Army Adopts G-Code, SERPA Models as New Holsters

gcode1The U.S. Army recently awarded contracts worth more than $73 million to equip soldiers with the G-Code XST and Blackhawk SERPA holsters for its Improved Modular Tactial Holster program.

On Dec. 18, the Army awarded a $49 million contract to Military Hardware, LLC for G-Code holsters and $24.3 million contract to ADS Inc. for Serpa holsters.

The SERPA line has seen mixed reviews over the years. The Marine Corps held a similar effort two years ago and adopted the Blackhawk SERPA.

But the SERPA’s retention mechanism is prone to become clogged with dirt, increasing the chances for a  malfunction, sources say.


The G-Code XST features a spring-loaded, hooded retention device that become extremely popular with users.

The Army also tested designs from companies such as Safariland.


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Matthew Cox
Matthew Cox is a reporter at He can be reached at
  • burkefett

    Cue the horde of people shrieking about SERPAs being unsafe.

    • ripple

      Yes, There is a lot of talk going on out there about these holsters. The apparent problem is that the locking mechanism is causing discharging while drawing the weapon. I watched the video where the guy shot himself in the leg. I’m not sure exactly what holster that was. OK he was using a 511 thumb drive holster. As far as I know it’s not anything like the serpa index finger retention type. Yet I read a lot of complaints about it. LE in a lot of states are pulling them off their training line up.

      • burkefett

        The issue as I understand it is a training one, more than anything. The mishaps seem to occur primarily when the release is pressed with the tip of the index finger, which can slide into the trigger guard as the weapon clears the holster (basically, the user is pulling the trigger themselves). The proper use of the SERPA release is to lay the index finger flush alongside the holster and press the release with the pad of the finger. When done correctly, the index finger winds up in a perfect position to not shoot yourself – as in outside the trigger guard.

        • OCampbell

          I own and have used Serpa holsters for years. When drawing, your figure is perfectly indexed on the weapon. If it ends up in the trigger well then you have poor habits in indexing your finger. There is nothing inside the holster that could possibly pull the trigger. Almost every Deputy in my Office uses a Serpa and we’ve never had an issue with someone shooting themselves nor with a holster jamming. Its my first choice in holsters hands down as all you do to draw it is take a natural grip on the pistol and you will release the two mechanical retention devices (on a level III) and then pull it out. Its also difficult to remove from any other position if you end up on the ground with the enemy.

          • Dude

            The issue with the holster jamming is with the military because of the situations that we encounter such as crawling, rolling and laying on the ground for extended amount of time. LE on the other hand spends most of the time standing or sitting and staying off the dirt.

    • SSGT Willy

      The Serpas Might be safe it’s the 9MM that I don’t like, I want a 45 Cal.
      Take them down, for good. Anyone that complains he can’t hit anything
      needs to spend more time at the range.

      • Grunt Doc6

        Right, because range time and ammo are just oh so plentiful these days.

  • moondawg

    Just how many holsters are they buying for $79 million? Buying in quantity and given the fact that Kaydex should be relative inexpensive both material wise and production wise, the Army should have enough holsters to equip just about the entire force.

    • frank bowers

      GEE I was thinking the same thing but then another though came to mind. Hell congress has got to include the kick back and their yearly bonus, ignorant us. Frank Bowers, FIC; 100% DAV; Class of 1937; Austin, TX

      • Ted

        at $100 per holster, isn’t that about 790,000 holsters?

  • moondawg

    On another note, is the Army going to buy $79 million worth of holsters that are made to fit a berretta, and in a few years decide they want an entirely different service pistol? Or, are these holsters a one size fits all?

    • Lance

      IDK but the Army last year did make a huge contract with Beretta for many new pistols till 2017 so the M- will be around for many years.

    • Richard

      As a retired military infantry officer and a retired law enforcement officer I can tell you that you do NOT want a holster that is a one size fits all. I could write a book for the reasons. Many years ago while serving in a combat zone, I use to demonstrate how dangerous the flap covered 45 holster was,along with the mind set of not having a round in the chamber and the weapon carried on full cock was. I would have someone at a 40 yard distance run with a knife from the shooters side while the shooter would undo the flap, draw his weapon, rack it, and fire a round down range in front of him. The knive carry guy won 90% of the time. I had my men cut the flaps off and
      a local villager sew on a snap strap the secure the weapon in the holster so it would not fall out. The top brass always went ape over it , never understanding a trained quick draw and accurate shooting saved lives. we did it anyway.

