CrossBreed Holsters has an innovative new product for CCW permit holders wanting a versatile off-the-body method for going armed. They’ve developed an extremely functional shoulder bag which has a discreet, quick-access compartment to conceal a holstered handgun. CrossBreed calls it their Concealed Carry Shoulder Bag (CCSB) and in today’s modern, high-tech, “wired” world this shoulder bag looks very much like a typical, unthreatening laptop computer case. From a practical standpoint the CCSB blends in well with today’s typical urban landscape. For concealed carry, its design and appearance are, I think, its strongest attributes. The bag does not appear to the casual observer to be overtly “tactical” looking – which can be a decisive advantage to the CCW holder. In fact, a person wearing the CCSB slung over their shoulder appears to be any one of the countless number of people who carry a laptop computer, or book bag, back and forth to work or school each day.
The CCSB that I had the opportunity to review was made out of sturdy black canvas material and tanned leather. As is typical with CrossBreed products, both the materials and workmanship evident in the CCSB’s construction are first-rate. The use of the mixed materials, combined with quality construction and stitching, gives the bag a high-end look, and not simply like that of a utilitarian mil-spec denier nylon “assault bag”.
The basic design of the CCSB is very similar to that of a laptop computer bag or book bag with a fold-over top. The fold-over flap top covers a spacious main compartment which has three individual side pouches sewn in, where you can stow smaller, loose items such as spare magazines or revolver speed loaders, keys, a cell phone, etc… The flap is secured via snap hook hardware. The bag’s adjustable shoulder strap is made of black web material and attaches to the bag with snap hook hardware.
Running vertically along the left-hand side of the bag, when slung over the wearer’s shoulder, is a full length black zipper which discreetly blends in with the seam. Pulling down on this zipper opens the slit concealment compartment. The bag I tested was set up this way for right handed shooters, but CrossBreed also produces them for southpaws with the zipper access to the concealment pocket being on the opposite side of the bag. To aid in quickly locating the zipper, especially in high-stress situations, I looped a length of black 550 parachute cord through the hole in the zipper. This allows me to yank the zipper by grabbing the cord with my whole hand, not just with my right thumb and forefinger. Accessing the concealment compartment in a fumble-proof, fast manner were my primary concerns here.
The removable holster which fits in the concealment compartment is one of CrossBreed’s excellently designed Ohai Kydex and leather models. The Ohai is a weapon-specific holster, and the user will need to specify their gun type at the time of ordering. It is secured in the concealment compartment with Velcro material. The “loop” Velcro material is sewn into the sidewall of the bag’s concealment compartment, and the “hook” Velcro material is covering the back side of the Ohai holster’s flat leather panel. The Ohai holster design provides user-adjustable retention and a covered trigger guard which allows a secure Condition 1 carry option. Since the holster is a separate piece of the CCSB system, it can be securely positioned in the bag to the shooter’s exact height/cant preferences. As a well thought out extra touch, Crossbreed provides extra loop Velcro material which the owner can put on the underside of a desk, car interior, etc… with which to secure the Ohai holster when it’s not being used exclusively with the bag. Talk about 24/7 real-world versatility!
After living with the bag for awhile I increasingly came to appreciate the functionality of its innovative design. The bag blends totally in the typical urban landscape. Unzipping the concealment compartment and smoothly drawing a holstered handgun is next to effortless, and requires no break-in of the Ohai holster. There is a semi-auto pistol magazine pouch sewn onto the side wall of the concealment compartment. During drills where I drew the weapon, fired the gun then attempted either slide lock reloads, or reloads with retention, I found this particular spare magazine pouch set up awkward. The shooter has to transition his gun to his weak hand and reach back into the bag’s concealment compartment with his strong hand to retrieve the spare magazine. During a lethal force encounter this would be tactically disadvantageous to the user. Elastic loops for 3-4 magazines sewn vertically into the body of the main compartment would be a better solution. This would allow the shooter to maintain both his focus on events around him, as well as control his handgun in his strong hand while using his weak hand to quickly access the main compartment and retrieve the securely stowed magazines there.
All in all though, I very much like the concept of CrossBreed’s CCSB. It’s tailor-made (no pun intended) for women, who in the conduct of their daily, urban lives would not be at a tactical disadvantage using it to legally carry for personal protection. My wife has commandeered my test bag. In addition to a .45, she’s got her “girl stuff” in there. For students, it blends in well as a laptop and/or book bag. Imagine how great it would have been if the academic elites running Virginia Tech had allowed concealed carry on campus, and one of those innocents ultimately slaughtered by the psychopath murderer had been discreetly armed in this manner, and could have defended themselves!
To provide this common-sense carry option to the widest possible customer demographic, CrossBreed is, at the time of this review, working to provide both an all-canvas CCSB, as well as an all-leather CCSB. Up market, down market, or in between, they’ve got a CCSB bag/holster combination to cover your needs. For more information go online to CrossBreed’s excellent website at www.crossbreedholsters.com to check out the CCSB, or to place an order. CrossBreed can also be reached at: (888) 732-5011.
Update: The Concealed Carry Shoulder Bag is now being offered on the Cross Carry Bags site: www.crosscarrybags.com
Reviewed By: B.T. Davis