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By Christopher Bermudez


A little over three months ago, I started seriously looking for a dedicated appendix carry holster. Before I go any further, this is an article designed to tell you about a holster, not to change your mind about appendix carry. So if you want to learn more about a holster maker with great customer service, great kydex, and competitive pricing, read on. If you want to tell me how carrying in the appendix position is going to cause damage to my genitals or femoral artery, go watch a Brian LaMaster’s YouTube video, pat yourself on the back and post something to that effect below. (I actually find a lot of what Mr. LaMaster has to say to be insightful and spot-on, but I disagree with him on appendix carry so I will most likely die in a gunfight.) . . .

But back to that holster. I came across Off the Grid Concepts while looking for an appendix carry holster for my SIG P220. After my Google search landed on their website, I was pleasantly surprised to see they had a few different holster options and a good variety of available pistol models. They also had an advertised lead time of two weeks.

I had a couple of questions I wanted answered before I made up my mind about ordering, so I used their contact page and sent an email. A couple hours later I received an email from Rob Tran of OTG with answers to all of my questions. I was quite pleased with the turnaround time. For $60 and a two week wait, I was willing to give them a try. In addition, I hadn’t found a lot of companies with a SIG P220 option with such a short turn around. I placed my order, and true to their word I got a shipping notification two weeks later.

The holster showed up along with some swag patches and a package with writing on the side saying something to the effect that unicorn dust was inside. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but it made me laugh. The first thing I noticed was that the holster was for a railed P220. Alas, my SIG is about 12 years old, from a time before everyone had the need or ability to carry a light/laser/machete combo attached to the front end of their gun. I guess I’m getting old.

I was crestfallen. So much so that the first thing I did was write an email to OTG voicing my consternation. The next thing I did was look up the SIG website and realized how behind the times I am. Apparently SIG no longer makes an unrailed P220. Then I actually put the pistol in the holster.

Low and behold it fit fine, had good retention and, once placed on my belt, seemed pretty comfortable. About the same time, I got an email from Rob Tran with a genuine apology and the offer for a full refund since I wasn’t happy. I read the email with the P220 holstered on my belt while seated in my lazy boy. I had also already placed my railed P226 in the holster and found it worked well too. It was too good to let go. So I decided to keep the OTG MKI.

After wearing it on a regular basis for two and half months, I have to say I’m quite happy and impressed with the simple design and quality construction. I have owned a fair amount of Kydex rigs since I first saw the holsters made by Blade-tech on the hips of Gunsite instructors in the mid-to-late 90s. I bought a Blade-tech strait drop with molded belt loops from the Gunsite pro shop for my full-sized 1911 in 1997.

Over the years I have acquired the proverbial box o’ holsters from Blade-tech, Raven Concealment, G-Code (including the INCOG), and Lead Farmer Inc. When I hold the MKI in my hands, the fit and finish of it compares to the best of the bunch. In addition, this holster has a sense of humor. When you look close you can see that the holster is clearly made in the good old US of A. You know that because “Made in Merika” is stamped on it. 

Aside from the tongue-in-cheek aesthetics, the holster has been finished as one would want with smoothed edges fitting its minimalistic design. The screws allow for easy retention adjustment. The clip is robust, yet allows for easy on and off with pistol sheathed inside. This is a nice feature for those of you who may need to gun up or down throughout the day. In addition OTG offers the clip with 0, 5 and 10 degrees of cant. So if you really don’t like appendix carry you can have it set up to tote IWB and not risk your gonads. The sight channel also gives ample room for a variety of front sights including some raised suppressor style sights if that’s your fancy.

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The holster has an option for threaded barrels as well. Yet with all this, it doesn’t add very much width to the rig making it easy to stow inside the waistband.

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I ended up liking the holster so much that I emailed Rob asking about an inside the waist band option for a mag pouch. While it’s not offered on their site, Mr. Tran quickly responded and told me it could be done…and voila! I had a very nice and easy to use IWB mag carrier a few weeks later.

 

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The close molding and lines shows the attention to detail that OTG puts into their work.

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This design makes it easy to conceal a full-sized service pistol with my shirt untucked. I’m 5’10’’ and weigh 216 pounds. That makes me a middle aged, fat, white guy. I frequently read that because of belly size, appendix carry doesn’t work for some dudes. I concede that point, but it is not just size that matters. Your belly shape matters just as much as your size. Here are a couple of snaps showing the holster in use.

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In addition to the conceal-ability of the MKI and mag carrier, I found that they were actually comfortable. My longest period of carry time is about 12 hours, strapping on at 0800 and strapping off at 2000. In addition to being comfy, I have managed to fire about 1000 rounds while drawing from the holster. It draws easily from concealment with either two hands or one. I have sprinted with the holster. I’ve done jumping jacks with it. I’ve been able to knee a training dummy in the groin while wearing the holster. I have drawn from on the ground on my back. I have drawn from a kneeling position. I have drawn while on the move. It just works. Reloads from the mag carrier are intuitive and smooth.

