The DeSantis 2x2x2 Reload Pouch

Recently I’ve gotten several new reloading devices for review, and I’ve spent a good deal of time at the range working with them. Reviews of them are forthcoming, and this article will kick off several weeks of articles about non-speedloader reloading. While I was digging around in a box looking for some items to facilitate all this shooting, I ran across a DeSantis 2x2x2 pouch.

Gene DeSantis sent me this pouch a couple of years ago and I never got around to reviewing it. I’m not going to lie – when I received the pouch I pretty much had my carry system figured out and loose rounds didn’t fit into that system. One benefit of me moving away from revolvers for EDC is that I’m a little more open-minded and willing to experiment.

Additionally, when I attend Greg Ellifritz’ Snubby class in a couple weeks, I’ll be running my King Cobra. Limited as speedloaders are for the Colt, I thought the 2x2x2 might be a good reloading apparatus for the class. Since I was heading out the range I figured now would be as good a time as any to give this pouch a workout.

The DeSantis 2x2x2

The DeSantis 2x2x2 pouch was designed by Gene DeSantis as an antidote to loading loose rounds. The intent was to improve upon the efficacy of dump pouches. Instead of a handful of loose cartridges, possibly pointing in various directions, the user could pull just two at a time and be assured they are in the correct orientation. They also (usually) end up at about the correct spacing for insertion into the cylinder. The 2x2x2 actually began life as the 3×3 (two sets of three cartridges) but was modified at the request of Mr. DeSantis’ friend, Jim Cirillo, for use in PPC matches.

The design of the 2x2x2 is fairly simple and intuitive. The DeSantis 2x2x2 pouch is made from a single piece of leather that is folded over upon itself several times. The first, sewn fold creates the cartridge holders. As indicated by the name, these are arranged in three, side-by-side sets of two. Each pocket is boned specifically for two .38/.357 cartridges and they fit quite nicely.

The next two folds of the leather create the belt “loop” and the flap. Actually, “belt loop” is a bit of a misnomer; one simply slides the pouch’s flap behind his or her belt. The belt sits behind the cartridge holders. Once the flap is through the belt, and the belt is behind the cartridges, the flap is snapped shut. During reloading, when the flap is unsnapped, friction keeps the pouch from falling away.

Cuts are provided on the back of the flap for 1.25″ belts, specifically for those wearing dress belts (this pouch was used at FLETC, after all!). As with all DeSantis products, the 2x2x2 is expertly made. The leather is evenly dyed, hand-boned, and wax finished. The edges are burnished, and the thread is a durable waxed nylon.

Using The DeSantis 2x2x2

I did a couple dry practice sessions and two range sessions with the 2x2x2 prior to this review. Mostly, it worked pretty well – surprisingly well in some instances. I ran the 2x2x2 against the clock for six timed runs in each of two range sessions (total of 12). I would fire one shot, empty the revolver, reload a full six rounds from the 2x2x2, and fire another shot. I would then record the split. Out of six timed runs the average time to get a full six rounds in the gun was 10.30 seconds. I get it: that sounds really slow, and it is really slow.

But consider this. I also took a five different models of reloading strips to the range (Bianchi, DeSantis, SuperVel, Tuff Products, and Zeta-6)(reviews coming soon!). I ran twelve iterations with each of these reloading strips (for a total of 60 runs). The average time with all of them wasn’t much better. To get a full six rounds in the gun with a reloading strip averaged 9.867 seconds†, only about half a second faster.

Problems with the 2x2x2

I did run into a couple issues with the use of the DeSantis 2x2x2 pouch. Occasionally, instead of grabbing two cartridges from the same compartment, I would grab one each from two different compartments.

This would screw up my spacing and cause me to hit two opposing chambers. This would impact the rest of the reload because now you have three empty chambers and one singleton. Additionally, you now have two compartments in the 2x2x2 pouch that only contain a single round.

This could certainly be remedied with training. Simply “sweeping” around with an index finger (similar to “sweeping” for a magazine) for the leading edge of the pouch would help you find the first set of two rounds. If you are going to use the DeSantis 2x2x2 (or anything else for that matter), TRAIN WITH IT.

One other minor issue that is correctable through ammunition selection is cartridge depth. Longer .357 Magnum rounds sit higher in the compartments allowing better purchase. During the range sessions I used .38 Special 130-grain FMJ and had slight issues acquiring the cartridge rims quickly.

