Shoulder Holsters: Let's Talk.


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Packman
November 6, 2010, 11:02 PM
I'm interested in potentially carrying in a shoulder holster. I'd like to hear from those of you who have used this method of carry.

For reference, I carry a Smith and Wesson 3913NL. I'm 6'00" and 140 lbs. (AKA: Beanpole.) I work retail sales, which requires that I be in fairly close proximity to both customers and coworkers. I'm legally allowed to carry at work, However, my boss will most assuredly fire me for it. Concealment is paramount. I'm presently using Appendix IWB with a tuckable High Noon. Dress code is semi-formal, that is, slacks and a collared shirt. I generally wear western-style button downs, with snaps in place of buttons. Wearing a jacket is generally going to be over-dressed in this environment.

So, for those of you who use shoulder holsters, I ask this:

What is most important in a SH?

What's not so important?

What styles/materials lend themselves well to concealment?

Is a large-ish button down going to cut it for concealment? (I can pass off the "X" on the back as a back brace. ) I'm more worried about the gun under my arm.

Vertical gun, or horizontal carry?

Are offside tiedowns a neccesity?

Will 2 mags balance the gun?

Is a detail-molded holster a requirement?

What else should I know?

I'm considering ordering one of the High Noon shoulder rigs. They have a very very good satisfaction guarantee on their products. I've been happy with my other holsters from them.
http://www.highnoonholsters.com/Product_Line/Belt_Holsters/Inside_The_Waistband/Magazine_Carriers/Pocket_Holsters/shoulder_rigs.html
Does anyone have any experience with this rig? What should I know about it?

Thanks in advance. :)

Packman

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Nematocyst
November 6, 2010, 11:07 PM
I'm more interested in SH for a revolver, but ... I'll read anyway.

PS: I owned a 3913 about 5 years ago. Was too big for my hand.
Traded it for a Kahr K9, but then went back to revolvers.

Packman
November 6, 2010, 11:32 PM
I'm planning to wait for a few more paychecks, but I'll probably have myself a J-frame before Christmas. I'm a revolver guy at heart. The Smith is actually my only autoloader, all my other handguns spin.

I liked the feel of the Kahr as well, but the 3913 came out on top of the list of "Carry Criteria", so here it sits. :)

burley
November 6, 2010, 11:37 PM
SHs are a pain. backache, headache, etc. Carry one all day and you'll see. I bought one from High Noon and I'm sorry I did. It's for a CZ PCR.

Zundfolge
November 7, 2010, 12:37 AM
I've never carried in a shoulder holster but have been told by those that have that they are uncomfortable and really don't conceal that well without a jacket.

Your best bet may be a tuckable IWB with clips that velcro to the back side of your belt (like the Fist Secret System (http://www.fist-inc.com/holsters/holster/22.htm)... Comp-Tac (http://www.comp-tac.com/product_info.php?products_id=78) and Crossbreed (http://www.crossbreedholsters.com/Holsters/IWBInsideWaistBand/tabid/56/List/0/ProductID/8/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName%2cProductName) have similar clip systems available).

About the only thing that would be more concealable is something like a Ruger LCP in a pocket holster.

mljdeckard
November 7, 2010, 01:41 AM
I use a Galco Miami Classic for my all-steel 1911, I love it, never had a problem. A couple of things to remember, you do need to learn to draw and re-holster without flagging yourself, and some ranges won't let you practice drawing.

I use horizontal, and I've never thought I needed tie-downs. Two mags do balance well, but I might also get a pouch for a flashlight.

Lucky Derby
November 7, 2010, 12:32 PM
A jacket is really a must for a traditional shoulder rig. I used a shoulder rig (Galco Miami Classic) for a Sig P220 and it worked great and was comfortable. You might look at a tuckable holster or if the shouder thing is what you want, another option is the T shirts with the built in holsters. 5.11 Tactical makes one, and I think others do as well.

burley
November 7, 2010, 12:58 PM
Let me ask you this, Packman, how do you do with a back pack? I'm 6'4" and 195. Tall, broad shouldered, narrow waisted. Hate backs packs. the weight, the balance, the pressure all remind me of a SH. Here's my HN SH, mag pouch, tie downs, the works. Wear this all day and you know it

http://i622.photobucket.com/albums/tt309/burley_bucket/supert.jpg

If it was me, I'd go with a Super Tuck.

mfcmb
November 7, 2010, 01:29 PM
Two suggestions:

(1) Take a look at the 5.11 tactical concealed carry holster shirt. I have found this to give outstanding concealment when worn under a regular shirt without a jacket, and can be very comfortable. Notes: It is a compression shirt, so it hugs very tightly, so you might want to order a size larger. Since the entry to the holster is at chest height, you have to wear it with a shirt you can pull up to chest level (like a Tee or polo shirt) or with a shirt with snaps on the front (which is the kind you say you wear, so you're good to go). I find the seams a little scratchy, so I always wear mine with an undershirt underneath.

(2) Take a look at the SmartCarry holster. This is a double pouch that hangs down in front of your crotch. One compartment holds your gun, the other a spare magazine. This holster is highly concealable, safe and in most cases comfortable. Do not buy a cheap, thin imitation. Notes: If you wear your belt at waist level, then this can be very comfortable for all day carry. If you wear your belt low around your hips you might find there's not enough room for the gun when you sit down (because the belt is too close to the thighs when sitting).

Good luck!

burley
November 7, 2010, 01:48 PM
Or a Smart Carry! :p Donno if you want a holster shirt in SW Fl. Smart carry would work. Another thing I don't like about my HN SH is it doesn't work with my CT grips.

