The BLACKHAWK! Omnivore represents a total departure in design from most of the secure, synthetic handgun holsters available on today’s market. Thanks to the Blackhawk design team, one holster can accommodate up to 150 different styles of semi-automatic handguns. That’s right: Buy one holster for around $60 and carry nearly every type of semi-automatic full-sized railed handgun in it. You may never need to buy another holster again!
Never Buy Another Holster Again
Ok, so just how does that work?! The concept is quite ingenious. Instead of holding a handgun by being molded to fit that handgun, the Omnivore retains semi-automatic handguns using two common standardized parts — parts that did not exist until recently.
Picatinny accessory railing was standardized around 1995 by the U.S. Military and named after the Picatinny arsenal where it was developed. Mil-Spec Picatinny rails allow the mounting of accessory lights, optical sights or laser sighting systems to be mounted on a firearm so equipped.
Originally appearing on M16A2 and M4 military carbines, the universality of the Picatinny rail mounting system spread throughout the firearms industry and found its way onto civilian “tactical” firearms: AR-15 rifles, AK-47s, tactical shotguns and, most recently, semi-automatic handguns. I originally was resistant to rails used on police duty firearms. I didn’t want officers to become reliant on pistol-mounted lights over handheld lights or use them in situations where handhelds should be used.
My opinion has evolved and changed over the last few years. In addition to handhelds, I have been carrying pistol lights on my duty handguns at my police department for the last 6 years, and find them to be a definite plus on the street.
Different Versions of the Omnivore Holster
The Omnivore is available in three different versions. The first, for railed handguns that do not have a weaponlight in place, requires the use of the included Blackhawk RAD (Rail Attachment Device), which is the actual part that the locking device clamps on to (rather than to the rail itself).
The other two Omnivore versions lock onto any of four standard handgun weapon lights when mounted on a pistol rail: the Streamlight TLR-1, which is a light-only system; the Streamlight TLR-2, which is a light and laser sight combo system; and the Surefire X300 and X300 U-A weapon lights. The Omnivore is only built for these four lights. No other lights will currently work, and new holsters will have to be made specifically for any additional brand or model of light.
Level II Security Holster
According to Blackhawk, the Omnivore is a Level II security holster, since two features are used to hold the handgun in place. It is also listed on the Blackhawk website under their concealment holster line — more about that in a bit.
The Omnivore is constructed of lightweight polymer and features distinctive angular styling with a textured finish. The mechanism inside the holster automatically locks the handgun in place when inserted in the holster — much like the Blackhawk Serpa line does. In order to draw the handgun from the holster, push the thumb release down and hold it until the light or rail clears the mechanism. The handgun then draws straight up and out. The thumb release can be set in three different heights by the user to accommodate her or her hand and particular handgun.
The Omnivore design is also “free floating.” This means that none of the holster body actually touches any part of the handgun (other than the rail or the light, depending on the model selected). If a blued-steel, railed 1911 is your handgun of choice, there is no place that will rub or abrade against the holster and wear the finish. It also means water won’t be trapped against the handgun in inclement conditions. The design also explains why the Omnivore is so light. Additional supportive thickness in the holster body is not needed to keep the handgun secured like it does on a traditional holster. Since only the small interior locking portion holds the handgun in place, the holster body can be a lightweight, protective (yet strong) non-contact shell.
Pushing the Concealable Holster Limits
The Omnivore pushes the limits of what one might consider a concealable holster. It is necessarily bulky due to its design and the size of handguns it is capable of carrying, although concealability would have been better had I tested it with mid-sized pistols like the Glock 19/23/32 rather than the full-sized handguns I had on hand. This is particularly true of the models designed to accommodate pistol lights. The Streamlight TLR-2, with its built-in laser module, increases the size of the holster body needed to accommodate it and the handgun being carried. A concealment vest or jacket will be needed to keep the gun and rig out of sight. But I think the Omnivore may have a better mission: open carry for property patrol and defense.
Those who have large pieces of property that they need to patrol or protect will need to perform those functions day or night. It would be very handy to comfortably and conveniently carry a handgun with a light mounted during low-light conditions. I am particularly thinking of those who live on ranches or farms in the Southwest, especially while the border remains wide open. Even beyond the southwest, our rural areas suffer from criminal attack as they never have before, especially as population centers expand out into the country. I talked to a retired rancher who never had any problems on his farm for 20 or so years. Now, people will drive by and steal items that he has left out even for short periods of time — thanks in large part due to the heroin epidemic. If I were him, I would find a pistol with a weapon light mounted on it and carried in an Omnivore very comforting during evening forays on the tractor or ATV.
My Experience with the Blackhawk Omnivore Holster
I have worn, and have been wearing, the Omnivore with three different light-bearing handguns and a Streamlight TLR-2 mounted as a duty rig while working patrol. Even though this iteration of the Omnivore isn’t the “duty” model, I have been using it as one. I have used it alternately with a Beretta M9A1, a Gen4 Glock 21 .45 and a SIG Sauer 1911 .45 TAC Ops. All ride quite comfortably and draw easily when the thumb released is activated. I also feel confident that the security locking device provides more than adequate weapon retention in case of a struggle.
While carrying a weapon light mounted on a civilian handgun has not achieved a lot of popularity (yet), innovative holsters like the Blackhawk Omnivore promise to change that.
More info at: www.blackhawk.com