Several years ago, CrossBreed Holsters popularized the hybrid holster market by combining a Kydex shell with a leather backer. Its pragmatic approach, which favors substance over style, was the impetus for the company's tagline, "The ugliest holster you'll ever love."
Granted, aficionados of fine leather may scoff at the simple design of a CrossBreed holster, but in my book, combining the concealment and comfort of leather with the ease of draw and positive holstering attributes of Kydex is a beautiful thing.
The CrossBreed Appendix Carry is an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster intended to be worn in either the 12:30 to 2 o'clock position (appendix carry) for righties or the 10 o'clock to 11:30 position for lefties, which would be a crossdraw configuration for a right-handed shooter.
Available in black cowhide, tan premium hard-rolled cowhide and natural tan horsehide (when available), the CrossBreed Appendix Carry holster comes with a black metal spring clip that secures the holster to your belt. The clip allows the holster to be adjusted for ride height and cant.
The CrossBreed Appendix Carry holster is available to fit a large variety of handgun models. I evaluated one designed for my Smith & Wesson J-Frame Airweight revolver. I have carried snubnose revolvers off and on for years in all sorts of holsters, so I was eager to see how the CrossBreed Appendix Carry holster would measure up.
A good concealed carry holster needs to do more than hide your gun. It must be comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time, whether you're standing, seated or moving, and it must facilitate a rapid drawstroke. The Appendix Carry holster's leather backer prevents the frame of the gun from contacting your skin.
Not only does this make wearing it more comfortable, it keeps potentially damaging moisture away from your gun. Of course, knowing that you have unimpeded access to your gun's grip is also comforting, which is why the CrossBree Appendix Carry's leather backer is strategically cut so that the grip remains exposed.
This holster can be concealed easily with a loose-fitting, untucked T-shirt, which is my preferred carry method. I found that it took about seven seconds to don the holster in this manner. However, like CrossBreed's hugely successful SuperTuck and MiniTuck holster lines, the CrossBreed Appendix Carry holster can be easily concealed even with a shirt that's tucked into your pants.
Strapping up in this manner takes a few extra seconds, and, of course, drawing from a tucked shirt is more challenging. This mode of carry is a viable option when a more professional appearance is in order. Pair a dress shirt with a black belt, and the metal clip is pretty inconspicuous.
Many leather holsters emit a telltale creak with every step you take. Not so with the CrossBreed Appendix Carry holster. However, I did notice that toward the end of the test, as the leather backer yielded to the shape of the gun, the fit loosened, causing the gun to rattle slightly.
By the end of the 30-day eval period, when inverted, the holster would no longer retain my revolver. This isn't a matter of craftsmanship but rather a natural characteristic of leather. A Kydex backer would provide a snugger fit but might not be as comfortable.
I found the CrossBreed Appendix Carry holster to be very comfortable. As it broke in, especially from sitting with it on, the top and bottom of the leather backer began to curl inward to conform to my body. This is potentially problematic, as the top curling could block your thumb as you attempt to acquire a shooting grip.
However, with appendix carry, especially with a snubnose revolver, rather than thrust the web of my hand down on the grip, I focus on the contact between my middle finger and the area where the grip and the bottom of the triggerguard meet, then wrap my fingers around the grip. From there, I can easily lift the gun from the holster.
The Appendix Carry holster is conducive to fast draws. However, you need to make sure that the clip remains tight. If it loosens, the cant of the holster can be altered, resulting in the grip slipping deeper into your pants, which would impede your drawstroke.
The CrossBreed Appendix Carry holster is an excellent choice for concealing a small or medium-size handgun along the front of your waist. It is comfortable and concealable, and it affords easy access to your gun.
With a retail of $72.50 ($62.50 for the base model with black cowhide), the Appendix Carry holster is a midpriced option. As with all CrossBreed holsters, the Appendix Carry comes with a generous "two week, try it free" guarantee as well as a lifetime warranty.