Should I get belt holster or shoulder rig?


July 17, 2012, 10:16 PM
I don't care about concealed.

This is for when I am walking around at home, doing chores, etc. and have to have a firearm with me just in case (e.g., bad things in the neighborhood lately, etc.)

Also, a secondary purpose is to have the handgun on me as the backup, while I have a long-gun as the primary.

Does the shoulder rig interfere (much) with activities in front of you, such as say cooking, doing yard work, garage, etc?

I want something comfortable to carry, and is easy to draw (and I get that with practice any holster can be easy to draw).

And brand recommendations appreciated (I don't know what is bad or good).


PS - I have a Beretta 92A1 and Glock 19 and probably will carry the Beretta mostly; buying a holster for each is also possible.

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July 17, 2012, 11:20 PM
I CCW daily with a proper belt and a good IWB or OWB holster, but once upon a time I bought a shoulder-rig just for kicks, and to loan to a holster-less buddy upon any given afternoon of shooting outdoors. Turns out the shoulder rig is really handy for when I'm around the house in PJs. On weekends sometimes I see how far I can go about my day in my pajamas before getting properly dressed to go somewhere, and when doing the dishes or whatever I might be doing, i can just toss the shoulder rig on and now I have a secure pistol and I'm still 'comfy.' Another thing to consider is getting up in the night to investigate your barking dog or a strange sound, do you have a minute to put pants on? You could just grab the shoulder rig and your gun, and now have a way to safely free your hands if necessary...

On the other hand, a good belt and a good belt-holster are almost always a faster draw, and a sturdier way to carry that gun when it's not in your hands.

I think the right answer is both, but if you have to choose one or the other, think it over and go with whatever you are feeling more.

I'm no expert, just throwing thoughts your way :)

July 17, 2012, 11:25 PM
You'll need a real gunbelt for a belt rig, of any design for any gun more heavy than a modern pocket rocket (LCP/P3at/TCP/P380) type.

The good news is that you have two of the most common handguns in the world - the bad news is that you'll have to choose among dozens (hundreds?) of holster designs.

I, personally, mount my handguns in CrossBreed holsters and hang that off of a BeltMan belt. But my goal is concealment and comfort for long-term wear - I'm not a believer of picking and choosing when to be armed and when not to, because my crystal ball is rather unreliable.

July 17, 2012, 11:39 PM
OK thanks guys - you really helped me zero in on the decision. I like the PJ scenario and it makes total sense that I would not likely have a pant+belts on in the middle of the night and also might need two hands free (i.e., not holding onto a firearm).

So, I wil get a shoulder rig first and then shop around for a proper belt+holster.

Now to see what is a decent shoulder rig. (Probably I will get one for the Beretta, first, unless there is a good one fitting both guns).

July 17, 2012, 11:39 PM
Buy both and see which you prefer?
Shoulder for the Beretta.
IWB/OWB for Glock.

July 17, 2012, 11:41 PM
Shoulder = cross-draw, which offers some issues. I'm a waistband guy, myself.

July 17, 2012, 11:44 PM
Shoulder holsters are hot, plaster your shirt against your skin, add weight, and flop around unless attached to your pants belt.

I have several, and seldom if ever use them because they are so uncomfortable to wear all day.

A good belt and hi-ride holster can be carried comfortably 24/7 if you have too.


July 17, 2012, 11:45 PM
I personally really like the Galco Miami rig, I have the components for right hand 1911,left hand G19 or I can run one gun and mag holders on the other side, this is a good quality comfortable setup.IMO:)

July 17, 2012, 11:51 PM
IMO, holsters are almost totally a personal preference thing to each individual. What one guy loves, the next guy may not be able to tolerate.

July 18, 2012, 12:19 AM
I personally really like the Galco Miami rig, I have the components for right hand 1911,left hand G19 or I can run one gun and mag holders on the other side, this is a good quality comfortable setup.IMO:)
I checked the Miami Rig; looks comfortable but also seems like it might flop around if I am running or bending down to pick up something, etc? I am trying to see if I can find a shoulder/chest rig where the gun won't move around that much (also won't "give" too much when I draw it).

July 18, 2012, 07:06 AM
The horizontal rigs rarely secure at the waist. It seems that vertical shoulder rigs more often come with a belt loop to anchor the holster at the belt. The Bianchi X-15 is an example of a verticle shoulder holster that has a belt loop.

July 18, 2012, 09:14 AM
I have the Miami Classic for the 1911. You can get tie-downs for it, they are optional, but I heve never felt like I needed them. The straps are thin, like 3/4". Galco makes another shoulder rig that has tapered straps, it might spread the weight more....I am just used to it, I never cared, all-steel 1911.