And, if you are carrying the new Federal HST or a .38 wadcutter, this issue may be exacerbated a bit. Interestingly, Jim Cirillo used this very design with wadcutters. With my exemplar, however, the cartridges fall very deeply into the compartments. With that being said, I agree with Chris Baker in that if I did carry wadcutters in my gun, I’d probably carry something with a rounder profile as a reload, anyhow.

L-R: Speer Gold Dot .357 Magnum, Winchester Defender .38 Special, Federal HST .38 Special.

One final little problem to which I don’t see an immediate solution: occasionally, when unsnapping the flap at speed, a cartridge or two would fly out. Again, the most likely solution is training, but I haven’t yet identified what I’m doing wrong.

Advantages

I talked about some problems I had with this loader, as well as mentioning its speed, which is nothing to write home about. However, there are some pretty awesome reasons to have a 2x2x2 pouch. First, it is completely revolver-agnostic. Unlike speedloaders (and now even some reloading strips) it doesn’t matter what gun you’re running as long as it’s a .38/.357 (DeSantis still makes a 3×3 pouch fit for .44s). This is really refreshing; I experience a lot of frustration around supporting a non-mainstream revolver.

Secondly, the DeSantis 2x2x2 sits really flat on the belt. You can play with placement to reduce its profile a bit more. I found that if I carried it on a rounded area of my body, forcing a bit of curvature, it seems to push the corners of the flap out a bit, making it print more. My best results were carrying the pouch on a flat area of the body; I like it just forward of the holster if carrying OWB.

The Bottom Line

I don’t know if I can come up with a reason to recommend this over a couple (or several) reloading strips secreted on your body. At a recommended $47.99 (you can find it for ~ $33 on Amazon) it’s more expensive than a half dozen of DeSantis’ excellent Swift Strips that can simply be carried in a pocket. Still, for some reason I really like the DeSantis 2x2x2. It’s available in mahogany and black, and as I mentioned earlier, the 3×3 pouch is still available for .44-caliber revolvers.


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†My technique almost certainly accounted for these dismal times. I have always viewed the reloading strip as a secondary reloading option. I carry them in my back left pocket, to provide a source of ammunition on the left side of my body, and reload from them using my left hand. Additionally, I have always loaded and practiced with only four rounds in my reloading strips. Having a full six rounds slowed me down some because it compromised my normal grasp. I’ll delve much more deeply into this in some upcoming articles on reloading strips.

Author: Justin

Justin Carroll is a former MARSOC Marine and veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan. Leaving service after eight years in the U.S. Marines, Justin continues his involvement with a variety of government agencies to this day. Justin began RevolverGuy.com in late 2016 with an simple idea: provide an source of high-quality information for revolver enthusiasts.

37 thoughts on “The DeSantis 2x2x2 Reload Pouch”

  1. I wonder if a small piece of closed-cell foam pushed into the bottom of the ammo slots would raise the 38’s up enough to get a better purchase on them.?

  2. Nice review. I think I will order one for my single action .357, where no strip would work.

    I had considered one of these for the DA gun I carry for two-legged trouble on the farm and during hunting season, but I opted for Tuff strips in a Simply Rugged pouch. That too requires training. Under stress I might fumble all six rounds!

    Had not thought of that mishap until I read this review. We never fumble under pressure, right? More training!

    1. I’ve fumbled all six several times in the past three range sessions (sorry – my head is waaaay into reloading strips right now).

      Also, the SA revolver – a use-case I hadn’t even considered for this pouch! Thanks!

    2. The way it was taught was load two rounds, shoot two rounds

      That is load two , close cylinder, shoot two

      Repeat as needed

      Two rounds in the gun is still a loaded gun, and better than being caught loading and shot.

      I load mine with all rounds in a speed strip then in the carrier. Easier to handle with less fumbling

      1. Indeed, Sir. If Officer Pence had been taught that technique, he might not have been killed in the Newhall gunfight. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that the technique had its origins in that tragedy, or others like it.

        1. Yes, it may well have been after Newhall, at least that is how I remember it

          Cops were taught to fully load their guns on square ranges

          Partial reloads were taught as a way to keep a gun in the fight and survive.

          Done properly partial reloads are faster than speed loaders and more positive

  3. A good friend carries one of these openly on the belt, with his shirt tucked in and a J-Frame in his pocket. He lives in a major metroplex and nobody pays any attention to it. It’s hidden in plain sight.

  4. I have carried that same pouch for oh, four or so years, very durable. It does become curved over time to fit your waistline. I prefer it to speed strips for my weak hand reload because it does not take up valuable space in my pocket and also does not get pocket lint, lip balm or other gunk on the cartridges.

