The Perfect Combo: Gould and Goodrich's T.E.L.R. Holster With a SIG SAUER P320 M18 Variant

Feb. 29, 2024
Gould and Goodrich's T.E.L.R. Holster with a SIG SAUER P320 M18 variant provides the safety and flexibility for changing conditions and changing duty assignments.

I am sometimes asked what duty gun and holster combination to recommend to an agency. When I tested a Gould and Goodrich T.E.L.R. Holster with a SIG SAUER P320 M18 variant, it had the safety and flexibility for changing conditions and changing duty assignments.

This article appeared in the January/February issue of OFFICER Magazine. Click Here to subscribe to OFFICER Magazine.

As a police Armorer, I spent a lot of time investigating what would be the ideal gun/holster combination, and I learned a lot of lessons from this quest. Foremost, not every piece of equipment fits every officer, nor does every equipment deployment fit every agency’s training needs. The closest thing I came to resolving the elusive perfect gun quest was to look at firearms that used the same platform in different sizes, like the Glock 19/Glock 17 combination. The P320 has unique engineering. Using grip modules and slides, the P320 can fit almost any sized hand, and go from full length to subcompact with the same platform and same manual of arms.

The essential working parts of the P320 are in the chassis section called the FCU. The FCU can be swapped into modular grips for the P320, which can also accommodate slides as short as 3.6” and as long as 4.7”. The FCU can be adapted to various slides, grip modules, magazines, and accessories to create the most flexible handgun system on the market today.

Modular system firearms have always been great projects for gun designers. What distinguishes the P320 is the fact that they are incredibly reliable, robust, and the trigger and action is consistent. The number of P320 variants is a testimony to the reliability of the system.

The configuration I tested was one of the new ones being shipped to California; the P320-M18. The M18 variant is the model originally issued the MHS (Modular Handgun System) contract with the US Military. This configuration has a 3.9-inch barrel and weighs 28.1 oz. This size and weight is perfect for a duty gun. It is not too heavy for wearing on a duty platform all day, and not too light for +P 9mm loadings. The barrel length gives a workable sight radius but is still perfect for an IWB when it is time to testify. I could go either way on whether the P320 needs a safety or not, but this version has a thumb safety. It is easy to operate, and ambidextrous. In fact, everything about the P320 is ambidextrous, including the reversible mag release. That’s a good thing because Gould and Goodrich has holsters for either hand as well.

For those who carry their duty gun for off duty, the M18 has a slight bevel on the top of the slide from the rear sight to the front sight. It’s a subtle feature, but it aids in off-duty carry and reholstering.

Originally, I was concerned that the box-stock curved trigger would be a disappointment compared to the P320 with the flat trigger I have been shooting, but I was wrong. This gun shot well out of the box. In fact, for once, I’m going to carry this gun without modification.

The M18 is optic cut, so the options of optics are available. However, this P320 ships with SIGLITE front sights, which are easy to find and align, day or night. I’m finally comfortable with optics and recognize their advantages. However, it’s easier to slip a non-optic handgun in the waistband. I’ll stick with the completely stock M18 for this reason.

The T.E.L.R. Holster is a Thumb-Activated Ejection-Port Lock Retention holster that provides instantaneous gun retention on holstering. It is one of the smoothest and sturdiest snatch resistant holsters I have tested. It is intuitive for the user and gives the Officer an edge for gun retention.

The T.E.L.R. Holster comes in several configurations, which can be grouped into light bearing and non-light bearing.

I tested both the T.E.L.R. X3000 non-hooded version, and the Level 3 hooded version, which has a manually activated hood, in addition to the ejection port lock.

The hood retention mechanism is simple. It is a wide strap made of similar injection molded material in the holster body. The strap has a thumb release on the inside. One can push straight down on the release and roll the strap forward, out of the way. Once the gun is re-holstered, the user can simply pull up on the strap. Pushing the hood out of the way is more of a straight down push, which users find to be a natural motion. I found only a slight difference between drawing with the hood on or with the hood off.

Security features are important on holsters, but it is crucial that their implementation does not change the actual smoothness of the draw. That is, some innovations in the past have required the user to twist or contort in a particular way to release the gun. If the draw changes, the potential for an unsuccessful Master Grip exists. Guns drawn from the T.E.L.R. system come out straight, once the safety mechanisms have been overcome.

The T.E.L.R. ejection port release will only work if the hood is rolled out of the way. It rides on the side of the holster, and the thumb indexes it during a natural Master Grip. The draw on this holster is incredibly quick and intuitive. The latching is audible, and I can feel the gun lock on the port.

On the range, the difference in speed between hooded and non-hooded versions is measured in microseconds. If the duty requirement is a Level 3, the learning curve is shallow, and presentation speed is not a problem.

I tested the effectiveness of the strap by releasing the gun from the holster and attempting to draw the gun. I had someone try to remove the gun with the ejection port lock released, and the hood in place. The gun stayed in the holster. The T.E.L.R. safety mechanisms work independently, rather than having one lever that potentially can release both at the same time.

Both T.E.L.R. holsters I tested were the non-light-bearing types. I did carry a dedicated light for duty, but it did not stay attached to the gun while it was in my holster. For Officers who desire the light bearing version, the T.E.L.R. Model X4000 and X5000 are available. They offer the same stable platform for guns with lights. My friends know that I like lights mounted on guns, but I don’t like lights mounted on guns in holsters.

The holster body has an open bottom with an injection molded shell and engineered reinforcements in the trigger guard and sight track. The inside is smooth, and open, keeping it clear of moisture and debris. Because it uses an ejection port locking mechanism, which essentially cradles the gun around the trigger strap, moisture and debris don’t accumulate inside the holster body. For marine or cold weather use, this product would be exceptional.

The mounting system is much sturdier than most duty holsters, even though this holster is lighter than most holster with similar security. The setup I used has jacket clearance. The T.E.L.R. Holster is available with a good variety of mounting options, including high, mid, and low ride, and even a paddle.

I took my M18, both T.E.L.R. holsters, and a crate of ammo to the range for a few testing sessions. I set up a short course that required a little running and movement so that my draw, especially with the hooded T.E.L.R, was under pressure. I drew dozens of times and engaged hundreds of times. I hit the threat target well and did not hit the hostage (whew…).

From the testing and training session, I found that the P320 operated smoothly, even after I got it dirty. During one session, the wind kicked up all the dust from the surrounding agricultural fields. The property owner behind the range raises exotic things like bison and wild hogs, who do their share of kicking up dust. Nearby, someone is either tilling or harvesting. By the time I am finished with some sessions, my equipment and I look like powdered donuts. This area is a good way to test how holsters shed debris.

My M18 made it easy to make sinus cavity shots at 20 yards. I spent a little time with failure drills and “running and gunning.” By the time I was done, I could naturally draw the M18 out of the T.E.L.R. System, and quickly engage with the M18.

I found that the T.E.L.R. holster gave me a familiar feel when attaining my Master Grip on the gun in a manner that makes everything feel natural. Both releases on the hooded model, and the lever release on the non-hooded one set the lever right where my thumb would rest when holding the gun. The draw is straight, without any impediment. It allowed for a seated draw, and the platform was always positioned correctly.

There are some great gun/holster combinations out there for duty use. I found the Gould and Goodrich T.E.L.R. combination to be ideal for Officers who need security and flexibility.

About the Author

Lindsey Bertomen, a retired police officer and military small arms trainer, has taught shooting techniques for over a decade, in addition to teaching criminal justice at Hartnell College in Salinas, California. Off the clock he enjoys competing in shooting sports, running and cycle events. He welcomes comments at [email protected].

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