    • Jeremy

      It is by no means a one size fits all however with a slight modification on the right inside of the holster with a dremel tool and it will fit a .45. I found one on sale and bought it just to see if i could make it work. Its not ideal but it gets the job done. It does take some practice to master the over the hammer latch on the G-Code but i prefer that to the trigger well latch system. With one fluid motion you can push the latch down and foward and then quickly place the weapon on fire as it is coming out of the holster. But like the article says, if you dont keep the latch free of dirt it will start to stick.

  • Casey

    We don’t need to rehash the repeated and well documented issues with the Serpa release binding up as a result of dirt, snow, etc., not to mention the questionable location of the release mechanism.

    With that out of the way, I’d really love to know what the G-Code and Serpa lines bring to the table that isn’t already executed better by Safariland.

    • vet69

      Soldiers are well informed on how to keep their weapon systems clean and with full function. You do have to clean them periodically and oil them including any locking mechanisms. I have the same holster for the last 3 years for my Glock and have had no problems. If your having problems, you doing something wrong with it. Get instructions from the manufacturer.

  • Al Cohol

    Wow, what I want to know is how is G-Code going to make all of these? lol it takes 4-6 weeks to get mine, imagine how long it takes to get $49 million worth. Thats so awesome for them though. I love their products, glad they are getting big government purchases. They deserve it.

    • Kerry

      79 Million

  • TopV

    Retail for these is around $50 each, maybe add a few bucks for the drop-leg. Does the Army really need 1.25 million new holsters? How many soldiers carry a pistol anymore?

    Carried my 9 in a Blackhawk holster in OIF-never had a problem. Guess it didn’t get dirty enough.

    • frank bowers

      PLEASE don’t forget the military must issue them three each to all the insurgents and terrorist in the mid east. REMEMBER we supply to all equally. Frank Bowers, FIC: 100% DAV; Class of 1937; Austin, TX

    • HawkDriver

      Aviation and Armor all carry pistols as their primary weapon.

  • cptbunny

    so they can OK new holster but budget cuts might not let new desperately needed camo through….never said anyone running the budget was smart

    • Joshua

      Congress is the ones pushing for the cut in funding for the camo, not the Army.

  • ReconMan

    OK – according to recent budget documents “The active Army will decline to 490,000 by FY 2017”. I would be amazed if even half that end strength need to carry a pistol in a field combat configuration – for example MPs will likely carry their weapons in law enforcement configurations on bases. Being very generous that means the Army might need 245,000 holsters. That is a unit cost of over $300…for a holster. I won’t go into how much all of this is the Kodak moment for Fobbits and has little utility in the field…that has been written to extensively. Bottom Line – rear echelon, pot-bellied bureaucrats making money-wasting decisions for warriors. Front line troops will continue to rely on Cabela’s, etc. for the gear they really carry while most if not all of the Serpa rig remains in a bag in the rear.

    • W_R_Monger

      I always bought my own rigs. Most of us did in fact and those bean counters always got us crap while we were buying what was necessary to survive combat. Maybe those who are supposed to be holding the “purse” should actually talk with those who do the service, perhaps congress might not have to “cut” budgets. Rather they could just spend appropriately and stop stealing from our military and the taxpayers. But then they wouldn’t be able to maintian their lavish lifestyles…

    • Kerry

      When I was in the service we carried our duty weapon in combat holsters. I was issued a black leather one but none of us trusted them. We all wore combat style holsters everywhere.

  • CaptainDoc

    the guard and reserve is not being taken into account, + many containers of equipment, by the sharp shooters of this article. they really do need the amount of holsters asked for. next item would be that the military is supposed to be considering a new pistol in a larger cal. than the 9. at least tests are being performed towards that line of thought, so no one knows for sure it the holster will fit a different design. the 9 is a very nice pistol if only in a .45 would be nice although many say they cannot handle the .45 and the magazine doesn’t have enough rounds BUT no matter which firearm is selected there will be the usual b/s.

    • Ed BucketHead

      Hey CPT Doc, Try the Springfield Armory 45, 13 rd mag, one in the pipe, 14 rounds of full size battle tested 240 gr of never needing to say you’re sorry!! I use the SafariLand holsters for it, got them before SafariLand built a holster for them, (if they ever have), used the one for my 9, works fine!! Normal issue 9 mag pouches work just fine too, won’t ever go to war without them!! Got one holster for the desert & one for the bushes, can’t say enough good about them both!! Got the SA XD 45 Tactical in Black. The Tactical is the only pistol in that line that has a manual safety, GREAT Weapon!! Most Highly Recommend!! It might cost a bit but then exactly how much is not dying worth?? Out Here, Bucket

      • KKuhlman

        The military does prefer external safeties on their guns but also they will probably never use a polymer frame pistol. Not saying they couldn’t it’s just the aged upper brass in charge of decisions like these are still pretty “old school” thinkers. NATO is the reason for 9 over anything else. Otherwise we might have moved to a 96 type Beretta in 40 SW. Of course some might whine over the barrel flip/high pressure loading. M9s are just easy to shoot. Also, it is a side arm, not a duty weapon. It will see far less use than any Army rifle.

