If you follow my writing you may know I’m a big fan of covert and low profile gear. From the Elite Survival Systems bag to the combination of Premier Armor and Tru-Spec armor shirt I really love low profile gear that accommodates something more than a Baby Glock. The Desantis DSD Rig is my newest piece of Grey man gear. Desantis is world renowned for their handgun holsters, but the DSD rig is not a handgun holster. Its a sub-machine gun or rifle holster….kind of.
The Desantis DSD Rig
I guess I’m getting ahead of myself, what exactly is the Desantis DSD Rig? It’s a shoulder rig designed to accommodate a larger than average gun. Larger than average being an SMG, or even a superbly small rifle. It fits the gun under the shoulder and holds it up extremely high. The idea is that this makes the platform somewhat concealable. Obviously smaller is better and a micro SMG, or PDW is the best choice if concealment is key.
The Desantis DSD rig isn’t exactly made for guys like me. DSD stands for Diplomatic Security Detail, the guys who protect our ambassadors overseas. These guys often work in suit and tie attire and work in austere and nonpermissive environments.
This rig is for security services both private and government who need to prioritize both firepower and concealability. The gun is designed to sit under your dominant arm and be pulled up into your armpit. On the opposite side, you can choose between a twin magazine pouch to accommodate either two AR mags, or two 9mm SMG magazines. My particular model has the AR magazine attachment. That being said an enterprising individual could easily swap these out.
I don’t own an SMG. I do own several larger pistols that are close to SMGs in size though. This includes braced pistols in several different configurations. I also own an AR with a 7.5-inch barrel and a pistol brace. These guns are all relatively small and the size type designed to be used with the Desantis DSD rig
Construction and Adjustment
The Desantis DSD rig does offer the end user a lot of adjustment. This is a must-have when it comes to fitting both different body types and different gun types. The holster a variety of independent adjustment points and lots of adjustments have to be made between different guns. Everything is also easy to adjust and swapping between two completely different platforms doesn’t take much time.
Concealment means a lot of different things. Total concealment is one thing, but even partial concealment can be an advantage. When it comes to total concealment the Desantis DSD rig would work with something as large as an MP5K, albeit you’d look like you had invisible lat syndrome.
In my case, I used a KPOS Scout with a Glock 17, complete with weapon light and optic. The stock was removed completely to avoid making an SBR. This represents the stockless SMG category and with a 17 round magazine installed it’s easily concealable under a small jacket or even the right flannel shirt.
When you step into the AR pistol or SBR realm partial concealment becomes the name of the game. Bigger guns mean bigger problems. You need a mid-length jacket to conceal most of these larger guns. The majority of the gun will be concealed with a shirt or windbreaker, with a slight bit sticking out.
In this situation, the gun is mostly obscured and you achieve partial concealment. From a distance, you won’t stand out. Obviously, when things get up close you stand out with an AR barrel riding below your coat. A mid-length coat will obviously be the better choice when you are wielding an SBR.
The Mossberg Shockwave also fits on the DSD rig and actually fits very well. A small 12 gauge is a powerhouse for close quarter’s work. The US Marshal’s once wielded the Witness Protection shotguns for a reason. It should be noted concealing the Mossberg Shockwave may lead it to be an AOW. If you aren’t a member of an alphabet agency it wouldn’t be a good idea to wander through the mall carrying a Shockwave.
Use Outside of Concealment
The Desantis DSD rig isn’t just for concealment. It does offer a very convenient way to carry a compact SMG or rifle close to the body. Some guns are too big for holsters and too small to really effectively sling.
In these cases, the Desantis DSD rig offers a truly hand free option of carrying the weapon. Someone in close protection would need their hands-free for use inside vehicles, opening doors, and even carrying a wounded protectee or comrades. It doesn’t need to be concealed, merely secured.
How’s the Desantis DSD Rig Works
First off it’s a simple concept and a straightforward design. On the strong side, you have two points of contact to hold the weapon. Near the top of the holster is an HK style clip and what appears to be a kevlar imbued string with a keychain style ring. This first point of contact can be attached to a variety of weapons in a variety of ways. It works with standard sling swivels, QD swivels and more.
At the bottom, you have an adjustable strap that wraps around the weapon. This strap fits everything from the Shockwave to the AR. It’s quick and easy to adjust and uses a simple button to hold the gun. It’s very fast and easy to disable with the strong hand.
You can undo the strap and grip the weapon in nearly the same movement. Disable the lower point of contact and the Desantis DSD rig turns into what’s basically a sling for the gun. This actually makes firing unstocked weapons with the SAS sling method possible.
On the opposite side, you have your extra mags, which do help counterbalance the heavy weight of a firearm. However, to better balance the system Desantis included two tie downs that attach to your belt. These tie downs are really well thought out. The one that goes under your dominant arm is a velcro loop which is easy to attach and easy to defeat.
Let’s say shit gets real and a gunfight kicks off. You are using the Desantis DSD rig as your go-to sling so you want to keep the weapon attached. However, you may need more freedom of movement. You can just undo the velcro belt loop and your freedom of movement increases tenfold.
On the Range
Going live fire with the DSD Rig was interesting. The top of attachment does still allow you to move the gun to your shoulder, or to use the sling to stabilize the weapon. With the Shockwave and the stockless KPOS Scout the tension created by the sling point really helps stabilize both weapons. The KPOS Scout is especially stable when firing from a tense sling position.
The gun barely moves, and the difference is substantial. What’s great is how easy and stable the entire thing is when using one hand. I’d imagine there are lots of situations where a bodyguard needs to protect a VIP and only has a single hand.
With the Shockwave a lot of the weight of the weapon is taken out of your hands. This makes the gun ultimately more maneuverable and easier to handle. This is especially true when it comes to reloading the gun. Reloading the Shockwave is awkward, but the tension and support the Desantis DSD rig offers makes it more intuitive.
With the AR
With an AR pistol, there isn’t too much of a difference, especially if you are rocking a stabilizing brace. Although it still acts as a great sling. I find the SBA3 brace to be perfect in this regard. It sports a QS point on the brace and makes it easy to attach the DSD rig too.
Oh, and since this rig was designed for the AR the dual mag pouch finally came into effect. Reloading is odd at first. Reloading an AR from a shoulder rig is far from normal. However, a little practice makes it somewhat simple. You have to learn how to position the magazines and your hand to make it intuitive. Once you do it is easy and rapid. I did have trouble breaking my habit of going to my belt for a reload.
The mag pouch actually does a good job of retaining the magazines and its based mostly on tension to keep those magazines in place.
The Desantis DSD Rig does what it promises and more. The almost endless adjustment keeps thing ultimately very comfortable and easy to reach and maneuver. The rig fits well, and with the right gun gives you the means to conceal or at least keep a lower profile with a more serious setup. The DSD Rig is perfect for those in the personal security realm and provides a low cost, out of the box option for keeping a low profile.