Recently I had occasion to visit Prescott, AZ.
I was invited out to tour the Ruger factory Mike Wood was invited out to the Ruger factory and he was gracious enough to ask me to tag along. During the rest of our time there we did some shooting and did the “mall crawl” through many of the local gun stores. A lot of them had bins of used grips, pouches, nylon holsters, and miscellaneous magazines. There aren’t many guys that enjoy rooting around through stuff like that, but I do, and apparently Mike does, as well. I found some pretty interesting items, but nothing as cool as a beat-up pair of Safariland Split-Six pouches!
The Safariland Split-Six
This old design consists of little more than a single piece of molded leather. The leather folds back on itself and is held in place with a single snap. A wide center portion is sized to fit a speedloader, and this is where it really gets neat. The rounds on the speedloader are “split” by the belt. Three rounds sit on the outside of the belt, and three rounds sit inside. This does an excellent job of mitigating the thickness of the speedloader.
The Safariland Split-Six pouches I picked up fit my L-Frame Comp IIs almost perfectly. Since the sides of the pouch are completely open, this makes grabbing the loader by its body (rather than the knob) extremely easy. On the other hand, being so open creates a problem. The loader isn’t held very securely. Under stress, simply unsnapping the pouch could cause the loader to fall out. Also, the pouches I picked up are made for duty belts, and are a little big for my 1.5″ belt, resulting in a less secure hold than I would prefer.
The DeSantis Second Six
The Safariland Split-Six is a pretty cool pouch, but it could be done better. And it has been, by DeSantis. The DeSantis “Second Six” speedloader pouch is a vast improvement on the Safariland design. The first thing you will notice about the DeSantis model is its abundance of hardware. The additional straps and screws make this model seem a bit busier, but they all serve very valuable functions.
The two snaps at 4 and 8 o’clock on the pouch serve dual purposes. First, they keep the pouch from falling off when you unbuckle your belt. This isn’t an issue with a duty belt, but when worn on a standard belt the Safariland fails here. Rather than a fixed loop, the snaps also let you take the pouch on and off without unthreading your belt. They also serve to support the sides of the loader. I like the security this offers, though it does prevent a completely a perfectly clean grab of the sides of the loader body.
The two screws at the bottom of the Second Six are the real prize. They let you adjust it to fit different belt widths. To adjust for a wider belt simply remove the screws and replace them in the lower holes. This keeps the pouch much more secure than the Safariland model. In conjuction with the two snaps discussed earlier, this holds the DeSantis Second Six pouch much closer to the body, as well.
If there’s one thing I could complain about, it’s the big hole in the top of the pouch. This pouch is designed specifically for twist-type loaders like the HKS and the 5-Star Firearms, to the exclusion of loaders like the Jet, SL Variant, and Comp II. Not only does this flap design exlude other, better loaders, I also think the potential is there for the knob to be twisted inadvertently. This doesn’t seem extremely likely but it’s one of those things that I’d be constantly thinking about.
I found that the DeSantis cut a much lower profile than the Safariland. Due to the tighter construction it was held closer to the body. This is a fairly sleek design that conceals a speedloader really well. It also flops around less than the Safariland design.
The Bottom Line
There is one other thing you should think about if you are considering either of these models. If your belt is very thick you may have problems getting it between the cartridges. This probably isn’t an issue with most nylon belts, but it might very well be with a leather gunbelt.
Generally, I think the DeSantis is the vastly superior design. Unfortunately this is a false choice, as it is dictated by your speedloader choice. Still, the Safariland Split-Six or the DeSantis Second Six pouches are both viable designs for personal defensive use. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend either one of these. If I end up with a gun that requires me to 5-Star or HKS loaders (the Kimber K6S, for instance) I probably will end up carrying the DeSantis model. In fact, the Second Six is available direclty from Kimber’s Revolver Shop!
For a 20% discount at DeSantisHolster.com, use offer code GAF20. I receive no compensation for the sale of any DeSantis products.
21 thoughts on “Safariland Split-Six & DeSantis Second Six Pouches”
I modified a double Split Six to work on a 1.5″ belt by putting in some chicago screws. Worked pretty well.
According to Claude Werner, the way to use a Split Six is to establish a grip on the speedloader with the thumb and middle finger, then unsnap the pouch with the index finger. This keeps the loader from falling out. Sounds simple enough, but for whatever reason I tend to not do it. I think it has to do with how stiff the snaps are. I tend to unsnap and roll the hand up to grab the speedloader. Almost cost me at the last IDPA match I shot, so I think that is a legit critique.
