Review - S&S Precision Gear Retention Track & Holster Extender, Belt Adapter and Webbing Adapter
Updated: Oct 23, 2021
History of S&S Precision
S&S was founded in 2007 and is owned by veterans, a factor that weighs heavily on their designs, manufacturing and end products. Their products are made for use by Military Units, Federal Government and Law Enforcement Professionals. The expanding company employs various engineering and technical specialists and their products are shipped worldwide.
For more info - visit website.
Why S&S Precision?
The belt setups seen throughout the SEAL Team seasons rarely change, and their secondary weapons (Glock variants generally) are always a part of their kit when deployed. One part of the holster setup was the S&S Precision Holster Extender. The Holster Extenders used were genuine products and definitely not the imitation versions that you can pickup everywhere, another great nod to detail. In addition to the Holster Extenders, the team generally had S&S Precision Trifecta Connectas fitted. The team have them for a variety of their deployments on their kit. This spot must be credited to my friend at ATRG as he wrote a short segment on holsters.
Herein lies the product description from the website;
S&S Precision Holster Extender™ has been updated to fit the Gear Retention Track™ (GRT)
Allows holster to be easily attached or removed from different gear setups utilizing any GRT™ platform.
Updated design means weight has been reduced by 30% and has a much smoother operation
Compatible with Safariland, Blackhawk and G-Code holsters
Included parts are; Holster Extender, GRT-Belt, spacers, and screw kit
Three set drop positions at 0", 1.5" and 3"
Product Number : HE-0002
SKU : HE-0002XX
Available in Black or Coyote Tan
The Holster Extender (HE) and Belt Adapter (BE) are packaged in a clear plastic tough bag with the S&S Precision product sticker on the front detailing HE colour and Product Number (P/N). I purchased the Coyote Tan version therefore as seen, the P/N is HE-0002CT. On the rear of the bag is the 'Made in the USA 757' sticker which references a collective of small businesses based in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, USA region.
The HE comes with a number of additional parts;
1x GRT (Gear Retention Track) Belt Adapter - allowing fitting to belt
1x MBS (Multi Belt Stabilizer)
1x Holster Extender
Set of 18x screws to allow the HE to be fitted to the Safariland, Blackhawk and G-Code holsters. Each set of 3 screws is individually packaged;
5mm, 8mm, 13mm, 19mm, 25mm, 30mm
2x T bars spacers for fixing holster to HE and creating space between HE to rear of holster.
Instruction leaflet to show how to fit the MBS
Instruction leaflet to show how to use spacers and affix to HE and holster
Holster Extender (HE) and Belt Adapter (BA) Measurements
Holster Extender (HE) measurements
Width Top 5.7cm (button = 0.7cm)
Bottom 3 cm
Belt Adapter (BA) measurements
Height 14.5cm (HE fitted - high position @ 0")
Holster Extender, Belt Adapter and Multi Belt Stabilizer
The HE comes already fitted to the GRT, meaning that out of the packaging it's ready to be used if needed. My product when it arrived had the BA and Multi Belt Stabiliser (MBS) already fitted and the MBS was installed to accommodate a 1.5" belt. The MBS is able to fit directly onto either a 1.5", 1.75" or 2" belt, ideal for those carrying using a standard low profile tactical belt or for those using a slightly larger belt such as the Yates 463D CQB belt.
The item as a whole when handled does have weight as the GRT belt adapter is rugged and sturdy. The actual HE is made from 6061 Aluminium and again weighing in at 2.07oz (58.6g), gives the item a decent weight overall. This certainly gives the impression of a piece of kit that is designed and built to last. The coyote tan anodised coating is light scratch resistant and the identifying S&S Precision markings and code are marked on with raised lettering and not stamped. The HE comes in two sections; Front and Rear. The Rear section is fixed to the BA and does not move. The Front section is the section that moves up and down allowing height adjustment. Of note is that the front section cannot be detached (see below).
