A few weeks ago, Crossbreed Holsters released a new version of their modular bellyband holster, so I decided to give it a try. I also decided to give another part of their modular system, the Purse Board, a try as well. It’s a well thought-out system, but like most concealed carry options, it’s not going to be useful for every person in every situation.
I purchased these items myself, so you’ll get a very honest review here that’s not influenced by getting anything for free to review.
Crossbreed’s Modular System
I first used a Crossbreed product way back in 2009. I found that, at least with pants and a loose-fitting or fit-and-flare shirt, the hybrid holster worked well even for a full-sized 1911. Since then, the cooler kids of the concealed carry world has moved on to hating hybrid holsters, largely because they’ve caused problems as they aged and wore out. At worst, a cracked shell or sweat-logged leather backer could even cause a nasty negligent discharge.
Belly bands have their own safety problems. Chief among them is the lack of a hard shell over the trigger guard area.
Crossbreed came up with a creative way to solve these problems: combine elements from both systems to create a safer belly band. By making a miniature hybrid holster (with thick leather and a thick shell) and adding some high-strength Velcro to the back of it, they created a holster that can stick to any surface with a Velcro loop field.
In the case of the belly band, you strap the band around you, stick the holster to the band, and then take an extra flap of band material and cover the hybrid holster.
That same little Velcro-backed holster can work in a variety of other contexts. Crossbreed offers a “Pac Mat” that you can stick the holster to that will keep it upright in a backpack or other bag, while the little holster keeps errant objects away from the bang switch. They also offer a board that has a “leg” that wedges between a mattress and a box spring, allowing you to keep a gun holstered to your bed.
One other particularly interesting thing they offer is an L-shaped board for a purse, so that you can reach in and always find a holstered gun in the same spot. The bottom part keeps the board from falling over inside the bag.
The New Belly Band Design
Common complaints I’ve heard about their older modular belly band design include that it wasn’t wide enough to be stable, and that it could slip around on your skin, allowing the gun to move with activity. Crossbreed addressed both of those issues.
First, they made the band wider, and it’s now constructed using a very comfortable, but grippy material. It doesn’t roll up or allow the gun to tip, and it keeps itself from moving up or down on your body as long as you strap it on snugly.
The other thing that I noticed was the addition of rubbery material here and there along the band. This keeps the band from moving from side to side.
For trying different carry positions, this makes it a little harder (as you can’t just slip it around), but once you know where you want the gun to be, it’s not going to slide away from that spot, which is more important than struggling to find the best position.
The Purse Board
The modular purse board design also works really well, but only if you’re willing to pack things into the purse around your gun. Like the belly band, it’s going to require some trial and error to figure out what works best for you, but it’s worth putting in the time.
The most important element — safety — is well taken care of. The rigid shell of the holster keeps loose items in the purse or things that might bump into the outside of the purse from getting to the trigger. There’s definitely a little bit of passive retention, too, from the molded Kydex shell so you don’t have to worry about a gun falling out easily at all.
This security also helps with using the gun defensively. It means that you can keep a round chambered and you don’t have to add more time on top of an already long draw from a purse. The Purse Board keeps your gun always in the same spot, which is a good thing as long as you test the other things you carry and make sure nothing else gets in the way.
In my case, I have two small pockets in my purse that my fingers would get caught in during draw attempts. Safety-pinning those little unused pockets closed fixed the problem, but sewing in some velcro is going to be a better long-term solution.
My experience so far with the modular system has been great. It’s a versatile system, and fits many (but not all) situations. Like any carry method, you have to work around the gun for safety, draw speed, and concealment, but this system gives you some good options to cover those needs.