If you wear a shoulder holster, a couple of things to consider. When you draw, you need to make sure you don't flag your weak arm. I do this by putting my weak hand on my strong shoulder as I draw to keep it out of the way. You aren't worried about concealment, but in moderate weather, I wear an unbuttoned shirt over it, and you have to watch the wind, I've had to grab the shirt a few times to keep it from blowing open. I can't really find a way to wear it in summer, in 100+ degrees, without looking odd for wearing a concealment garment. (My Don Johnson linen jackets just don't work anymore.)

July 18, 2012, 09:23 AM
The Andrews Custom Leather "Monarch Rig" offers a variety of options, tie downs are one of them. It also gives you the option to take the holster off the harness and wear it on your belt.

You could probably buy a holster for both pistols and use the same harness.

Vern Humphrey
July 18, 2012, 04:40 PM
Most people who carry daily carry on the waist, strong side.

Let's start with the basics -- a good belt and a pancake holster is the most comfortable, practical rig going.

You can take any pancake and convert it into an IWB Tuckable by adding reverse J hooks (I make mine from strips of Kydex.) The reverse J hooks are attached to the bottom of the holster, one on each side of the slide, with Chicago (post screws.)

July 18, 2012, 04:51 PM
A belt rig is better in almost every conceivable way IMHO. Shoulder holsters are for concealed carry and even there a good IWB holster will conceal better. About the only use I can think of for shoulder holsters is so guys in movies can look cool :).

Particularly if I don't care about concealment, I'm going to carry strong side in a regular OWB holster. The Bladetech OWB SRB kydex holsters would be a good place to start looking. There are a lot of good custom makers out there too.

July 18, 2012, 06:05 PM
I am spending considerable effort scouring around for holsters. I can't believe it is this complicated... I had thought that with so many decades of guns behind us it would not be this complex. My Glock 19 seems to be relatively OK with options but it is the Beretta 92A1 (and not just the 92FS generally) that is hard to fit (with the extra 1913 rail).

Vern Humphrey
July 18, 2012, 09:15 PM
You can get leather, heavy stitching thread and needles from Tandy and make your own. For the cost of one factory made holster, you can get enough material to make a dozen.

Most people when they first begin CCW start accumulating holsters, because they aren't sure what's best. And that costs money. Design and make your own, and if you don't like it, make a different version next time.

July 18, 2012, 09:57 PM
Well, I am pretty handy with things but don't think I am THAT handy enough to make a leather holster myself. At least, not something I think I can depend on. But thanks for the heads up about the possibility of accumulating a ton of holsters I might not like. I guess this really makes a case for LGS that allow you to try out holsters (of course, the problem is whether or not people end up buying from you after checking things out; not unlike most clothing stores).

July 18, 2012, 10:34 PM
I don't care about concealed.

Sorry I just noticed this part from the original post, if this is the case get yourself a kydex cqc on a paddle. There is no need for a belt or you can use a belt. The guns are super protected and draw very nicely, this will fit the bill nicely IMHO.

July 18, 2012, 11:54 PM
Lol it took a few posts for someone to bring up Don Johnson.

As far as flapping when you run... a typical leather belt holster without an active retention device can't be run with either. The gun will bounce out. It requires you to put a hand on it. The way to keep a shoulder holster from flapping is to tuck your arm in as if carrying a football.

But how many of us run on a normal basis wearing street clothes and a gun?

July 19, 2012, 12:03 AM
When I was first searching around to learn about that Miami rig, I came across photos of Don Johnson, and I was thinking huh? and then a second later, OF COURSE! Hahaha.

July 19, 2012, 02:16 AM
To answer the question in the title, my short answer is to get a belt holster, for your "strong" side. Others have largely already stated why I believe this. Unless one has a physical limitation, or situational or environmental constraints, one's hip is generally the best location for a weapon.

A quick remark about the Andrews Monarch, that was mentioned in one reply: in its original standard configuration, it does not use tie-downs, but a cross-strap, that crosses the wearer's middle back. In my opinion, this is a MUCH better mousetrap than tie-downs. Running is feasible when wearing a Monarch with the across-the-back strap.

My Monarch is set-up to carry an SP101 on the right side, for left-hand draw. It is important to note that I carry "primary" 24/7 at 0300, on the belt. I figure I will reach there by conditioned reflex in an emergency; consistency is a good thing in the placement of emergency equipment. (I carry my
primary duty pistol, in police uniform, on my "strong" side hip, by regulation.) I don't often wear a
shoulder rig, as I live on the often-tropical Texas coastal prairie, but there are times it is convenient or
comfortable to tote a second handgun in my Monarch.

My Monarch rig was originally set-up to tote my duty P229; that was a very bulky rig! I virtually never wanted to wear the sufficiently bulky coat needed to cover this wide-bodied pistol, spare magazines, and rig. A bigger guy might be able to make it work; not my skinny self.