At the rear of the HE the MBS can be seen fully. As seen in the image, it currently is setup to accommodate a 1.5" belt. Looking at the Belt Adapter in detail, being polymer like it is certainly easy to keep clean from dust, water, mud etc with a simple stiff brush or by removing it completely and washing it under hot water.
The real benefit of the HE is the ability for the user to extend the holster downwards away from the belt line avoiding side pouches mounted on a plate carrier. This allows the user to have a clean draw of the pistol from the holster without potentially catching the pistol hammer or front sight on a pouch if the HE was riding too high. With the option of three different heights of 0", 1.5" and 3", it should suit any user.
On the right hand side of the HE at the top (within the red box) is the push button that when pressed allows the front section of the HE to raise or lower. The button sits on a stiff spring meaning it won't easily be pressed if it catches and drop your holster by accident. Also contained within the red box in the image is the spring retention pin which when removed will allow the button and spring to be removed from the front section. Both the pin and spring are small parts, take care if disassembling.
Of note is that when using the HE, it appears to be predominantly for the right handed user. This is because when fitted to a belt on the right hand side, if it needs to be lowered or raised, instinctively the user will grip the HE / holster, and use their thumb to press the button. Obviously it can be fitted for a left handed user, however you either twist your wrist to press the button with your thumb or use you palm to press it.
These images demonstrate the fixed 'high' position at 0".
These images demonstrate the fixed 'mid' position at 1.5".
These images demonstrate the fixed 'low' position at 3".
As mentioned, the front section cannot be detached. As seen in the above pictures when in the low position at 3", if the slide button is pressed, the front section still cannot be detached. The metal pin slots in the 3 horizontal grooves at the 3 various heights, as shown in this image by the horizontal amber lines. This horizontal locking mechanism, give the HE its' rigidity. The only way to detach the front section would be to remove the spring retention pin, spring and button, then continue to slide the front section off.
As mentioned, dropping the holster enables the operator to draw effectively. Shown in this image is the comparison height drop when used with a bulky plate carrier or where side pouches are fixed.
The HE is designed to fit in the BA and the Webbing Adapter (WA). To remove the HE from the BA press the stiff release tab shaped like a downward pointing arrow (highlighted in red box in picture below). With it firmly pressed slide the entire HE upwards and remove. To replace the HE in either the BA or WA, press the stiff release tab and slot the HE onto the guide rails and push downwards. Over time it has been noted by other users that the polymer rails do become worn and can be damaged if HE is not aligned correctly when installing. This is where the Gear Retention Track Reinforced Belt Adapter comes in, designed and built with a metal rail guide system in place instead of the polymer guides.
As mentioned, the MBS allows the BA to fit a 1.5", 1.75" or 2" belt. To change out the MBS to fit the different sizes, you can either press firmly down on the BA until the MBS pops out. Another method is to pop out the bottom ridge as shown in the second picture, slide the MBS upwards until it is in the middle of the BA, turn over and push one of the MBS clips out first instead of trying to pop both out at the same time.
HE & Adapter fitted to belts
The Belt Adapter can fit a 1.5", 1.75" or 2" belt using the MBS. The MBS has two markings, 1.50" and 1.75" at each end. To fit a 1.5" belt, ensure that the 1.50" marking is at the bottom of the MBS and BA, to fit a 1.75" belt flip the MBS over so that the 1.75" marking is at the bottom. To fit a 2" belt, simply remove the MBS entirely. Pictures shown below for reference.
GRT Webbing Adapter
The HE is an adaptable piece of equipment and whilst it can be fitted to the Belt Adapter to fit onto belts, the HE can also be attached to the GRT Webbing Adapter (WA). This provides more versatility in that it can now be fitted to MOLLE or PALS platforms, taking up only 2 columns and 2 rows of webbing. This Webbing Adapter allows the user to afix it, the HE and the holster to a plate carrier or 1st line belt kit. Like the Belt Adapter, the Webbing Adapter is made from strong and durable material that is rugged, easy to install and is minimal in nature. The intended purpose of the Webbing Adapter purchased is to fit it to the 1st line and have the holster on the load bearing belt.
