ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF CARRYING CROSS-DRAW
Advantages and disadvantages of carrying cross-draw. By Mike Searson
Not every carry method is ideal in all situations. But when traveling belted in a car, carrying cross-draw might just put you in the driver’s seat, tactically speaking.
And while I still prefer other carry methods at other times, I’m using cross-draw carry more and more when I’m in a vehicle.
MY PREFERRED METHOD
For the better part of the past two years, I have been carrying AIWB (Appendix Inside Waist Band). Although leery at first of this new (for me) carry position, with the proper holsters and training I became comfortable and fast with it. Drawing from the centerline of the body or at least near it has proven to be faster than any other method of concealed carry I’ve tried.
It is also extremely comfortable. I literally forget I have a firearm on me at times; I can sit all day in the office or drive seven or eight hours with no discomfort and can readily draw standing, sitting or kneeling.
However, I discovered a tactical disadvantage. When I am wearing a seat belt while driving, it will slow down or entirely prevent the ability to draw the handgun smoothly and rapidly. Some people remove the firearm from the holster and lay it on the seat or place it in their center console or use an overt driving holster in order to enable a clean and fast draw while driving or riding in a vehicle.
While these carry methods have merit, I seldom drive very long distances anymore and seldom want to spend time reconfiguring my carry gun for an hour-long commute. So, I decided to carry my backup gun in a cross-draw holster.
My first foray into cross-draw carry was many years ago while participating in the sport of Cowboy Action Shooting. At first, I carried my Colts in a traditional double rig Western holster as did so many cowboys of the silver screen. I noticed the shooters who were advanced in the sport and really fast wore their second gun butt-forward on whichever side of the body was opposite their dominant hand.
I briefly made the switch and noticed
my time was faster, and I was obviously more accurate shooting the second revolver right-handed than I could left-handed. However, I never gave it much thought in applying it to my concealed carry needs until I found myself brainstorming about the AIWB dilemma while wearing a seatbelt.
Immediately, I decided that I needed a few new holsters for a few of my backup guns. A call to DeSantis Gunhide secured the company’s Criss-Cross design for my Glock 42 and a pair of similar holsters for my North American Arms mini revolvers.
I had considered ordering these models for my primary carry guns and just make the switch while driving, but I reconsidered this option because muscle memory could be compromised or the handgun may not end up in the right holster when forgetting to make the transition.
CRISS-CROSS FOR THE GLOCK 42
When the 9mm Glock 43 came out, I expected to see a rush of shooters
looking to trade in their Glock 42s chambered in 380 ACP. However, this never occurred. It turned out that the G42 was a fine pistol in its own right, so most of us held on to them.
Positioning of the G42 in the DeSantis Criss-Cross holster on the belt proved to be a little challenging. Wearing it closer to midline of the body as an inverse to appendix carry made it seem as if the butt of the pistol was protruding too far from my body. Moving it closer to the left hip allowed me to carry it more comfortably as well as allowing me to conceal it better.
This also allowed for improved carry for the very reason I decided to go crossdraw in the truck. The butt fit neatly over the top of the seatbelt allowing for a fast and smooth draw should I need to access the G42 quickly.
LITTLE SHOT FOR NAA RANGER AND PUG
Of all the new firearms I saw at the 2018 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, the North American Arms Ranger II had to be my favorite.
This is a top-break revolver chambered in .22 Magnum with a conversion cylinder for .22 Long Rifle. The advantage of the Ranger II over the company’s line of solid frame mini revolvers is that it can be loaded and unloaded more quickly and safely.
While not designed as a cross-draw holster, the Little Shot, also from DeSantis, functions well in this role, due to the small size of these revolvers. I use a similar holster when I carry the North American Arms Pug, although that revolver and the holster are a bit smaller.
“THE BUTT FIT NEATLY OVER THE TOP OF THE SEATBELT ALLOWING FOR A FAST AND SMOOTH DRAW SHOULD I NEED TO ACCESS THE G42 QUICKLY.”
I’ve also experimented with crossdraw carry for another handgun and this was the one that really showed me the utility of this carry method. A few years ago, I participated in a tracking class in Arizona where much of the tracking was performed on horseback.
One of the handguns I had with me was a Chiappa Rhino, and the factory holster it came with—from Radar 1957—was the type to allow strong side or cross-draw by adding an additional slot in the leather. I found it worked well on horseback.
Carrying in the truck took a bit of adjusting as the butt of the Rhino wanted to turn in toward the body unless I moved it completely to the opposite side of my waist.
LIMIT ITS USE
Cross-draw is meant for a very select segment of concealed carriers. I do not advocate it as a primary method of carry unless you are behind a steering wheel or otherwise in a seated position most of the time. Another valid option may be an injury that is aggravated by the weight of a handgun on what is typically the strong side of the body.
I use it on a limited basis for a backup handgun while driving and occasionally while hiking. Should you need to dispatch a small animal such as a rattlesnake, it would be best served by using a derringer or other small piece as opposed to a big-bore revolver or semi-auto. CC
Far Right: Glock 26 in Blackhawk! Serpa CQC paddle holster adjusted for crossdraw use. Right: The author's inspiration for carrying cross-draw came from Cowboy Action Shooting and this Bob Mernickle holster made for a 3-inch Ruger Vaquero.
Above: The author's brace of Glocks include a G43 carried AIWB and a G42 carried cross-draw. Right: DeSantis manufactures holsters for the North American Arms mini revolvers that can function as cross draw holsters due to their smaller size.