July 19, 2012, 07:48 AM
Based on your scenario, knocking around the house doing chores, etc. I would go with the G19 in a good OWB holster and good belt simply due to the G19 being lighter than the 92. And I am NOT a Glock fanboy so in this case it comes down to practicality.

July 19, 2012, 09:37 AM
I tried a Bianchi shoulder holster years ago but culd never get comfortable with it. Went to IWB/OWB belt holsters and have been very happy with that mode of carry ever since.

Vern Humphrey
July 19, 2012, 11:43 AM
Well, I am pretty handy with things but don't think I am THAT handy enough to make a leather holster myself.
If I can make holsters, a duck can make holsters.

All you have to do is cut out two pieces of leather -- use a box cutter or similar knife. Then you stitch them together. I use a toothed wheel to mark stitches, but you can use a screwdriver blade, pressing it into the leather. You can drill pilot holes on a drill press. Then you double stitch with a big, blunt needle and waxed or nylon thread. Stitch one seam all the way, they come back, so you get a lock stitch.

If you like, soak the holster in warm water until it become floppy, put the gun in a ziplock bag and force it into the holster. Use something smooth like a toothbrush handle to force the leather to conform to the gun, then let it dry for at least 72 hours.

July 19, 2012, 12:04 PM
For bumming around the house, I prefer a paddle holster, open-top, strong side, no cant.
For CCW I like a pancake holster with 10% cant. I detest shoulder holsters, but I have one for long car rides.

July 19, 2012, 12:46 PM
steveracer reminded me of something. When you're driving, a shoulder holster gives the best access.

July 19, 2012, 01:09 PM
I don't currently use a shoulder rig for concealed carry but have one like this on my list
I have worn a heavy tool belt for much of my life and discovered good solid suspenders take a lot of the load so the harness probably won't be much of a problem besides I can carry a G19 comfortably in one of those T shirt holsters all day without discomfort.
I wouldn't look at it as the end all method of carry but it would have its benefits during the winter or while driving. In the winter I seldom have a jacket sipped up tight but more often half way up so belt carry is impeded but a shoulder holster would still be pretty easy to get to.

July 19, 2012, 02:16 PM
DefiantDad : I am defferent from most because I prefer the shoulder rig vs the belt rig. I never liked any more stuff than was absloutly necessary, tried around my waist. I used a shoulder rig the first time in VIET NAM in the 60`s and I have liked them every since. To me a shoulder rig is very comfortable. I really like the Bianchi X-15 shoulder rig and have several of them. I find this shoulder rig doesn`t get in my way, and distributes the weight of even my old 7 1/2 inch Blackhawk 45 LC, or Super Blackhawlk 44 mag to the point I do not get even a sore shoulder, after hunting or just carring all day. A lighter smaller gun in this rig and I forget I even have it on. Good luck to you you: ken

July 19, 2012, 02:53 PM
I'd start with a belt holster first - there are a number of folks that are moving away from shoulder holsters for various reasons, but the Hollywood force is strong, grasshopper! :D
I also defy 'conventional 'Net wisdom' and prefer retention straps on 'bout all my holsters.

'Course, you remember the four rules of gun safety?
How's that shoulder holster of your choice going to square with those rules?!
I once had a shoulder holster for a 6" Python years ago, but it held the gun vertically, barrel down, but I don't see many of those for semi-autos advertised.

I have a real problem with shoulder rigs that point to the rear (you want that person in front of you in the checkout line?), and if it holds the gun barrel up, you run the risk of an AD/ND severing your subclavian artery, and there is no outside pressure point for hemmorage control of a severed subclavian - so, you shoot yourself, you bleed out!

If I were you, I'd invest a little money in The Gun Digest Book of Concealed Carry ( - the info you're going to get on the 'Net is like a box of chocolates, and folks just don't seem to have the ability (or desire) to weigh the pros / cons of their choices.

For reasonably priced (discounted at Optics Planet and eBay vendors), quality holsters that you won't have to wait three months for, I've had good luck with various DeSantis rigs.
Something like their Thumb Break Scabbard ( gives you options (strong side or crossdraw) and a retention strap.

And as others have no doubt already told you...go ahead and get yourself a holster box! :D :banghead:

July 19, 2012, 05:00 PM
Thanks for all your great responses. I really hate it but you guys are probably going to be right about that holster box. Again, I really do not want to go there! Got enough other stuff to pay for these days... Oh, decisions decisions. And if my wife ever finds out there is a thing called a holster box (and with many holsters inside)... oh boy... (50% joking 50% pretty serious when I say that!).

July 19, 2012, 05:01 PM
basicblur - the good news I just found out is that I can borrow that book for free with the Amazon Prime subscription I have, so I will check that out definitely. Looks like it's written by ole' Mas.

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