In the gun world, there are two phrases that make gun owners cringe; ‘proprietary’ and ‘universal.’ Proprietary typically means expensive, and universal typically means crappy. On occasion, something with either of those phrases can work, and today we are looking at a universal shotgun side-saddle. Specifically, the Aridus Industries QD-C Detachable Shotgun Shell carrier, which I will call the QD-C for short.
Universal typically implies it will fit and work with anything. The problem there is that in the gun world, fit matters a lot. If something fits a ton of things, it rarely fits them all very well. Exceptions exist, and the QD-C might be such an exception. Universal is a bit of an exaggeration as it’s a dedicated 12 gauge shotgun side saddle meant for pump and semi-auto guns. The QD-C ain’t gonna work on a double-barrel .410 chief.
Who is Aridus Industries
Aridus Industries is a small American company that has made quite the name for itself in the shotgun world. Aridus Industries came to be famous due to the fact they produced some of the highest quality and most innovative Beretta 1301 accessories out there. To the point where the crew at Langdon Tactical teamed up with Aridus to produces the 1301 LTT Elite.
They first developed the QD-C for the two big names in shotguns, the Remington 870 and the Mossberg 500. After that, they saw a big gap in the shotgun world and realized a universal style carrier would be more logistical than a carrier designed for each and every type of shotgun out there. The universal QD-C offered a side-saddle option for shotguns, both cheap and expensive.
Installing the QD-C
I’ve been hunting for a Benelli M4 side saddle worthy of the Benelli M4’s quality for much too long. I stumbled across the QD-C nearly a year ago, and it was constantly sold out. Luckily one morning, I awoke to the notification that QD-Cs were in stock. I hustled to purchase one before I even put my pants on. I got lucky, and half an hour later, they were sold out.
Shipping from Aridus was quick and impressive, and upon receipt, I rushed to install the QD-C. Installation is simple, and to make the side saddle universal, Aridus utilized 3m Double-sided high tape. It sounds finicky, but It’s a super tough tape, and you can see plenty of videos of people taking hammers to try and free their side saddle post-installation. It doesn’t work. The tape can withstand temperatures up to 230 F and down to -30F.
I cleaned the receiver with an alcohol wipe and allowed it to dry. I very carefully aligned the side saddle with my Benelli M4 receiver. I ensured no pins would be covered and carefully applied the QD-C to the receiver. I took a deep breath but found myself happily centered on the receiver. The instructions indicate I need to wait 24 hours for the tape to bond, and I patiently did so.
The QD-C Advantages
The QD-C provides users more than a universal side saddle for everything from Benelli M4s to Steven 320 shotguns. QD stands for quick-detach and C obviously stands for carrier. This system utilizes two pieces. First is the receiver adapter that attaches to the receiver. The second is the detachable carrier. The detachable carrier is the six rings of aluminum that hold your shotgun shells.
Tube-fed shotguns offer low capacity, and the side saddle offers an off-the-cuff reload to prevent you from going Winchester. What happens when your side runs dry? Reloading off-web gear and pouches takes more time than a side-saddle. What if you could instantly reload your side-saddle? That’s the goal here. You can purchase multiple detachable carriers from Aridus and use them much like you’d use magazines.
You can pop the QDs off the C and reload the receiver adapter with a fully loaded carrier. You can do so when you run dry or when you need to switch ammo types. You can mix from buck to slugs or to breaching rounds instantly. The QD-C system utilizes a little lever on the side that’s easy to reach and makes detaching the carrier simplistic. These detachable carriers fit inside AR-sized magazine pouches rather easily too.
After 24 hours, I confirmed the fit and found myself quite pleased with the cut of the QD-C’s jive. I couldn’t pry the thing off with two hands and the gun locked under my feet. I pulled and pulled, but it stayed put.
Shells are squeezed in tightly, and an internal stainless steel spring creates positive retention for each shell. It’s good news, bad news situation. The bad news is that the shells don’t slide out like a buttered ball bearing. The good news is the shells don’t slide out like a buttered ball bearing.
Retrieving shells for reloads takes a dedicated tug and not a soft touch. However, the shells are staying put. They won’t accidentally slide out when sprinting, shooting, or when stashed in an AR-sized magazine pouch. You can trust the QD-C to hold your rounds in an upside-down configuration, and they won’t fall out when jostled.
I’ve fired several hundred rounds of buckshot and slugs through my Benelli M4 equipped with the Aridus QD-C, and shells have never come loose or even shifted in place. The QD-C carrier is as premium as it looks. It’s war-ready, and while some might say it’s over-engineered, I say it’s a buy once cry once affair.
I’ve used lots of side saddles in my day, and the QD-C is by far the very best. The universal variant will fit Benelli guns, 1301s, Mossberg SPX model, and likely most common pump-action and semi-autos. To see if it fits your gun Aridus offers a printable template that’s a 1:1 scale replica and allows you to make sure the carrier fits without the pump or pins getting in the way. If you want the best side-saddle on the market, then you need to pop over to Aridus Industries.