Isher
November 7, 2010, 02:02 PM
Packman -

Like you, "I have to stand up twice to make a shadow" (6'2''/165#). Living in SW Fla., I'd say you are close to out of luck, because a shoulder rig really does require an outer garment. However........... when I was living in Tampa, I wore a light Columbia Sportwear vest over my CZ P-01/ UnderTaker rig:

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_6-JHogjgx_I/TNbwSKxMjWI/AAAAAAAAAOw/U3SaD6eGMrE/s800/P1010487.JPG


If anyone noticed, they sure didn't say so.

I still wear it, under a vest, as I habitually wear vests. Personally, I like shoulder rigs better than belt rigs for concealed carry.

Isher

Vern Humphrey
November 7, 2010, 03:15 PM
Note the continuing thread -- a Shoulder Holster needs a cover garment.

(1) Take a look at the 5.11 tactical concealed carry holster shirt. I have found this to give outstanding concealment when worn under a regular shirt without a jacket, and can be very comfortable. Notes: It is a compression shirt, so it hugs very tightly, so you might want to order a size larger. Since the entry to the holster is at chest height, you have to wear it with a shirt you can pull up to chest level (like a Tee or polo shirt) or with a shirt with snaps on the front (which is the kind you say you wear, so you're good to go). I find the seams a little scratchy, so I always wear mine with an undershirt underneath.
That's three layers -- a regular shirt, the 5.11 tactical concealed carry holster shirt, and an undershirt. Any outdoorsman can tell you that layered garments are much warmer than a single garment of equal thickeness.

I go with a tuckable of my own design -- and carry in 100+ degree weather under a T-shirt with no problems.

usp9
November 7, 2010, 05:43 PM
So, for those of you who use shoulder holsters, I ask this:
What is most important in a SH?
Proper fit of a a quality made, good design.
What's not so important?
Saving money... buy a good one. A $30 is not the same as a $200 holster.
What styles/materials lend themselves well to concealment?
Leather, because it breathes.

Is a large-ish button down going to cut it for concealment? (I can pass off the "X" on the back as a back brace. ) I'm more worried about the gun under my arm.
No, a shirt won't do it. You need a proper cover garment. It sounds like a shoulder holster would not fit your needs.Vertical gun, or horizontal carry?
Depends on the gun, barrel length, etc.
Are offside tiedowns a neccesity?
They help keep the gun stable, and keep it from bouncing against your ribs. An opposite side tie-down keeps the rig very stable.
Will 2 mags balance the gun?
No. It only helps.
Is a detail-molded holster a requirement?
A quality holster will be molded to the gun. IMHO that is what you need.
What else should I know?
The draw is slower.
The gun can get heavy and bothersome after hours of wear.
In close proximity to people it is actually pretty hard to hide unless your cover garment is really good or you don't move much.
They do indeed cause bulges and bumps in your cover garment. A shoulder holster is not an invisibility machine.

Nematocyst
November 7, 2010, 07:10 PM
This is a very interesting thread that I've been waiting on for years. Thanks to all.

Question: How would you compare a SH rig to a cross draw?

I have a standard strong side OWB, but really want to put the snub on the weak side.

Comments?

Packman
November 7, 2010, 07:41 PM
usp9- Thanks for the reply. I appreciate the insight greatly.

Vern- I'm thinking y'all are right, a SH probably isn't going to work for me.

To all: I'm currently carrying in appendix position. With my shirt bloused out, I can't even tell it's there. (Well, visibly. I can sure feel it.) I think this is going to be my best bet. I just can't use strongside IWB. It prints too much on my body. Casual carry, that's one thing, but not good enough for work.

I don't think I like the idea of a holster shirt, because to make it useful for every day carry, I'd need like 5 so I wouldn't stink. (To those who've never tried them...That material holds body odor amazingly well.) They're awfully expensive to get that many of them. I might get 1 to evaluate it though.

Nematocyst: I thought about crossdraw, but I'm not entirely convinced. I would also be using a snubnose revolver in the crossdraw position. Here's my problem with it: If I go all the way around to my weak side hip, I can't reach it fast enough for my liking. If I carry in front of the hip, (Basically offside appendix) I can't find a holster with enough cant to let me have the draw I want. Also, my belt interferes with that position, because it's double-thick to hold the buckle on. I think I would personally rather go with a SH than a crossdraw, unless I could find a holster that had an aggressive butt-forward cant that concealed well in front of my offside hip.

armoredman
November 7, 2010, 08:08 PM
I'd go against the thread premise, and say find some slacks with deep big pockets, get a nice well made pocket rig, and carry in there. A shoulder holster will be exactly what you don't want.

The Lone Haranguer
November 7, 2010, 09:09 PM
Wearing a jacket is generally going to be over-dressed in this environment.
This requirement is totally incompatible with a conventional shoulder holster. Even if you put it under your shirt, the straps and harness are certain to "print."

SharpsDressedMan
November 7, 2010, 09:12 PM
Maybe a belly band rig, or Kramer vest holster. That way you don't have too much layering, but concealed beneath your shirt is the BEST way to keep it out of sight, and that would be paramount to keeping the boss out of it.

Zundfolge
November 7, 2010, 09:39 PM
I wasn't paying close enough attention ... the OP is in SE FLA.

With ANY sort of shoulder rig he's going to be ready to eat his pistol the first summer day he has to spend more than 2 minutes outside ... unless he has some sort of sweat fetish.

With a belly band or some type of elastic chest rig I give him about 45 seconds.

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