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