Handgun holsters have a US history going back to around the 1840s. As the newfangled revolver became popular in the mid-1800s, saddle makers soon began creating leather holsters for settlers, cowboys, and frontiersmen. This need for a reliable handgun holster back in the Old West drove a great deal of early holster development. Over time, saddleries also began creating various holsters to make it easier to draw a pistol, including a cross-draw version. But what is a cross-draw holster? Let’s find out.
Click here for more tips & guides
Handgun Carry Positions
There are many different positions on your body where you can carry a pistol. Handgun carry positions include over the hip, the small of the back, or the abdomen near the appendix. When deciding where to place your handgun, though, I always recommend considering whether you want to draw it from your dominant side or not.
In this case, since I’m right-handed, with a dominant right side as well, I might want my pistol where it’s easier to draw. For me, dominant right-side carry positions include outside or inside my waistband on or near my appendix. There are exceptions to locating a gun-and-holster rig on your dominant side, though, which is where the cross-draw holster comes in.
Like most pistol holsters, cross-draw versions also have their origins in the Old West. In those days, some handgun carriers preferred a “cross-draw” position for their pistol because they believed they could more easily defend themselves using it.
Drawing Your Gun
Though every handgun carrier’s cross-draw technique invariably evolves for their particular needs, there are some general guidelines for its use:
- Wear an angled holster on the weak side of your body. Where you place your holster is up to you. Still, I recommend anywhere from the 9 o’clock to 11 o’clock positions for right-handers and the 1 o’clock to 3 o’clock positions for southpaws.
- Place your pistol in your holster with the butt-end facing forward or outward rather than backward or to your rear.
- To draw your handgun, all you have to do is reach across your body with your dominant hand, grab the butt of your gun and then quickly draw it from your holster.
Practice, Practice, Practice
If you want to carry your handgun in a cross-draw holster, you need to practice drawing it until you can flawlessly and safely perform the technique. Don’t forget that safely handling your firearm is your number one concern. I’ve carried my pistol in a cross-draw holster in the past, and I’ve found I always need some practice time to get used to drawing my weapon across my body.
Cross Draw Pros
Cross draw holsters come with both pros and cons. Let’s look at the benefits of cross-draw first:
- Many gun owners believe a cross-draw holster improves their ability to defend themselves quickly.
- Cross draw holsters work well if you’re carrying a revolver.
- A cross-draw holster helps lessen your chances of being attacked from the rear. Your attacker won’t be able to grab your gun and take it away quickly.
- One place where cross-draw holsters shine is when you’re driving because carrying your handgun on your strong side can greatly slow down your draw. As long as you’re wearing your cross-draw holster correctly, you can quickly get to your gun even if you’re wearing a seatbelt.
Cross Draw Cons
There are also a couple of cons when it comes to using a cross draw holster, including:
- Using a cross draw holster may not necessarily present you with the best carry position for your particular needs.
- Drawing from your weak side could cause you to sweep your handgun’s muzzle over others, such as bystanders, thereby “flagging” them. Flagging is a serious safety violation on a gun range, or anywhere else for that matter.
Research Before Buying
Now that I’ve answered the question “What is a cross draw holster?” it’s time to begin researching online for your preferred holster. Always test out any pistol holster you’re thinking of buying, though, because what works for me, for example, may not work well for you.