This last week I had a chance to get a long walk out in the woods out past where the corn stops growing. I took a light coat in case of rain, as it's been unusually cold and wet, and of course, a trusty .45 in a Blackhawk holster. This is my "outdoors hiking, moving, fall and winter holster". It's not as sleek as many other holsters I own, but in the clothing I wear outdoors it works, and works very well for what I need it for. This particular holster is unique in that there's a locking mechanism that keeps the gun in place during other than just strolling movement, as well as acts in preventing someone else from grabbing it. Yet with a little practice, it is as easy as pie for you to draw.
Cabela's says "Thumb breaks can slow your draw and get in the way when you re-holster. But you won't experience those drawbacks with Blackhawk's patented SERPA Technology™. It engages the trigger guard as you holster your firearm and secures it until you release using the normal drawing motion with your trigger finger alongside the holster. No snaps or straps to get in the way. The textured Carbon Fiber model can be worn on a belt or used as a paddle holster."
I've had mine four years and it works without a hitch and has held up very well. The one thing I noted when I first put this on was how SECURE it was. I could pole dance with this thing and it wouldn't budge.
It's home to a .220 and draws with the finger indexed where it is supposed to be, off the trigger. Unlocks easily, re-holsters easily and locks with no insertion force. This is a holster that's NOT going to make it easy for someone to take this gun away from me.
The drawbacks? The paddle attachment that comes with it really grips my jeans when I'm carrying. That's wonderful from a retention aspect, but at the end of the long day, sometimes it's a bear to get off. The belt slot attachment works better with belts up to one and 3/4 inches (when you remove the two spacers). I would recommend practice with it as well, quick firing capability is there, but it's something you should practice with, as it might be different than what you are used to.
But it is my favorite holster for being outdoors with a vest or jacket on to conceal the bulk that's more than some holsters. I've spent a lot of time in the back country. All of it alone. I've camped, but not in a "National Park", because frankly, until recently, as a lone female, I wasn't going in one unarmed. If you're in the outdoors and you have an encounter with a criminal or an aggressive animal, there is no 9-11 box where you can call the police. And just like in the suburbs, 9-11 isn't going to do you a lot of good if you're staring down the face of a knife in the hands of some thug and the police are not going to be there in the next 10 minutes.
There were four bear attacks in parks last year that I know of. Small risk when you consider the millions of visitors. But think again. Bears aren't the biggest danger. The last year I could find statistics on violent crime in the parks from was 2006. For some reason, they haven't posted them where they are easy to find since then. In 2006, there were 116,588 reported offenses, including 11 killings, 35 rapes or attempted rapes, 61 robberies, 16 kidnappings and 261 aggravated assaults.
Crime and violence are working their way into our rural areas and our parks. The days of mellow nights under the stars with perhaps your only fear, that of cowtippers or Yogi the Bear stealing your picnic basket, are over. Urban problems are creeping ever outward, with alcohol or drugs being part of most violent incidents. Hideaway methamphetamine labs and marijuana fields in rural areas and forests are one reason, society degrading as unemployment skyrockets is another.
When the "guns in national parts" debate was ongoing the detractors said that guns would "ruin the outdoor experience". I don't know about you, but some whacko defending his meth lab intent on raping and killing me would certainly ruin MY park experience.
I don't fear the local four legged predators, the most common around here being coyotes. I fear the two legged animals. So I carry when I'm outdoors. Like the coyotes who share my land, I am alone even when I'm in my pack, dispossessed except for those times I am in the outdoors, for it is only the outdoors that feeds and nourishes me. I haunt the shadows of the wilderness that my own race continues to destroy. Yet, like the small field rabbits that are the coyote's prey, I just want to go about my way, unmolested, free to travel in sunlight or darkness without fear.
Some say we are safer out here in the country, in these small towns of America. Despite the country setting, and red white and blue speckled mailboxes, there is no truly safe place anymore, especially for a woman. Though there are certainly more crimes where more people live or where the the law-abiding are disarmed, the heart of evil roams equally at will through asphalt and country roads. Predators are among us, watching from a line at the corner market, waiting in the darkness of a rural parking lot or that untraveled, unbeaten path. Waiting for that sign, that manner, that tells them that you are un-toothed and un-fanged, a soft and vulnerable target.
Our primordial past is closer than we realize. Watching us. So I carry something large, and black as night, in a holster that holds up to it's job. Because not every creature in the woods is some furry gentle creature seeking sustenance at my door in the night.