  5. I’ve had one for a while now. But it’s pretty much been relegated to functioning as a second reload (after a speedloader) when I’m carrying my .357 in the backcountry. However, as noted, I can’t really come up with a single good justification for using this over carrying a strip (or two) in a Tuff Products “Quickstrip Pouch.”

  6. I don’t see where this has any advantage over a speed strip. Sometimes I carry speedloaders, sometimes speed strips, and you can easily load two at a time with a strip.

    1. A couple of reasons have been pointed out, though. One, unlike a pocket-carried speed strip it doesn’t get crudded up with lint, chapstick, coins, etc. and/or doesn’t eat pocket real estate. As someone else mentioned it’s a pretty good solution for single-action guys, too. For that matter, it’s not a bad solution for folks with lever-action carbines in calibers that compliment their wheelguns.

      The bottom line: if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. That doesn’t mean it’s not for anyone, though.

      1. Fair enough. I enjoy your website BTW. I love semi-autos too, but carrying a wheelgun makes me feel like a cowboy, which is cool.

          1. I sometimes carry a revolver in public. In fall I have been known to keep a 5 shot .357 Magnum snubby Taurus 605 in one jacket pocket, and a pair of speedloaders or speed strips in the other. My preferred carry load is Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel in either .38 Special +P or .357; I don’t feel undergunned with 15 shots of either.

  7. Y’all need to quit posting such good reviews, I keep finding things I ‘need’ to get some of.

    I can picture this as a good addition on the belt, both for social purposes and for hunting/woods walking application. It’s a given that we sacrifice speed in reloading revawvers over side-shuckers, but that’s just part of the choice we make. However, as unlikely as it is–statistically–that we’ll need to reload in civilian defensive incident, even if it appears to be over after 1-2-3-whatever shots, it’s still a good practice to reload when/if the opportunity arises. Also, I don’t consider it a good part of valor to leave live ammo on the ground; IF you need to top off just two or three rounds, using a speed strip can make that easy. But then you have to figure out what you’re going to do with that partially-filled strip. Just drop it on the ground, with its remaining rounds? OK; but then, IF you need those last few rounds…..? Odds are, you won’t–but IF you do? (Then again, hypocrite that I am, I’ve always figured if I only have one or two left in the cylinder, those get dumped and the whole thing gets filled with the speedloader. But that’s different…)

    For hunting or traipsing through the woods, if you need to reload just one or two rounds, the Galco pouch would be really handy–then again, the strip would be handy, too, and most likely there wouldn’t be the same ‘tactical’ consideration mentioned above, so there’s that. I’m thinking one of those .44 carriers for my rancher rig and the 5″ GP100, and one for the .357/.38 on the daily belt for social purposes….

    This went way longer than I intended. Sorry to use up so much space. Ace

    1. No worries Ace. We don’t enforce a word limit here. Always enjoy your wanderings—makes it feel like we’re all sitting around a campfire, talking.

      I think one thing the 2x2x2 pouch has going for it, over pocketing a strip, is that you don’t lose the entire pocket. It’s preferred that you carry your reload by itself in a pocket, so you don’t come up with a handful of assorted garbage when you reach for the ammo. That means sacrificing an entire pocket for the ammo strip, and I find that prohibitive with all the stuff I carry each day (it only works for me if I’m wearing jeans with a coin pocket for the strip). The 2x2x2 pouch frees up that space nicely, and a skilled shooter with the pouch can match, or possibly best, times with a strip loader.

    2. Oops, somehow I mentioned ‘Galco’, meant to say ‘Desantis’. Don’t know how it happened, they don’t even look alike. I’ll go do penance now. Ace

  8. Thank you Justin, for the review. I carry this 2x2x2 (or Galco’s rendition) as mandatory part of edc kit. it typically supplements a 3 or 4″ K frame OWB, speedloader in a pouch, and a speed strip in a pocket. Obviously wearing an untucked shirt in summer to hide all this stuff, autumn gives more options! The Galco version is slightly more compact, but the DeSantis is stiffer, which isn’t a bad thing. I carry social ammo in speedloader and 2x2x2; alternate ammo in strip (warm loaded cast SWC or WFN in event penetration is needed for barriers or Sasquatches) Speedloader for emergency reload, pouch for everything else. It does require more practice than sticking with just strips or just pouch as you note. Props to Desantis for not forgetting those of us who favor round guns.

  9. I carry one of these when I am in the woods with either a 3′ GP100 or 4″ 686. I like it because I can put a couple of .38/357 shotshell rounds in it during warm weather. Should have a confrontation with venomous no-legged threat, when I am working at my deer camp, I will have some diversity in my options.

