Opinions On Shoulder Holsters


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BulletArc47
January 5, 2013, 11:44 AM
I hear people either love them, or hate them. Do they offer any type of advantage over a waist band holster?


What are y'alls thoughts?

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Old Fuff
January 5, 2013, 11:58 AM
Well they are probably the best way to carry a 6" or longer revolver and still be able to sit down. For that matter they will get any handgun above the belt line, and that's advantageous if you do a lot of sitting or need to have access while in a car. Obviously heavy guns won't tend to drag your pants down, as can be the case with OWB rigs.

Beyond this I haven't found any special advantages to justify using shoulder holsters.

Sam1911
January 5, 2013, 12:05 PM
Old Fuff has the answers, of course. If you need to carry a very large gun, the shoulder holster is a bit easier to do that with than most belt holsters.

If you're sitting down and/or driving during most of the times when you might need to be able to get the gun in a hurry, the shoulder holster again can be more advantageous than other designs, depending on several factors.

As for disadvantages, they tend to "print" worse than most folks believe, especially the horizontal versions. They tend to trade weight at the belt for weight on the shoulders, which isn't always a good thing. They also are hard to practice with easily as few ranges and NO competition venues allow their use due to the near impossibility of drawing without committing a muzzle-direction violation and/or sweeping other shooters and sometimes yourself.

On the other hand, they're really good if you're going for a vintage '70s'-'80s cop show look. :)

scramasax
January 5, 2013, 12:20 PM
:DI use double 1911 holsters to hold up my pants. Also keeps the weight even so I don't walk sideways.

Seriously, I have more hip/lower back problems hat shoulder problems. So it works for me.

Old Fuff
January 5, 2013, 12:30 PM
As far as law enforcement or civilian CCW use is concerned, Chicago lost a detective one day who was wearing a conventional vertical shoulder that had an open front and held his revolver with a horseshoe shaped spring clip.

His coat was open and unbuttoned. While he was talking to what he thought was a low-level criminal that individual spotted the gun butt and reached forward, grabbed the handle, jerked the gun out of the holster, and shot the detective - all this in the blink of an eye! Such rigs offer very little security against grabbers, and if the covering garment is buttoned or zipped any draw will be obviously slow. In this context they are a poor choice, Hollywood movies not withstanding.

Billy Shears
January 5, 2013, 12:37 PM
I am an average sized guy -- 5'9" and 165lbs. I have never found a horizontal shoulder holster that I could use for a typical four inch barrel auto pistol. The muzzle always prints through the back of the concealing garment, and the grip tends to swing away from the body. Perhaps there are people who can use them, but I don't see how anyone who is not unusually thick through the chest can.

I have a vertical holster for a 6 1/2" barrel S&W .44 that actually conceals better than any horizontal rig I've ever tried on. And even at that, I wouldn't consider it all that good for concealment. It takes a very loose outer garment, and it still has a problem with the grip swinging away from the body, though perhaps slightly less so than a horizontal rig.

As has been said, the shoulder holster has a place for really long-barreled guns, people who spend a lot of time seated and may need to draw from that position, and people with lower back problems that may not be able to comfortably wear a pistol on their belts. For almost any other use, a belt holster will be both more practical, and more concealable.

Zardaia
January 5, 2013, 12:40 PM
Couldn't see myself trying to cc with one. Loved em downrange though for carrying around base without swaping duty rig. OC yes, CC no.

cpt-t
January 5, 2013, 01:02 PM
BulletArc47: I have used a shoulder holster since the 60`s. I don`t like alot of weight around my waist and I have several. I use a shouder rig while hunting or just out walking around. I use a vertical holster most of the time, and mine are very comfortable. Great for siting or riding in a car or aircraft. I started using them in the Military. All the pros and cons pointed out here are absolutly correct, you have to choose for your self. If you decide to try one buy a rig that has wide shoulder straps and of high quality. I personaly like a Shoulder Holster and use them a lot.
ken

jim243
January 5, 2013, 01:45 PM
I have a shoulder rig for each of my pistols, I also have a OWB and IWB for most of them. It really depends on what you are doing at the time.

I find it easier to draw from the IWB or OWB holster and that is what I use around the house, but outside with a jacket or vest on I find the shoulder holsters more comfortable and easier to hide your firearm with.

