The SERPA is an injection molded retention holster from BlackHawk. It features an Active Retention Lever locking system mounted flush with the outer shell of the holster. This locking “lever” retains the weapon via a locking catch and is held in place under spring tension. When the shooter’s trigger finger is extended along the outside of the holster the finger is in position to depress a lever, disengage the lock and draw the weapon straight up and out of the holster. This “straight up” draw stroke is very reminiscent of SouthNarc’s Extreme Close Quarter (ECQ) fighting draw stroke method. (See below) Though the SERPA is popular among US service members the holster system also has its detractors. Nationally known firearms trainer Paul Gomez is of the opinion that the exposed lever is susceptible to the introduction of detritus that will under certain circumstances prevent the shooter from drawing the weapon. He also notes that occasionally if the shooter attempts the simultaneously draw the handgun and activate the lock release the retention lever can bind rather than release the weapon. Rather than debate the validity of his concerns I prefer to focus on the holster’s unique ability to optimize the shooter’s draw stroke skills. If a shooter trains with the SERPA in a controlled and clean environment and focuses on a smooth rather than a fast (“smooth is fast”) draw he will guarantee himself a solid grounding in the mechanics of the most practical and effective gun fighting draw stroke extent. As a draw stroke training tool the SERPA is unmatched. Like the dumbbell to the weight lifter or the punching bag to the boxer, no serious student of gunfighting should be without a SERPA holster in his training regiment.