Remember the good old days? They really weren’t that long ago. Days when we could carry a single-stack pistol or revolver and not feel under-gunned? Those days are long gone, along with our innocence. As a result, sidecar magazine holster options have seen a surge, with holster companies offering expanded magazine options.
The Benefits of a Sidecar Magazine Holster
For many years, I went about my business with a Kahr PM9—a single-stack 9mm with a 6+1 capacity. Later, I switched to a slightly larger S&W Shield with a 7+1 capacity. Specifically, because its slightly larger grip frame enabled me to shoot a little more accurately.
When Sig introduced their P365 in 2018 with a 10+1 capacity, I thought, who in the world needs all of those rounds for a concealed carry gun?
But then we witnessed the riots of 2020. And in this topsy-turvy world, our new reality was watching cops stand by helplessly while protagonists burned down their police stations. Anti-fascists, who were more fascists than anti, pulled innocent victims from their cars and beat them senseless or worse.
We even witnessed our future Vice President arranging bail for rioters who had been arrested. In this bizarro world, law enforcement became the villains, and outlaws became untouchable.
All of a sudden, micro-compacts like the P365, Springfield Hellcat, Ruger Max-9, Mossberg MC2s, S&W Shield Plus, Taurus GX4, and others made a world of sense! No one wants to take on a mob. And prudent concealed carriers do everything possible to not be caught in a situation like this.
But, despite our best efforts, we sometimes find ourselves in positions, not of our choosing. Having a micro-compact with a healthy capacity, along with a second magazine, can be immensely comforting.
Concealed And Ready
Of late, inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters with an attached magazine carrier worn in the appendix position have become popular. I’ve become a huge fan of the appendix carry holsters. They are fast, easy to get to and fairly easy to conceal. I can get to the gun while seated and while driving and with arthritic shoulders and elbows.
This position doesn’t stress either joint. I typically wear some sort of undershirt with a button-down shirt over it. I’ll button one or two buttons to cover the gun, and access is as easy as grabbing the bottom of the shirt with my left hand while my right-hand goes to the gun.
I used to carry my spare magazine in my offside front pocket. It’s a bad habit, I know, and was born more out of convenience than anything else. Somewhere I have a photo of my S&W Shield magazine disassembled after a year of pocket carry. The amount of pocket lint and other junk that migrated into the magazine was amazing.
It’s just not a good idea, especially if you carry other things, like car keys, in that same pocket. The new breed of appendix IWB holsters with sidecar mag carriers has broken me of this bad habit!
Sidecar-equipped holsters are a fairly recent development, and their popularity is skyrocketing. Many companies now offer sidecar-equipped holsters. The list of companies I included is far from inclusive but consists of samples recently sent to me for evaluation.
Black Arch Holsters Entrada
I first ran into the Black Arch Holsters at the 2022 SHOT Show. I was immediately impressed with how clean, innovative, and well-executed their designs were. In particular, their Entrada holster seemed to make a lot of sense for IWB appendix carry.
The Entrada features a Kydex shell, cut low enough to accommodate a red-dot sight with adjustable retention and a claw to push the butt of the gun into the wearer’s body for concealment.
A sidecar magazine carrier attaches to the holster via a flexible, polymer-coated webbing that allows for some movement without binding. Its ride height is adjustable, and customers have their choice of three different types of belt clips.
Black Arch makes the Entrada for guns as big as a Glock 19. But I think this type of holster makes a lot of sense for micro-compact 9mm pistols. In fact, while I was at their booth, I ordered an Entrada for my Springfield Armory Hellcat and have worn it extensively, and I’m extremely happy with it.
Black Arch Open Belt
The new IWB holsters with attached sidecars may require you to move your belt buckle position to allow placement of the holster clips, which are typically spread farther apart. For right-handed folks, it will be easiest to move the buckle to their left.
Think about how thick your belt is at the buckle and where the belt overlaps on the opposite side of the buckle. Now add a holster and a belt clip between the belt and belt overlap, and you’ve created quite a bulge. An innovative solution to this issue is Black Arch’s Open Belt.
Constructed of a polymer-coated webbing, the 1.5-inch belt is nearly indestructible and features a billet 6061 aluminum, hard coat anodized low-profile belt buckle. The belt has all the rigidity needed without steel inserts. Likewise, it does not require the belt to fold over itself on the other side of the buckle. This allows the user to maintain a comfortable and trim profile.
Crossbreed’s new Rogue System is a departure from their signature line of hybrid holsters and features an all-Kydex construction. Its modular design allows users to attach a sidecar magazine carrier as well as a concealment claw to push the butt of the gun into the body for extreme concealment.
It has adjustable retention and ride height, along with multiple clip options for maximum versatility. Here’s a neat bonus about the Rogue System, it doesn’t have to be worn at the appendix position. With Crossbreed’s outside-the-waistband loops, the gun can be worn at the strongside position and even cross-draw.
When I spoke with Crossbreed’s VP of Sales Grant Buckman at the 2022 SHOT Show, he told me that the Rogue System was currently available for about 50 popular carry guns but expected that number to quickly grow to more than 100.
C&G Holsters sent me a sample of their MOD1 modular Kydex holster system that has some really unique features. Among them is a hinge system that allows the user to push the holster and sidecar inwards to prevent printing. The hinge can also be locked or unlocked for flexibility.
C&G cuts the holster for an optic and has a tall sight channel in the event you’re running suppressor sights on your gun. They’ve also left the end of the holster open for threaded muzzles and compensators. C&G uses spring steel clips that should last a lifetime. And they are nitride-treated for corrosion resistance and also pivot for maximum flexibility.
Both the holster and the sidecar are adjustable for ride height and cant. There’s also a detachable concealment wing to prevent printing. The sidecar mag carrier can be replaced with a handcuff case, tactical light case, or knife sheath. C&G also offers holsters for guns equipped with lights.
Bravo Concealment sent me their IWB Torsion 3.0 and magazine carrier. The sidecar mag holster can be attached to the holster or carried separately. Unlike the other holsters mentioned here, the Bravo Concealment Torsion 3.0 is an injection-molded polymer. This gives the holster unusually clean and precise lines.
It features adjustable retention and ride height, a tall sight channel for suppressor sights, and a sweat guard. The 1.5-inch molded belt loops are “tuckable,” and the bottom of the holster is left open for threaded muzzles.
It’s lightweight and can be inserted in your beltline quickly and easily. I’ve been using Bravo Concealment products for several years and have been very happy with their products.
The easiest way to survive a gunfight is to avoid one altogether. Avoidance will always be your greatest option. My grandmother used to tell me, “If you go looking for trouble, you’re likely to find it!”
We know to avoid certain parts of town, and we also know to stay home when troublesome events are occurring. However, we don’t live in a bubble, and sometimes an unpleasant situation develops without our ability to predict or avoid it.
In these turbulent times, we should be armed, vigilant and get the best training we can afford.
For more information, please visit BlackArchHolsters.com, CrossbreedHolsters.com, CandGHolsters.com, and BravoConcealment.com.
This article was originally published in the Combat Handguns July/August 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email email@example.com.