The WA is another quality and sturdy piece of equipment. It's versatile and can be used in combination with the HE or the SMR (Skeletonized Magazine Retention) system.
Height 15cm (HE fitted - high position @ 0")
Fitting HE to Webbing Adapter
Fit the HE to the WA in exactly the same way as covered above for the BA. The images below show the HE fitted and at the high, medium and low positions.
Fitting Webbing Adapter to molle belt
The fitting of the WA to molle or in the example below, a molle belt is easy, however due to the material of the WA and being new it is tough to fit, but once fitted is completely stable and there is no wobble or slippage at all. The WA takes up 2 columns of molle and part of the design allows 2 hooks on the upper part of the WA to hook tightly onto the molle loop stitching.
The larger WA section first needs to be fitted to the molle belt first and the hooks need to be caught on the molle stitching. The lower section of the WA is trickier to fit and does catch the belt material if not fitted correctly. Once fitted the WA is immovable and is a solid base for the HE and the attached holster.
Fitting a Safariland 6378 Holster
This next section goes through how to fit the holster to the HE. It's a relatively simple and quick process. You'll need the bag of screws that came with the HE and a + screwdriver. For the 6378 holster I didn't require the use of the supplied spacer however you may need to use it if fitting an alternative holster. The spacer prevents any issue regarding mechanisms used in holsters that may require space. I used the 8mm screws. If you use the longer screws, they can puncture through the wall of the holster causing damage to the holster and your weapon.
When inserting the screws into the HE, ensure that the top and bottom sections are aligned as in the second picture below, this allows you to drop the screws in. If misaligned, the screws can still go in, but will cause superficial damage to the coating.
Once fitted tightly together there is a very slight wobble due to the extra weight now on the HE, but this is minimal and won't be noticed. The front and rear view show the holster fixed tightly to the HE with no gaps and the holsters ALS is still able to function correctly. The HE does push the holster out from the body. When looking at the fourth image below, measuring from the outside edge of the holster on the left hand side across to the far right hand side of the HE, measures at approx 90mm. (The HE width itself is 20mm). Having the HE fitted, creates an extra 20mm gap distance between the holster when dropped and the leg which is ample clearance.
Thoughts and opinion
The S&S Precision GRT Holster Extender is a serious piece of kit for the serious operator. Whilst certainly not cheap, it does provide reliability, longevity of product and security of your holster and pistol. The choice of using the S&S Precision GRT HE is just that, a choice. I am more than happy with this, and when fielding my 1st line with HE and holster, I'm confident in mind that no matter what, my holster will remain secure yet also adaptable if transitioning from an urban covert close protection role to that in an open rolling environment. I've used this a few times and so far I haven't come across any major issues. As mentioned above it is worth noting that for left handers, the reversal of the release button may be a slight annoyance but it's nothing that can't be lived with and adapted to. Whilst not for everyone with the price tag, it does set your kit out from the rest as field-adaptable rather than 'just usable'. S&S Precision pride themselves on innovation, customer service and producing high quality items. With the S&S Precision Gear Retention Track & Holster Extender, Belt Adapter and Webbing Adapter in mind, I can confirm that S&S Precision are a leading company in tactical equipment manufacturing. With the variety of equipment on offer and on show in the 2020 catalog, they are highly worth considering when purchasing your tactical equipment.
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I am not paid for my blogs by the manufacturers or companies that I purchase my items from. I am not offered freebies to promote a product. These blogs are purely written from my own experience in truth to help advise and inform others who may wish to purchase the items or understand more about them. If I am sent a freebie to review this will be stated at the beginning to make you aware.