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Texas is not an open carry state, something that I’m told just might change in the next legislative session. And frankly, it sucks just a touch. Because OWB OC is soooo much more comfortable. And goshdarnit, if you’re going to spend an amount of money equal to the downpayment on an affordable car for guns, ammo, training, licensing and a holster, you should be able to show off the goods. Oh sure, a nickel plated 1911 in a horsehide holster seems to be the first thing that comes to mind, but a true operator knows better. Operators who are truly operating want need Kydex. And if you’re truly operating, you need a BIG Kydex holster hanging off of your hip. Boys and girls, NorCal Kydex has that holster for you. Meet the Mendocino Modular OWB/IWB, a convertible holster for your piece of choice . . .


Eerily similar to the Raven Concealment Phantom OWB, the Mendocino sports a similar look and feel, but is priced at a very affordable $50. That’s a full $30 less than Raven’s holster, which could buy you an extra box of premium self defense ammo. And in this economy, it is much appreciated. But sometimes, less expensive means cheap. And cheap means crappy quality. Rest assured though. I’m happy to report that the Mendocino is a very well built holster that feels like a high end piece of gear without the associated price tag.


I originally wanted something like the MM for an upcoming biathlon that will require a secure holster. Since it is a biathlon, and there are no rules on the gear you can run, my RDS equipped M&P seemed like the natural fit. This is unrelated to a holster review, but my theory is that while dehydrated with my heart racing, putting a red dot on a target will be easier to handle than lining up irons. We’ll see if I’m right. Along those lines, I feel a biathlon holster needs to be comfortable, compatible with my gear, and capable of retaining my pistol whilst running (and probably falling).


Again, the MM passes with flying colors. Retention is quite secure, but does not inhibit a smooth draw. Reholstering is met with a very positive and audible click. I was unable to dislodge my M&P with vigorous exercise including a few jumping jacks. I’m confident that it will be more than adequate for a run across the desert in September.


I was actually surprised by how slim the MM is. Chalk that up that to the thin Kydex shell, and ever so slight curvature. It seems to really tuck my M&P in close which prevents cover garments from binding up during the draw or in EDC use. One drawback to the ultra secure mounting arrangement is that you have thread your belt through the clips, which are completely closed. For something like a 3 gun competition or a biathlon, or even EDC in a place where you never have to remove your gun, that’s fine. But if you’re a guy like me who has to disarm regularly for workplace regulations or frequent visits to the post office, removing your gun and leaving an empty holster can be a pain in the rear.


Specifications: Mendocino Modular OWB/IWB

  • Type: Strongside 3/4 O’Clock OWB convertible to IWB
  • Cant: Straight and 10 degree forward
  • Belt Clip: Standard, Pancake, and Pull the Dot
  • Color: Black, Coyote Brown, OD Green, Storm Gray, Carbon Fiber, Arctic White, Blood Red Carbon Fiber
  • Price: $50 (optional features extra)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Fit, Finish, Feel: * * * * 
Much like the AIWB holster I reviewed from NorCal, I was pleasantly surprised by how well put together this holster is. Ori does great Kydex work and it shows in how well my M&P fits and stays put. My only real complaint is the belt clips which require you to remove your belt to remove the holster. It keeps cost down, I’m sure, but it kind of takes away from the overall package for those that have to disarm regularly.

Comfort: * * * * 
OWB has always been quite comfortable for me, and this holster is no different. NorCal claims that you can use this for IWB as well, and while I shoved it down in my pants to say I did it, I never carried like that because hard Kydex and my bony hips have never gotten along well.

Concealability: * * * * *
I’ll give it the MM, it actually does a good job of keeping a very full sized pistol tucked in close. With an appropriately long shirt, I had no problem concealing a full sized M&P comfortably. For those that open carry, this is a very nice option.

Overall: * * * * 
I think this will be a fine holster for my intended biathlon usage. I don’t EDC my M&P because I don’t trust a red dot with my life, but if I ran an iron sights M&P, I’d happily use this holster for a day out on the town where I didn’t need to take it off and put it back on multiple times. It keeps my pistol tucked in close, and holds it very securely.




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  1. I have an M&P too, and I hear you on that issue about being able to take the holster off. I like holsters I can take off with th3 gun still secured so thr trigger is always protected.

  2. That’s not operational enough. When I’m operating operationally, I need MOLLE. At minimum, it needs a couple of drag handles and a morale patch.

  3. Naw, I have the Black Hawk Serpa paddle holster for OC,so I can easily remove it when I go into a GFZ. Then I have another soft, IWB for the rare times I CC.

    I do prefer OC, but when I CC, It is not that uncomfortable; ( I OC a 1911 and CC a Glock 30) I barely notice that I have a weapon IWB.

      • Yeah; initially, it was a pain taking it off; but after a week or two of practice, I was able to take it off in one movement without it hitching up on my belt or pants. I really like it now because with those hooks, that holster is not coming off accidentally.

      • Yeah that Serpa paddle is pretty darn secure. At first I couldn’t get it off without removing my pants, but I eventually learned to find the hooks with my fingers and can now remove it without getting arrested for indecent exposure.

  4. So I don’t care one bit if a holster is ugly, it is INSIDE my pants generally and if not, how well does it assist you in drawing your pistol? Size however should be an issue and even though kydex is light, if the large holster somehow inhibits motion, no thanks.

