By J.B. Wood
In the film “Magnum Force,” Clint Eastwood’s character delivers a great line: “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Well, being in the last part of my seventh decade, I can appreciate this. A few years ago, I noticed when I used a right-side forward-slanted holster, my right shoulder protested, slowing the draw. In a serious situation, this would not be good. So, I switched to a more comfortable cross-draw, using a simple little vertical-conical holster I once slightly re-designed for Strong Leather. Alas, it’s no longer being made. Well-worn, it still snugly holds my Kel-Tec P-32. I can imagine the big-bore guys snickering at this, but it has nine rounds of Cor-Bon DPX. Quite adequate, at least for me.
Aside from solving my slight physical problem, cross-draw has other benefits. Obviously, in any vehicle, seated, it makes the handgun more accessible. There is also a clothing advantage. If you are wearing a jacket or an open shirt, it’s easier to reach through than to first sweep material out of the way.
Nearly all of the holster-makers offer a cross-draw version. These are instantly recognizable by being canted the “wrong way” or being neutral (vertical). Just to see what’s being offered, I tried out examples from Front Line, CrossBreed, Galco and Triple K. One is a combination of leather and Kydex, the others are all-leather.
A Kahr T9, in the “Triple Threat” holster from Triple K.
The Triple K name will be familiar to anyone who has ever needed a replacement magazine for some obscure pistol. For a long time, though, they have also offered a line of well-made and reasonably-priced holsters. They call the one shown here the “Triple Threat,” a reference to its adaptability. Its back-side slots allow it to be worn on the right or left side, or horizontal at the rear. Its designation is “Style 43”.
The “Multi-Purpose” holster from Front Line. Revolver: The Charter Pit Bull n .40 S&W.
The Front Line example has an interesting international background. The holsters are made in Rishon-Le-Zion, Israel, and their catalogue of offerings is extensive. The one shown here they call “Multi-Purpose” as it can be worn on either side (or slanted, at the back). Both the workmanship and the quality of the leather are excellent, and the quick-release thumb-tab on the keeper-strap works perfectly. The model designation for this particular one is #90939.
The 9mm Beretta Nano, in the “SuperSlde” from CrossBreed
The entry from CrossBreed also has the three-way option. A large piece of good leather has a lobe at the top, to keep the handgun from digging into your side or back. The Kydex piece holding the gun is firmly held by six rivets, and its shaped-grip is just right for good retention and easy draw. CrossBreed calls this model the “SuperSlide” and I was surprised to learn it was available to fit my new Beretta Nano.
The Galco rig, including a firm-support belt. Pistol: SIG/Sauer P230.
What can you say about Galco? Since 1969, they have been making fine holsters by hand in Phoenix, Arizona. Yes, they cost a little more, but many feel the quality is worth the extra. Even their belts, like the one shown here, are designed to support the weight of a holstered gun. The holster entry is their “F.E.D. Paddle Lined.” It has a coin-slotted adjustment screw on the back allowing multiple angle positions. The Kydex back will snap onto the belt without unbuckling, and the thumb-tab on the keeper-strap is quick and easy. The leather is superb.
Two final notes about cross-draw: It’s a tiny bit slower, by a few hundredths of a second. And, on targets, you have to learn when to stop the “across” movement. Both of these factors can be addressed by practice. I can still deliver a stopwatch-timed center-of-mass hit in 65 hundredths of a second. I think I’ll stay with cross-draw.
For more info: www.americanhandgunner.com/product-index and click on the company name.