When a Navy SEAL’s backpack broke, landing life-threateningly close to live mines in 1990, he “…vowed that if he got out of there alive he would make gear the right way.” He founded Blackhawk, and today the company remains dedicated to producing top-notch products designed for those who go in harm’s way. The company’s new Epoch Light Bearing Holster is no exception.
It features three levels of retention, so it is ideal for law enforcement personnel whose department mandates that level of security and military personnel. I’ve never had my 1911 come loose from the company’s level-two SERPA holster, so replacing it for work around the property was never a consideration until this fast-and-intuitive Epoch showed up. Best of all, this new model allows you to holster with a weaponlight.
I tested a right-handed version designed for Glock17/22/31s. Height is 9 inches and it is 4 1/4 inches wide. The polymer holster, with the belt harness attached, weighs 14.39 ounces.
Depending on configuration, expect it to stand about 3 1/16 inches from your hip. Inserting the provided .26-inch-thick spacer between the holster and polymer belt-loop plate increases that distance to clear gear or make carry more comfortable (required hardware is included). Changing configurations requires only a Phillips head screwdriver and, thanks to indexing recesses in the spacer, is effortless.
While the belt-loop plate is off, you might as well adjust the holster’s angle of carry. There are three different positions, both with and without the spacer, available.
The real beauty of the Epoch is the ability to carry with a weaponlight attached. The Glock slides effortlessly into the holster with a Streamlight TLR-2 attached. An audible click confirms the holster’s internal Auto Lock has secured on the ejection port. The hood-the third level of retention that protects the back of the handgun’s slide-must be manually rotated and locked into place.
There’s no need to alter your drawstoke, either. As your strongside thumb moves down to assume a grip on the handgun, it encounters a .61 inch by .75 inch button/paddle. When depressed, both the hood and internal retention release simultaneously. It’s hard to miss. In fact, I couldn’t because that’s right where your thumb needs to be.
A compatible weaponlight must be on the handgun. When I took the Streamlight off, the Glock rattled around so badly in the Epoch that even securing the hood offered no retention. The light indexes the gun into all three levels of retention, and two different, interior-mounted spacers are provided with the holster-accommodating SureFire X200A, X300, X300 Ultra and Streamlight’s TLR-1, TLR-1 HL, TLR-2, TLR-2 G and TLR-2 HL.
The TLR-2 and TLR-2 G did not require any of the spacers. In regard to getting lucky with other weaponlights, the Insight Technology M3 was too bulbous to slide into the holster and the Safariland RLS’ QD “wing” prevented it from working as well.
The Epoch Light Bearing Holster’s triple-retention system seems every bit as fast and smooth on the drawstroke as my preferred two-level holster. Testing on this one will continue in the hands of a law enforcement instructor, but if he comes to the same conclusions I did, then it may be time to retire my beloved Blackhawk SERPA-once 1911 models of the Epoch hit the store, that is.