  • g55rumpy

    got a quick draw model?

    • Al Cohol

      For the G-Code? Check out the OSH Series.

    • Ed BucketHead

      Try the SafariLand for your sidearm, they are very fast draws!! I got a couple for my POS issue 9, (God I hate that POS)!! Come to find out that the SafariLand holsters for the POS 9 works just fine on my Springfield Armory XD 45 Tactical. Holds 13 in the Mag and 1 in the pipe, only the Tactical has a manual safety, hell of a fine weapon, I most highly recommend it!! As for holsters, I will not use any other than SafariLand, PERIOD!! Never fails to work, does not bump & slap you when running, easy to install on your rig, I’ve jumped with it, swam with it, rolled in the mud, swamp & sand with it, they have tons of colors, a safety hood that makes your weapon almost impossible to take from you & you can get them all ready made for lasers or lights if you want!! I highly doubt I will ever buy another holster, it’s that good! Out Here, Bucket

    • OCampbell

      Serpa cqc. Love mine, quick on the draw, plus you can buy other platforms (such as shoulder holsters) and with a few screws change it over. You also adjust the angle at which the holster faces.

  • CaptainDoc

    I really do not need to carry a sidearm on my sailboat here in the Caribbean. the only thing I have close to a gun is a spear gun that I have had for 6 years without even cocking it as the h. sling works well. I will warn most traveling to the Caribbean right now “DO NOT GET CAUGHT WITH A FIREARM IN CENTRAL AMERICA” they will even pop you for ammo so hide everything well, don’t tell ANYBODY not even your wife or honey, clean it with soap and water really well and lubricate with something that is not gun oil, vacuum pack with a food saver and put all the toys away. if you need it use it throw it over the side and anything connected to the incident with it, be sure to put lots of weight on the target and slit any thing that will hold air. good luck with your holster

    • W_R_Monger

      I like the way you think

    • JCitizen

      Very true! I read years ago of a guy that was flying into Jamaica for a normal visit like he always did; and got caught with 1 – count ’em – one 22 cartridge in his pocket! From what I remember, it was like a life sentence, but the media attention, finally got him some relief; albeit I don’t know how much or when. I would never travel to anywhere there is not a respect for private gun ownership; but then doing it as a military serviceman pretty much covered it most of the time.

    • g.cogs

      best info I’ve ever rec’d on this site . . . thx

  • Mike

    For the G-Code the government is getting around $120 for each holster.

  • Tbeaau

    AHmazing!!! Give them the money and they will spend it on something. If numbnuts can’t keep his/her finger off the trigger until weapon is drawn maybe they aren’t qualified to carry said weapon. C’mon, though, 70 plus million $US for new holsters? How did I ever survive without shooting my leg off? Oh, gee, I learned how not to fire until I was clear and on target. If the retention system sticks due to dirt accumulation, maybe some training along the lines of CLEANING said holsters would be in order! Talk about unchecked waste in the military-industrial complex circus! Dwight D.’s warning lives on with us everyday in these $100 hammer stories. Good God!

    • M. Redleg

      Holy crap you’re all over the place with this rant! I cant tell if you support the new holster or not.

    • Larry Bucklin

      $100 hammer??? Glad that your survival techniques are better than your procurement comprehension. The “$100” hammer was, I recall, a Proxmire Golden Fleece Award winner that didn’t stand up to scrutiny. The hammer in question was a line item on a large cost type contract subject to DCAA audit. The accepted accounting procedures at the time allowed the contractor to distribute its total overhead for that contract evenly over each of the listed items irrespective of the direct cost of each listed item. Bottom line, the Government/taxpayer did not pay $100 for that hammer. But don’t let the facts get in the way of your opinions.

  • ADH86301

    I just tried to post a comment and it was deleted by the administrator! My comment was about Made in the U.S.A.

  • OldDave

    I like the pistol color in the photo. Will the USAF be getting new, blue M9s to match their pretty blue camo? They’ll be able to hide in the sky anywhere.
    What’s the big deal about pistol retention? I never had a FLAPPED holster dump a gun, even without the flap fastened down. Will the new doctrine be “engage only at high noon and quick-draw for peace?” The handgun is a secondary weapon. If it becomes your only weapon. you’d better already have it in your hand.

