A cross draw holster has its fans, and it has its vocal detractors - the facts of the matter are this: if a cross draw holster fits your use case, you aren’t going to find another likely to serve you better.
If you cannot see yourself benefitting from a cross draw holster, there are plenty of other holster arrangements/styles available to you.
So how you do know if a cross draw is right for you? Keep Reading: this article will help you understand if a cross draw makes the most sense for your needs.
Best Cross Draw Holsters Comparison Chart
Desantis Sky Cop Holster
Best Cross Draw Holster
AlphaHolster Belly Band Hand Gun Holster
Best Cross Draw Holster Runner-up
Historical Emporium Western Cross Draw Holster
Best Cross Draw Holster for Revolver
Concealment Express: Carbon Fiber Black IWB KYDEX Holster
Best IWB Cross Draw Holster
DeSantis DOC Holiday Cross Draw Holster
Best Cross Draw Western Holster
Relentless Tactical - The Ultimate Leather Gun Holster
Best Leather Cross Draw Holster
Galco Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster
Best Left Hand Cross Draw Holster
Generic Tactical Cross Draw Shoulder
Best Cross Draw Shoulder Holster
What is a Cross Draw Holster?
Sometimes, the cross draw holster gets a bad rap because it’s not as versatile as other options, but for the niche it fills, it is essentially a “no-brainer” purchase.
A cross draw holster is positioned for you to draw from across the body to reach your firearm.
It is best positioned for use by those who experience restrictive movement on their strong draw side.
The cross draw holster can be positioned on the front or back of your body and used for duty or concealed carry.
The original cross draw holsters, as many shooters might remember, are those that were designed for a comfortable draw while a cowboy, (or an outlaw), was riding a horse. The seated position and better balance orientation made cross draws very popular for those on horseback frequently.
In the same sense, many devout loyalists to the cross draw holster style, are now those on a horse, bike, or in a car for much of their day. This is especially true for professional drivers, law enforcement beat officers, and others who would be in a duty car or carrying concealed most of the day while seated.
Perks of Using a Cross Draw Holster
Cross draw holsters are loaded with benefits, but they mostly center around comfort and accessibility for when a straight arm, strong side draw would be impeded.
The following would get good benefits from cross draw holsters:
- A car-based duty officer, concealed carrier, or someone who would likely find themselves frequently carrying in a vehicle, on horseback, on a motorcycle, or on a bicycle.
- Someone seated in a chair most of the day who prefers the comfort of a holster that is positioned for use while seated.
- Those who may be able to delay their draw, or who are not required to have the fastest draw, but who could be impeded on a straight draw.
- People who are good candidates for a shoulder holster rig, but need better full-time concealment.
The cross draw is essentially about comfort, logistics, and the ability to access the gun considering potential obstacles, while still maintaining a credible level of concealment.
Of course, duty officers won’t often have the need for dedicated concealment, but many opt for the cross draw to avoid being caught up or stopped by the seat belt or buckle in the car.
Considerations When Buying a Cross Draw Holster
There’s nothing really negative to say about a cross draw holster except that it is a situational choice compared to most other styles, especially for concealed carriers. You will likely be better served by looking at a different style if you do not find yourself nodding at the above listed best use cases.
However, as you draw from a cross draw holster, your weapon must sweep across the front of your body, in a wide arc.
Cross draw carry is slower as it must come across the body to be ready to fire. It also makes it easier for an opponent to access your weapon.
A cross draw holster should be evaluated by the angle of the positioning relative to your normal positioning; whether it is able to be worn on front, on back, or both, and the general retention of the firearm in the holster.
Some other considerations that may make sense also:
- Is it easy to conceal when wearing?
- Does it have a legitimate retention protocol?
- Is it built using top-quality material that is made to last?
- Are the positioning and belt securing mechanism adjustable?
Review of the Best Cross Draw Holsters
Now that you can reasonably evaluate the use of the cross draw holster; it’s important to find the one that makes the most sense for your specific needs. Why would one be better than others? Use the pros and cons to determine obvious points of concern.
After that, the factors listed in the bottom line will be good secondary comparisons and things like brand value, finish, and texture will become the tertiary comparison metrics. In the end, this list, with the accompanying information from above should help you to narrow down your best choices.
1. Best Cross Draw Holster: Desantis Sky Cop Holster
Designed under the premise that it would be best suited to an air marshal, or those in a substantially similar position (seated, needing sustained long-term comfort, and having generally allowing time to react), this is a great option for any user of the cross draw style. If you haven’t already determined that you are a candidate for the cross draw holster setup, this is a very nice first choice.
If you are in need of a long-term, dedicated cross draw holster, this is an excellent choice. The fact that it is not a simple adaptation of existing products from the DeSantis product portfolio speaks volumes about the design philosophy.
The purpose-built design makes this offering very legitimate, especially given the execution the holster delivers for those who are frequently seated and need hardcore concealment.
2. Best Cross Draw Holster Runner-up: AlphaHolster Belly Band Hand Gun Holster
This is probably not the best choice for someone who is carrying with a seated position in mind, but certainly a viable option for those who need the utmost in concealability and close-fitting comfort and retention. This is a holster band that features elastic and Velcro components.