I think the key to this type of holster and what allows it to be a small holster and still manage a big pistol is the clip. This particular clip is made in house by OTG, but the design has some similarities to others on the market.  One that comes to mind is the INCOG clip from G-Code Holsters used on their INCOG holster. I have included pictures of both below for comparison.

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The OTG clip (left) seen here compared to the INCOG Clip.The OTG clip is definitely not as malleable. The INCOG Clip is designed to cant the pistol into your body. I have found that the OTG clip also accomplishes this. 

One thing that makes the OTG clip stand out is its robust nature. It allows the holster to keep the fully loaded, full sized metal frame close to the body and secured to the belt without requiring more holster. This is a big deal when you consider the real estate that’s required of a good quality leather holster to do the same job.

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In order to make a cowhide holster that will allow for easy re-holstering along with maintaining consistent position while IWB, a wider and thicker holster is required.

 

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The OTG clip takes up less space IWB compared to pull dot loops. The leather holster is an El Paso Saddlery Summer Cruiser.

In addition to the clip keeping the holster in place, the fact that it is strong enough to allow for single point attachment gives the holster the ability to cant slightly as you move, thus adjusting with your body. When carrying the holster in the appendix position this allows me to sit down without being uncomfortable. I know it’s there, but it’s no more noticeable than when the pistol is in the 4 o’clock position on my hip when I am seated.

The benefit for me is I can easily reach the holster when it’s up front while seated and it doesn’t print when I sit down or stand up like a strong side holster can in closer-fitting cloths. While appendix carry isn’t for everyone, this particular holster works so well you may want to try it. Even when carried in the strong side position it moves with the body to allow for more comfort when in positions other than standing.

Over the past two months this has become my EDC rig. The combination of a single stack pistol and slim holster do not to print significantly, and I still get the benefit of a full-sized grip. People who I know and should expect me to be carrying don’t realize I am. Is this holster for everyone? No holster fits that bill. But Off the Grid’s rigs have a lot going for them:

1) A good sense of humor
2) Quick delivery times
3) Very responsive to emails
4) Competitive prices – they aren’t cheap, but they are on par with other good quality holster makers out there
5) Options – hey have a good variety of pistol options and that is a nice thing these days

So I submit Off The Grid Concepts for your perusal. I have purchased many a firearm and firearm-related accessory in my day and had to pay for my experience with cold hard cash. I consider my money well spent on this particular piece of kit from OTG, and it cost a little less than some of their competitors. So no matter what your goals or specifications and OTG holster will probably work for you.

Specifications:

Price: $60 as reviewed
Dimensions: (for the SIG P220) 1.2 inches thick (excluding clip), 4.7 inches long and 3.5 inches wide.  The magazine carrier (sans clip) is .8 inches in width. The magazine at its widest point (the base plate) measures at .8 inches also.

Ratings (out of five stars):

Concealability: appendix carry  * * * * *  strong side carry * * * *
The MKI ADR shines in the appendix position. Printing is minimal even with close-fitting clothing. Being able to carry a full sized pistol without worrying about the grip showing is a big plus. In the strong side position it carries as well as any other dedicated strong side IWB holster I have used.

Comfort: * * * *
The tradeoff for increased concealment with IWB carry is a loss of comfort. That said, this holster does as good a job as any other IWB holster I have used. Even in the appendix position, I can wear all day. I know it’s there, but it is not painful. Still there times that it is going to stick into your side or abdomen – that is just the way it is. The magazine carrier is almost completely unnoticeable but occasionally if you turn the wrong way you feel it poke into your side.

Construction: * * * * *
Fit and finish are top notch. You get a good-looking product out of the box and it holds ups well to daily use. I have managed to use it just about every day for almost three months now and the holster shows no external wear. Inside the holster itself, the kydex shows minimal markings from holstering and re-holstering.

Overall: * * * * 1/2
This combination of holster and mag carrier is a great piece of kit. No, it’s not perfect, but it is pretty darn close in my book.

32 Responses to Gear Review: Off the Grid Concepts MKI Holster

  1. Good review. Looks like a nice rig.

    My only criticism is that you’re not fat enough. Work on it and achieve complete OFWG glory. 🙂

    • Written by Christopher Bermudez, published by Dan.

