Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Gun Blogger Summer Camp - The Gear

To get the most out of any training exercise, you need the proper gear. For the Gun Blogger Summer Camp, our gear was provided by the good folks at Blackhawk! Not only did Blackhawk provide the transportation, to get us from Norfolk to Blackwater (and back again), they provided us with the gear necessary for a successful weekend of shooting with Todd Jarrett.

Belt, holsters, mag pouches and gloves. So long as Robb brings his pants, we are good to go.

Let us start with the basic foundation for any means of carrying a firearm. Whether you carry a sidearm concealed, open or for duty, a quality belt will determine your comfort and safety while carrying. An inadequate belt will have your drawers drooping, your firearm flopping around, and your side sore from the constant readjusting necessary to keep your gun in position. The belt provided to us by Blackhawk is most definitely up to the task.

Blackhawk CQB/Emergency Rescue Rigger Belt

Blackhawk issued us their CQB Belt in black. The belt I was given was a bit large as I had lost some weight (4" around the waist) from the time I received the email that I was going to camp and when camp started. Even being large, the belt fulfilled it's duties. The buckle and triangular "D" ring are made of steel and the webbing is 1.75" wide. I did not have to adjust the tension of the belt, the buckle and the Velcro securing the free end kept the belt very secure on my waist. I ran my holster both belt and paddle mounted, and the holster stayed put whichever way it was mounted. I own a 5.11 instructors belt, and Blackhawk CQB Belt is of much higher quality than my current nylon belt. My daily carry belt is an El Paso Saddlery leather belt and I would feel just as comfortable using the Blackhawk CQB Belt as I do the leather.

After you build a solid foundation with a quality belt, you need a means to actually carry the pistol. For me, a holster needs to be comfortable, secure and easily accessible for the deployment of the pistol. Blackhawk provided us with two holsters from which to choose.


The holster on the right is the CQC SERPA Holster - Active Retention - Matte Finish, the one on the left is the CQC Level 1 Holster - Carbon Fiber Finish. I chose to use the Level 1 Holster during our Summer Camp weekend. I wanted to focus on skill sets other than just learning how to get my pistol out of a retention holster. Once I got home, I started practicing with the SERPA holster and found that the learning curve is quite steep. The retention release is located right where your trigger finger should be during a normal draw. This is a very secure holster that also allows for one handed re-holstering of a firearm. The officer illustrated in this article would be well advised to look into a Blackhawk SERPA holster.

The holster I used over the weekend was the Level 1 Holster with the Carbon Fiber Finish. The holster comes with both a paddle and a belt loop platform so you have your choice of how you want to mount this holster. Both platforms are adjustable for both belt width and cant. Both platforms are very secure. On the first day I used the belt loop mount. The pistol remained stable and in place. Days two and three I used the paddle mount for convenience. First, this is a very comfortable injection molded paddle. The paddle itself is much wider than the one on my Fobus and did not cause any discomfort. On the outside of the pants, the rig grips the belt and the paddle secures itself through your pants. This holster stayed in position throughout two days of moving and drawing and moving some more. My Fobus creeps along the belt under simple tasks as performing normal range duties. The "Speed Cut" really does allow for a quick, no look, re-holstering. Both of these Blackhawk holsters get the JR seal of approval.

While at the Blackhawk facility, we had the opportunity to try out the Level 3 SERPA Auto Lock Duty Holster. This holster has two means of retention that are easily released during a proper draw. A goblin attempting to get at an officers firearm would have a very hard time of it if the officer were using this holster. This holster also provides for easy re-holstering. If you need a holster with level 3 retention, you should give this holster a look.

Blackhawk gave us two BlackHawk CQC Mag Pouch's. The pouches have a spring steel insert that does a very good job of securing the magazine without restricting access for quick reloads. The belt clip is removable to add versatility to how you may want to deploy the pouch. The belt clip is sized for a leather belt. The pouches slid around a bit on the web belt but are very secure on my leather.

The gloves. Blackhawk issued each of us a sized pair of Hot Ops Ventilated Hot Weather Gloves. These are nice looking gloves that fit very well. I am not a shooting glove kind of guy, so I did not use them over the weekend.

One item not in the above image that was provided by Blackhawk is a canteen. I have used this canteen at the range since being home, and found it's unique one handed closure system to be very cool.

All in all Blackhawk did an excellent job of equipping us for our weekend of shooting with Todd Jarrett. I was a Blackhawk customer prior to this weekend, and will continue to be one in the future. Blackhawk expressed commitment to bringing more and more manufacturing back to the United States and now have over 2000 SKU's that are made right here in the USofA.


Fits said...

I've tried every rig and position imaginable, which is why I'm in favor of open carry because no one setup works with every garment selection and at times it'd be nice to simply holster up and walk out the door without standing in front of a full length mirror looking for the infamous dead giveaway bulge that can land one in hot water with the constabulary.

Kydex can be wonderful but IWB for me it doesn't cut it. Too hot here for anything resembling heavy and/or cumbersome so its minimalist whenever possible and practical and that can also mean learning a different present stroke for each flavor of carry. Luckily, I carried some sort of gun for so very many years my hand instinctively goes for the iron, or plastic depending upon platform. I've always been clumsy so that doesn't matter.

John R said...

It is not often that I can carry in a paddle holster while out and about. Unless the law changes here in Texas, my go to holster remains the Milt Sparks Versa Max 2.

The Duck said...

Is there some type of detent on the level one, that slighty secures the pistol?
Or is it just a screw going through the two halves?

Mine suddenly seemed kind of floppy, & that it wasn't holding the pistol, In looking at the level 2, I see a detent that can be adjusted by the screw, but no such aminal in the level one

John R said...

Both tensioning devices are the same with the two holsters I have.