Gear Review: Blackhawk! Omnivore holsters customize to fit over 150 guns

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Springfield XD with a TLR-1 light in Blackhawk Omnivore light-accommodating holster, left, Canik TP9 SA in Blackhawk Omnivore Kydex holster, right. (Photo: Team HB)

One of the hidden costs of buying a new pistol is selecting a good holster. Blackhawk has stepped up to the plate with a holster design that’s a real problem-solver for people who own or use multiple rail-style handguns.

The Omnivore is a Kydex holster sold with both paddle and belt attachments.  The ability to customize starts there—including adjustability for belt width.  Holsters are sold in right- or left-hand configuration, and a real asset is the option to choose one that also accommodates the most common weapon-mounted lights, the Streamlight TLR 1 and 2 or the Surefire X300 or X300 U/A.

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Finish is easy to clean. (Photo: Team HB)

On the outside, the holster has a matte black finish, textured for the most part but with some smooth highlights. Though it’s on the bulky side, it’s attractive and easy to clean.

Retention of the gun is very secure in the Omnivore. It’s a level two design, meaning releasing the gun requires action on the part of the wearer. Retention is on the rail. On the non-light-bearing models, this means installing a supplied, lightweight plate to the rail with the provided Allen wrench. The small plate fits flush with the rail and doesn’t add detectable weight or detract from the gun’s appearance outside of the holster.

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Light bearing Omnivore, TLR version. (Photo: Team HB)

Attaching the rail is a simple process, however to get the gun into the holster at the correct depth, this required two tries with my Canik TP9 SA. Fortunately, the supplied printed instruction manual is clear about the entire process.

Some guns also require the fitting of a long, thin spine of Kydex into the holster.  This goes in with a “click” and the piece doesn’t move or rattle after installation.

Wearing the Omnivore, the user breaks retention by pressing downward on a sloped, rubber-padded button during the draw.  After a few practice draws, this process became intuitive and didn’t slow down my draw more than any other level 2 holster, which is to say with practice it can be as fast as with a level 1 holster.

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With practice the draw is fast. (Photo: Team HB)

The correct depth of that thumb-operated button depends on how much of the firearm is exposed above the holster. In this test, we used a Springfield XD with a TLR-1 light for the right-handed holster, and the Canik on the left-handed one, no light included. The Canik requires the tallest of the thumb lever extensions, a simple two-screw addition. To me, the rubber pad on these is the only part of the holster that feels less than durable. With heavy use, I can imagine the rubber part becoming misshapen, especially on the longest extension where more leverage is exerted during the draw.

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Tabs are included for belt width adjustments. (Photo: Team HB)

I was very pleased with the way these holsters perform. Both the light-bearing and regular models proved, with a few reps of practice, easy to draw from and re-holster into, and they stay put on my belt and waistband.  Being accustomed to looking at tightly fitting custom Kydex holsters, I had my doubts about whether it’d be practical to drive with one on.  So, with the light-bearing holster on my right side and a double mag pouch on the other, I strapped myself into the driver’s seat of my small SUV and went for a ride.  It was surprisingly comfortable, and the additional width didn’t make any real difference.  It’s comparable in size to most other light-accommodating rigs.

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Thumb release extension for the Canik. (Photo: Team HB)

Those who are concerned about the finish of their firearm should enjoy the Omnivore, with its clean and touch-free fit except for the rail attachment.  There’s no drag and no damage to be wreaked on the gun. Room for sights is ample, and RMR users can rejoice that the cut of the Omnivore will accommodate their sights as well as it does my traditional ones.

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Turning the mounting screw so the XD and light will click into the retention device. (Photo: Team HB)

As an instructor who often encounters students showing up for class using a holster that’s not safe for reholstering, the Omnivore is a boon.  It can be set up to fit just about any modern semi-auto, though it does take some time to get the fit just right for a particular model.  Blackhawk publishes a list of the 150-plus handguns these holsters will fit, however it’s not integrated with the company’s other “find your holster” list. For example, if I search for the H&K VP9, only the Serpa model appears on the recommendations.  So be sure to use the correct list, found by selecting a specific holster from the three available on their general Omnivore page.

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View of standard thumb release with an XD in the holster. (Photo: Team HB)

Speaking of the embattled Serpa design, which I’ve written about in the past, and have used with success, the Omnivore seems to be Blackhawk’s way of making things safer, or human error-proof, depending on one’s opinion. By moving retention well away from the trigger guard, the Omnivore should have no chance of becoming controversial in the way the Serpa design has.

While it’s almost endlessly adaptable, the Omnivore does take awhile to set up.  I used 20 to 30 minutes per gun, getting the fit just right.  Customization isn’t an instant thing, after all, but this comes close.

If there were anything I could change about the Omnivore, it’d not be the holster but the packaging.  The snap-together clamshell case isn’t the toughest, but it’ll do for storage. The plethora of spare parts, screws in particular, would be easier to keep organized if labeled zip-lock bags were included.  These little pieces would too easily be lost or mixed up, and the fix would be an inexpensive but appreciated addition.

The Omnivore is a winner for versatility and is priced very competitively at $59.95 direct from Blackhawk.  There should be many shooters, amateur and pro alike, lining up to secure this holster for its one-size-fits all practicality as well as for its useful and safe design.