My Custom-Built Modified M7 Cross Draw Carry Rig

I know a lot of TTAG folks aren’t fans of cross draw carry systems. I am, though, and that’s the only way I carry and practice, other than in training programs which require OWB holsters. But for those who aren’t allergic to cross draw, I thought I’d share a little bit about my setup, which I rigged myself because I couldn’t find what I wanted to buy ready-made.

Off the body, it looks like this.

On the body, it looks like this.

How I created this set-up: I originally started with a single strap cross body holster from a company called Carta Valley Holsters, which unfortunately may be out of business now. The leather holster came with a nylon, single cross body strap.

I ended up replacing that strap and adding another one that goes around the ribcage, both custom-length straps from WC Couture, the company I got my motorcycle carry bag from. I found that a single strap system allowed things to slide around and got really heavy on the neck. Adding a rib strap distributed the weight of the firearm so that I can carry it all day without being bothered.

I also tried making and using straps in other materials, but kept coming back to leather because it’s adjustable, molds over time to my shape, and stands up to practice draws and so forth.

As you can see, there’s a magazine holder mounted on the rib strap with the mag inside mounted in the correct position to go quickly into it. I can also choose to mount it on the cross body strap. It’s a Black Arch HMC-1 leather and Velcro magazine carrier that will fit the seven-round extended mag for my SIG P238. The gun has seven rounds plus one in the chamber and I have the extra mag with seven rounds. That’s 15 rounds without having to carry a full-size pistol, though of course reloading is a consideration.

I could add another mag if I wanted, or take them off completely. I like options.

You’ll also notice that I’ve chosen to slide the gun around several inches so that it rides more on the front of my body rather than the side, which is a personal preference. I could also set it up as an underarm M7-style by adjusting the straps and moving it back to carrying under the arm.

As far as the hardware, it looks very Mad Max (which I don’t mind being a motorcycle gal), but add a big scarf like I wear every day and it starts to disappear.

Top it off with a jacket and you’re done.

I like cross draw because my work, lifestyle and wardrobe would have to completely change in order for me to carry anywhere on the waistband. I don’t see any of those things happening, so this is what I’ve chosen to set up for myself.

There are lots of ways to come up with a carry system that works for you. This is just one DIY idea that works well for me. Have you cobbled together something that meets your needs?

comments

  1. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    Looks like S&M gear…but whatever works…go for it…LOL

    1. avatar Bloving says:

      You say that as if that wasn’t a desirable outcome…
      Show of hands: who finds an armed woman just a (bit) more attractive than an unarmed one?
      🤠

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        “Show of hands: who finds an armed woman just a (bit) more attractive than an unarmed one?”

        That depends – Does she hate my guts, and wish I was dead?

        *Snicker* 😉

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Geoff

          Good point.

    2. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Leighton

      Eh, I’m an old school goth/punk girl. Grew up that way. It was always black and chrome and lots of leather, but back in the day, that was about something that really didn’t have anything to do with S&M. It was more about music and aesthetics of the artists we all liked. I actually wanted same tone hardware, but that didn’t prove possible, unfortunately.

      1. avatar Owen says:

        Back in the day, when we didn’t have to worry about PC culture we called the goths “little black people” meaning their tendency to wear any color as long as it was black. If I said that out loud today I’d get lynched. Nothing wrong with goth mind you just what we called them. I was what the goths/punks in my era called a “carp” – common rock-n-roll type. LOL

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Owen

          Haha! Never heard that – CARP. Who knew?

          I am of the opinion that goth and punk never die. They go in and out of style but us leather and chrome clad weirdos are always here. The real confusion sometimes would appear back in the day when people tried to distinguish us from heavy metal types, but in general, once they figured out that the metal heads had long hair and we didn’t that seemed to solve things. These days all that’s mixed together too.

  2. On body carry is the way to go especially above the waist somewhere in the front or side.

  3. Just read your question at the end.
    Yes I have rigged up my own system from parts exclusively from Walmart.
    https://youtu.be/3vFt-YnZn7s

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @Michael

        Now that’s pretty cool. Could you say more about the parts you already had and the ones you made/rigged? For the in pocket carry, did you modify the inside of the pocket with something to make it more rigid? Very curious about how you did this. It’s really invisible, and looks like the gun is stable in its carry instead of flopping around in a pocket, which is why I won’t carry in pockets – makes me nervous as hell.

        1. It isn’t in the pocket. I cut a slit with a hot knife under the flap.
          The gun is completely supported on the leg like any other thigh rig.
          Everything came from Walmart.
          Two Blackhawk slide holdters.
          A blackhawk duty belt.
          A pack of boat cover clips with webbing found on clearance.
          Velcro straps.

