Editorial First Look: BLACKHAWK Omnivore Matt Stagliano October 14, 2016 Join the Conversation Omnivore is an excellent name for this new retention holster recently introduced by BLACKHAWK! Lets back up. Earlier this year we were flown to Bozeman, MT to take part in a BLACKHAWK! writer's event. We were introduced to their entire product line, including clothing and suppressors, but what was most interesting to everyone was a holster that was somewhat shrouded in secrecy. We were given prototypes to use during shooting portions of the event and told the real deal would be released in early October. There weren't many fans of the SERPA system in attendance and the hope was that BLACKHAWK! would bring something new to the table. Right on schedule, we were introduced to the Blackhawk Omnivore holster. It's a Level 2 retention universal holster purported to hold up to 150 different models of handgun, provided they have an accessory rail. Three models of Omnivore are currently available, including the non-light bearing version we were sent. There are also light bearing models for the Surefire X300/X300u-A and the Streamlight TLR1/2. In the non-light bearing version, the Omnivore utilizes a small rail adaptor easily installed via two screws. Two adaptors are included with each holster, allowing you to install them on multiple guns in your safe. Also included are multiple sized thumb pads for the retention mechanism, giving the holster a bit of a custom feel. Putting Hands On It When we first played with them in June, the common consensus was that the Omnivore is a “gun bucket,” capable of holding any girth of pistol. Time will tell if this holds true. Initial experience showed it to be reasonably intuitive. We were loaned a Walther PPQ to use while competitive shooting superstar Todd Jarrett ran us through timed marksmanship drills. All the while we kept banging on the prototypes, trying to find the next SERPA-esque failure point. During the event several of us needing to become accustomed to the thumb break struggled to make a clean draw. However once adjusted those issues went away. One just has to remember to push down slightly while establishing a grip, simultaneously depressing the “thumb break” button with the thumb. Those minor initial shooter issues aside, there were no equipment issues and the holster performed admirably. I was able to draw the gun cleanly without any noticeable slowdown. Shooters who are alredy accustomed to thumb breaks or higher level retention holsters should not have an issue with this particular setup. Those who are not can easily remedy that deficiency with some drawstroke-dryfire repetition. Two rail adaptors are included with the Omnivore. Putting It Together Installing the rail adaptors on a Smith and Wesson M&P is a breeze — there's just not a whole lot complicated about two screws. Once installed and placed in the holster, the gun free-floats with appreciable distance between the frame and the sides of the holster. BLACKHAWK! touts this as a significant feature, noting that it will reduce the wear and tear on the gun's finish. However, it did get us wondering if there was any chance debris inside the holster could become an issue, i.e. causing the gun to go bang unintentionally. Generally accepted good practice dictates you always look your gun into the holster so you can check for any obstructions, however, and with generous openings at the bottom we did not see the free floating system as a sticking point. The exterior texture is rubberized and comfortable. The polymer used in the holster is stiff but pliable, on par with many other BLACKHAWK! products. While certainly not as stiff as custom molded Kydex, nothing about the Omnivore felt cheap or shoddy. Putting It To Use With an included paddle as well as a belt loop adaptor, both providing multiple cant and carry options, the Omnivore should be well suited to the majority of OWB carry conditions. As winter approaches and garment layers increase, having a universal holster like the Omnivore may save you time and energy when switching up your carry configuration. A universal holster will never replace a good quality custom-fit item, but the Omnivore isn't necessarily intended to replace a custom-fit rig anyway. It's intended to, and almost certainly will, appeal to many of those looking for convenience with Level 2 retention at a non-custom-fit price. It will also be a good option for anyone whose job or carry preferences compel a frequently changing setup. At a retail price point of $59 this could be the welcome replacement to the SERPA many have been waiting for. Our guess is they will soon be flying off the shelves of big box stores. Recapping the feature list from the BLACKHAWK! website: BLACKHAWK Omnivore • Multi-fit – Omnivore™ Holsters fit more than 150 styles of semi-automatic handguns with an accessory rail • Active Retention Mechanism – Instinctive thumb-activated retention mechanism delivers instant firearm access • Level 2 Retention – Uses two features to hold handgun securely in place • Free-Floating Design – Doesn’t wear firearms frame or finish • 3-Position Adjustable Release – Height of thumb-activated retention mechanism adjusts to fit your hand Explore RECOILweb:Heinkel and Castaneda join C&H Precision WeaponsB. E. 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