Not having the right holster is a problem often encountered by shooting enthusiasts and instructors. As an instructor, I often have students show up for defensive pistol classes wearing belt holsters that work fine as storage devices or for daily carry, but are insufficient and unsafe for serious training.
Many gun owners have a pistol or two that they’d like to use more, but don’t feel like spending the energy and money it takes to find the perfect holster for each gun. If you feel like one or more of these scenarios apply to you, you are reading the right article.
Enter the Omnivore, the new holster by Blackhawk. This Kydex device is designed to carry a wide range of firearms. More than 150 popular, as well as less-known models, can fit in this holster. It’s customized for either right- or left-handed shooters, and the light-bearing model accommodates most common rail-mounted lights. In this test, I used a Streamlight TLR-1.
I had the opportunity to test a regular left hand model and the light-bearing right hand holster. In addition to the “one size fits most guns” approach, I found the holster to be a good choice for other reasons—with just a couple minor drawbacks.
The Omnivore comes in a clamshell plastic package with written instructions and parts. That’s helpful, especially for people like me who have accumulated a series of tiny black screws that aren’t always easy to keep track of. The box, a little smaller than a typical shoebox, can keep the extras secure. It’s up to the user, however, to label what part of the holster the many extra screws are for.
Black is the only color option. The outer surface is finished in a tasteful and subtle stamped pattern with no obvious advertising. Personally, I’m happy to not have to involuntarily read advertising.
The paddle and belt attachment give the user choices on how to wear the Omnivore. The belt attachment includes snap-in spacers, called snaplocks, that allow it to fit belts from 1.0 to 1.75 inches in width. Snaplocks can also be used to create cant on the holster for those who prefer to carry with the grip angled forward.
The adventurous side of me gets a slight kick out of seeing how far I can progress with new products on my own without reading the directions. I made it only as far as attaching the belt loops and paddle to the two holsters before needing to consult the manual about what to do with the remaining loose parts. Setting up this holster for any gun takes a little time.
The Omnivore is a Level 2 holster, requiring intentional action on the part of the wearer to release the firearm. A rail retention device, in the form of a narrow tile of Kydex, must be secured onto the rail with two screws. It’s an easy process, but one that may require re-doing to achieve the right depth of the gun in the holster. There’s also a long, narrow, strip of Kydex that has to be snapped into the deepest part of the non-light bearing version of the Omnivore. Securing it took me a few minutes; it has to be held just so before it snaps into place.
For the light-bearing pistol, adjustment of the attachment screw that holds the TLR-1 onto the Springfield XD was required. The screw slot must be vertical for proper retention.
The device on the rail serves as the retention base on both types of Omnivore. To release the gun, the wearer must push their thumb straight down on a rubber-padded post during the initial drawing motion. Blackhawk includes three heights of thumb pads, which secure with two screws. A Springfield XD turned out to be a good fit with no thumb pad adjustments, while a Canik TP9 SA required the highest pad for an efficient draw. That was unexpected, as they’re both duty-size pistols, but a satisfactory fit was made for each.
Drawing from the holster took several repetitions to get accustomed to the motion, as any active retention holster requires. Once that was comfortable, I perceived no delay on the draw, regardless of whether it was from the holster with or without space for an auxiliary light.
Blackhawk obviously kept safety front of mind in the construction of the Omnivore. From the rail-connected, rock-solid retention, to the tough outer shell, gun and wearer are both protected. I didn’t perform torture tests on the holsters, but then again, if I’m ever run over by a truck, my last concern will be whether the holster cracked.
If anything, it’s overbuilt; a tad on the bulky side. That’s to be expected from a holster that fits such a wide variety of guns. It’s not heavy for its size, however, wearing one while strapped into a seatbelt for extended periods may prove uncomfortable, especially for those who already “fill out” a car seat.
The size and superb safety features of the Omnivore seem like a bit of a message from Blackhawk, saying “we get it, we really do,” in this surely not-accidental evolution away from their embattled Serpa design. Border Patrol academies and some nationally known instructors have banned the slimmer, trimmer Serpa due to issues with negligent discharges. These incidents are mostly associated with users whose finger discipline was lacking, however there have been a couple allegedly unintended discharges due to snow or other outdoor crud packing into the release button. Retention of the pistol with a Serpa holster is via the trigger guard. Moving that business south should preclude any such problems with the Omnivore.
The light-bearing Omnivore has become the trusty companion of my bedside pistol with its weapon-mounted light. Having to go through the little motion of using the thumb release is a good consciousness check for a gun that’s set for use by deep-sleeping me.
As an instructor, I am better prepared to ensure a positive and safe experience for pistol owners who show up for class with shoddy holsters. It’s not drawing or wearing, but reholstering that presents safety issues most often. The rigid Omnivore, with its wide-open top, is quite ideal for shooters who are new to drawing and reholstering into a solid holster, one that doesn’t require risky fiddling from their non-shooting hand.
For gun enthusiasts who love their guns but haven’t gone to the trouble of properly outfitting each one, the Omnivore is a boon.
While the initial setup isn’t fast, the Omnivore is a solid, safe choice for the range that should please a lot of folks, including some departments looking to replace their Level 2 holsters. At $59.95, it’s priced very competitively in comparison to other custom-fit brands.