So get both.
Jim

SharpsDressedMan
January 5, 2013, 07:39 PM
I'll second what Jim ^^^said. I use both, although not as often with the shoulder rigs. They definitely fit in to a well rounded weapon/holster option.

huntershooter
January 5, 2013, 08:34 PM
As said; depends on what I'm doing, or what I'm wearing.
Have Alessi "Bodygaurd" SH's for P-35's, 1911-5" and Commander. With winter clothing the SH is my preferred means of carry.

http://i1043.photobucket.com/albums/b434/huntershooter/Leather/leather010.jpg

SharpsDressedMan
January 5, 2013, 09:01 PM
Now you've done it, Huntershooter, you've let the cat out of the bag, and the best kept secret in shoulder rigs will now be out. Backorders are gonna take longer now! (Ah, but worth the wait!) http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m247/matquig/DSC06273.jpg

mljdeckard
January 5, 2013, 09:43 PM
I have one and love it. I use it frequently for my 1911 in winter. I can use it during the non-hot months too with an open shirt, but mind the wind.

Hagen442
January 5, 2013, 09:51 PM
Before Retiring had to do a lot of driving and Coat & Tie was required Dress.
Galco Miami Classic was my choice (Both Ends attached to Belt)
Sig P220 45ACP was my usual Carry Gun
When Sig introduced the 239 I switched to it in 9MM.

00

AFDavis11
January 7, 2013, 05:24 PM
I like them, mostly because I am usually sitting and spend large amounts of time in a car. Otherwise, they are less concealable.

I am often struck by the cost until I factor in the cost of a good holster and a good belt combined.

The best part is that I keep my guns in the holster and can swing them on out the door quickly, without dorking around with threading a holster through a belt.

Carter
January 7, 2013, 06:26 PM
I love shoulder holsters. They're great for carrying a full size handgun and two extra mags without a lot of weight on your belt. However, if you don't have thick straps your shoulders will pay for it, sometimes even thick straps don't help.

They do print worse, but a baggy patterned dark colored shirt helps. I never button up my shirt, atleast not past two buttons, when using one though. It helps decrease the printing. Sudden gusts of win can make for an awkward exposure though.

Carter
January 7, 2013, 06:29 PM
I love shoulder holsters. They're great for carrying a full size handgun and two extra mags without a lot of weight on your belt. However, if you don't have thick straps your shoulders will pay for it, sometimes even thick straps don't help.

They do print worse, but a baggy patterned dark colored shirt helps. I never button up my shirt, atleast not past two buttons, when using one though. It helps decrease the printing. Sudden gusts of win can make for an awkward exposure though.

kid_couteau
January 7, 2013, 06:35 PM
A shoulder rig allows me to go poo without worrying about leaving my gun on the back of the toilet.

Kid :neener:

joecil
January 7, 2013, 06:41 PM
I have a very old Galco Jackass rig later kind of became the Miami Vice rig. At any rate I have two holsters for either a 1911 or a PT92 as well as a magazine holder for the other side. This is the only way I carry the PT92 ever but do carry the 1911 with either and IWB or OWB holster depending on dress, time of year etc. The shoulders holster have advantages and disadvantages as no way of carrying concealed is always perfect.

SharpsDressedMan
January 7, 2013, 06:53 PM
FWIW: I always place my gun down in the crotch of my downed pants when using a public restroom for a sit down job. There it is in easy reach, and you will not forget it, or accidentally have it slip from some other location and hit the floor.

SouthernYankee
January 8, 2013, 11:17 AM
I have a DeSantis rig that will carry a pistol and one extra mag. It looks cool in the mirror but I have never found it to be practical. I've found I prefer either ITW or pocket. As far as holding your pants up, I learned that a real gun belt will do the job and is not available at Sears, Dillards or the like. Your going to have to go a real gun belt maker ($60-$100) and there are lots of them. If you do ITW, you'll find you need to go one size larger on your pants so you can still hit the buffet line more than once:D.

Rexster
January 9, 2013, 09:09 PM
Well they are probably the best way to carry a 6" or longer revolver and still be able to sit down. For that matter they will get any handgun above the belt line, and that's advantageous if you do a lot of sitting or need to have access while in a car. Obviously heavy guns won't tend to drag your pants down, as can be the case with OWB rigs.

Beyond this I haven't found any special advantages to justify using shoulder holsters.
This about sums it up!

