What is a cross draw holster ?
A cross draw holster is a type of gun holster that is worn on the opposite side of the body from the shooting hand, typically near the center line of the body. For example, a right-handed shooter would wear a cross draw holster on the left side of their body, and vice versa. Therefore a cross draw holster is worn on the non-dominant or weak side of the body angled at 45 degrees approximately in front of the non-dominant side leg. The muzzle of the firearm for cross draw holsters will always points away from the body and the grip is often canted forward allowing for a faster and more natural draw.
History of the cross draw holsters
Although the exact origins of the cross draw are unclear, some historians believe that it was first used by European Knights who carried swords on their weak side. With the advent of revolvers, the swords were replaced by the guns.
The cross draw holster has been in use since the early days of firearms. However, it gained popularity in the mid-1800s and remained a popular choice for many cowboys, gunfighters and lawmen during the Wild West era. In those days horses were the primary means of transportation in the often violent and unpredictable environment of the American frontier. Cross draw holsters allowed individuals to easily draw their guns while seated on their horses, wagons or on horse-drawn carriages. The western cross draw holster was often portrayed in novels and movies as the holster of choice for rugged and fearless gunslingers.
Advantages of a cross draw holster
There are a number of advantages summarized below:
1. Faster Draw:
Cross draw holsters can provide faster and easier access to the firearm as compared to other OWB holsters. This is because the holster is positioned on the non-dominant side of the body and angled forward, which allows for a quicker and more natural draw. Since the gun is right in front of you and your arms normally rest freely around the waist line, the draw is much quicker, even without any practice. Since you do not need to take your hands and arms to your strong side, a cross draw holster is faster.
2. Comfort & Accessibility:
Cross draw holsters are more comfortable to wear than a traditional hip holster, especially for those who spend a lot of time seated or in a confined space such as at a desk job or driving a car / truck. Since the holster is positioned on the opposite side of the body, it can alleviate pressure on the hips and back.
When you are driving, both your hands are typically on the steering wheel, a cross draw holster is very close to your body within easy reach. Even with the seat belt on, unlike other holsters, access to a cross draw holster remains un-hindered. Due to the widespread belief that cross draw holsters allow for easier access to a gun when seated in a vehicle, which could be useful in a carjacking scenario, they are often referred to as a carjacker holster. When driving, the driver’s side is usually closest to the curb or street side where a potential threat might approach. In this scenario a carjacker holster is easy and natural to pull out as compared to a gun holster on your hip.
Cross draw holsters can be more comfortable and accessible for people who spend a lot of time sitting, such as office workers or those with desk jobs. The angle of the holster allows for a more natural draw while seated, and the position of the holster can be adjusted to avoid interference with chairs or desks.
A traditional hip holster may be difficult to access while seated which makes it a popular choice for people who work in professions such as drivers, security personnel, or certain office workers. These holsters are also very convenient in everyday use. A cross draw holster provides greater mobility than other holsters such as an IWB appendix carry holster, especially in situations where bending, climbing stairs or a ladder is required. Cross draw holsters do not dig into your body as compared to other holsters.
A cross draw holster can be more accessible in cold weather when wearing a heavy coat or jacket. Although the coat can make it difficult to reach a traditional hip holster, but these holsters allow the shooter to access their firearm more easily without interference of your outer garment.
A cross draw holster can be used by both right and left handed shooters, making it a versatile option. A cross draw holster can also be used by the non dominant hand in case of emergencies. This can be especially useful in situations where the dominant hand is injured or incapacitated, but the person still needs to be able to access their firearm quickly.
In certain situations, a cross draw holster can be safer than a traditional hip holster. For example, if the shooter is in close quarters or a crowded area, a traditional hip holster can be more easily bumped or dislodged, potentially causing an accidental discharge. With a cross draw holster, the firearm is right there in front of you.
5. Mobility Issues:
A cross draw holster is a good option for individuals who have a shoulder injury or mobility issues that restricts their range of motion, particularly when it comes to reaching into a hip holster. Cross draw holsters can provide easier access to the firearm without requiring excessive arm movement or shoulder rotation.
The clear visibility of the cross draw holster as compared to a leg or ankle holster can potentially deter aggression or violence. It can make an aggressor think twice before acting, knowing that their intended victim is armed and able to defend themselves.
7. Plus Size Individuals:
It is possible that plus size individuals with larger stomachs may find cross draw holsters easier to draw from than other holsters. This is due to the angle and position of the holster which may accommodate the shape of their body better. A cross draw holster positions the firearm grip along the belly area, which can be more comfortable for individuals with larger stomachs. In contrast, other types of holsters that sit on the hip or IWB, may dig into the abdomen, causing discomfort or even pain.
8. Self-defense situations:
These holsters are very useful for outdoor enthusiasts when going hunting or hiking out in the wilderness. They provide a more comfortable and accessible way to carry a firearm, especially when wearing layers of clothing, carrying a rife or a backpack.