I am going to have to try the Desantis version and see how it does in comparison. I really appreciate how well the Split Six conceals a speedloader. If the Desantis can do the same and address some of the other weaknesses, that would be awesome.
I don’t have the depth of experience you do with the Split Six but like you, I had trouble making the thumb/middle finger/index finger technique work. Maybe it’s my small hands. I do think you will be impressed with the Desantis Second Six, though. I really like how tight it keeps the loader against your body – this thing will hide speedloaders like almost nothing else.
P.S. – Great idea on modifiing the Split Six with Chicago screws! Like my granddad used to say, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”
Justin, I appreciate your article. I have a couple slip six metal clips that slide up from the bottom of the belt and hold the H&K speed powder for my GP100 pretty securely. I think they were made by Safariland.
Thank you! I will add these to my list of speedloader pouches to review.
Another nice write up.
I’d be careful of this Wood character. He seems like a bad influence. 🙂
You can say that again! I begged him to stop be he dragged met to gun store after gun store…
Thank you for the kind words,
What? You think those Split Six pouches were neater than the petrified pizza crust I found in that one bin? That thing was pristine, man! Not a single rat nibble on it.
Jim, I’ll have you know that I surrendered some of my better finds to Justin. There’s a code of honor to dumpster diving, you know. ; ^ )
That was a great trip. I’ll go diving through mystery bins anytime with you buddy! Who else will share my excitement about finding a Safety Speed with a torn strap, or a dump pouch with a broken snap?
Great writeup on these pouches! I’m curious . . . have any of the esteemed RG’s in the audience ever had a loader get activated by the top of the belt hitting the center post release on a design like the Comps? I presume it would only happen if there was a mismatch and the fit was sloppy because you had the wrong size loader/pouch, but thought I’d ask.
I have both pouches and have had very negative results with both.
In the first place you NEED a thick, sturdy belt to carry a holstered handgun. I have 3 different leather belts and a handful of the nylons as well. Neither set up works on any of my leather belts.
In one of my early attempts at using the split six I actually had cartridges released with a Comp I. The top of the belt pressed hard against the “release button” in the center of the Comp I. That was the end of my split six attempts.
There are too many other good products out there that make either one of these speed loader holsters NOT worth the bother/efforts. The Crossbreed horizontal speed loader carrier gets my vote for practicality & conceal-ability.
I agree you need a sturdy belt but will disagree with one element: thick doesn’t always equal sturdy. I’ve had thick belts that aren’t sturdy, and sturdy belts that aren’t thick.
Thank you for the advice on the Crossbreed pouch! I hadn’t heard of that one, but I will reach out to them to see if I can do a review of these.
My understanding is that the Crossbread pouch was designed by Grant Cunningham. In reading this article, I couldn’t help but wonder if he got his inspiration from using a Safariland Split Six with the loader turned 90 degrees. Since the Split Six isn’t designed for that orientation of the loader, it wouldn’t be idea, but it seems like you could press them into service that way if your belt was too thick for the cartridges to straddle or you were concerned about the belt activating a Safariland Comp I or II (I know Grant uses Comp II’s for his GP100).
That should say “Crossbreed.” I assume crossbread is some kind of pretzel.
Ha! Too funny, Greyson!
Ron, that’s exactly what I was wondering about. Thanks for the info.
I use the DeSantis. They work well for me.
I put blue loctite on the screws. As I said in another post I lost one of screws. Called customer service because I didn’t see the part online. The lady insisted I didn’t need to pay. She would just have the warehouse sent out some. Week later a pack of four arrived. Really good people.
For what it’s worth I love reading your blog, it’s great to know there are other revolver fanatics out there. I regularly carry a desantis Second six and it’s awesome, I added another snap closure to the flap and I also added two more snap closures on the sides so I can carry my larger security six speed loaders with .357 or ruger LCR with .38 special so there is very little slack. Great review, keep em coming.
It’s good to hear from some actual users like you and Nate. It’s also good to hear you enjoy RevolverGuy.com – thank you for letting me know!
Justin, here is the link for the metal Safariland Speedloader Holder at CopsPlus. The price is $9.71.
I have one on the way. Thank you!
I never pass up an opportunity to dive into one of those “miscellaneous” bins. At a local pawn shop grabbed two Smith model 52 mags and a Colt Ace .22 mag for $10/ea. Gifted the Colt to a friend and sold the Smiths for $100 for the pair. Same place had a pair of 2x2x2 pouches, 1 Galco and 1 Dillon, for $6 each including ammo!
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