap and a hood, or perhaps a hidden snap that must be activated. Or, a certain angle at which the handgun must be angled to draw.

The spring-loaded Berns Martin holster was among the first holsters offering a forward-type draw against spring pressure. The Serpa is among the most modern and widely distributed.

Most concealed carry holsters rate at Level 1 at best. Level 2 holsters are sometimes used by peace offices for concealed carry.

The goal is not only to retain the weapon, but to prevent an assailant from gaining control of the firearm as well.

For many years, the hard and fast rule that one in five officers killed by firearms were shot with their own sidearm.

Blackhawk T-Series holster thumb release design.Note T-Lok and thumb release design.

Modern training and retention holsters have changed this to an extent, but the problem is real.

Remember, no matter how the fight goes, there is always one gun on the site and that is your gun.

A holster with some type of retention that the user may disengage relatively quickly is important.

How the T-Series Retention Holster Works

The T-Series Retention Holster requires a thumb-activated retention device.

When you grip the handgun, your thumb will naturally be in a position to press the T-Series retention lever and release the mechanical grip on the firearm.

The release is activated by pressing inward toward the holster with the shooter’s thumb. A spring-loaded lock achieves retention by locking on the trigger guard.

The release lever is resistant to lateral pressure. It may only be activated from directly above the holstered handgun.

T-Series Holster above view.The T Series holsters’ range of adjustment is surprising.

Only the wearer is likely to be able to achieve this draw angle. A Level 3 version is also available with a rotating safety strap.

Even with this additional level of security, both the trigger guard device and the rotating strap are released by the thumb-activated lever.

The holster is constructed of modern materials with a stronger outer shell and a mechanism and body that is waterproof and impervious to oil, solvent and perspiration.

An adjustment screw allows the user to adjust the friction required to keep the pistol steady in the holster. Some like a hard tug on the draw, some like less pressure.

This works for both.

Other Design Features

The holster retains BLACKHAWK’s belt loop spacers. The holster may be adjusted for vertical or forward rake.

The quick-detach belt loop is very secure, robust, and well designed. I used a long-serving Glock 17 in the evaluation.

The T-Series demands training, but the draw is natural and the thumb release isn’t a challenge to use quickly.

Unlike the standard thumb break, in which the thumb is moved in an arc to release, the thumb must be moved straight down and onto the release.

Blackhawk T-Series Retention Holster paddle viewNote the large paddle for releasing the holster’s grip on the handgun. This is advanced engineering that works as designed.

This takes time to learn. After a few dozen draws you will be capable. I recommend 500 successful presentations, the same as with any type of duty or concealed carry holster.


While I have the greatest respect for the Serpa, some did not acclimate as well to the use of the trigger finger to actuate the handgun release.

The new design does seem faster on the range. The thumb does all of the work in releasing retention.

The holster tested doesn’t feature the top strap, which I would recommend for duty use. The appearance would be more business-like.

Just the same the holster tested meets my criteria as a duty holster. It is strong, well designed, offers good retention, and offers a sharp draw.

In the end? The BLACKHAWK! T-Series get a clean bill of health and a good recommendation.

What do you think of the BLACKHAWK! T-Series Retention Holster? Have you used the Serpa? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Cheaper Than Dirt

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