Scot’s Product Review: G-Code Holsters

A friend told me about G-Code Holsters, when I was looking for a holster to use in “the bump in the night” kit I was putting together. I had settled on a belt, after trying several other setups, and I needed a holster for it. This is not for normal, concealed, everyday carry but rather something that I could quickly don in an emergency that would work with either my soft or hard body armor. One key element was to be able to get it on quickly, regardless of how I’m dressed. My normal carry is an inside the waist band holster, but those don’t go on quickly and work poorly with body armor. The armor hangs over waist, making it hard to draw or holster the pistol.

Besides a pistol, the belt carries a magazine dump bag, magazine pouches for pistol and rifle, and a pouch for a Surefire 6P flashlight. The dump bag holds spare batteries for the Surefire, along with a spare bulb for it and some gloves. A final pouch holds a compression bandage, tourniquet, some nitrile gloves, and a pair of EMT shears. On the chance I might decide to go with the shotgun, I clipped on some holders for 12 gauge shells. I hang a pair of amplified hearing protectors next to it.

The belt itself is kind of like a police duty belt with Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment (MOLLE) attachment points. MOLLE is used to combine tactical gear by the U.S. and other militaries. It is extremely versatile. The belt can go over whatever I’m wearing for pants and then, if I have time and feel the need, I can add armor.

I had all of the other stuff, but I didn’t have a holster that I felt worked well on this sort of belt, especially if I were to add the body armor. Heeding my friend’s advice, I took a look, and G-Code appeared to have exactly what I needed in their OSH RTI Kydex Holster. It is as the name says, made of Kydex and costs $37.45. It is intended primarily for outside the waistband carry and offers ready access to the pistol. I discovered that it actually offers a lot more.

G-Code, you see, has a system. You can buy the holster and then wander about their site and find a number of ways to attach it to most anything, yourself included. The one I used is part of their Rapid Transition Interface (RTI) system. It ran $40.75. RTI allows you to quickly detach the holster from one mount and move it to any other RTI adapter. The way this works is there is an aluminum hanger that mounts on the holster and a wheel-like adapter that can mount on a number of holders offered by G-Code. The hanger snaps into the wheel, which has a very secure lock to hold the holster in place.

This is popular with folks who like to carry a pistol on a tactical vest at times and on a belt at other times. If you are moving in and out of vehicles, for example, you can have your weapon on the vest for easy access in the vehicle and then move it to your belt when on foot.

They have belt slides, paddles, MOLLE mounts, drop belt slides, and leg mounts you can choose from. I’m not that fond of drop mounts, but they work well for others. The paddle mounts could be useful, if you need to go without a belt. They hold pretty well on pants alone.

Another trick is to hang an RTI adapter someplace in your car or on the side of your bed or desk and put the holster and pistol on it as needed.

A nice thing when you move your handgun from one mount to another is that you are moving a holstered pistol, which is safer than unholstering it and moving it to a different holster. You can move it with one hand if necessary.

You can adjust the rake of the holster a bit with the RTI mount I used. This allows you to make it work with your mode of dress, position of carry, and whatever else you are carrying.

The only drawback I could see for RTI is it does add some to the thickness of the holster, but that worked well in setting mine up for use with armor. I needed to space the holster away from my body to ensure clearance for the armor. If you want to have a thinner rig, you can get paddle, belt, and MOLLE mounts that attach directly to the holster without the RTI adapter. Since all of this stuff is modular, you have a huge number of choices on how you set up your rig.

Surprisingly, you can even get an inside the waist band adapter for your G-Code OSH. This won’t work with RTI, so it isn’t rapid change, but it does work well. You can make a number of adjustments in ride height and rake, so it fits you and your needs. I have been happy with mine, although I think a purpose-built IWB holster is better. The OSH is made of very heavy duty, thick Kydex, which isn’t optimal for IWB. It is, of course, optimal for the primary purpose of the OSH, outside the waistband carry under hard use.

You get a choice of having a shirt guard or not on the OSH. The shirt guard helps keep your shirt from getting tangled up as you try to holster the pistol, so I highly recommend it. This isn’t so important on a duty type belt, but it’s very helpful on an inside the waistband. I would get it, just in case I needed it later.

The OSH, like most Kydex holsters, is formed by bending a sheet of Kydex around the handgun it is being made for. This leaves a sort of U-shaped creation. The open side of the U is closed with rivets. Like many Kydex holsters, there is also an adjustment screw so you can set how much tension you want holding the pistol in.

Besides the OSH, G-Code makes two similar holsters that I have not handled. The first is the XST. The OSH retains the holster by friction, while the XST adds a strap that pops off when operated by the thumb. The second is the SOC that includes a retention system similar to the XST, while adding an interesting system of interchangeable cowlings that adapt the holster for an assortment of weapon-mounted lights or no light at all. The XST and SOC use all of the same mounting accessories as the OSH. Both holsters appear to be thicker than the OSH to accommodate the strap system. The XST costs $37.45 without RTI and $48.95 with.