    • Unicorn Meat

      OldDave–That blue M9 is a non-firing training pistol.

    • defensor fortisimo

      and for cops who rely on their 9s? How about those of us who are assigned to security details that require carrying concealed? We have a nickname for the old UM 84s, and they retired the “Widowmaker” for a reason.

    • g.cogs


  • SGT Chet

    Didn’t like the Serpa Blackhawks for nothing. Your gonna shoot yourself. And it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been FBI trained or SEAL trained in your techniques. Definitely gonna mess yourself up with SEAL training. You can trust Fobus any way you want to go.

    • lulu

      yeah you trust that fobus; which are easily torn from their mount and have no retention other than the friction lock…

    • GML

      Really? Do you know how many people use SERPA holsters and drawl from the all the time without shooting themselves? Every cop around here has one, I’ve used one for years. If you draw properly it’s not a problem at all.

  • R Martin

    I’m sorry but what was the issue with the old system I used an old leather holster for my 1911a1 during desert sheild / storm granted it was old/ ugly and had a gewiz factor of zero but you had to respect the fact it survived D-day. But can anyone guess how many times it jammed or caused my 45 to discharge ?

  • R Martin

    Don’t get me wrong tec is great god knows I’d prob detox if I could’t use my iPhone every day, but the thought of a holster with a retention system that relies on anything more high tec than a snap would cause me nightmares. Having seen how fast these sort of things fail ( and always at the worse possible time) I think I’d resort to 100 mph taping
    my weapon to my leg or keep it in my pocket rather than have it stuck in my holster when I need it most. But maybe I’m just a paranoid old man. @ADH86301 I’m sure most will agree that we should try to keep most if not all military equip made in the greatest country in the world if for no other reason than to make sure we can always get replacements when needed.

  • R Martin

    Don’t get me wrong tec is great god knows I’d prob detox if I could’t use my iPhone every day, but the thought of a holster with a retention system that relies on anything more high tec than a snap would cause me nightmares. Having seen how fast these sort of things fail ( and always at the worse possible time) I think I’d resort to 100 mph taping
    my weapon to my leg or keep it in my pocket rather than have it stuck in my holster when I need it most. But maybe I’m just a paranoid old man. @ADH86301 sorry to hear bout your comment I just had the same problem.

  • R Martin

    Don’t get me wrong tec is great god knows I’d prob detox if I could’t use my iPhone every day, but the thought of a holster with a retention system that relies on anything more high tec than a snap would cause me nightmares. Having seen how fast these sort of things fail ( and always at the worse possible time) I think I’d resort to 100 mph taping
    my weapon to my leg or keep it in my pocket rather than have it stuck in my holster when I need it most. But maybe I’m just a paranoid old man.

  • R Martin

    Lmao sorry the 2nd and 3rd posts I received a message saying that admin wouldn’t post them. I certainly didn’t want all 3 posted.

  • BCinu2

    I used a shoulder holster with my 1911. Never had a problem with it. The rig was USA made and it had a snap on it. Keep the simplicity as this is over kill. If you want to strut around like a peacock I suppose the tec would be your choice. But it felt good under my arm and worked well….bc

  • WhiskeyPapa89er

    We were issued 1911A1 and Model of 1911 holsters till we were issued the Bianchi M66 for patrol or MPI duty. Nice thing about the M66 is that the flap could be removed for plain clothes wear, we could carry cross-draw, the holster could snap onto the web belt, had belt slots and some of us had thumb-snaps made that took the place of the full flap. Never had a retention issue with the older design holster but then we had enough other armament to keep the enemy from getting that close!

  • R Martin

    @bcinu2 and light as well though I wasn’t a big fan of the lanyard but that was ez enough to discard. Weapon retention wasn’t ever an issue, but we didn’t have to be peace keepers or let anyone get within 100m of us. We had it a lot better back in 91 than the men and woman deployed these days do. I must say I have a tun of respect, and am truly proud of all our service members currently serving. Thank you all for everything you do, and their families that support them and keep the home fires burning. Having seen both sides of it, I would much rather be there than stuck at home with my son in harms way. Be safe guys and come home soon.

    • T.J. Rocker Sr.

      Like ant thing or so called government does.

    • SFCCar

      I concur absolutely. my father, my son and I are all retired Army, and my grandson will be enlisting soon. God bless all of you as you go about your duties whether in combat or peace.

