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My shotgun nerdism continues, and I’ve finally got my hands on an Aridus Industries universal QD-C sidesaddle. I purchased my Benelli M4 over a year ago and have been waiting for these to come back in stock. I was constantly missing them by what seemed like mere hours.

I missed them so often that I purchased some Esstac shotgun cards to cover my side saddle needs in the meantime. However, one June morning recently, I saw the alert from Aridus Industries, jumped on my laptop, and dialed one in. Big ups to Aridus Industries, who got my QD-C in my hands in two days.

If you’re a shotgun nerd, then you know Aridus Industries. If not, let me introduce you. They’re a super small American company making products for various shotgun platforms. One of the reasons I love the gun industry is that you can have a two-person company become quite popular just by producing high-quality products.

For those unfamiliar with Aridus, their products have been heavily featured on shotguns like the Langdon Tactical LTT Beretta 1301. They produce lots of 1301 gear, including adapters to use Magpul SGA stocks and Zhukov handguards on the gun. They make optics-ready co-witness mounts for various shotguns, and of course, the QD-C sidesaddles.

Specifically, they make a QD-C for the 870, the Mossberg 500/590, and a universal QD-C that utilizes high bond 3M double-sided tape to secure it to nearly any shotgun. As you’d imagine, I’m reviewing the QD-C universal variant on my Benelli M4.

Breaking Down the Universal QD-C

Let’s address the elephant in the room right away. Yes, it utilizes double-sided sticky tape to attach it to the receiver. Off the bat, that doesn’t inspire confidence, but this ain’t your average Walmart brand double-sided tape. It’s extremely strong, and I don’t think I can get it off without cutting the foam tape between the receiver and the gun.

I let it sit for 24 hours as suggested and tried to pry and rip it off with my hands. It didn’t budge. I looked around and found a video of Adam, the owner of Aridus Industries, beating one with a framing hammer, and he couldn’t get it off, so it’s secured quite well.

Aridus mills the QD-C quick detach carriers from aluminum, and it’s a two-part system.

Aridus Industries QD-C quick detach shell carrier
The QD-C cassette detaches and allows for rapid reloads of the side saddle itself. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

First, you have the adapter that attaches to the receiver of the firearm. This metal plate is quite simple and has a locking latch on it. The six-round aluminum shell carrier locks into this latch and can be removed and inserted with ease.

The idea is simple. If you run the QD-C dry, you can quickly replace it with another.

These detachable carriers fit into most AR-15 pouches that utilize elastic like the Blue Force Gear Ten-Speed pouches. Dark Star Gear produces pouches specially designed for these carriers. You can easily pack multiple detachable carriers on a belt or chest rig.

Aridus Industries QD-C quick detach shell carrier
The Cassette alone holds six rounds and extras cost 48 dollars (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The detachable carriers of the QD-C pack six rounds of 12 gauge and are also made from aluminum. Inside each loop is a stainless steel spring for retention purposes. Personally, I prefer smaller carriers that hold four rounds. They tend to keep the gun lighter, but I’ll accept the two extra rounds here because of the quality of the carrier.

The QD-C In Action

After I removed the Esstac card and vehicle grade elastic backing and cleaned the gunk left behind, I got down to business. I used the included alcohol wipe to clean the shotgun’s receiver and carefully attached the QD-C. I ensured no pins were blocked and I was good to go.

After letting the mount sit, I loaded up some dummy rounds and began practicing my reloads. I did both tube reloads, and port reloads. I warmed up a bit, if you will, and saw how the carrier worked. It absolutely clings to the shells. Those internal springs provide good retention. It takes a little effort to remove the shells, something I wasn’t used to.

Aridus Industries QD-C quick detach shell carrier
Notice the internal springs that retain the shells (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Elastic doesn’t hold shells nearly as tight, and I’d grown accustomed to a light pull. With these, I needed a tug. After a little dummy practice, I went live. Quickly and efficiently reloading a shotgun is the key to keeping it running, and as such, the side saddle can be quite important.

I saw a training gap I’d built using four-round carriers. My muscle memory feels that the port should be closer when I go under the gun, and I’m often undershooting the port by a quarter-inch when I reload from the rear two carriers.

Aridus Industries QD-C quick detach shell carrier
This lever releases the QD-C cassette for easy loading (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Snapping the detachable carrier off the mount requires very little effort, and popping a new one on doesn’t take much brain power, just some practice. I’m not super fast at it yet, but like all things, I’ll get better in time, I’m sure. It clicks it with ease, and the removal lever is large enough to manipulate without having to stare at it. Now I just need four more carriers for my chest rig.

Brass Down?