I neither love nor hate shouder rigs. My "primary" carry position is going to be 0300, because my primary duty pistol rides there, and 29+ years of conditioned reflex are difficult to overcome; why fight nature? There are plenty of times, however, when I might want my second gun to ride in a shoulder rig. To be clear, the gun riding at the primary hip position may be the smaller one, particularly when wearing a shouder rig.

I like a high-end 1980s nylon vertical rig, now long out of production, for a big revolver.

I like my Andrews Monarch for an SP101 snubby. The thin strap that crosses the mid-back
makes ALL the difference! I may order an additional hoister body component from Andrews,
to make it a double rig.

My problem with shoulder rigs is that I live in a hot, humid climate, which largely relegates my shoulder rigs to rather short periods in the winter.

Teachu2
January 9, 2013, 09:22 PM
I have a shoulder holster for my G30 when I ride my Harley.The rest of the time, IWB works for me.

Rexster
January 9, 2013, 09:24 PM
Upon further reflection:

One advantage of shoulder rigs with no tie-downs or other atachments to the belt, is when one has, shall we say, a delicate bowel. I used to have an iron stomach, but that was decades ago. Cilantro is my enemy, and some cooks chop it so fine I do not recognize it.

When seated inside some vehicles or aircraft, a shoulder rig may either be more comfortable, or allow better access while seated and strapped-in, or both. One of my photo assignments was in a police helicopter; the pilot and tactical flight officer wore shouder rigs. Some sporty cars can be as confining as some aircraft.

farscott
January 10, 2013, 06:36 PM
As others have mentioned, shoulder holsters have a place in vehicles. I spend a lot of time in a vehicle on long trips, and I use shoulder holsters for those trips. I prefer horizontal carry holsters for that purpose as there is no need for tiedowns to connect the belt. That being said, not all shoulder holsters are created equal. I have had good luck with the Mitch Rosen Stylemaster, but I bought mine used as the MSRP is above outrageous.

Not all guns are candidates for horizontal carry. The biggest guns that work for me are Glock 19s and Colt Double Eagle Officer's ACP models. Guns with short slides and longer grip frames work best for this mode of carry -- the opposite of what works best for IWB carry.

Russ Jackson
January 10, 2013, 06:40 PM
Look cool but can be very uncomfortable in a lot of situations. Bathrooms can be an issue. Look like a good answer but in reality not that great IMO.

farscott
January 10, 2013, 06:49 PM
Actually the horizontal ones that do not have ties to the belt are excellent if bathroom use is an issue.

4v50 Gary
January 10, 2013, 09:08 PM
Agree with farscott. When you go to the toilet the gonne is in the same place. You never have to remove it from the holster before sitting down.

Fiv3r
January 10, 2013, 10:18 PM
I bought a cheap vertical military/tank holster from cheaper than dirt, and I really like it for my 5.5" cap and ball 1858. It really like how it displaces the 2lb weight. With a spacious over short, you really can't tell I'm packing a chunky smokewagon.

Buckeyeguy525
January 26, 2013, 10:26 PM
I am one of the people that love them. Well I love mine that is. I have a Galco Miami Classic 2 that I use for my glock 26, have also used it for the g17 as well. What made me turn to a shoulder holster is that no belt holsters are comfortable for me. Not in the waistband nor on the waistband. Unfortunately, I have boney hips and zero backside to hold the weight up. I've tried the crossbreed holsters as well as the galco king tuk and hated them both. My shoulder holster allows me to comfortably carry my firearm and 2 mags all day long. Also very quick on the draw.

rodinal220
January 27, 2013, 04:48 PM
Good for if you are sitting in a vehicle for long periods.Ever try using a public restroom with a belt holster or a duty rig??Good for climates where you will be wearing a jacket and not taking it off,or layered under several garments.

smle41
February 17, 2013, 01:59 AM
I am not sure how "cool" they look; and I am sure I don't "look cool". However, I was pleasantly surprised how well the Army issue Galco one helps conceal a large Beretta M9, even on my short, pudgy body.
I find the Galco vertical one quite comfortable and concealing for a Smith & Wesson 29 or 28, or a Model 15. One of my main attractions to the shoulder holster is that I can throw on the whole assembly of gun, knife, flashlight and reload at once, rather than snaking my belt through all the impedimentia and then struggling with the weight of the pants, etc.
I do quite a bit of walking, hiking, and sitting in a car.... activities that, over the years, lent the crossdraw methods some value to me. :)

welshdude
February 27, 2013, 10:56 PM
My CC SH is a generic nylon/cotten pad, light colored camo one I picked up a/t same GS where purchasing my P11. It was 15.00. Has a vertical holster and 2 mag holders on the off-hand side. The nice thing is that it's completely reversable if one happens to be LHD. It works well for winter, but the imprint is just too large for fair weather use.