  10. As was mentioned above, this blog continues to force me to buy more gear. I was forced to purchase the Desantis FLETC-2.0 set up after reading Mike’s review. I absolutely love this rig. As you know, the 2x2x2 pouch comes with the FLETC rig. I have enjoyed the departure from stuffing a reload in the pocket. I really like that you can disconnect the pouch from the FLETC holster and run it with other guns. It’s a pretty useful piece of kit in my opinion.
    Keep up the great work over here Revolver Guys!

  11. Nice review. I just bought the Desantis Second Six after reading your review of it. I usually carry two strips in a Tuff pouch but it prints too much for my liking and I prefer the leather carriers to nylon stuff. I’ll probably pick one of these up at some point, I like the variety.

  12. As my .357 SP-101 is cut for moon clips and my only other revolver is an M1917 .45 ACP, I can’t see this being my go-to pouch unless the flap were longer to cover three clips in a row. But I love it nonetheless! Does anyone else feel like acquiring a new revolver because they like the gear that goes with it? 😮

    Zieg

      1. Another remark: Thanks for a very well-written article. The standard of writing in this site is refreshingly high. Keep up the good work!

        Zieg

          1. I’m pretty sure if he wished it…he could make it happen. I, on the other hand, probably don’t have multiple best-sellers in me!

            I’m reading Talking to Strangers now. It’s fascinating stuff.

  13. Thanks for the memories. Jim Cirillo was my Firearms instructor at FLETC
    Way before I knew he was a famous guy:) He had me doing a timed reload at night with a dump pouch. Revolver of course. Circa 1977.

    I carried for my five shot duty and off duty a speed strip pushed into a small leather snap flap dump pouch. Carried it for years. I can see the advantage of the 2x2x2 if you are reloading, have grabbed two and find, in an emergency, you need to fire immediately close the cylinder and have at least two available rather than having to decide to continue loading from the speed strip or drop the strip on the ground.

    1. Andrew, thanks for joining us here and sharing your experience. I remember that a lot of the dump pouches had to be stretched before there was enough room for the strip in there. A lot of guys had to soak them in water and stretch them out to make it all fit. The latter pouches were actually cut to accommodate the ammo on a strip. Do you recall having to go through that process with yours?

  14. FWIW, I’ve been loading revolvers since the 1960’s from a uniform 12 loop belt slide. I don’t remember when I got my first 2x2x2 ammo carrier, but it was a memorable day for me. It allowed me to carry 6 rounds without attracting much attention at all but being able to reload in the same manner as I practiced with and depended upon pretty much on a daily basis. My first such loader was built by (and still is) Elpaso Saddlery. I have several of them, and on some occasions, I may carry two of them at the same time. I have them in black as well as natural tan, and the color I wear depends on what color pants and belt I am wearing at the time. I have very seldom ever had someone ask me what I’m carrying there on my belt!

    Yes, today I also have speed loaders and speed strips and each of those also have their place. But I am most confident using this type of ammo carrier for my EDC needs when carrying a revolver. I’m old now, but this is still my go to method of carry because I am very familiar and practiced with it and I fumble a reload much less often than with other methods. It’s easy to carry, the ammo is always in the same place, it is secure, and for me, it’s very dependable. It also allows for me to top off a cylinder if needed without having to dump live rounds in the process.

    I agree that having one of these loaders designed for the length of cartridge you are most likely to carry for a reload is a wise thing to do in order to get good secure purchase on the two rounds you intend to remove. I do carry 5 or 6 Buffalo Bore hard cast 150 grain full wadcutters in my EDC revolver, but I carry one of two kinds of ammo in my carrier because they are longer rounds (semi-hollowpoint, either jacketed or lead). I can get by pretty well between .38 Special or .357 mag rounds, but the wadcutters are not a good choice for the carrier and less easy to reload (quickly or under stress) than the full length cartridges.

    As you said, it’s a matter of practice. Begin practice slowly but surely and smoothly. Speed will increase and so will the ability to reach for a couple rounds at a time without looking at the carrier. Holding the revolver within your field of view in front of you and maintaining complete control of the cylinder and it’s rotation as you reload is important in this task. But it works, and it can work very well and without fumbling with good practice. It’s a great piece of gear in my view!

    Pudge

    1. Pudge, thanks for the great mail and for sharing your considerable experience with this setup. Speaking of wadcutters, make sure to check out today’s post!

  15. If you are carrying wadcutters, tilt the rounds as you start to insert them into the cylinder, then pivot them upright as they go in.
    Many iterations of this in the old PPC matches, before speed loaders came along.

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