I tried a standard brass up orientation and realized that, because of the QD-C’s good retention, it might work with the shells carried brass down. I’d yet to find a carrier that I trust to run that way, but I gave it a try. That internal stainless steel spring would be truly tested.

Aridus Industries QD-C quick detach shell carrier
Slap it on and remove it rather easily. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

With heavy buckshot loads in the brass down position, I shook, shaked, and rattled the gun and carrier. I even marked the buckshot rounds with a marker to see if I could see any movement at all.

I sprinted with the thing, did box jumps, and thrust it up and down. I fired seven-round strings of full-powered buckshot as fast as I could for 21 rounds at a time.

Aridus Industries QD-C quick detach shell carrier
This is the only side saddle I trust with brass down carry (Travis Pike for TTAG)

If there was any shift at all, it was very minimal, and I couldn’t see it with the marked Sharpie lines. The QD-C holds the shotshells extremely well. As such, I plan to now run my shells brass down. I find both port reloads and tube reloads faster with shells carried in the brass down position.

The Aridus Industries QD-C is a fantastic option for a sidesaddle shell carrier. It’s admittedly pricey, but I think it’s well worth the extra money. Especially since I can support an innovative American business.

If you have a shotgun outside the normal 870 and 500 series and need a side-saddle, the QD-C takes the cake as far as universal options go.

Specifications: Aridus Industries QD-C Quick Detach Carrier

Weight: 7.8 ounces
Length: 7 and ⅛ inches
Capacity: 6 Rounds
Caliber: 12 Gauge
MSRP: $185 (extra 6-round carriers are $48)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ergonomics * * * *
Ergonomically it’s quite sound in its design. The QD-C carriers pop on and off without issue and make it quick to swap. I knocked a single point off for the long length and weight. I’m a big fan of 4-shot carriers and prefer the smaller, lighter option.

Ease of Use * * * * *
Installation was quick and easy, with little drama. Toss it on, lock it down, and call it a day. Once installed, the Aridus QD-C is remarkably easy to use. You can carry shells brass up or brass down and not worry about them falling out or slipping.

Reliability * * * * * 
Being made of aluminum makes it remarkably durable and capable. The QD-C holds shells regardless of what I do to try and get them to fall out. You can pluck round after round for quick and efficient reloads of your favorite scattergun.

Overall * * * * ½
The Aridus Industries QD-C quick detach carrier provides a universal shotgun side saddle option that’s durable, well made, and ready for almost any shotgun on the market. “Universal” gear usually sucks, but the QD-C shell carrier breaks the mold.

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  1. The spring retainers are a great idea.
    I’ve lost to many shells with the nylon spandex type I quit using them.

  2. The goofball on The Firearm Blog has a video of a much cheaper QD shell carrier up right now…

  3. Wouldn’t brass up reduce the chance of moisture intrusion?

    • From what I get you can swap out the empty shell holder for a loaded one muy pronto with a little practice. I guess that’s a good thing?

        • It’s a two-piece unit. The base stays attached to the shotgun. The quick-detach parts are the shell holder portion, they snap into the base. You can carry several shell holders in mag pouches, on your belt or chest rig etc., that are already filled with shotshells. As you empty the holder that is currently attached to the base on the gun, you remove that empty, and slap another full holder onto the base.
          This allows you to have many pre-loaded shell holders that can quickly be removed from the gun as emptied, and quickly replaced onto the base/on the gun and ready to load from.

    • If you’re in a shotgun class, being able to swap carriers quickly from your belt can be helpful for certain reloading drills.

  4. Holy $#|T! $185 for a f***ing six round over engineered bulky gizmo shotshell carrier! Have you lost your g*****m mind? Unf***ing believable!

  5. “One of the reasons I love…” this country “…is that you can have a two-person company become quite popular just by producing high-quality products.”

  6. “…I prefer smaller carriers that hold four rounds. They tend to keep the gun lighter…”
    might i offer a suggestion?

  7. Where is this pouch that DSG is supposedly producing for this carrier? I keep hearing that they made one, but I’ve never actually seen it for sale.

  8. Got it on my LTT Beretta 1301. Like the way the shells are held. DISlike the rattle… All in all I’m sitting on the fence right now

    • I have an LTT 1301 Tactical, and I really like the idea of this carrier, but I would prefer something that had an easily removable base, (not adhered), so I could take it of easily if /or for when, I simply didn’t want the bulk on the side of the firearm. Or, if the base was flat, or flatter, when the shell holder is removed. That’s easier said than engineered of course, for a quick detach setup.
      I think I am going to keep my fingers crossed for one which does not use adhesive.

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