  • Ray M Baker Jr

    Waste of OUR money!

    • Richard I. Lawsonjr

      Give this MONEY to our TROOPS.

  • M. Valdez

    The Serpa, what a waste. Simple and old thought! If it aint broken, don’t fix it!

  • Ghostrider47

    What most of ya’ll don’t see is that they have to buy them for the reserves, guard and DHS. Also it must be in various colors Tan, Green, Sage Green, Black, Multicam since the military a fashion issue. Then we also give them to allies when we re-equip their ragtag armies. Oh and we have to have something to sell at Gov’t auctions for next to nothing later. Something does seem hinky about this deal though. Hopefully this will be made in the USA.

  • OldGuy

    All that money for holsters. Most likely the first couple 100 will go to O6 and above. Just as well as the DOD does not have the funds to retain E5 and below. Don’t even get me going about DOD retirement benefits. Ya, I’m one of the guys who carried a old 45 in a leather holster during Desert Storm too.

  • BTDT

    Never wore the Army’s issue holster. I used a Blackhawk or a leather Tanker holster that my brother made for me (still have that one). Went through two different styles of CIF issue within 4 years (tan and ACU flight gear). ACUs never matched the environment either. DOD finally learned that after our complaints for about a decade. Guess we needed to waste more money.



  • R Martin

    @old guy lol but you forgot not just O6 and up. the first few thousand will end up being issued to the remfs cuz god knows the J2 and his platoon of map readers, drivers, boot shiners, and bum warmers none of whom will ever have to fire a single round out side of the qualification range all need to look cool. Then the high ranking in the line units will need them so they look at least as cool as the remfs. The upside is that the solders that do the fighting won’t be forced to use them till the last production run, and then they will throw them in their rucks and find the old one they just happened to misplace just b4 they were told to turn them in and draw the “new and improved holster”

  • Ep83z

    The army is wasting money on these holsters by buying so many. Infantry soldiers don’t get issued sidearms so it’s all the pog’s that will be getting them.

  • Rick Pere

    Now please tell me why in the hell would the DOD adopt the most dangerous holstet in the world. This holster is not allowed on many ranges, and I will not allow this holster on any firing line I am running or serving as an RSO. ONCE AGAIN, the military has screwed up….FUBAR!

    • GML

      Funny thing is thousands of LE wear SERPA holsters…..don’t see reports of people shooting themselves left and right. The whole thing is over blown, they’re perfectly fine holsters if you draw correctly.

  • Robert Morton

    I’m still using a WW2 shoulder holster I used when I was in the army back in 1968-1977 that works just fine for my 45 or my 9mm CZ so I don’t see the need to spend $79 million especially when you consider these new holsters will be used mostly by non combat troops anyway.

  • tankjas

    Nothing wrong with the M-12/Bianchi UM-84/92. Will fit the M-9 and the M1911-A1 as well as other NATO pistols.

  • Steve

    What another great idea. Must be quite quiet pulling out of plastic holster. Please don’t pull gun out on ambush patrol. Kiss your ass goodbye. Who’s first ?

  • Gil Ruvalcaba

    Hey guys, it will be great if you can talk about footwear, and what’s the impact on your knees, back, and ankle….

  • john

    Typical government BS. Dont want to give our military raises but gotta waste money on new high techn holsters, hell if the guys cant handle the weapon they are given give em a rifle. The military needs a raise of more than 1% before they need a new holster. All that is going on is some damn politician is getting his pockets lined just like johnson did in vietnam with the m-16 and colt mfg——————-damn crooks

  • Peter Brazaitis

    How times have changed – as a tanker in 3rd Armored Div I carried my .45 in a shoulder holster with the pistol snug and clean under my left armpit for two years. Never got hung up or got me stuck in anything. Never got dirt in it or wet or full of snow. Ah – the old days!

  • CaptainDoc

    remfs. how correct you are when you made that statement. most spec. ops. use suppressed ruger . 22 and suppressed .380’s, some even use suppressed .45’s. we had suppressed 9’s but used them primarily for shooting cans and other little object. never carried 9 in the field that was suppressed as they make to much noise and throw the empty casing to far away to recover at night. so the holster does not matter but it will look awesome in the movies. the USA, and as pointed out other agency’s, have a very big supply of the 9’s so it is not going away so JUST GET USED TO IT AND USE WHAT THEY GIVE US.

  • S Marftinez

    Amazing…… spending taxpayer money again…… So where was the FUBAR on the first model of holster they spend a sh** load of money on? And they say they can’t cut military spending. What a joke!