Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Tale of Two Mag Pouches

I read a lot of stuff about holsters.  Most often, the discussion always leads to getting the proper holster for the gun.  I've been really lucky in that I don't have a dresser drawer full of junk holsters I don't use.  I feel that in my experience of wearing and purchasing holsters, I've made some really good choices that suit my style and preferred method of carry.  However, among all the talk about holsters, it seems that carriers for extra ammo are regarded as an afterthought.

Back in the day, when I bought my very first pistol, the venerable Beretta 92 FS, I needed a good holster.  I turned to a relatively new (at the time) company called Blade-Tech Industries.  I ended up buying an IWB kydex holster and an accompanying polymer dual magazine pouch.  This combination served me well, as I was able to carry no less than 45 rounds of ammunition on my person at all times; 46 rounds if you counted the cartridge in the pipe.  I preferred this method of carry for years.

After going back to school, I didn't carry for quite some time.  My employer didn't allow guns on the property and my school seemed to have a dim view of the prospect of its students carrying weapons on the campus.  My gun sat at home for the better part of 3 years while I chose not to carry a weapon.

After graduating college, and getting a better job elsewhere, I moved to a town that certainly had a higher crime rate than the place I previously called home.  While I have yet to experience a crime in my neighborhood, I decided that it was time to reapply for my CPL and get a new carry gun.  I am a bit thicker than I was 10 years ago.  Plus, I needed an excuse to buy a new gun.  If you read the blog, then you know I'm a fan of Ruger pistols and Crossbreed holsters.  My go-to carry gun by default is the Ruger SR9c, with the LC9 and the LCP coming up a very close second.  I've made sure that my holsters are perfect for these guns.

The problem, however, is what to do with the spare ammo.  I'm going to focus on the double stack magazine of the Ruger SR9.  I carry one spare 17rd magazine for my SR9c.  I don't carry two extras anymore because I'm confident that 28rds of 9mm are sufficient to do the job.  Besides, all that extra ammo can get tiresome after a long day, and after sustaining a lower back injury 5 years ago, I like to keep it light.

At first, I purchased a leather pouch from Tagua.  I thought the snap would be a good idea, but soon learned that it wasn't.  The weight of a loaded 17rd magazine made the snap unsnap within minutes of wearing it.  I replaced the snap with a screw and nut much like the hardware on the Crossbreed Supertuck, and converted it into a slide on belt pouch.  After a year of carry with this thing, I became sick of it.  The loop is much too large and with no way to adjust it, the dang thing always rode up on my side and slide around on my belt.  I needed a different option.

Completely forgetting about my dual mag pouch, I bought a kydex pouch from Uncle Mikes.  I like this one better, but the magazine retention is iffy and the clip doesn't seem very durable.  I carried this pouch for the last month or so to give it a chance.  While the magazine never fell out, the pouch has come off a few times, especially when getting into and out of a vehicle.  I can't have this.

I went into my favorite local gun shop, and purchased a Blade-tech single mag pouch with a tek-lok.  After initially setting the tek-lok up to my belt size, I inserted the magazine and adjusted the tensioning screws to my preferred retention.  After putting the pouch on my belt and inserting the magazine, I immediately noticed a night and day difference from the Uncle Mike's design.  This magazine pouch stays put!  The magazine retention is much better!  The tek-lok features a dual locking mechanism to keep it closed.  There is no way this puppy would come off my belt.  Polymer is tough stuff and I used the older style tek-lok for years without problems.

In the end, the Blade-Tech is the better choice.  Even if you are on a budget, you can easily justify spending a little more on the BT over the UM design.  I paid $12 plus tax for the UM design and was completely unhappy with it.  I paid $19 plus tax for the BT with the large tek-lok; money well spent in my opinion.  Superior retention and attachment to the belt make it worth every penny.

Pics and descriptions below:

Blade-Tech and Uncle Mikes side by side.  UM on the left, BT on the right.  Note the BT tension screws on it side.

Blade-Tech Tek-lok on the right with the Uncle Mike's clip on the left.

Notice the "fingers" that put tension on the magazine when inserted into the Uncle Mike's pouch.  I noted that they don't provide good retention, and seem to spring the magazine out a bit.  I was always re-seating the magazine when carrying.

Blade-Tech tension adjustment.  As you turn the screws, it presses the entire body of the pouch against the magazine.  The rubber bushings help maintain tension without the need for Loctite.

The Blade-Tech has a larger side profile, but it isn't much more.  Notice the Beretta magazine in the Uncle Mike's on the left.  If you turn the magazine pouch upside down, the Beretta magazine falls out.  Not good.

The tek-lok is much thicker than the Uncle Mike's clip.  Fortunately, the Blade-Tech only sticks out about 3/16" more because most of that tek-lok is behind your belt.  All in all, I'll take the extra 3/16" for the better retention.


  1. I went with the D.M. Bullard leather Bodyguard mag pouch for my SR9c 17 round mag. Excellent retention for the mag. Stays put and surprisingly comfortable. The "bodyguard" portion refers to an integral leather shield between the mag and you. I'll post a photo on your Elsie Pea post.