Obsolete — Or Forgotten Treasure?
Bring up the subject of holsters among people who wear guns for a living and you’d better have a fresh drink in your hand. Cops are opinionated to begin with, but get them talking about something as personal as how they carry their guns and the conversation could go on for a while. Funny though, you won’t hear many of them espousing the virtues of crossdraw holsters. Manufacturers are making piles of these holsters, yet I rarely see cops using them. Someone must like them.
Crossdraw holsters are primarily worn outside on the belt, and slightly forward of the “off-side” hip, however some are made as IWB. They can ride vertically or with a slight forward cant, and the butt of the gun faces forward. Typically they’re used for concealed carry; it’s where they’re most useful.
Multiple Muscle Memories
Most of us start our careers using strong-side holsters; from the academy through uniformed patrol, it’s the way we carry. When we get into detective or undercover work, the natural tendency is to stay with something that fits and feels the same as our duty holsters. And many LE firearms instructors pooh-pooh “unconventional” holsters; after all, there’s comfort in familiarity for the users and the trainers.
Cops will argue about what’s most important in a concealed carry holster. How easily can you access the gun and get it into action? How well will it retain the gun? How comfortable will it be? Is it designed to conceal the gun well and is it durable enough to last several years? So long as your holster meets all these criteria, how you rank them is entirely your choice. Be warned, safety and function should always rank higher than comfort. After all, no holster is truly comfortable.
Then there’s the muscle memory argument: You’ll do what you have trained the most when under stress. For most of us, this means we’ll default to a strong-side draw. While there’s merit to this argument — I’ve seen it firsthand too many times to count — it’s possible to carry your firearm in different holsters and different positions. You just have to practice more than once or twice a year at qualifications.
Our own “Publishership” Roy Huntington, a veteran street cop, wrote the Handgun Leather column for American Handgunner for years. He designed a crossdraw rig (The Wedge), now made by Haugen Handgun Leather. It’s the end result of Roy’s years of experience around handgun leather.
By Sammy Reese
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