BLACKHAWK has just announced the release of their new Omnivore pistol holster. The Safariland’s GLS Pro-Fit holster, designed by famed holster maker Bill Rogers and released at SHOT Show last year. The current Omnivore is a Level II retention holster, but with enough interest I’m sure a Level III will follow.
BLACKHAWK has been both praised and vilified for their products. Originally founded by retired Navy SEAL Mike Noell who experienced a failure of equipment during combat, BLACKHAWK exploded on the market in 1993 with a variety of purpose-built accessories and clothing items. BLACKHAWK very quickly became a strong competitor to extremely popular brands like 5.11, and Safariland.
BLACKHAWK Omnivore Holster
The new BLACKHAWK Omnivore holster appears to be a very strong competitor to the Safariland Pro-Fit GLS. Marketed to fit more than 150 different pistols with an accessory rail, the Omnivore combines unique safety features with a holster designed to fit a multitude of handguns. Unlike the Pro-Fit GLS, the Omnivore is specifically designed with a larger opening at the top of the holster to allow a much easier holstering of various-sized pistols that may be selected.
Instead of a trigger guard safety lever, like many polymer retention holsters including the Serpa, the Omnivore is designed to lock onto one of the (2) included polymer locking blocks. These locking blocks easily attach to the pistol’s rail, and provide the locking point for retention. This removes any direct contact of the safety mechanism with the pistol itself, an added safety feature. The locking blocks are lightweight and inline with the pistol’s frame so they should not interfere with grip or add unnecessary weight if properly mounted as far forward as possible.
If the shooter chooses to use a weapon-mounted light, there are (2) light-bearing holster options. One holster is for the highly popular Streamlight TLR-1 and TLR-2 series pistol lights. The other holster is designed for the popular X300 series Surefire pistol lights. Both of these light options are the most popular pistol-mounted lights on the market today.
To release the handgun from the holster, the Omnivore uses a plunger style thumb-release mechanism. The Omnivore’s plunger style thumb-release is much larger than the Epoch holster’s release, making it much more viable in high stress situations. When combined with the moderate friction hold as the pistol sits inside of the holster, the Omnivore becomes a true Level II retention holster.
The benefit of the plunger style thumb-release is it removes the Serpa’s much maligned trigger finger safety bar release. That release was designed for the pad of the finger to disengage, and then intuitively placed the shooter’s finger along the slide or frame of the pistol. Unfortunately, enough inexperienced shooters curled their trigger finger to use the tip of the finger and then (with a trigger finger already curved) inappropriately guided their finger into the trigger guard causing some negligent discharges. The new Omnivore has a long, slender vertical piece raised on the outside of the holster, but this is simply a trigger finger guide and does not move or disengage any safeties.
The BLACKHAWK Ominvore currently comes with a very subtle texture over most of the holster. However, the texture is so subdued, that from just a short distance the Omnivore takes on the appearance of a matte finish. Overall the Omnivore appears to be a well-designed, versatile and attractive holster. The ability to carry over 150 pistols is extremely beneficial, providing the user a single holster for each of their handguns.
BLACKHAWK Omnivore Compatibility
|Browning||Caracal||Century Arms (Canik)||CZ||FN|
|Glock||Heckler & Koch||Ruger||Smith & Wesson||Sig Sauer|
Here is the complete Omnivore compatibility list.
BLACKHAWK Omnivore Features
- Made with highly durable polymer
- Level II retention
- Large, plunger style thumb-safety release
- Fits over 150 handguns
- Optional pistol-mounted weapon light holster for Streamlight and Surefire
- Locking mechanism attaches to pistol light or locking block instead of handgun
- Comes with (2) locking blocks
- MSRP: $59.99 for each option.
Here’s well-known Pistol Instructor Rob Pincus (I.C.E. Training) detailing the BLACKHAWK Omnivore:
BLACKHAWK Serpa vs. Omnivore
The BLACKHAWK Serpa holster has been very popular brand. The light-bearing Serpa holster was unfortunately specifically designed around the BLACKHAWK Night-Ops® Xiphos™ pistol light. This decision was likely made to support and promote BLACKHAWK products, but left out some of the most popular pistol-mounted lights on the market, like the Streamlight TLR-1, and Surefire X300.
The BLACKHAWK Epoch holster solves the variable pistol light problem, allowing users to mount a variety of the most popular pistol lights. However, the overall design came up just a little short in its overall presentation and function. The small thumb release, and very large holster size have caused the Epoch to receive mediocre reception.
The new BLACKHAWK Omnivore meets the best of both worlds. The Omnivore provides a good retention security system, while also providing enough room for Streamlight and Surefire pistol-mounted weapon lights. For only $59.99, the BLACKHAWK Omnivore is one of the most affordable pistol-mounted light holsters on the market.
BLACKHAWK has suffered some pushback since its acquisition by ATK in 2010, and more recently Vista Outdoor Group. Though I still think their Warrior Wear clothes and boots are outstanding selections, and the Serpa is one of the best holsters on the market, the other product areas suffered noticeably under the management of the conglomerations.
However, the introduction of the Omnivore has the potential to upset the holster market once again and offer a very good option for duty or off-duty carry. The ability to transition pistols without grabbing an entirely different holster is a very important advantage. This holds true for individual officers and departments alike.
We happen to know a representative for Vista Outdoor Group so we’re hoping to have a BLACKHAWK Omnivore holster to test and evaluate very soon. Keep reading!
EDITOR’S NOTE: Our goal in presenting or reviewing products is to provide an objective report giving our readers the best information possible so they can make informed decisions. For transparency, I have used a Blackhawk Serpa III holster on duty for over 15 years, and a Serpa Level II for off-duty purposes. BSD has posts praising the Serpa for its value, durability, security functions, and extremely quick draw. We recognize many law enforcement agencies and several U.S. military units use the Serpa. BlueSheepDog has defended the Serpa against its detractors, and posted an article from Police & Security News praising the Serpa holster for duty use. In short, we like the Serpa!
However, the Blackhawk Epoch Level III holster has not been as favorable. Though the Epoch keeps the general Serpa security features, the change to a small thumb release is much harder than the Serpa design. In addition, the Epoch design allowing the carry of a variety of popular pistol lights results in a holster that is too large and too awkward to use in a critical incident, in my opinion. Belt space is premium for police officers, and the Epoch takes up a very large footprint.
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