In this second installment of gear modifications (see my first installment here), I am going to outline some subtle changes I’ve made to some of my pistol magazine carriers that I use for both concealed carry as well as classes.
When I started carrying a pistol and taking classes, I relied on Blade-Tech single and double magazine carriers for the Glock 9mm/.40/.357sig handguns. Like most things made by Blade-Tech, the carriers were well-made and serviceable. However, the Tek-Lok devices that attached the carriers to the belt would really dig into me. Also, the carriers stood rather “proud” from the belt; there was no smooth contour to them to aid in concealment. So I started to look at other options.
I recalled that my friend Tim was consistently faster than me on reloads in Mike Pannone’s Covert Carry class, so I asked him what he favors in magazine carriers. His reply wasn’t really surprising: Raven Concealment Systems (RCS). So I checked out their webpage and liked what I saw in everything…..except the prices! I don’t mind paying for quality, but some of the prices seemed a little high for what you’d be getting. So, in keeping with my usual modus operandi, I started looking at the used market on the gun forums.
It didn’t take long for me to find an RCS single magazine carrier for sale on one of the gun forums for significantly less money than a new one. One thing I noticed when I received it was the rather large footprint the single magazine carrier takes up on the belt. Part of that is to provide a smoother contour, lacking in the Blade-Tech carriers, that aids in concealment. There is also some space required for the adjustable retention. Nevertheless, it seemed like there was a LOT of material there for something that only holds one magazine:
- RCS Single Magazine Carrier, standard version
I noticed on the RCS webpage that they make magazine carriers with the option of the “MD Cut”, where the lower corner of the leading edge (as worn on the belt) is cut away at an angle:
- RCS Single Magazine Carrier, MD Cut
They even specify that someone using more than one carrier should utilize one with the MD Cut on the forward-most carrier, and then use “regular” ones for the rest. In order to make the MD Cut work, the belt loop they use is of a different type; it loops back upon itself and has the screw hole inside that loop:
- RCS “regular” belt loop, left, and RCS “MD style” belt loop, right
I felt like a carrier with the MD Cut would be preferable for me. Being short and small, real estate on my body is always at a premium, so why have superfluous kydex on my body?
One great thing about RCS is that they offer parts for sale as well. Screws, belt loops, pull-the-dot loops, etc., are all for sale on the website. Indeed, I’m confident that many smaller makers of kydex holsters and gear (the so-called “garage” industry) utilize RCS hardware on their holsters. Since I was unsuccessful in finding a magazine carrier with the MD Cut, I figured why not make my own? And since RCS doesn’t seem to feel the MD Cut weakens the carrier in any way (why else would they offer that as an option?), I figured, why not do my homemade MD Cut to both the leading edge AND the rear edge of the carrier?
I had trouble figuring out how to order the necessary loops from RCS. Here I must give major kudos to their customer service! I emailed them a description of what I wanted, and they replied telling me to just say, in the comments section of my online order form, that I want BOTH loops (they are sold in pairs) to be of the MD Cut variety. I had the correct loops in hand within a week. Some fast work with a hacksaw, some sandpaper, and a screwdriver, and my magazine pouch looked like this:
- RCS Single Magazine carrier, modified
And it was good. Now I am no longer catching the edges of the carrier, even under cover garments, on car door jambs and other items I make daily contact with.
Just in the last few weeks, I started thinking about a new double magazine carrier. Though its primary use would be in classes, I must admit that recent events in the news had me thinking about more than one spare magazine (despite my article here). Though I got to see the F3 Holsters double magazine carrier that John has when we took Mike Pannone’s Street and Vehicle class together (AAR here), and I know he’s pleased with it, I’m not a fan of how that carrier is at its tallest at the edges. I looked again at RCS, but their double magazine carrier is quite pricey ($75.00 seems a bit much to me). I scoured the used market, but just couldn’t seem to find one.
I must admit that I did what no sensible gun owner in search of gear should do: I visited eBay! All RCS gear I could find there seemed to be going for full price, but I found some no-name double magazine carriers in the $40 range. One seller was selling his lightly used for $30. I asked if he would be so kind as to measure the distance between some of the holes along the sides, and he graciously did so for me. Sure enough, the distance matched the distances on the RCS carriers, so I knew the RCS belt loops would fit. I bought the carrier from this gentleman, and I had it in hand within a week. I must say, the quality seems excellent. The kydex is of the same thickness as the RCS single carrier I have, and all the screws seem to be from RCS or of equivalent quality, including the adjustable tension screw in the middle:
- Double magazine carrier as it came
- “Body” side of double magazine carrier, as it came
I’d already placed an order with RCS for two more of their MD Cut loops, so as soon as the carrier arrived in the mail, I again went to work with the hacksaw, sandpaper, and screwdriver, and the result is a sleeker double magazine carrier that should work well for me. Even with the purchase of the new belt loops from RCS, I’m still in at just under $50. It’s leading and rear edges don’t hang down off my belt nearly as low, so, in addition to using it at classes, it should work well as part of my daily concealed carry gear on those occasions I carry two spare magazines instead of my usual one:
- Double Magazine carrier, modified
- “Body” side of double magazine carrier, modified
Subtle though these changes may be, they do make my gear no less functional, yet noticeably more comfortable and with reduced bulk.
Stay tuned for future articles on gear modifications that have worked for me. Do you have your own, similar tales to tell? If so, please share in the comments section below.