By Guy J. Sagi
The nightstand has always been the default position for an after-hours home-defense handgun, but it can be less than ideal. Parents may be concerned that a young child will wake up in the night, wander into the room undetected and discover it. And in the case of a home invasion, a sleeping spouse or adjacent rooms make it a challenge to keep the gun pointed in a safe direction as you bring it into play.
CrossBreed Holsters addresses the situation with its BedSide Backup, which holds your handgun firmly by use of a 9×11-inch, flat-polymer sheet that slides between the mattress and box spring. At .1 inch thick, it is rigid enough to make insertion easy, even when you’re checking into a cheap hotel after a long drive, and tough enough to handle a decent amount of abuse. Its rounded edges also minimize the chances that bedding will be torn or caught during installation. Molded into this sheet is a pair of one inch-tall, 2.25 inch-wide right-angle “brackets” to hold the exterior portion and holster.
A second piece of polymer (8x9x.1 inches) utilizes those hangers to rest flush against the outside of a mattress and box spring. A molded Ohai holster then mounts to the exterior’s Velcro side, and adjusting cant and height is as easy as removing the holster and reattaching. Obviously, you simply slide the entire unit back and forth under the mattress until the gun is, literally, at your fingertips.
The modular system is ideal for home and travel. It stores compactly enough to fit in check-on luggage and the Ohai holster can do double duty when you’re behind the wheel by simply using Velcro to secure it in your vehicle or briefcase.
The BedSide Backup rides low enough between the mattress and box spring that the odds are extremely low you’ll feel it while jumping into or out of bed. Body and mattress weight anchored it well during testing, making draws firm and secure.
After some practice, there was never any question as to the gun’s location and the confidence gained as a result could make all the difference in an emergency. With the gun mounted vertically, it’s possible to draw while only muzzling the floor (which is OK unless someone is in the bedroom directly below), rather than swinging it across the room, as is usually the case when staged on a nightstand. With practice, the side of the bed can be used as an index for your arm as you engage the target, thereby minimizing the chances the barrel will go anywhere near your feet or a slumbering significant other, even in complete darkness.
Getting that maneuver down, however, will require lots of practice and patience. With the gun unloaded and double checked, again with the lights on from a lying down position, draw slowly and repeatedly, visualizing the target at points of entry. It will take time to develop the muscle memory to use the bed’s side as an index and doing so in a stressful situation may seem dreadfully slow. But, it still counts if you shoot yourself in a gunfight, so practice getting those toes out of the way, even if the door is directly in front of your side of the bed. Remember, too, you must always positively identify anything you think is a target. Family members sometimes get up in the night for water and the dog may need to go outside.
The BedSide Backup is virtually undetectable once you make the bed, a big advantage if you travel. After all, there’s no reason to let room service or nosy neighbors know you’re armed or where the gun is located.
In addition, the holster is on the bed, not on a table inches away. As a result, if someone tries to gain unauthorized access to the gun, the odds are greatly improved you’ll be awakened.
The BedSide Backup comes with an Ohai holster, and the 1911 version tested proved to be a pleasant surprise. CrossBreed Holsters combines leather and Kydex in its products, and the Ohai is no exception. The leather backing measures eight and five inches at its widest and tallest points and Velcro covers every inch on the back side (except where the six rivets anchor the pre-formed Kydex holster).
It’s nicely formed to a full-sized 1911’s shape, has ample room for taller sights and the minimum thickness measured on the Kydex was .059 inch. The gun was secure, despite the single-retention method, until upside down and shaken. With wear that will probably change, and it’s something to consider before mounting in a vehicle or case.
With that said, there is a huge advantage to simply removing your self-defense handgun from its bedside position and easily mounting it in the car before your commute. The more convenient carry is, the greater the odds it will become habit.
The most vulnerable point in the entire system would seem to be the “hangers” that extend from the largest polymer sheet. Although wide enough to take the weight of a full-sized 1911 without bending, their L shape makes them particularly vulnerable to the bangs and bumps associated with travel. We’ve all had polymer and even metal gear bent or broken in our check-on luggage and these edges beg for thoughtful packing.
It isn’t a major concern with American-made CrossBreed Holsters, however. Original owners who have their CrossBreed break during normal use will either have it replaced or repaired, thanks to the company’s lifetime warranty.
MSRP for the BedSide Backup is $73.95, and it’s available in both left- and right-handed versions for a long list of handgun-specific Ohai holsters. CrossBreed also stands behinds its products with a two-week satisfaction guarantee. If, at any time during that period, you’re less than satisfied with one of its products, simply give the company a call and it will buy it back (minus shipping and handling).
It may not be the ideal solution, but it’s better than most and a lot more safe then simply tossing your handgun on a nightstand and calling it good. If nothing else, it will force you to stage the gun, and maybe even practice how you need to react if the unthinkable ever does happen.