  4. avatar Mike says:

    Your setup is far from being cobbled together, good looking carry system. I’ve used a cross draw rig for hunting. Since I live in shorts and t shirts a belt holster is my go to setup.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Mike

      Thanks. I tried SO many different ways before coming up with this. I’d like to go to a leather craftsman and see if we could work together to design something that would be a modular rig like this, that could be changed around, but with a lot more low key and down toned hardware. That was just what I had and could get.

  5. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    Has anyone rewatched The Walking Dead and wondered who was on the set for the firearm props? I mean come on. Most of the pistols are in holsters set up for cross draw. No iron sites on rifles. Glocks with safeties. The list goes on and on. My personal favorite is the cocking of the hammer on every firearm, that essential noise that indicates that a firearm is present…

    1. The worst has to be an episode of Sneaky Pete where the young girl racked the pump action on a side by side shotgun.

      1. avatar Lost Down South says:

        Tha Simpson’s always use pump and revolver sound effects, no matter what the guns are.

    2. avatar Dave Lewis says:

      All ARs fire full automatic and all firearms are loaded with case less ammunition – I’ve never seen any brass ejected from anything on that show. The eight (is it now?) season old gasoline still purrs along and the zombie car batteries don’t go dead. My high school english teacher called science fiction and fantasy a “willing suspension of disbelief”.

      1. avatar Karl says:

        Suspension of disbelief is needed for most enterainment but that is something else.
        Zombies = suspension.
        Racking a side by side = lazy.
        Double tube fed 12 gauge side by side? Call props. Back to suspension.

    3. avatar Binder says:

      The fact that all the laws are still mowed was the last straw for me.

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

        Non-powered reel mowers are a thing, you know :

        https://www.homedepot.com/s/reel%2520mower?NCNI-5

  6. avatar Nickel Plated says:

    I’m looking for a decent crossdraw belt rig for my S&W Mod. 19 4″. Usually carry a Beretta 85 OWB strong-side about 4o clock. Bit when I feel like carrying the 19 that position doesn’t work. I’m kinda short and most holsters have it riding kinda high. So I have to pull the gun up almost into my armpit for the barrel to clear the holster.
    I tried moving the holster around to my weak side to use as a crossdraw and it’s better but the straight vertical cant is a bit problematic.

    I’d like something like a crossdraw slide holster that holds the gun at more of a 45* cant. With the barrel pointing at the ground behind me. And the cylinder riding right about belt level. And Preferably something with an exposed barrel so the whole thing is small and out of the way incase I have to leave the gun behind but don’t feel like pulling the whole holster off the belt. Or be able to use the same one for different lengths barrels.

    So far no luck in my search. Granted I haven’t really tried that hard yet. Probably get one for the Cheetah too. Just to keep things consistent.

    1. avatar HoundDogDave says:

      I really like my Craft Holster “ROTO” rig. The gun carry is vertical but pop the thumb snap and the holster rotates forward so the draw is at about 45%.
      https://www.craftholsters.com/vertical-roto-shoulder-holster-w-double-mag-pouch-p163

      1. avatar daveinwyo says:

        Same answer here. VERY nice leather. I do like CD. I have a craft holster CD OWB for my lc9. I like your holster Elaine. I do make some of my own stuff. I also work w/ride and pack saddles, so some leather working is good to know. Next time try holes and a Chicago screw and less snaps. Also replace the snap hooks with smaller rounded snap hooks used in saddles and tack w/spring gates, and, again Chicago screws and holes. Nice work!

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @daveinwyo

          Do you ever make stuff for other people? I sure as hell would like to find someone who would. I’ve been looking here in TX but people who work in leather don’t necessarily how to make something for guns if they don’t own or use guns, I’ve found. I’m sure a lot of us TTAGers would like to talk to you about making something custom, I sure would. If you do that, that is, or know someone who does.

        2. avatar Matt in SC says:

          @Elaine
          Check this company out.
          https://tuckergunleather.com

        3. avatar Stinkeye says:

          Elaine,

          I don’t know where you are in Texas, but if you’re anywhere near Lockhart, this dude can probably do what you want:

          http://www.oldschoolleathersmith.com/

      2. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @Hound

        I looked at that one. Question, do you find that it hangs loose or flops around because there’s nothing to secure it around the rib cage? That’s the question I’ve always had about holsters like this. Of course, you’re probably wearing it under a jacket or something that holds it in place too.