I spent a lot of time agonizing between the OSH, XST, and SOC, and in the end, the simplicity of the OSH won me over. I might try one of the others in the future, though. The retaining strap could be of value when covering rough terrain, though the retention screw on the OSH will easily hold the pistol when the holster is held upside down and jiggled.

I should point out that these prices are for the holster alone. You also need to select a carry mount which will add to the cost.

There are a number of other interesting items in their product line that I hope to review in the future. The HSP D3 magazine carrier system looks especially interesting, as it allows you to design just what you want to carry magazines in a form that minimizes space on a belt or vest. They also have pocket holsters, a concealment holster, revolver holsters, and a number of other carriers for shooting gear. The website also features a number of informative videos.

All of the G-Code gear I’ve handled is well made and solid. There are several choices in color, including an assortment of camouflage patterns. Being the boring sort, I chose plain old olive drab. The hardware is of good quality and spare parts are available on the website. They also have adapters to use other brands of holsters on their mounts.

G-Code has a contract to the U.S. military to supply holsters, which is a good endorsement, in my view.

Customer service from G-Code was great. My IWB adapter had a bad snap, and it was repaired quickly and without hassle. We all make mistakes, and the question is how we deal with them. G-Code gets an A. They didn’t know I was going to be writing a blog article, either. I was just another dweeb who bought a holster. They even offered an upgrade, but I was keen on trying the adapter and stuck with it.

Speaking of my bump in the night kit, on the off chance anyone is interested, I took a circuitous route arriving at the belt system. Initially, I just figured pistol in hand was all I needed. Then, thanks to training, I learned that arriving police might easily mistake someone with pistol in hand as a threat. Having a holster in which to secure the pistol would be a lot better than dropping it on the ground. I, therefore, planned to put on my normal inside the waistband CCW carry holster. Then we had some nasty home invasions in a nearby urban area that made me think I might want a long arm and some extra ammo, if things were to “go North”. (I’m a Southerner, so “going South” is a GOOD thing.) I might also want to put on the soft body armor I had for riots when I was a photographer or the hard armor I bought a couple years ago.

Since I had spent 30 plus years working as a photographer, I thought a shoulder bag like the ones I carried camera gear in would work. A carbine class showed me the error of those ways. Working a carbine and pistol is not the same as working cameras. The straps for the bag, for example, fouled my holster and magazine pouches. The bag kept flopping around and was never in the same spot, which left me groping for gear.

Going back to the drawing board, I tried a couple of chest rigs. Some of the folks in classes I’ve taken used them, so I figured they were worth a try. I’ve had some shoulder injuries, however, and it turned out that a loaded chest kit is awkward for me to get on quickly. Then there is the issue of armor. I would have to decide which to put on– armor and vest rig or just the vest rig. If armor goes on too, then the vest rig has to go over it. If I decided to put on the chest rig and then decided I need armor, I had to pull off the rig, put on the armor and then put the rig back on. I tried these combinations at the range, and they badly interfered with my normal IWB holsters and the belt pouches for pistol ammo. I also finally realized that getting the IWB holster on in a hurry was not so hot, either. It required pants with a belt to retain the holster. I might not have time to put those on and could wind up in pajamas and no holster. Even if I had on pants with a belt, it takes time to get the IWB on.

I next decided to try going straight to the hard armor in a carrier with MOLLE and festoon everything onto it, magazine pouches, first aide gear, dump pouch, pistol holster, et cetera. This was another error. I am no longer young, and hard armor is heavy. (Mine is steel and very awkward to get on, though the ARES plate carrier silencer I mentioned in another article helps.) The weight of hard armor tremendously reduces mobility, and I realized I would only use it for holding a defensive position. I might go with the soft armor, if I wanted to be mobile, but I desired to keep that in its concealable carrier, which couldn’t carry extra gear.

That’s when it dawned on me that a belt might be a good idea. It could carry all of my gear and be quick and easy to put on over most any form of clothing. I could add armor as the situation demanded without having to take anything off.

I first tried a GI pistol belt I had on hand. It held everything and was easy to get on, but after a range trip, I discovered that the magazine pouches and other gear tended to wander around. That’s not so good when what you are looking for has moved. Still, the concept appeared to be going in the right direction; I just needed a belt that would secure everything in a fixed location.

I then picked up a MOLLE belt, and lo and behold, it all appears to work as intended. So far though, it’s a lot better than anything else I’ve tried, in both dry practice and range drills. It works with both pistol and long arms. I still want to use it in a class to see if I am missing anything, but I think I am close to solving this problem. What I did may not work for you, but hopefully my progression may help you find your own way. For some, the chest rigs work really well as does putting gear on a plate carrier. The key is to test it and be sure it works for you.

One Comment

  1. I received my second replacement duty slide last week. I have used these since 2013 and every 18-19 months, the slide separates along a belt loop. G-Code has honored the limited lifetime warranty but I can not recommend this item if you are in a position where weapon retention would be a life or death situation. The RTI mechanism is great, the slide portion is sub par and should not be marketed for duty carry, in my opinion.

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