Blackhawk Holsters have been around from some time now and undergone numerous iterations and upgrades. For two decades, Blackhawk has dedicated their products to those who deliberately go into harm’s way; be they US military or law enforcement.

Designing rugged and reliable gear for Military and Law Enforcement requires a great deal of research. Americans who carry firearms for personal defense have greatly benefited from this research and development. Recently, I was able to get a first hand look at some of the newest equipment Blackhawk has to offer.

Blackhawk Holsters T-Series L2D:RDS with Glock 17 and Streamlight TLR-1
Blackhawk Holsters T-Series L2D:RDS with Glock 17 and Streamlight TLR-1

Blackhawk Holsters: Made in the USA; Montana to be Specific

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The origin of their duty gear is something every American gun carrier has the right to question. I am pleased to remind you that Blackhawk holsters are manufactured in the United States of America. To be specific; American workers make all injection molded, polymer Blackhawk products. Blackhawk’s state-of-the-art facility is located in Manhattan, Montana.

This event took place during the late days of September, before the real snows started falling. A group of outdoor/shooting sports writers gathered in Montana to test and evaluate products from Blackhawk and several other affiliated companies.

Blackhawk Holsters: T-Series L2D

We were privileged to test out a brand new series of duty holsters, the T-Series, during our time in Montana. The T-Series are duty grade, rugged polymer, security holsters. The series includes the models L2D, L3D, and L2C. We used the L2D made for the Staccato-P 2011 9mm handgun. In addition to a Surefire X300 light, the gun was equipped with a red dot optic..

The T-Series of Blackhawk holsters include a passive retention/security system. The shooter’s thumb releases the retention system when they secure their master grip. For three decades now I have carried a gun in uniform with some type of retention/security system. It is imperative that the end user dedicate themselves to learning how to disengage that security mechanism. It is even more important during high stress situations. This is true regardless of the security device the holsters employ

The T-Series of Blackhawk holsters tremendously impressed me, even with only a one-day range session under my belt. To familiarize ourselves with the disengaging the locking mechanism, we all started out by drawing slowly and deliberately. After that, we progressed to more dynamic drills.

The author shooting on his home range with Blackhawk L2D holster, Glock 17, and Streamlight TLR-1
The author shooting on his home range with Blackhawk L2D holster, Glock 17, and Streamlight TLR-1

On the Home Range

After my time in Montana, I wanted to truly give the new T-Series Blackhawk holsters a serious workout. As I did not own a Staccato 2011 pistol, I secured a Blackhawk holster for my go-to duty gun; the Glock 17. The holster I received a week or two later was the L2D/RDS version similar to what I used in Montana.

The L2D holster for the G17 is designed to work with a Streamlight TLR-1 or TLR-2 affixed to the pistol. You see, for this light bearing holster, the security device grabs the body of the light, not the pistol itself. The “RDS” version of the holster provides a pivoting guard to cover the red dot sight mounted to the gun. Any standard mini red dot sight will work. Therefore, on my pistol I had a Trijicon RMR mounted.

Before sitting down to pen this review, I made three separate trips to my home range. I used the gear enumerated above. In addition to the aforementioned gear, I brought along an ammo can full of Black Hills Ammunition training ammo.

This L2D duty holster is designed for the popular Glock 17/Streamlight combination.
This L2D duty holster is designed for the popular Glock 17/Streamlight combination.


I performed between 500 and 700 draw strokes during live-fire and dry-fire drills while testing the T-Series of Blackhawk holsters. While getting used to releasing the security device with my shooting-hand thumb, I had some fumbles. This is to be expected.

I recall one of my firearms instructors at the police academy admonishing us that any time we got a new duty holster we needed to work at getting one thousand correct draw strokes from it so that during the high stress of a gunfight we would not fumble.

In addition to barehanded shooting, I put on a pair of Blackhawk S.O.L.A.G. gloves and engaged in live-fire drills. If you are going to wear gloves, you absolutely must practice drawing and shooting while wearing them.

My experience during this evaluation showed that I could indeed draw and fire my pistol (and hit the target) with the Blackhawk gloves on my hands. In addition, I installed the optional “Jacket slot” extension, as it was getting cold in my neck of the woods. This optional extension installs between the holster body and the belt mount. That option worked well.


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Paul G. Markel has worn many hats during his lifetime. He has been a U.S. Marine, Police Officer, Professional Bodyguard, and Small Arms and Tactics Instructor. Mr. Markel has been writing professionally for law enforcement and firearms periodicals for nearly twenty years with hundreds and hundreds of articles in print. Paul is a regular guest on nationally syndicated radio talk shows and subject matter expert in firearms training and use of force. Mr. Markel has been teaching safe and effective firearms handling to students young and old for decades and has worked actively with the 4-H Shooting Sports program. Paul holds numerous instructor certifications in multiple disciplines and a Bachelor’s degree in conflict resolution; nonetheless, he is and will remain a dedicated Student of the Gun.

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