Despite this item actually being around for a while now, I didn't know about it till a site visitor tossed me an email about it. The SLMC appeared to have a straightforward design and good use of space so I decided to give it a try. 2 main versions are available with the original SLMC being a barebones version intended for mostly the competition market. The other version is the GI version which is the same thing, but with a fancy MOLLE compatible carrier for MIL/LEO users. Me being MilSpecMonkey and all, I went for the GI version. The main idea is that this lil guy can hold 4 double stacked pistol magazines or 7 single stacked magazines. The spring pushes the magazines so that a magazine is always ready in the extraction slot as long as any magazines exist. As some may call it, a magazine for magazines.
So why go through all this spring loaded trouble? The big sell is having to only worry about one place to go grabbing for your magazines which can make reloads more reliable and speedy. With traditional pouches, most users do a sweeping motion to feel for the next available magazine. As a bonus perk to the design, the magazines are stacked side by side with bullets facing directly away from the body. This causes the pouch to stick out slightly further away from the body, however you can fit 4 pistol magazines in the space that 3 magazines require in traditional pouches. This savings is even greater when considering 7 single stack magazines.
The main shell of the SLMC is made of kydex with a simple spring and follower inside. The whole back plate is attached with some tough hook and loop to allow size adjustment to different types of magazines. I found this shaped kydex creation method a pretty clever way of avoiding having to make some fancy plastic molds. Since it isn't a huge well known product yet, the price is decent all things considered. The instructions that are included will work for most, but I blew a lot time figuring out WTF was going on due to my SIG magazine bottoms having a lot of side lip extension. I tired at first to line up everything nice in a straight line, which was a pain in the ass,<FIG1>this however quickly resulted in shifting with any use <FIG2>. As you can see from the picture the second magazine is preventing extraction of the first so I was worried I was going to fucking die with this thing on in a real situation. Luckily after playing around with arrangements more, I found that the stair-step formation works nice and reliably <FIG3>. Not everyone is going to have this issue, for example single stack 1911 magazine generally have no side lip extensions at all.
Forgive me in advance that the carrier I show is a modified version. I am having trouble finding my original one, but didn't want to delay this review. I hope to recover it and add pics. The GI part of the SLMC is simply the Cordura based carrier. This allows for mounting to gear with enough PALS space and also gives extra security to the system by adding a flap to the extraction port. To get to business the user folds open the side flap and then it will attach itself to the top of the pouch using hook and loop. Although not required, the SRB can be unlatched to open up the pouch to make reloading easier or to generally access the kydex part of the SLMC. Getting back to the mods I spoke of, the main change I made was to cut an opening in the carrier corner to give access to the extraction notch. Normally the carrier is complete and thus covers up this notch that clearly was made to make grabbing on the magazines easier. Now with my quickie mod, I feel I have the best of both worlds with the ease of the original and security options of the GI version. Do note that although it didn't take long, I did have to re-sew the edges after this mod. The pouch would start to fall apart had I didn't. I even considered taking a dremel to make a larger extraction notch, but decided to try it out as is first. I wish the back was setup in a tradition MOLLE fashion, but it is missing horizontal webbing. The way it currently exists is prone to having the snaps detach since there is no weave. My guess is this decision was made since a belt can go through this area, however a specific belt mount version is offered by Garrett Industries. On that note, the GI site currently states: "A MOLLE mounting plate with adjustable cant will be available soon! "
When it comes down to actually using this pouch, the "new" grip is actually pretty close to how many users already grab their magazines. Finger indexing is still possible, the grip just starts 90 degrees rotated which actually works out well economy of motion wise to getting them bullets up in your gun. One of my main complaints is a fairly hard problem to solve due to the spring. The magazine retention is a bit tight with 4 magazines installed, yet a bit loose while only 1 is installed. Extraction is still easy enough when 4 are inside, however due to the loose spring with just one, grab failures can occur since the user can unintentionally push the magazine temporarily inside. I make sure and say temporary since it isn't stuck in there or anything, just the spring allows it to be pushed out of accessibility during a quick grab attempt. To work around this issue I make sure and grab by pushing DOWN on the extraction area to first come in contact with the magazine, then grip. When doing a traditional sweeping motion, this is when the grab failures can occur. I wanted to bring up the issue, however can't say I'd want the spring any more powerful or weak.
After getting this thing adjusted how I wanted and mounted on my battle belt, I've been digging it a lot. Having a nice compact pouch to hold 4 pistol magazines at the expense of a little more depth is totally worth it to me. Also, once I trained myself to avoid issues on the last mag grab, I've found it to perform very smooth while under the stress of training scenerios. If I were to change something else, I'll see if I can add a horizontal webbing strip to the back to allow proper PALS weaving. Other than that, I think the GI SLMC is a pretty cool lessor known product. The main kydex part comes in all black, but the GI carrier is currently available in Black, OD, Coyote, ACU, MARPAT, and Multicam. Made in the USA.