Exclusive: Cross-Draw Revisited

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.

Cross Draw 1

A Kahr T9, in the “Triple Threat” holster from Triple K.

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”.

cross draw 2

The “Multi-Purpose” holster from Front Line. Revolver: The Charter Pit Bull n .40 S&W.

Front Line

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.

cross 3

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.

cross 4

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.

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2 thoughts on “Exclusive: Cross-Draw Revisited

  1. Patrick Heeney

    I really like a holster design no one is making. I have made a couple, and had a friend make one for me. It is a very high ride vertical cant. the muzzle is even with the belt line. I prefer the vertical, because this makes the holster work Strong side or crossdraw. In crossdraw it reaches like a vertical shoulder holster without the shoulder strain. Here in Wyoming, you spend a lot of time in the car, I have a 40 mile drive to the grocery store. Cross draw is easier for reaching into the winter coat, and long drives.

    1. Michael


      Fully agree on the cross draw high ride being probably best for sitting/ driving. I’m either going to have to make a holster, as you apparently have, to get what I need for our cross-country drive. I’d like to see what you made, if you have any pics.

      Been through your beautiful and very windy state last year – loved it. Did spend what seemed like days driving west through the moon scape wind tunnel!



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