About the Author

Woody is a 10 year veteran of the US Coast Guard, where he has served at various units including the International Training Division and Maritime Security Response Team. He has held qualifications including Deployable Team Leader/Instructor, Direct Action Section Team Leader, and Precision Marksman – Observer. He has deployed/instructed on five continents and served in quick reaction force roles for multiple National Special Security Events in the US.

Monday, October 21, 2013

My off-body carry system

Many people have written commentary on the dangers of off-body carry.  To hear some of them, the minute you decide to carry off-body, your firearm will be stolen, your dog will be run over, and your car will get totaled in a horrific accident involving a pumpkin transportation truck.

Sarcasm aside, there are definite risks to consider before deciding on any carry system, but especially one that involves not having your firearm physically attached to you.  Massad Ayoob covers some of the risks in his books, but also acknowledges that for some people/situation combinations, off-body carry is necessary, and is better than not carrying at all.  Unfortunately, I fall into the necessary category, and I would say that the majority of my carry is now off-body.  For my needs, I have adopted a three-component system made up of the High Speed Gear Armordilla, G-Code OSH holster, and the G-Code/Upstate Tactical Supply Modular Velcro Panel.
Closed w/ flap

Front view w/ flap folded back

Only about halfway full

Blackhawk speed clips attaching flap

Top entrance to concealed compartment
The Armordilla is a high-quality attaché case designed to be modular not only through its use of MOLLE on the exterior, but also through its use of a removable flap. Thus, you can configure it in a standard attaché case/messenger bag, or in more of a grab and go bag with mag/utility pouches on the MOLLE front.  Either way, there are several options for concealing your firearm.  The bag itself has a large hidden compartment lined with hook and loop on the back side with access from top and sides.  The removable flap has a back zippered compartment with hook and loop as well.  I choose to utilize the dedicated back compartment for my concealment needs. 
G-Code OSH with Modular Velcro Panel

The G-Code OSH shouldn’t need a lot of introduction, but just in case, I personally feel it’s one of the best thought out holster systems on the market.  G-Code’s entire line is designed to be modular, either through the use of their RTI wheel, or through bolt-on attachment.  G-Code’s website includes attachments for MOLLE, drop leg, paddle, belt, or shoulder holster wear.  I have been using Kydex holsters since my first Fobus in 2003-ish (I still have that holster), and the market now is pretty much flooded with them.  Just about everyone that has two pieces of foam is cranking out holsters, some of which are excellent, and some of which are just clones without a lot of originality.  While G-Code’s holsters themselves are excellent, and I especially like the tension adjustment and ability to choose with or without a shirt guard, the system is what you are really buying, and it’s worth a close look.

G-Code doesn’t sell a hook and loop compatible attachment on their site, but they have worked with Upstate Tactical Supply of South Carolina to develop two different models (RTI and non-RTI) to adapt their holsters to the popular shoulder/sling/messenger bags used by so many today.  There’s not much to say about the panel itself.  It’s very simple, but it’s very solid.  The panel is approximately 4 inches across, which provides plenty of purchase on the loop inside the Armordilla pocket.  I have the tension on the holster set on the tighter side to avoid any sort of please-ignore-the-gun-that-fell-out-of-my-bag moments, and have had no issues in my practice time with the holster slumping in the pocket or with holster movement or release during draws.  I will say that you need the little plastic spacer that comes with the G-Code to properly attach the holster to the panel.  If you try to go straight to thepanel without the spacer, you will have issues with the holster and panel interfering with each other, at least with my 1911 Commander sized holster.

As a side note, the Armordilla comes with a nylon holster.  Nothing against High Speed Gear, their stuff is quality, but given the option between a one-size fits all nylon with no retention, and an adjustable tension Kydex holster that I know will hold the firearm securely and be available for re-holstering if needed, I’m going with Kydex. 

Loop section to create gap
Concealment compartment from side access

A little trick I’m trying for my draw is taking a small piece of loop and creating a gap for my hand to break into the compartment.  The three access points are closed with hook and loop (naturally), and trying to get into it by ripping it open slows access.  With the small break created, I can insert a knife-hand and break the seal as I go in, then grip the firearm and remove whatever seal was left as I draw.  Overall, I’m a big fan of all three pieces of gear, and I think they will serve me well for as long as off-body is necessary.

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