      But yes, not nearly fat enough. More like an RMAWD (regular middle-aged white dude…or something like that) than an OFWG. We’re an elite fraternity with strict membership requirements. 🙂

      I tried appendix carry or something close to it when I first started concealed carrying, but even my very modest amount of belt overhang made it an exercise in discomfort bordering on pain. I wish I was svelte enough to do it, because it sounds cool and in a lot of ways it’s probably preferable to carrying at 4:00, but if you really are an OFWG (or any kind of FG), appendix carry is likely out of the question. I am in the market for a low-profile OWB holster, though…I need to look these guys up.

        • HA! 🙂
          As usual, Ralph, you win. I’m laughing to the point of tears and simultaneously (unsuccessfully) trying to rid my mind of that mental image.

      • Try a leather pancake style holster. Lots of people make them, like High Noon and Mitch Rosen. I have one from Kirkpatrick Leathers that is my all day EDC. It is well made, very comfortable, and should last for years.

  2. I use a leather holster for appendix carry sometimes. Cross draw. In the summer. Might be more comfortable than Kydex, but I’ve never found it comfortable.

    Do those people afraid of appendix carry actually think a gun can go off by itself?

    • A lot of people have shot themselves reholstering striker fired type weapons in training with this. They are rushing to holster to get more training time and getting careless. So there is a lot of hate for this. Even though it is a really fast draw and easy to conceal.

  3. “Made in Merika” is stamped on it.

    FYI, Merika (pronounced Mehr-EE-kah, it rhymes with Eureka!) is a Mexican border town and a staging point for undocumented immigrants seeking to drown in the Rio Grande.

    Nice review!

  4. In the defense of appendix carry… I’m a photographer, at any point when I’m on a shoot, or to and from a shot, I have a backpack on my back with between 18-26 pounds of gear. The straps come low in the front and there’s some significant weight, so for me carrying on the hips I have a high delay because of needing to shift the weight before I can access my Glock G30. (Sub Compact 10 rd magazine double stack .45). Carrying behind me isn’t even an option because my backpack sits on and below my belt line.

    The only way I’ve found that I can conceal carry without using deep concealment (putting in bag on front strap of my camera bag) is with a IWBH in appendix or even more centered. Stealth Gear USA actually has some extremely comfortable options for IWBH carrying.

    I’ve still yet to see a carry option for my G30 which provides a deeper cover in my waist band, because I’m always moving around as a photographer that area above the family jewels is prime acreage for my concealing. With close to $10,000 (or higher, depending on the shoot) of gear on me, I’m in no position to want deep concealment or to just not carry.

    Any suggestions for something that exposes less? I have no issues with using just my thumb to draw at first, if it means I have that greater ability to conceal.

    • If I’m reading your post correctly the raven concealment vanguard holster may work for you. When you use the lowest setting the pistol grip is almost level with the belt line. I have found that I like a more substantial holster because I found it more comfortable, but the vanguard is quite concealable and can easily be placed midline. It also is easy to take on and off and if you follow the instructions by reholstering outside of the waist then it makes it really hard to shoot yourself. Trainig with it takes a little more time than other holsters but I never found that to be a problem. I think for a G30 this might be a viable option for you. I’ve included a link below.

      http://raven-concealment-systems1.mybigcommerce.com/vanguard-2-holster-full-kit/

  5. Blah, blah holster…

    Where did you get those awesome grip panels? Are they Sig exclusive or available for other makes?

    • I was going to comment on the grips separately, but since you brought it up…

      I am very surprised (even though I kind of like the grips) that at no point in these comments has anyone brought up the problems you will face from the Prosecutor following a DGU when you have SKULLS! on the grips of your pistols. OMG! Couple that with an article describing how much research you have done to find a holster for that ominous firearm that will allow you to draw and fire it in the most efficient manner possible. You are obviously someone who is just LOOKING for someone to shoot.

      (/sarc off)

  6. Great review. I thought I’d add my experience with this holster and another in the appendix position for anyone on the fence. I have one of these for my M&P Shield. OTG definitely makes a good holster. The kydex is on the thin side, I prefer thicker kydex, but .06 is definitely strong enough for everyday use, I just prefer a little thicker. The clip designed by them is a great and sturdy clip and imo is one of the best on the markets. Definitely nice. Mine does not have adjustable retention though but the draw is smooth. Retention was on the loose side (subjective I know) but can be easily adjusted with a hair dryer. Price is on point. Turn around time is great and customer service is pretty good too. Rob always answers any questions I have pretty quickly. I have recently purchased a G-Code INCOG and now prefer it over the MKI, but the main reason for that is I got a high sweat shield on the INCOG and zero sweat guard on the MKI. The shields pokey points didn’t work for me with the no guard, so keep that in mind when ordering a holster. Had I gotten the MKI with a full guard I would have probably never bought the INCOG. The fuzz on the INCOG is a subtle improvement in comfort and holds the gun in place a little better but the difference isn’t huge. The INCOG clips are easier to put on and off but the OTG clip definitely stays locked the **** down once it is in place. Definitely a beefy durable IWB attachment clip. Overall I prefer the INCOG for its subtle differences but the MKI has a smaller footprint IWB if your main goal is that. The edges are much smoother and more polished than the INCOG which is also a nice touch. They make great gear and the only IWB mag pouches I will use are made by them. I carry a spare mag every day. Their single clip IWB mag pouches are extremely comfortable and concealable and can’t recommend them enough. Solid stuff coming from these guys. Plus its nice to see a business located in my home state of CA making such good gun gear.