        1. avatar HoundDogDave says:

          You need to wear a belt to keep it secured against your body. If the holster is not anchored in place with a belt it is impossible to remove the pistol from the holster. The holster’s retention of the pistol is very firm so straps will just twist and bind up the rig if not held in place when you try to draw. The thumb break strap does not hold the pistol in the holster over the back of the grip, rather it holds the holster in the vertical position from under the trigger guard. With some difficulty, you can remove the pistol vertically without unsnapping the strap, but the gun is not going to fall out if you find yourself unexpectedly inverted. (lol)

      3. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

        Always had a yen to go full Sonny Crockett but my lifestyle is more Carhartts and LL Bean quilted flannel. Really do like the looks of that Craft rig though. I suppose the black leather wouldn’t stand out as much.

    2. avatar Toni says:

      pre-96 here in australia i came across a shoulder holster that i liked. it took the ruger super blackhawk and concealed it under a light coat. most of the time it would be in the vertical position however upon releasing the retention clip it swung down horizontal allowing an easy draw

  7. avatar Greg says:

    2aholster.com The Litepath rig.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Greg

      Now, that’s the first time I’ve seen a chest holster with the grip facing down. I don’t like the ones with the grip facing up. Interesting!

      1. avatar Greg says:

        Elaine, I use one of those for deep concealment with a HK P7. The other models can be set up left,right, horizontal etc. Pretty much all I use. Nice thing is I don’t have to adjust for driving etc.

    2. avatar Joel says:

      I dig that chest holster.

      To answer Elaine’s question, all but one of my holsters are home grown. Three primary reasons for this are

      I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted,
      I’m a tinkerer by nature,
      And holsters are expensive.

  8. avatar Alex Waits says:

    pretty cool.

  9. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    1. FWIW, I’m with you. I carry in cross-draw shoulder rigs, both similar to what you’re using and vertical holster presentations. I think they’re a superior carry option for several reasons: I don’t have to juggle a piece if I have to use the rest room and unhitch my belt. I can wear a jacket and look like a well-heeled man about town at the same time I’m armed, and on top of that, I don’t have to worry about my belts being drawn down by a heavy carry rig.

    2. I think if you talk with a competent leather crafter, you can end up with a better, more comfortable rig with less jingly hardware on it.

    3. Along with (2), I think if you look at how a Galco horizontal-carry shoulder rig is set up, you would do well to duplicate how they handle the snap-release on the strap over the hammer. It is release by your thumb pushing backwards, and it appears on your rig that you have to hook the strap with your trigger finger and pull outwards. Just a suggestion for smoother/faster draws from a suspended holster rig…

    1. avatar daveinwyo says:

      I have a Galco SH for my LCP. Don’t like it. Leather is too soft. The retention/thumb break is made of the same soft leather is hard to unsnap. I also don’t like the plastic center piece in the back where the straps cross. I replaced it with way thicker leather and lacing. For the price Elaine has the better holster by far. Why do holster makers use crapy stuff and charge high dollar for junk that has to be modified after the first tryout? That is why I buy from Craft Holsters. Very nice saddle leather and works as advertised.

      1. avatar HoundDogDave says:

        The quality of Craft Holsters product is quite high. Altho the color of the straps is slightly darker than the holster and mag pouches in my rig, the grade, grain, and color of the leather is uniform throughout. This is overlooked in many of the other leather holsters I have seen in use from other manufacturers. They also have a top notch customer service staff that was quick to respond to a few questions I had. At 2/3 the list price on an equivalent Galco model from the manufacturer’s website I feel like I got a great bargain for a better quality rig. I plan on getting another for myself as a late Christmas present, this time for my Security 9, in black.

    2. avatar Binder says:

      Now that you know what works, PLEASE have a competent leather worker put together a better rig. That thumb break needs some work. I think you can achieve a similar setup with components from a Galco Miami Classic.

      daveinwyo, are you rocking the Classic or the Light. The thumb break on my classic has none of those issues and is is very well broken in.

      1. avatar Elaine D. says:

        @Binder

        Yup, been looking for someone, no luck yet. I have indeed been looking at the Galco stuff, but they don’t seem to have that many components for my particular pistol. Then again, maybe that can be made.

      2. avatar daveinwyo says:

        The Galco is for my LCP it is the light cut leather. I have vests with thicker leather. Elaine, I don’t do much work, even for myself. Thanks for the thought. Used to, mostly custom knife sheaths. Not enough strength to pull the sticher. Been trying lacing w/slots, but I don’t like the look as much as stiched. That’s why I’ve been looking around for a new SH. The small snaps I mentioned have a swivel like key chain snaps/ hooks only bigger. Most hardware stores carry a selection. Still like your goth rig!

