There are a myriad of holsters on the market today. In a world full of options, it can be difficult to make the right decision on the first try. We love testing new holsters. Even ones that break the current status quo. A chest rig may seem like something only fly fisherman or hunters can appreciate. We found that not to be the case. In fact, we think anyone with a passion for the outdoors might find this new style of holster to be exactly what they need.
Here’s our full review of the CrossBreed Holsters Chest Rig.
Who is CrossBreed Holsters?
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You might not know it based upon availability today, but CrossBreed Holsters was the first in the industry to produce a hybrid, tuckable, IWB holster. They say imitation, or patent theft depending on how far it goes, is the sincerest form of flattery. The CrossBreed family must be the most flattered company in the holster world today.
Mark Craighead, the founder of CrossBreed Holsters, started like many American entrepreneurs. He had a need, but could not find anyone who could fulfill it. So, Mark set about to come up with a solution himself. The quintessential American success story, Mark started as a one-man operation in his garage. He went through numerous trials and errors until he found what he needed.
CrossBreed Holsters was not an overnight success. Mark and his beautiful bride, Carol, had to make tough decisions. Should Mark keep his reliable job or should he quit and devote all of his time and effort to the holster business? I should not have to tell you that they took a considerable financial risk. Thankfully for all of us, Mark and Carol took that risk. Mark worked tirelessly to spread awareness about his product and fought against the status quo. I met Mark in 2010 and we became friends. He convinced me to give his new holster a try and after I did, I was sold.
The Chest Rig Holster from CrossBreed.
The flagship product of CrossBreed Holsters was originally the Supertuck Deluxe. This was the holster that competitors first dismissed and then began to rip off with reckless abandon. Most every major holster maker now has some type of “tuckable, IWB” in their catalog. Not ones to rest on their previous success, CrossBreed has always looked for ways to make improvements.
A soft-release of their newest product line; the CrossBreed Chest Rig took place at the 2020 SHOT Show. Then, the KungFlu panic hit and hardware components for everyone in the gun industry dried up almost overnight. Those who got to see the Chest Rig at SHOT have been anxiously awaiting its release. Well, you don’t have to wait anymore. It is finally here.
Chest rigs or chest holsters are often referred to as “Alaska rigs”. Fishermen and hikers in The Last Frontier learned long ago that a pleasant day fly fishing can be ruined when an aggressive brown or black bear shows up looking for a free lunch. A belt holster doesn’t work very well when you are wearing waders. You need your gun to be instantly accessible. A traditional shoulder rig, with the gun tucked under the armpit, may not be ideal for outdoor dress and activities.
A chest rig that puts the handgun within easy reach, at the center of the chest, can be the best option in such situations. The Chest Rig from CrossBreed is not necessarily an EDC solution, but it is a tremendously attractive option for those who like to step off of the asphalt and into the wild.
How to Wear a Chest Rig.
Those who have never worn a chest rig might wonder, “is it comfortable to wear all day?” The answer is “yes”. The CrossBreed Chest Rig has adjustable straps that have just enough flex to allow for normal breathing and movement, without constricting or being too loose. The straps are wide enough to support a full-sized pistol, even a big magnum handgun.
Your chest rig should be centered over your sternum, not under your arms. It needs to be high enough on the chest to allow for sitting, bending or squatting. The CrossBreed rig has a quick release buckle that allows you to put on or remove it easily after it has been adjusted. Where do your hands go when you fall, or get into a defensive stance? Do they go across your body to the armpit, or do they tuck in tight to the chest?
Regarding handgun retention, CrossBreed has incorporated the tension adjustment system that they have been using with great success in their Reckoning holster line for a few years now. Using an Allen wrench, the wearer can adjust the tension to be as loose or as tight as they desire.
It’s for More than Hunters
You don’t need to be a fly fisherman or a hunter to appreciate the need for a chest rig. Hikers and backpackers tread upon the same ground as both four-legged and two-legged predators. It’s a moot point to look at “Call 911” as the answer when you are out in the great wilds of America.
Black and Brown bears have attacked and killed hikers and backpackers. Not just in Alaska and Canada either, but in less likely places such as New Jersey, Arizona, and Ohio. (just search “Fatal Bear Attacks”) Day hikers and others have been killed by human predators, not just on the Appalachian Trail, but in state wilderness areas as well.
The moral of the story is simple; calling 911 does not help when you are confronted by an attacker, whether human or animal, in the wild. You must be prepared to take care of and protect yourself. This is nothing new to the average EDC aficionado.
Safe and Effective Draw Stroke.
A chest rig, though a good option for many situations, is one that is not used on the range very often. In order to safely and effectively draw from and return to a chest rig style holster, we need to give this some forethought.
It has been said that “if you shoot yourself, it still counts”. Allowing the muzzle of your loaded handgun to cross over your body, particularly your support hand/arm is an invitation to disaster. Also, far too many shooters and gun carriers have the bad habit of “rocking” the gun back into the holster, thus pointing the muzzle of the gun at their own body. A brief moment of inattention can have disastrous and deadly consequences, even for the most experienced shooters.
When drawing from a chest rig, be sure that the support hand and arm are out of the path the gun’s muzzle. This is best accomplished by placing the support arm above the holster. When it is time to return the gun to the holster, move the support arm from the gun’s path and slowly lay the gun back into the holster, keeping the muzzle pointed away from the chest.
Whether you fly fish in bear country, bow-hunt for elk, hike or backpack through the wild open space of America, when it comes to your safety and protection, the task is yours alone. The new CrossBreed Chest Rig might just be an attractive piece of gear for your next adventure.