    So I noticed the article said this was OWB AND IWB? But I dont see any pictures of it IWB. What gives?
    IMHO that thing would be HUGE trying to wear in your pants, I can only carry my M&P 9 Full size in baggy cargo shorts and even then in a minimal holster its still a brick.

  5. I don’t understand the buzz about Kydex… So it’s a vacuum formable sheet plastic…. there have been dozens of those around for decades. What’s so special about Kydex to guns? Polypropylene should work just fine.

    • I believe that Kydex is far easier to work with than polypropylene, particularly for the small / custom shop (which most holster manufacturers tend to be).

  6. I’m in Texas. I run. I promise to only beat you a little if you tell me where and when this event is.

  7. You can change the clips pretty easily. That seemed to be the most negative comment against the holster in the review. They even show different clips that are available to order with the holster in the third picture on that link.

    Too bad they don’t make them for the more expensive pistols for the most part.

  8. Looks exactly like the Raven I paid a mint for (not to mention, waited 6 months for them to build). Cool. I’m going to check them out. Thanks for the review!

  9. I would never OC with a kydex holster. It takes about 10 seconds to disarm somebody if you have enough strength and know how. I don’t know why people are so fascinated with Kydex. Give me a alessi/Rosen any day of the week.

    • So, what you’re saying is it takes an eternity to disarm someone wearing a Kydex holster, and it depends on superior strength and training?

      10 seconds is more than enough time for me to open you up and show you your guts when you start trying your secret ninja grab for my sidearm.

    • S0 Kyle; I went over to the Alessi and the Rosen web sites. Beautiful leather holsters.

      So what makes them preferable for OC versus OC with the Serpa Black Hawk I OC currently with? Or are you saying you wouldn’t OC, with any type of holster?

      Maybe you could clarify.

      • Thomas:
        For clarification I like OC with Nice Leather or Very Functional Holsters like a Safriland 6300 Series, etc. I think you should either be showing off your nice stuff at an event or be OCing for functional reasons.
        I would never use a Serpa because:
        1. Its cheap brittle plastic.
        2. I don’t want to risk Tex Grubnering myself in an emergency (Wouldn’t happen with my Sigs, but Glocks, 1911s, etc are much easier to shoot yourself with)

        Its not as easy to knife somebody if you are getting pummeled by 1 or more people. I don’t disagree with using a knife for weapon retention (I have one), but I would not be so arrogant to think that I could immediately put it to use.

        Most disarms are not just trying to pull your gun, generally 1 or more people are also beating the living hell out of you at the same time. That is why it is very important to have mechanical retention instead of passive. Most people tend to cover their face with their hands when getting repeatedly punched in noggin.

        If I wanted to violently disarm somebody I would start with a brutal attack to the Face/ Throat/Eye Area and then control their hands before they can draw their weapon. I would suggest you put on some protective gear and proceed to have a couple of friends with some fighting experience no holds barred try disarm you. It will be an eye opener.

        • That’s sort of a different set of rules than what you originally laid out- now you’ve introduced friends and planned the attack. If we’re going to make up rules as we go, then I get to have the Bear Cavalry and the 101st Airborne watch my back while you work your magic. Regardless, 10 seconds is a LOOONG time for an initial strike.

          I’ve been beaten on by a group of people while having to fight my way out in Krav. I was the focus and the fight wasn’t over until I had stayed up for 3 minutes. Yes, it would be optimistic to think I’d be able to do much of anything if those are the rules you’re laying out.

          There’s a broader point here, though, and you nailed it- open carrying can be tactically stupid. It can make you a target for people who want your gun, and those people will be willing to hurt or kill you to steal it.

        • I’m not making up rules just giving some examples. Somebody has to be pretty stupid to just sit there and pull on your holstered gun and expect to win. I totally agree with you that in many cases it is tactically unsound.

          What makes it worse IMO is so many people are advocating these homebrew Kydex Holsters that are too thin and brutal to actually resist getting twisted/thrown around if you are in a fight for your gun. I think they look kinda of cool, but that is it. I don’t have a problem with Kydex for IWB because you have your Pants, etc to help. You can get lifted up by your gun if you are using a quality holster and belt.

          I encourage anybody who thinks they can anticipate how they are going to be attacked take a look at:
 or some of the more brutal traffic stop attacks and shootings. I won’t post a link but you can easily find a video of an officer being attacked, disarmed and executed with his own gun. It doesn’t matter if you are a cop or not. Honestly most criminals are going to think you are one if you are ocing and look somewhat “Tactical”.

        • Kyle,
          I won’t argue with your choices, we all have to wear what works for us. But I would point out a couple things:
          1) The plastic in a Blackhawk holster is no more brittle than the “plastic” used to make today’s polymer framed handguns.
          2) As far as I know, the only person who has ever pulled a Tex Grebner is… Tex Grebner. And he specifically pointed out that it wasn’t the holster’s fault, but the result of a very specific chain of events. And that famous incident involved a cocked and locked 1911.

  10. I don’t know if this is the place to enter this info? But here goes, if anybody has a Mossberg 500, Flex weapon, I just completed a way to carry two barrels, two stocks and a pistol grip to my molle scabbard. Now I can shoot, hunt, defend and run if need be and keep my shit together. Watch the night and be cool out there. Write me if you would liked to carry a weapon like this with all attachments ( a prepper thing).

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