It works very well for small and medium-sized firearms. It is better-suited to those who are active, who stand a lot, those who have tighter fitting clothes, or who need to truly conceal deep under clothing.
This holster is for when you need absolute security for your concealed carry firearm, or for when you want a cross draw but don’t need angled or mostly horizontal positioning.
The straight up-and-down orientation of the firearm might be a deal breaker for some dedicated cross draw users, despite the rig being exceptionally good at deep concealment.
3. Best Cross Draw Holster for Revolvers: Historical Emporium Western Cross Draw Holster
This is the perfect choice for single action revolvers, long hunting revolvers, or those who will be on a horse, ATV/UTV, or on a motorcycle and don’t need the stringent retention protocols of a more dedicated concealed carry holster.
This is an exceptional open carry holster for those who plan on being on horseback, in an open-air vehicle, or frequently dismounting.
A great choice for those who will be on a horse, an ATV, or for times when you want a cross draw during open carry. Make sure to take note of the somewhat loose retention mechanisms and the loose internal construction.
Many holster users that see exactly where this fits and can justify the use case. This is a very well-built holster with a fantastic design for users in need of a very fast draw for big bore or similar revolvers.
4. Best IWB Cross Draw Holster: Concealment Express: Carbon Fiber Black IWB Kydex Holster
This is really more of an IWB (Inside Waistband) holster that has excellent adjustability and can be positioned as a very nicely angled cross draw.
More multi-purpose than other offerings on this list, and is a very nice first choice for those just diving into the cross draw market.
The extreme versatility of this holster is perfect for those who want a dedicated IWB design.
If you need the better weight distribution of the IWB design, and the potential for your weapon digging uncomfortably into your skin during seated situations doesn’t bother you greatly, then there may not be a better choice on this list.
5. Best Cross Draw Western Holster: DeSantis DOC Holiday Cross Draw Holster
A very solid holster option for the cowboy action shooter or the Western enthusiast out there.
This holster has real capabilities for long-term wear and durability and allows fast cross draw capabilities from a proven maker.
This is a very specific niche item that will appeal to the single action army shooter and those who need authenticity in their products without sacrificing modern design features and materials.
If you open carry or shoot competition where a cross draw, non-retained holster is sanctioned, this is a legitimate option.
If you are just wanting that old West look, this DeSantis holster will have you covered. The fit is great for fast-draw, single action, army-style revolvers from Colt and Ruger.
6. Best Leather Cross Draw Holster: Relentless Tactical - The Ultimate Leather Gun Holster
Easily the best option for those who want a long-term, heavy-duty cross draw with the backbone of a straight up and down pancake build.
This is a robust, and well-built holster made specifically for the 1911. It is made to last and has many design features that improve functionality even though it is simple in its appearance.
A serious piece of leather from a proven entity. This is a first rate holster and there are many reasons why.
Even though it is not a dedicated purpose-built cross draw, it can easily be used properly for that and offers fantastic build quality and design.
7. Best Cross Draw Shoulder Holster: Generic Tactical Cross Draw Shoulder Holster
If concealment is not of primary concern, and you want the ultimate in comfort for an office seated position, when frequently transitioning from sitting to standing, or active to not active scenarios, this is a serious bargain for a holster.
This is a great, adjustable shoulder holster rig that can be easily customized and has many design features that make good sense for those who can genuinely benefit from cross draw setups.
For those who want premium adjustability and wear a suit jacket or don’t have the tolerance for a waist mounted firearm, this is a very solid option.
The versatility, good quality build, and universal design are premium features, considering this is a budget-friendly option.
Despite the lower inherent concealability, this can be a great choice for the dedicated cross drawer.
8. Best Left Hand Cross Draw Holster: Galco Dual Action Outdoorsman Holster
Perhaps the finest hunting handgun holster for the 686 Smith & Wesson Revolver in 6” configuration.
This is a very adjustable, form-fitting, seriously well-made piece of gear.
It’s specific in its purpose, but it is a serious holster that will give you the upper hand if you encounter a game animal that needs to be dispatched up close for hunter safety or for when you need a quick draw for other concerns in the field.
Galco makes excellent products. Paired with your S&W 686 6 inch revolver, this will up your game for concealed carry, open carry, or just for range or hunting use (where it is particularly excellent).
Yes, the cross draw holster has largely been relegated to a niche product for very specific use cases, but in general, you don’t have to believe everything you hear on gun forums or from friends.
Evaluate the cross draw design on your own terms and use the information from this article to determine if the use cases that best fit a cross draw selection are a good fit for you.
A cross draw is a fantastic second holster or a first-rate primary choice for those who often sit, ride, or frequently need great concealability with comfortable carry. It’s up to you to determine if this is a perfect first choice style or if you need it as more of a secondary option.
Either way, the cross draw holster can appeal to a wide audience, as long as they understand what it is, and what it isn’t. At the very least, the cross draw holster doesn’t pretend to be something it is not.