    3. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @DG

      Yes indeed. I’d like to take this as a prototype and have someone create a more low profile version, more streamlined, without losing any of the sturdiness.

      I’ve just found that trying to wear anything on the waistband always ends up with being jabbed in a painful way, the gun getting stuck between me and a something or other, and back pain. I figure as long as I keep it consistent and practice with it it’s good enough. Moving it around to the front a few inches makes it a way quicker draw too.

  10. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Interesting setup.

    Judging from the outerware, i, guessing you dont live in Florida. LOL.

    When i was a kid, I made a rig similar to yours for my Bearcat so it would stay dry as I waded the creek. I used a straight draw Lawrence holster and straps from a military binocular case.

    Make it work for you.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Specialist

      Nah. Texas. You can open carry anything you want here but I generally don’t, though I’ve often thought that open carrying a full size sword or battleaxe for a day would present some interesting challenges, particularly on the motorcycle. I finally managed to transport a full-size pistol with 4 mags, 100 rounds, hearing and eye protection to the range the other day, but that took trying something like 6 different saddebags first.

      1. avatar daveinwyo says:

        Watch Kill Bill 1. The BGs carry Katanas over the shoulder on their bikes. For your size you might want a Wakazahshi, slightly shorter but longer than a tanto. The three swords are like a pistol, rifle and bowie set up carried by a warrior.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Dave

          Nice! Are you a swords guy? I took some kendo classes once. That was utterly insane. Everyone in the class was a huge burly man twice my size, it was brutal. I could not keep up with being beat to death every week by wooden swords by 250-300 lb guys with death in their eyes. If I had it to do again I’d probably try fencing instead.

  11. avatar Gregols says:

    That is an ingenious setup, Elaine. Thanks for sharing.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Gregols

      You’re welcome. It’s a work in progress, but progress has been made!

  12. avatar strych9 says:

    If it works roll with it.

    Personally I’m a huge fan of the “roto tilt” shoulder systems from Falco (Yes, Falco rather than Galco). They’re a standard holster (custom built for your gun, if you don’t see yours in their massive dropdown list then email them and they’ll add your gat to their list!) that you can customize as you like.

    It carries the gun vertically but deploys it at a 45 degree angle when you draw. Great system and available for nearly any gun unlike many companies that just do Glocks, S&W and a few other major “common” guns. Just remember that once you get it set the way you want LockTight is your friend!

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Oh interesting! I will definitely check that out. Thank you!

  13. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Holy crap. I just realized that is not a government model.

    You are tiny! The mini 1911 is perfectly sized for you. Ha

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Specialist

      I’m tall but small boned. The P238 with the extended mag is literally perfect for my hand size. It is way too teeny for my male friends and BF but I am deadly as hell with these things. I love them.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        The P238 is a dandy pistol. I just like the LCP for pocket carry.

        I looked at the 9mm size for IWB carry but have some issues getting a grip in a hurry.

        Your comment about hand fitting is important. Your pistol needs to fit so you can operate and control. Caliber is important but second to the ability to control and deliver hits.

        1. avatar Elaine D. says:

          @Specialist

          I am hoping for a good article about “gun fit” sometime from a knowledgeable cat like Dyspeptic Gunsmith. I haven’t handled that many guns in my life, but some here have.

          The new downsizable grip on the Sig P320 is what made it my favorite pistol. There was a similar option on the HK VP9 I used to have, but i had so many other strange issues with that gun that the grip size didn’t help me much. I wish all pistols came with the option of changing out for S/M/L grip. My Springfield XD fits me okay, but I gotta say not a huge fan of the grip safety.

  14. avatar Yarbles says:

    I cross-draw everything and have holsters, packs, shoulder rigs, and belt rigs for it.

    Mine are much better and more sophisticated than this, but it looks functional.

    Once learned, Cross-Draw is much safer and just as quick as Strong Draw.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Yarbles

      If you have any good prefab gear recommends, I’m interested.

  15. avatar bontai Joe says:

    I like your rig. It looks well made and that it will keep your weapon in the same place (not wander around). I have a cheap Uncle Mike’s nylon shoulder holster around here someplace that I used to wear while hunting the wilds of PA. It distributes the weight of a heavy handgun (.44 mag) better than a belt holster. Now I’m wondering where that rig might be, haven’t seen it in a couple of decades.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @bontai

      Thanks! I think of it as a prototype for what I really want. Yeah, I don’t like for a gun to “flop” around at all which is why I usually don’t like shoulder holsters where the pistol just hangs, and why I don’t like carrying in pockets. I want to feel that the gun is going to sit tight against me so that if I’m moving, running, or pushing someone off, it isn’t going to move anywhere unless I myself move it.