Cross draw holsters can be useful in multiple self defense situations. For example, a bear hug or any other situation where the shooter’s elbows are constrained by anyone (human or an animal such as a bear) or you are unable to move freely. The cross draw motion only involves moving the hand across the body, which does not require lifting the elbow to reach your hip or thigh, making it easier to access the firearm in such situations.
Disadvantages of cross draw holster
The disadvantages of these holsters include:
1. Increased Risk of Sweeping / flagging:
Cross draw holsters can potentially flag or sweep individuals next to you if not drawn properly. When drawing the firearm from a cross draw holster, the muzzle can potentially point towards people standing to the side of the shooter. This increases the risk of sweeping or pointing the firearm at unintended targets, especially if the shooter is not properly trained or is in a stressful situation. This is a violation of one of the 4 basic rules of gun safety.
The use of cross draw holsters is avoided by firearm trainers as they may not be the best option for new gun owners, since they require a different technique for drawing and aiming as compared to other types of holsters.
2. Potential for Accidental Discharge:
Cross draw holsters can be challenging for new gun owners as they require a different technique for drawing and aiming compared to other types of holsters. Inexperienced gun owners may not be familiar with the correct drawing technique, which can lead to dangerous situations if they accidentally discharge their firearm.
3. Difficulty in Concealment:
While wearing a cross draw holster, it is quite difficult to conceal carry. A cross draw holster is normally worn nearer to the center line of the body. Even with a vest or an outer garment, since the gun is placed in the holster at an angle of 45 degrees, the handle or grip of the gun is visible.
4. Limited Mobility:
Some individuals prefer to wear a cross draw holster all the way around to their off side. This may limit the shooter’s mobility, as it can be more difficult to move and maneuver with the holster on the opposite side of the body.
5. Inefficient Drawing Technique:
The entire process of drawing the gun from a cross draw holster, aiming at the target and firing may not be so effective and efficient. These holsters require a different draw motion than other types of holsters, and it can take time to become proficient in using them and perfecting the draw. This can lead to slower draw times, decreased accuracy and potential safety issues. Failure to perfect the draw increase the chances that you will sweep the entire room while drawing your gun.
6. Failure to shoot the target / Missed Shots:
When using a cross draw holster due to the lateral movement of the gun across the body during the draw, the chances of missed shots are greater. This lateral movement can cause the shooter to improperly align the gun with the target, resulting in the failure to shoot the target.
In high-stress situations, such as self-defense scenarios, shooters may also be prone to getting on the trigger too quickly before properly aligning the gun, further exacerbating the issue. If shots are fired prematurely from a cross draw holster, it can result in the bullets hitting at innocent bystanders.
The same is true if the shooter moves the gun too quickly out of the cross draw holster and doesn’t stop quickly enough on the target. As a result, the shot may miss or overshoot the target, potentially hitting innocent bystanders.
7. Easier to grab and snatch the firearm:
Cross draw holsters are more susceptible to gun grabs as the grip of the gun is easily accessible and positioned in a way that is convenient for an attacker to grab. This can be a serious safety concern for anyone who carries a firearm for personal protection.
8. Concerns with Law Enforcement Officers:
Even in those states that allow for constitutional carry (permit less carry), police officers may still have concerns about individuals carrying firearms. Police officers may become nervous when they see a cross draw holster because it can be difficult to tell if the individual carrying the firearm is reaching for the weapon or for something else on their body. This can create a dangerous situation, especially if the officer feels threatened and needs to take action quickly. Additionally, the positioning of the firearm in a cross draw holster can make it more difficult for an officer to safely and effectively disarm the individual if necessary.
How to draw from cross draw holsters ?
- Get a firm grip on the handle or butt of the gun. This means having a full grip with all fingers wrapped around the handle of the gun.
- Use your strong hand to remove the pistol from the holster, with the barrel still pointed at the floor at the same angle that it was as in the holster. It is important not to sway or sweep your gun as you draw, as this can be dangerous to yourself and others around you.
- Keep the barrel of the gun pointed at the floor as you draw and avoid sweeping the gun in any direction. This is especially important in cross draw holsters, where the positioning of the firearm can make it easier to accidentally sweep a wider area.
- Once the pistol clears the cross draw holster, rotate your hands and join your hands i.e. use both the hands to grip the pistol. This provides more stability and control over the firearm.
- Finally, aim the gun at the target. Take the time to ensure that your sights are aligned properly before pulling the trigger.
Why are cross draw holsters not so popular these days ?
Changes in society and culture have led to increased regulation of firearms, particularly in urban areas. Many cities and states have strict laws and regulations regarding the carrying of firearms, which can make it difficult to carry open carry a firearm, including the cross draw holster.
Another reason that the cross draw holster is not so popular is that there now many other types of holsters available in the market. These gun holsters are more versatile and can be worn in a wider range of situations.
Furthermore, there are some safety concerns associated with cross draw holsters, such as the risk of flagging bystanders. Additionally, as law enforcement training has evolved, the use of cross draw holsters has become less common and other types of holsters have become more widely used.