      • I live more north than you, in the central part of California. Quite a few counties out this direction are almost shall issue with self protection being a good cause.

        • My county has issued over 5000 in a county of only 200,000 or so, and Sacramento is “virtually shall issue.” And these are not the only counties–you just have to get into the more rural areas.

  7. I like simple kydex holsters for appendix. I have a Foxx that works quite well and the things are about as cheap as nylon.

    And thanks for the Brian LaMaster video, I got a good laugh out of it… the guy is talking about how a gun might make it difficult to kick his attacker while he’s so out of shape he can barely catch his breath. Tactininja in full mode.

  8. Oh and speaking of appendix carry, in my ‘pinion this where a hammer fired gun and the ability to put thumb over the hammer while holstering/reholstering shines.

    Yeah I know. Keep your finger out of the trigger guard. Shit happens, even to the most tier 1 (lol) of us. We even have an expression for it, Glock Leg.

  9. I haven’t found an appendix holster that didn’t gouge me when I sit down if I put it where the gun is actually concealed. If I move it more forward, where that wouldn’t happen, the belt topper is a real stopper. Since I sit most of the day, I found that OWB at the hip was the only way to go–for me.

  10. Great review, thanks Dan and Christopher.

    Gotta say I am still reluctant to consider IWB appendix, only because I fear the moment of absent-mindedness or distraction in the “heat of action” –
    that could come from either real time adrenaline charge or
    the self-induced training for fast draw- but I keep reading and listening to the experience of actual users, and inclined to agree it can make sense-

    with a couple of caveats to go with my safety-first reservations-

    1. you could mitigate the chances of blowing your nuts off on the first part of the draw, by using Israeli draw- incorporate a rack and slide in first part of the draw, and

    2. from a good tip from a real world operator trainer in class – train to make your return to holster move VERY DELIBERATELY slow and careful. You dont want to fall into the habit of same speed as the draw, of course, but its more than that- in most likely real world, you would be more likely to carry at low ready, checking your 360, moving out of the area of danger (mall, restaurant, on-the-street where you had to draw for self-defense or that of loved ones) for some time, rather than jamming your gun back in the holster,

    and hey, it might even be more likely to be thinking ahead to “carefully put the gun down” when the first responders show up…they are going to be ready for you do something sloowwwly, rather than a fast move,

    so thinking that way, saves you AND they from shooting yourself in the femoral artery area…

    If so, then the rig in the link here,
    http://lightningwear.mybisi.com/
    also makes a lot of sense- and is more comfy looking and better hid, if not so fast on the draw…

    hat tip to Day By Day, where I saw the ad this AM.

  11. Been looking for a cool, slim mag carrier IWB and damn. If only theyd start making more of these cough cough. Most of the time, the IWB carriers I see have a lot of extra leather material around the kydex or whatever is actually touching the mag.

  12. I don’t comment much, but I just want to say that I don’t agree with a single word that guy in the video said. I’ve carried AIWB for about 18 months now, with an M&P9C in a little Galco Stow-n-Go, and I don’t think any of his concerns are valid. Weapon retention in a struggle? Hunch down, even a skinny guy (I’m 6’0″, 145 lbs) can get enough belly over top of the gun to make sure that nobody can remove it from the holster. Guy with a knife coming at you? Move off the X and don’t try to out-draw him. I’d do the same if I carried behind my hip. Having to rearrange what’s in your pockets? Never had that issue, but really? The family jewels? What a silly criticism. Good gun, good holster, don’t have an ND. Flexibility and being able to kick somebody? What kind of AIWB setup does this guy have that is bothering him here? I have no idea what this guy’s thought process is.

    Oh yeah, on topic. Thanks for the review! I hadn’t heard of this company, but I like the cost, delivery time, and rugged simplicity of this design. I just might have to give it a try.

  13. I’m going to have to check out these holsters.

    Re: appendix carry. I’ve found that the design of the pistol matters quite a bit for comfort. a square-backed Glock or XD is a lot more comfy than the spurs on an S&W or 1911.

  14. I am going to look at their holsters. .Concerning IWB leather you might want to check out Brommeland. I use a Brommeland IWB and a Glock 36 disappears under a t-shirt. They are quite slim.

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