      1. avatar bontai joe says:

        Most of the shoulder holsters I have seen were designed for guys and attach to the belt on your pants to lock them in place. They also usually attach to your belt on the non-gun side to keep the rig centered and not have the weight of the gun pull it off center That way they can avoid having the strap across the front of your chest which would show if wearing the traditional white shirt, jacket and neck tie of a plain clothes detective, fed, etc. Does your rig make noise with metal fasteners rattling against metal rings? I am so not up to date on holster design that I can’t make any recommendations, but it seems that many here have posted links to good sites.

  16. avatar Ogre says:

    Elaine, as an amateur leatherworker, I admire the rig you’ve crafted and that it works for you. If, as some other commenters have suggested, you get the rig updated by a custom holster maker, I suggest that you contact Purdy Gear (www.purdygear.com). It is a woman-owned company that makes mostly reproduced Old West holsters and belts, but also does modern self-defense carry holsters and is willing to undertake custom work. As to prices, I couldn’t say, but I doubt if they will be prohibitive. Worth a look.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Ogre

      That’s awesome, I will indeed look. Have been looking but just haven’t found someone who knows enough about guns and how to use the right thickness of leather and snugness of fit yet. Thanks for the link!

  17. avatar DaveDetroit says:

    +1 on the cross draw option. It works better for me when driving or hiking and I feel less hindered while doing anything outdoors.
    ++1 on the mad max reference! And Elaine, I also loved the motorcycle carry story as I’m getting back into cycles and was looking for an option.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @DaveDetroit

      Oh excellent! Glad it helped. What kind of bike you looking at? The WC Couture lady said that the responses to the article really helped her understand exactly what gun owners need and what our expectations are. Win win for us! I also found yesterday that you can easily swing that bag around so it essentially rides securely on your thigh while riding, making it an even easier draw.

  18. avatar RGP says:

    Years ago there was a trick shooter named Ed McGivern. Among other things, he trained the Montana Highway Patrol in the 1930’s. He was partial to crossdraw rigs and so the Montana Highway Patrol adopted crossdraw holsters.

    Then a number of them got shot with their own guns because it makes it easy for an assailant to grab.

  19. avatar DJ says:

    I like it all the advantages of on the body carry. Very secure way to ride with a gun.

    She said the magic words gun and motorcycle. Just like my wife.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @DJ

      Guns and bikes just seem to go together. Maybe it’s because I’m from Texas!

  20. avatar SkorpionFan says:

    Cool article. By coincidence, TheFirearmBlog has an article today showing some other options for conceled carrying while running.
    Concealed Carry Corner: Carrying While Jogging

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      Nice! I’ll check it out. Always looking for new ideas and products.

  21. avatar anaxis says:

    I made a homestead cross-draw rig for my Makarov out of a small used BucketBoss electrician’s tool-pouch, a scavenged D-ring from an old rucksack, a couple straps from an old VCR camcorder & it’s case, and a little extra foam from a Pelican case.

    The pouch’s side pockets retain the spare mag & a folding knife or multitool easily, and I carefully shaped & glued the dense foam into a permanent insert to keep the pistol square in the pouch.

    The simple Velcro closure flap snugs tightly over the back of the pistol, doesn’t present any weird snaps to rattle or poke arms/ribs, and keeps a lot of dirt/crap out.

    What was originally supposed to be something for kicking around the property has became my everyday rig. And it doesn’t *look* like a holster, until close enough to see the grip tucked against my side.

    Total cost?
    Used toolpouch: $5
    Everything else? Free

  22. avatar Mike H says:

    Elaine, El Paso Saddlery is a great custom holster maker. Maybe they’ll work with you, maybe not, but in my experience they do exceptional work. I’ve had 2 tanker holsters made by them. One for a S&W 686+, the other for a Colt M1917:

    https://epsaddlery.com/product/1942-tanker-holster-3-to-5-barrels/

    They have a couple of options that might serve as baseline for your particular rig:

    https://epsaddlery.com/product/doc-holiday-holster/

    https://epsaddlery.com/product/spyder-shoulder-system-complete-rig/

    Very happy with what they’ve done for me.

    1. avatar Elaine D. says:

      @Mike

      Oh nice! I will definitely check them out, thank you!

  23. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Awesome, Elaine D. Thank you for sharing.

  24. avatar David says:

    Sell your 238 and get a Sig P365. Then you can have 13 rds or 25 if you decide to carry an extra mag. Those are darn near full size numbers in a package very comparable to the 238 and same size as a Glock 43. The P365 shoots great too and shoots a better round

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