There are many times when I desire to carry a 1911 ‘offside’ in a shoulder holster, but I do not care for vertical shoulder holsters. While I have a Galco Miami Vice II shoulder holster, the barrel of a full-size 5-inch barreled 1911 protrudes beyond the holster body, and while fine with a shorter barreled “Commander” or “Office” size 1911, I prefer full barrel coverage and protection.
There are cross-draw holsters in the marketplace for full size 1911-based pistols, but they are primarily OWB holsters and most are too bulky for my taste; I prefer an IWB holster, but finding one for cross-draw carry proves to be a challenge. So, what was my goal?
I needed an IWB cross-draw holster made of leather and one that would fully protect the pistol. In addition, it had to allow for adjustment and also not collapse when the pistol was drawn from it. It was time to do some research.
In my research, I came across the Galco Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster that, at first glance, seemed to fill my wants for a cross-draw holster.
Features of the Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster include:
- Rough-out steerhide
- Open top
- Reinforced mouth for easy holstering
- Converts for right- or left-hand use
- Includes two different belt clips
- Adjustable for angle (cant)
- UniClip fits belt up to 1 1/2″
- Ultimate Stealth clip fits belts of unlimited width
- Patent pending
There are three important features for me; (1) reinforced mouth for easy holstering, (2) it’s made of leather, and (3) the holster can be worn strong or weak side IWB. One feature that it does not incorporate is a sweat guard. Thank you, Galco.
The holster material is thick and stiff, and the roughout steerhide helps to keep the holster from shifting when in the waistband, with the help of the mounting clip of course. While the leather holster material helps to protect the finish of the pistol past the muzzle, an important thing for me was that the reinforced mouth of the holster.
The reinforced mouth is simply an additional layer (black leather band) of the same thickness as the holster material that helps to keep the mouth open once the pistol is drawn from the holster. When under pressure from the belt, the mouth will collapse slightly but is still open enough not to interfere with holstering the pistol. The band is single stitched and that seems more than adequate.
The holster is single stitched from the top of the trigger guard to the bottom of the holster so as to provide shape and protection for the trigger guard and add shape to the contour of the 1911. There is no tension adjustment in this area, as none is needed.
To provide the most comfort when wearing, the holster angle is adjustable with the mounting clip as it rotates around a central mounting point on the holster. Whether you are standing or sitting, the holster will find a ‘Sweet Spot’ on your body in which to rest. Although the angle (cant) of the holster can be somewhat adjusted, the depth of the holster cannot. However, the depth of the holster seems to be adequate in keeping the grip of the pistol available and tucked into the side tightly.
There are two mounting clips, made from a polymer material (it seems), that come with the holster. At first, I didn’t think that they would be adequate to affix the holster inside the waistband, but I was soon proven wrong. The clip mounted to the holster when it was delivered is more than adequate in securing the holster to the belt, as it has a claw that hooks under the belt, thus preventing the holster from coming out when the pistol is removed.
The second mounting clip is intended to be more discreet. The hook is designed to slip over the trouser top rather than the belt. An additional, smaller hook prevents the holster from riding too low inside the waistband by riding atop the belt.
Both mounting clips can be easily removed, installed, and adjusted with the use of a standard, flat-tipped screwdriver. Each clip has a “peg” that is inserted into an adjustment point just below the mounting screw.
As a side note, I find that the longer the holster is when worn IWB the more stable it is, as more holster material is inside the waistband. Short holsters tend to ride up during movement regardless of where it is carried. It’s not uncommon of me to carry a “Commander” or “Officer” model 1911 in a holster for a “Government” model because of this increased stability.
While the Galco Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster can be worn strong-side, weak-side, and appendix, I prefer the two formers to the latter; There is something about shoving a full-size 5-inch barreled 1911 pistol in a ‘cocked-n-locked’ condition in the Appendix Carry position that does not appeal to me.
The Galco Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster is a ‘minimalist’ holster, a fact that I like. It takes up very little real estate on the body, which is another fact that I like. I find the Galco Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster for the 1911-based pistol very comfortable and does the job that I rely on it to do…carry my 1911 pistol and protect the second-most important tool that I have to defend myself.
The downside of the Galco Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster is that when the firearm is holstered the front of the grip is pressed tightly against the belt, which hinders a clean grab of the grip.
I don’t consider clearing clothing away from the firearm an issue because that is expected when carrying a firearm in deep concealment. However, I do consider not having a clear path to the grip of the firearm an issue, or should I say around the grip, and especially when I cannot get a full hand around the grip without interference from the trousers. The best I can do is to get the thumb hooked under the grip, begin drawing the firearm from the holster, and then wrap my fingers around the grip as it is being pulled, or try to force my fingers around the grip while pushing against the belt and clothing. This is not a secure drawing technique – especially with a 1911-based pistol.
I am well aware of the (alleged) downsides of cross-draw carry. Cross-draw carry, however, works well for me. I have a long reach and most strong-side IWB holsters sit high, which forces the grip of the firearm well into my ribcage when sitting. Drawing the firearm means that I must rotate my shoulder forward and lean my body to the left and forward. I prefer a more forward angle (cant) of a holster that allows me to draw more out than up and out. With the cross-draw holster, having a long reach is an advantage even with my not so svelte build; It is easier for me to reach across my body than to contort myself when drawing from a strong-side holster.
I normally wear an un-tucked outer shirt and ‘man-purse’ vest so concealing a shoulder holster or cross-draw holster is not an issue. Even in cold months with either a thicker vest or additional out covering, access to my Personal Defense Assistant (PDA) is not impeded when outer clothing is worn open, as the grip of the PDA is butt forward and usually resides alongside my ‘spare tire’ comfortably.
(Author’s Notes: When trying to conceal a cross draw holster, think in terms of layers. Not only will you need to think of the number of layers covering the gun, your pants, and your shirt, but also in terms of how many layers are between you and the gun.
With the popular stippling or sandpaper like finish of the mini-guns today, wearing a cross draw or pending style holster without an undershirt is going to be difficult. Consider wearing an undershirt that is tucked in behind your holster and gun and an outer shirt. Don’t tuck out your outer shirt. It’s going to make it much too difficult to get your gun in a hurry.)
Also, as a right-hander but left-handed long-gun operator, I can retrieve my handgun with my strong hand, if need be, while holding the long-gun with my left hand without changing my body position.
Carrying a gun cross-draw is an excellent way to combine safety with concealment. The past few years have seen a trend in appendix carry. For better or worse, this has been fueled by an obsession with draw times. Consequently, people shoot themselves while conceal carrying in the appendix position more so than any other.
Cross-draw carry provides a solution to this problem by moving the muzzle of the gun away from being pointed at your pelvis but still allows for better concealment than traditional strong side hip holsters with the caveat being a slower draw. This unique level of combining both speed and accessibility safety makes the cross-draw holster a very underappreciated method carry.
And now for my recommendations. If you wish to carry a 1911-based pistol, and quick access to your firearm is your top priority, the Galco Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster is not for you; I favor a shoulder holster setup over an IWB cross-draw holster. Additionally, the holster must sit high enough for the grip of the firearm to be easily accessible yet the firearm be adequately supported inside the waistband; The Galco Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster does not deliver in that department, at least for the 1911-based pistol.
On a closing note, I honestly cannot recommend the Galco Scout 3.0 Strongside Crossdraw IWB Holster for cross-draw carry for the 1911-based pistol. If the holster sat a bit higher, enough for a clear grab on the grip, I would reconsider. Perhaps a shorter mounting clip might help? However, as a strong-side IWB ‘minimalist’ carry, the holster works just fine.