From 1982 to 1984, I worked on a countywide undercover narcotics unit known as the “Metropolitan Enforcement Group” (or MEG unit). MEG was comprised of two Licking County Ohio Sheriff’s Deputies, a City of Newark Police Detective, and an Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Agent.
Few of the local drug dealers went about armed in our area 34 years ago (with the exclusion of outlaw biker gangs), but we law enforcement officers were. That meant that if you were found to have a handgun on you (especially a blued “police” .38), there was a strong likelihood that you were an undercover cop, so it was REALLY important that you kept your firearm deeply concealed. And for much of my time on the unit, I carried a single-action Star PD .45 automatic pistol.
It is a pity that the Star PD is no longer available. With its compact aluminum frame, it was a formidable little gun: totally reliable and easy to shoot. And .45 ACP hollow-point defensive ammo was available in the form of the 185-grain Winchester Silvertip, which was ideal for the Star.
I traded the Walther PPKs that I had been carrying to a fellow deputy for the Star PD. The trade deal included a handmade ankle holster. Even though flare leg jeans were still available then, the Star PD was just a little too large to carry on the ankle, and access to it was a bit slow. I ended up getting a leather thumb break IWB holster for it with a belt clip to carry at my beltline.
I ended up carrying the Star on my right front side in the “appendix” carry position. I was worried that while working undercover in a bar, someone might do a casual patdown across my back and find my handgun. I knew that most guys would not do a casual front patdown. Carrying a cocked and locked single-action .45 that had no grip safety in this position made it extra important to have a thumb break strap that ran between the hammer and the firing pin to prevent an unsightly accident. That Star PD was never spotted in any undercover buy or operation.
I also found that there were two additional advantages to appendix carry. The first is quick access to the handgun. With the handgun directly in front of you, the hand falls naturally to that position, allowing for one of the quickest possible draws. The second advantage is enhanced weapon retention. It is far easier to defend against a gun grab with your weapon carried in the appendix position than if it is carried in the small of the back or on the hip bone.
Due to the basic style of that IWB holster, I was forced to wear it with my T-Shirt untucked. It was too bad the CrossBreed Freedom Carry IWB holster was not available back then.
CrossBreed Freedom Carry IWB Holster
The Freedom Carry is one of the newest of the fine CrossBreed designs. Capable of being used in appendix, cross-draw, and strong-side carry in the 3-5 o’clock position, the Freedom Carry is basically a reduced-size SuperTuck holster with the leather backing cut away to support only one locking clip. This reduction in backing is what allows this rig to be carried comfortably in the appendix position. Note that CrossBreed also has a dedicated Appendix Model, but it is not designed for strong-side hip carry as is the Freedom Carry model.
According to the CrossBreed website, the Kydex pocket of the Freedom Carry is mounted in a straight draw position and has an adjustable cant clip, allowing the holster to be moved to the various carry positions. The Freedom Carry also can accept firearms equipped with various weapon lights, lasers, and slide-mounted micro red-dot sights if you specify them. The Freedom Carry comes in black cowhide, tan cowhide, or natural tan horsehide (when available). My sample came in black and was set up for my current Walther PPKs.
The Kydex holster shell of the Freedom Carry is molded to hold a specific handgun by friction fit. There is no retention strap, so I would be careful when carrying a cocked and locked pistol with no grip safety in the appendix location. I would be fine carrying any 1911-type pistol with a grip safety in that position, however…but that’s just me.
The Freedom Carry can be worn shirt tucked in behind the single clip, which then is visible on the outside over the belt. The clip can be camouflaged by a cell phone. Of course the Freedom Carry can also be worn with the shirt over it, which eliminates any concerns about a visible clip. I chose to test the Freedom Carry using a Blackhawk button up concealment shirt worn untucked over the holster.
Testing With My PPK
My PPKs rode very well in the Freedom Carry, and there was no danger of it popping out of the Kydex shell due to the precise friction fit. The comfort level was especially good since I wore the Freedom Carry against a T-shirt so that the cowhide was not in direct contact with my skin, and there was just enough cowhide used to keep the PPKs from ever coming in direct contact with my body. Gun-to-skin contact really reduces the carrying comfort level.
CrossBreed holsters are among the most finely constructed rigs on the market. I have never had any loosening of the Kydex holster shell from the cowhide backing. CrossBreed is one of the few manufacturers with a lifetime warranty on their products. Your holster will also come to you with your last name hand written on the back to identify it—a nice personal touch.
The Freedom Carry is priced at $64.50 on the CrossBreed website. For more information, check out the entire line at www.crossbreedholsters.com.