Carrying Large Handguns ft. Crossbreed Holsters
So we’ve finished up 2020, a year notably featuring many events that have raised a lot of new concerns for personal protection and concealed carry in total. With traffic stops and seizure of some city blocks now a reality for some city-goers, concerns over having adequate protection for dangerous situations is now amplified.
Even Paul Harrell, a personality that usually steers clear from fad concerns/guns, felt it necessary to update his recommended handguns video to include larger firearms with higher ammo capacity. It should be apparent to most of us why that is. “Mo’ problems need mo’ solutions.” And for some, that means mo’ gun, mo’ bullets.
Suddenly the world that was happy with their P938’s and Glock 43’s have been opting for full-size, or even long-slide handguns. As a guy who’s job often takes him to East St. Louis, I agreed with the concerns and put my subcompact in the safe and ventured out to find a way to make my M&P 2.0 5″ handgun work, a longslide version of the popular striker gun born from the MHS trials.
To aid in this, I reached out to Crossbreed. They provided the holsters at no cost to me for this little guide, so this will double as a review for anyone looking at either the Reckoning or SuperTuck holsters.
Tackling The Beast
At just under 25oz the Longslide S&W is definitely a diet version of what the gun is. But with 17+1 rounds of Federal HST 124gr +4 JHP’s ready to go and another 17 in a spare mag, the weight adds up quickly.
Shown here is a Safariland OWB paddle holster, the generic IDPA kind that has your typical clamshell type retention. This is a comfortable option, but for environments where getting spotted may be a concern it can be a tad bulky. Some carry at work where policies would otherwise restrict it. If in that unfortunate situation, something sticking off the side of your body just isn’t going to be feasible.
Likewise, it causes a pretty big sag on the ol’ pants.
And for that it brings us to Tip #1: You’re going to need a good belt.
This shouldn’t be a revelation to anyone who carries a pistol on the regular. A good belt is the foundation of just about any CCW rig, but often with smaller guns you can get away with a department store leather belt if it’s made well enough. A large handgun just isn’t going to be that forgiving.
Previously I had reviewed the EDC Co Foundation Belt, which was the belt I opted to use for this review as EDC was the primary concern.
And in trying out different holsters I stumbled upon Tip #2: Wear your pants where they’re meant to be worn.
In the pictures below you’ll see a struggle that I had in choosing to wear jeans that were designed for a more low-ride wear.
These won’t be optimal for carrying a larger handgun. Most of your generic fit pants, however, will work great. While commonly today we wear pants down around the waist where we tend to bend over, many pants were designed to be worn much higher, riding the top of your hip bone, the button being secured somewhere near your belly button.
Dressing for the Gun
Tip #3: You’ve got to dress around the gun.
Fortunately it’s winter time around here, which means that large, bulky clothing is the daily wear. However, even then an OWB holster can become a problem. In the gallery below you’ll see that even with a size Large long sleeve button up shirt my gun would still print. I often won’t use an OWB holster unless I can bring a cover garment, such as a vest.
In the middle photo you can see that little triangle shape in the middle of my back. That’s the end of the grip. And while most people wouldn’t see that and ever assume “gun,” no one is immune from a little paranoia about printing.
A great way to deal with this is to go IWB, or inside the waistband. There are some trade-offs here. What you gain in concealment you may often give up in comfort. With OWB the slide isn’t pressed into your thigh all day. With IWB you’ll have a very close relationship with whatever hardpoints your gun may have for the entire time you wear it.
To try and curb this, Crossbreed has a holster called the SuperTuck. These come in a few different leather finishes if you want, I was provided with a pretty stylish horse hide. Crossbreed offers other color options for the kydex as well.
It’s a pretty large holster. When I wear it the leather will clear from my 2 O’clock position all the way around to my 5 O’clock. If you’re into minimalist holsters, this won’t be it.
It also isn’t a particularly easy holster to don. It’s big, it adds weight, and overall actually adds to the concerns listed above about carrying a large gun.
However, what you do get is COMFORT. I put that in all caps for a reason. This is easily the most comfortable holster I’ve ever used, regardless of firearm size. Granted that it is large and conforming enough to almost classify as a body apparatus, it definitely should.
Below you can see how it rides.
There are a couple downsides here. If you like appendix carry this holster will simply not work. It’s much too large. Crossbreed even says on their website that this is intended for a strong side draw with the gun placed at the 3:30-5 O’clock position.
Likewise is the draw issue.
As you can see on the picture to the right, getting a good grip for the draw is impossible. You want to get as much of the web of your hand as high on the grip as the beavertail will allow. This holster will simply not let you do that unless you become particularly good at feeding your thumb down between the leather and the grip.
However, when I try and do that my large hands make it so my thumb will strike the kydex. Also, it’s a tight squeeze. With the SuperTuck you’ll have to draw and only then get a proper grip on the gun.
For how important the draw is to civilian CCW encounters, this is a pretty glaring bug.
Appendix is the meta of CCW these days if you follow a lot of the big media personalities. Some love it, some hate it, but it’s hard to deny the benefits. Overall it makes it easier to conceal any handgun, much less a large one.
To the left here is the Crossbreed Reckoning. This is the same sort of leather/kydex system with speed clips that Crossbreed has always done, but pushes things into a smaller footprint.
Crossbreed designed this to be their do-all holster. The retention is adjustable, there are attachable magazine holsters for it. It is advertised as being suited for appendix, strong side, or cross-draw carry.
I tried both the appendix and strong side and found that it was much less comfortable than the SuperTuck. But then again, everything is less comfortable than the SuperTuck.
There is a long leather portion that extends up past the beavertail and end of the slide for comfort, which was nice to keep the pointy ends from digging into my belly while seated.
As you may have noticed, having such a large gun required me to hike the aforementioned low-ride jeans up to a level where they probably weren’t designed to make everything fit. However, the concealment benefits are obvious. I often keep my bottom button undone so I can clear my shirt better for a strong side draw, but with the appendix configuration it was not needed.
The Reckoning did not have the major drawback the SuperTuck did. As you can see to the right, I was able to get a good grip on the gun while holstered.
I did a couple dozen draws on the range that day and never once did my front sight post snag on the kydex.
Why Not a Shoulder Holster?
Mostly for two reasons. First, they’re expensive and I’ve yet to have luck finding a company that will send me one to test. Second, I generally don’t like them. OWB is more comfortable and I generally have to dress in exactly the same way. So I choose to forgo the upper body scaffolding for a simple IDPA style holster.
That said, my day-to-day often requires a lot of time spent getting in and out of vehicles. Holsters strapped to my waist and tucked into my pants makes it look like I’ve got the back issues of a WW2 veteran despite being 30 years young.
For those who spend their time mostly seated, a shoulder holster can be a great solution. In fact, I may have just talked myself into giving one another shot…
Wearing a large handgun will take some consideration. You’ll need a stiff belt, pants that are meant to be worn a little higher than the current fashion dictates, and some searching to find a holster that can be carried where you like to carry while remaining sufficiently comfortable yet also quick on the draw. Likewise your cover garment will need enough bulk to not print, yet be quick enough to clear so that you can get to the gun in the first place.
It is a bit of a goldilocks conundrum. Sometimes the porridge is too hot, sometimes it’s too cold. Often it can be easiest to just deal with options that aren’t just-right. This can lead to you opting to just leave the gun at home, or worse, in the car.
Pending another try at shoulder holsters, the Crossbreed Reckoning is about as good a solution as I’ve come across. Wearing the right clothes, choosing the right belt, and picking a holster with enough comfort to wear up front all day is my current solution. Hopefully my little journey can shed some light on yours. Good luck out there!