Time to explain the Serpa Level 2 retention system. Blackhawk offers Level 1, 2, and 3 holsters.
Level 1 is a passive retention system. It applies a user adjustable amount
of pressure to the trigger guard to help keep the XD in the holster.
Level 2 is an active retention system. It positively engages the trigger guard and locks it into position until you release it during the drawing process. The above photo shows the inside workings of the CQC holster. I have circled the Serpa lock that engages the trigger guard.
Level 3 raises the active retention system another level by securing the slide in the holster (as well as the trigger guard). It provides the highest level of security in retaining the XD within the holster.
The Level 1 passive system is adjusted using a Phillips screwdriver (shown above). Turn the screw one full turn counter-clockwise. Insert the UNLOADED handgun into the holster as far as it will go. Gradually turn the adjustment screw clockwise 1/8 of a turn at a time while removing the XD. Continue this (keep the Level 2 release pressed) removing and adjusting process until you are satisfied with the amount of resistance encountered while removing the XD from the holster. A small adjustment makes a fairly notable difference and the instructions warn against over tightening the adjuster.
The Level 2 Serpa active retention system uses a release on the side of the holster.
It is designed so that your trigger finger aligns with the release during the drawing process....and it really does. I was a bit concerned about it before the purchase but I can say it is not an issue to "release" the Serpa system when drawing.
The effort required to depress the release is minimal and with some practice, it will become second nature, in my opinion.
I happened to catch a show on the Outdoor Channel this past week and they happened to do a review on this very holster. They use one of the nation's top ranked shooters to determine what, if any, time was lost using the Level 2 and Level 3 systems. For a baseline, they used the Level 1 holster. After a number of timed "draw and fire" sequences, the shooter switched to the same sytle holster but with the Level 2 option. He lost .1 seconds (repeatable on a number of shooting sequences). After moving up to the Level 3 version of the same holster, another series of "draw and fire" sequences were timed and an additional .1 seconds was lost. At my current skill level, I'm not yet concerned about 1/10th of a second.
I hope this review has provided you with some additional information on the Blackhawk CQC Serpa Level 2 holster. I've learned a lot more about the holster since getting one than I did prior to the purchase. With luck, you will be able to make a more informed decision as to this holster being appropriate for your needs.
Until I find something better, I look forward to more shooting sessions.
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