Quality holsters matter, and after that, quality belts. Carrying a gun concealed, and concealed well, becomes a lot easier when using proper gear. However, wearing a good belt and holster requires clothing compatible with a good belt and holster. For starters, pants have to have belt loops, and the problem is not all pants do. For men, this is usually only the case with workout clothing, for women, it can be the case with a lot of “fashionable” clothing.
Outside of being able to carry a gun with clothing that will not support the use of a belt, the Crossbreed Modular Belly Band also allows you to carry a gun under a tucked shirt with zero indication of a gun being carried at all. While I wouldn’t want to rely on a belly band type holster as my full-time carry rig, it does fill a niche that most other holsters just cannot fill.
Usually, a belly band holster is a strip of material (usually neoprene or elastic), that will have a gun-shaped pocket sewn into it as a “holster.” This creates a few problems though. Soft-sided holsters have pretty significant weaknesses.
One of the primary purposes of a holster is to protect the trigger from being depressed. The issue with a soft-sided holster is that while it may be more difficult to press the trigger, the trigger can often still be pressed through the fabric of the holster. This is especially true if the material has some elasticity built into it, which they usually do.
The other issue with a soft-sided fabric holster is that once the gun is drawn, safely returning it to the holster becomes problematic, and nearly impossible if trying to do it with one hand. If we take a look at normal high-quality leather holsters, they almost all have some type of reinforcing material around the mouth of the holster. This is specifically to hold the holster open when the gun is removed so that the gun can later be easily and more importantly safely returned to the holster.
Recognizing this issue, Crossbreed adapted the leather and Kydex hybrid holsters they are known for to create the Modular Belly Band Package. The belly band itself consists of elastic construction with several Velcro panels for attaching the holster and an optional magazine pouch. The belly band is of sufficient length that it wraps around the body, then over the top of the holster again to help secure it. Absent of adding the magazine pouch there is a small vertical pocket on the bellyband that can also accommodate a magazine or perhaps a flashlight. There is also a larger, enclosed horizontal pocket that could be used to carry emergency cash or anything else that might need to be hidden away from the usual places.
For the holster part of the package, Crossbreed attached Velcro to the back of one of their hybrid holsters. This allows the end user to place the holster in various positions on the belly band, and essentially adjust ride height and holster cant as desired. It is a pretty slick idea. The same set up also allows for the addition of a magazine pouch if desired.
Where the setup starts to suffer is when it comes to the holster design itself. One of the typical issues with hybrid style holsters is the retention of the firearm. Hybrid holsters rely on the wearer’s belt creating pressure between the body and the Kydex portion of the holster to retain the gun. When the belt, and subsequently the pressure it creates, is removed from the equation that retention can be compromised. In the case of this particular holster made for a Walther CCP, the gun already fit a bit loose, and even when the belly band is cinched as tight as it can comfortably be, the gun is still not held in the holster as well as I would like. This may be an issue with this particular holster, but given that this is fairly typical of the holster type in general, I doubt it. Technically, being at least half Kydex, the holster could be tuned by the end-user for a more secure fit, but it really shouldn’t have to be.
The setup also seems to be a bit top heavy, and the gun tends to pull away from the body at the grip. I suspect this is due to a large percentage of the gun’s weight being in the loaded magazine in the grip of the gun, an elastic material that still stretches even when worn tight, and shorter barrel length that reduces counter leverage. It is likely that the design would work better with a smaller (i.e., lighter) gun or perhaps something like a revolver where the majority of the gun’s weight is not in the grip.
Even though I have my issues with the product, as far as belly bands go I still think the Crossbreed version in its intended role, is one of the better options. Even though the holster design is not perfect, it still allows the gun to be safely drawn and returned to the holster. It can also accommodate the addition of a magazine in an actual magazine pouch where it is still relatively easy to access.
While I would not consider it as a replacement for a more traditional style of holster, to fill a specific niche to allow a gun to be still carried when it otherwise wouldn’t, it is better than the alternative. Combined with a careful gun selection, or perhaps a little end-user modification, it could be turned into an excellent option.