It's my intent to get a smaller CC pistol like a Beretta TC, KT P32, LCP, Seecamp .32, etc. when the weather breaks. I'll use some sort of waistband rig or a T-shirt strap/holster w/a loose shirt over top. Shoulder rig imprint is visible 2 blocks away. :p

45Fan
March 3, 2013, 01:05 PM
I have the old Galoco rig, but I tend to go with IWB carry most of the time. It is just easier for me, and if I am someplace that I want to take off my jacket, its still concealed. The main exception to this is when Im on my motorcycle, as the shoulder rig tends to feel a bit more secure, and offers a bit easier access as opposed to IWB carry when wearing chaps.

Sav .250
March 3, 2013, 02:52 PM
If the time "ever" comes when you need to draw, where would you lke it to be.
Personal choice.

2zulu1
March 7, 2013, 01:30 AM
I spend a lot of time outside and I live in an isolated rural area. This time of year I carry a M686P/6" in a Bianchi shoulder rig. Major benefits are when wearing layered outer clothing access is a lot faster than a hip carry rig. The hip length Carhartt coat has a waist band draw string, dusters are also too long for quick hip access. Undoing a couple of snaps/zipper at the top of the coat is easier for access than trying to lift up the coat.

The shoulder rig is also advantageous when driving the pickup or tractor, as well as in the saddle. I'm used to drawing from the field interview stance so drawing from a shoulder rig is not an impediment. Now that spring temps are warming up, I'll transition to a 1911/38 Super IWB or OWB, but I still like the mag in a shoulder rig for the tractor or saddle. :)

I don't need to worry about using a shoulder rig in competition since I carry 7 and 8 round revolvers.

Texan Scott
March 7, 2013, 02:45 AM
I'm considering getting one for carry of a large framed revolver. Anyone that's used the Galco vertical rig, can you tell me how the gun breaks out of the holster? Through the front, or out the top? (ie, how hard is it to draw from?)

The idea is that even in warm weather, I could conceal under a loose snap front shirt. (Where I live, no one looks twice at jeans and a loud pearl snap shirt).

mic214
March 7, 2013, 02:36 PM
I have a couple of different shoulder rigs, in both vertical or horizontal carry models. I like the Galco rigs the best. It is nice to be able to grab the rig and have everything in one package.

Lately, I have been wearing my 3" S&W M-36 in a "Frankenstein" combo rig that I made up. It has a Galco harness and a the holster and ammo pouches are from an old Bianchi shoulder holster.....

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y71/mic214/Firearms/M36a.jpg

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y71/mic214/Firearms/M36c.jpg

I am also a big fan of "Chest" rigs, especially when I am out running around the ranch. They are great for riding on an ATV or in a Jeep:

This is my Ruger SBH in a "Guide's Choice" chest rig:

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y71/mic214/Firearms/GuidesChoiceRig1.jpg

Deer_Freak
March 7, 2013, 05:19 PM
I have a shoulder holster for my SA revolver. In cold weather my belt is covered up by my overalls. Clipping a holster on my pocket or the bib of my overalls is ok but a deer is in the next county by the time I draw the gun. I can draw my pistol without making a lot of noise with the shoulder holster. Others have mentioned the shoulder holster is great in a vehicle.

smle41
March 8, 2013, 11:51 PM
For Texan, the Galco vertical holster that I was issued, and then bought, has a "thumbreak" much like many retention holsters, and is reversible. On mine, the "botton" or "snap" is in a protrusion which is pushed open by the thumb, the thumb next to and turned toward the torso, the gun coming out the front with little upward movement.
I hope I am making sense... I use mine for medium and large revolvers, including a 6" barrelled. 357. The other side of the "spider harness" attaches to a homemade speedloader/flashlight/knife arrangement, and I think it balances quite well. :)

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