As I mentioned in another article, I’ve been struggling a bit to find accessories for my M&P 10mm. It turns out that, at least for most things, the key is to buy things that work with the M&P in .45 ACP, which is another gun that’s harder to find accessories for (can you tell I’m an M&P junkie?). After upgrading the recoil spring, my next move was to find some holsters.
Next week, I’ll review some concealed carry holsters, but one of the first things I got for the M&P 10mm was something for carrying out in the desert or into the woods. One place I like to go is home to quite a few mountain lions and there’s the occasional bear attack, too. So I ended up looking for something I’m familiar with: Blackhawk holsters.
Why I Decided To Give It A Try
Everyone seems to have an opinion on Blackhawk, mostly do their SERPA holsters. Back before feds started hurting themselves with them and military members saw them get clogged with sand and some of the cheaper models break off their mounts, I really enjoyed using Blackhawk holsters in law enforcement.
If you put the reps in and tested yourself with a shot timer, it was pretty easy to figure out why people were hooking triggers and putting lead in legs. If you can keep your finger flat and let it slide onto the frame of the gun, it’s not a problem. If you decide to push in with the fingertip, you can end up with problems.
So, I put the problem mostly on users who didn’t put the reps in, while admitting that the design was one that lent itself to making mistakes if you don’t.
Despite my fond memories and my stubbornness, I understand the issue. Range safety officers and people running events/classes have no way of knowing whether someone had put the repetitions in under stress, so they had to ban them to avoid safety problems. They can’t take people’s word for it. I get that. Plus, the sand issue is real, even in the tougher duty holsters that don’t break.
But I heard about the new Blackhawk T-Series holsters. Not only were they all built tougher, but they also switched the button position to free the gun up from the trigger finger to the thumb, and engineered it so that when it does get gummed up with sand or mud, it locks into the open position, so you’ll still be able to get at your gun.
Even better, it fits all of my full-size M&P pistols, has room for suppressor height sights, and is contoured so that an optic won’t be a problem later. Just as important, it’s made from thicker plastic than the old SERPA duty holsters were, which means it won’t break if you snag it on something or run into something (or have someone try for a grab).
Dry Fire Practice
I figured out right quick that the holster would take some work to get used to. Unlike the SERPA, the thumb button isn’t in as natural a position, but it’s positioned in just the right place for the thumb to be during a draw. It’s very close to what I was already doing, and only requires a little bit of adjustment, while the rest of the grip is just as you’d want for firing.
To get some reps in and build muscle memory, I decided to switch to my SIRT pistol, a gun that’s shaped and weighted just like a 9mm or .40 S&W M&P pistol, but shoots lasers instead of bullets. Using the LASR-X App (a web app that watches for your laser shots and times you), I was able to do a bunch of repetitions with some time pressure.
Initially, I fumbled it. Times to shoot were over 2.5 seconds. I kept getting the thumb wrong, and would have to get it right before I could draw. But, after several dozen reps, muscle memory built up and I started getting my thumb in the right spot. (Note to female shooters: trim your thumbnail before trying this, because it’ll hurt if you don’t)
After I got used to it, I started doing close-in point shooting and failure drills with OK times. I’m no competition shooter, but I was able to get the first shots down to just over a second with a little work. This was just an hour of practice, and I can tell there’s plenty of room for improvement with more practice time on that thumb button. The times I got reflect on the shooter more than the holster, in other words.
I’m going to do my dry-fire work before I go for times with the holster on the range, but it worked great for target shooting and didn’t give me any problems at all with the 10mm doing a few draws. I have no reason to believe it won’t work great for the M&P 10mm going forward.
All in all, I’m pretty happy with the T-Series L2C. It’s tough, it has all of the issues of the SERPA holsters worked out, and (with some work) that extra retention doesn’t get in the way of drawing the gun in a hurry.
Gear is no substitute for training in retention techniques, but having that little extra margin of safety gives you a little more time to get your hand on top of theirs, which could make a big difference if you ever carry openly in town or on trips to states with no reciprocity that aren’t California or New York.
I’d recommend the holster to people with similar needs and wants as mine.
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