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Shoulder Holsters

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by AlexM, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. AlexM

    AlexM Well-Known Member

    Well after an interesting start from many different places I can say with certainty that I do feel there's plenty of room for further discussion about Holsters. Of course I will try to make it much less lecturer and ask from the very beginning that I am in fact looking for opinions and experiences related to the topic.

    That said I'd like to start with Shoulder Rigs, because I got a PM from a young woman who described a rather frightening ordeal she just recently went through. Thankfully she was not harmed, but she has decided she to take the next step towards self-defense.

    Long story short she was mostly interested in a shoulder holster for carry while driving. I'd like to throw a few things of my own out here and would appreciate some other opinions and feedback.

    A Shoulder Rig can be very effective in a vehicle scenario as it puts the firearm in a very easily accessible location, you can carry all the way up to a full sized pistol, and they usually already have places to keep things like spare magazines, seat-belt cutters, or flashlights. Each tool can become very useful through out any number of different possible encounters.

    I'd like to hit some of the downsides. These Holsters can get uncomfortable sometimes with prolonged wear. They also really limit your options of wardrobe. There's no way around the fact you have to wear something over it to hide it, and then once your seat-belt is fastened this can restrict that garment to your body making it more difficult to reach the firearm. Don't forget the direction the pistol is canted can play a huge role here.

    This particular woman was planning on carrying a small revolver or a compact pistol. So I'd suggest that if you're going to use smaller pistols from the beginning, I've had better experiences with ankle holsters for driving scenarios. There's also always the option of concealing the weapon within the car itself, and not on your person. Under the seat, in the door well, under the dash, there's a few different options. Down side then becomes you don't have it on you if you have to leave the vehicle in a hurry.

    My personal advice, since she's planning on using smaller pistols would be to go with an ankle holster if she's determined to wear on her person.

    More is better though everyone so please if you have an opinion or have some experience with these topics please let's hear it.
  2. India

    India Member

    Thanks for the compliment Alex! I'm the "young" woman he is referring too, and yep I followed him here :) He has so much information and knowledge and it's right at my fingertips. You have to love modern technology.

    Alex, I can see your point about the shoulder holster, however I'm not sure an ankle holster will work for me. What about a thigh holster? It's well concealed and still in easy reach for me. Do you have any experience with them, or maybe someone else might.
  3. AlexM

    AlexM Well-Known Member

    I have a lot of experience with thigh holsters. I usually go over this option with most of my female students for conceal, and male students if they're looking for a good tactical style pistol. In order to put them into easy reach they have to ride a little low. Being a lady though if you have a dress on, no problem. To be honest I think if you're looking for something specific to while your driving your best bet would be to find something that will place the pistol in the car, instead of on you. The only thing you have to worry about then is making sure it meets any state laws about transporting a concealed firearm and that you have some way to secure it while not in the vehicle.

    Maybe someone can help me here. I'm thinking of a holster that was designed for car seats. If wraps around the seat and places the holster just underneath the drivers legs. Very easy draw and totally concealed while you're driving. Then you can have any holster you desire and just place the gun there while driving. I know I've seen this one somewhere but can't remember where for the life of me. I'll see if I can find it.
  4. NMGonzo

    NMGonzo Well-Known Member

    Depends on the gun.

    I recently bought a shoulder holster for my 1911 since I ride a motorcycle a lot and drive some, and I was a little worried about deployment from my regular holsters from the car.

    The downside of the shoudler holsters are bulk ... but with a smaller auto and a jacket a small framed person could carry something smaller than a 1911.

    The seatbelt solutions are pretty good, but the thing about having to rush out of the car could leave that option out of the question.

    For the longest time all I did for in car carry was to pretty much slide the 1911 under my right leg, leaving the grip sticking out.

    Far from ideal but it was better than having it on the glove compartment or something like that.
  5. EVIL

    EVIL Well-Known Member

    They are OK for certain scenarios. I like one when I am running or riding my bike. I have a horizontal one that fits 90% of my handguns. They are slow if you are used to other draw motions. They are better for presentation whilst driving a car too...I just can't get past the fact that the muzzle covers the backseat where my kids are seated. Definately not a safe direction IMHO! Generally I just put my weapon in the glove box which is faster than drawing out of IWB.
  6. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    For an intriguing shoulder holster, "Google" the Safariland #1090 "Gun Quick."
  7. wannasupra

    wannasupra Well-Known Member

    without sounding like a total sleaze, may i say that a woman carrying a pistol in a thigh holster is really sexy. i honestly can't tell you why. i'd consider one for my wife, but she never wears skirts. a dress sometimes, sure, but never a skirt (much to my dismay, as they're also quite fetching on her)
  8. PHB

    PHB New Member

    After A colleague suggested I try A 511 holster T shirt I gave it a try I thought it would not hold gun secure enough not the case it holds very well does not flop around at all I would not suggest carrying more than about 32 oz gun in it I carry 45 commander lite weight in it with no problems.
    Cabala's has them I think they are about 55 dollars.

    I do not Know how this will work with a female really works for me

    PS shirt must fit like second skin

    Good Luck
  9. AlexM

    AlexM Well-Known Member

    I went and ran this very same scenario that was described earlier and found the even with a vest/jacket/baggy shirt, whatever, over the holster to keep it concealed the draw was very simple, quick, and effective. I did this live fire with a Sig P226, a Glock 19, and a Walther PPK, with rigs for each pistol. I also tried the Glock 19 with my left hand for you lefties. Fact is fact.

    If you take the vehicle scenario that I started this thread with I was very successful in drawing safely, effectively, and quickly against targets at just about any position around the vehicle. When I examined having to leave the vehicle quickly the Shoulder holster performed perfectly. I should point out that I did use the attachments that secure the rig to your pants or belt, and I think it's silly to use a shoulder rig and not do that.

    After running this one live fire, with different pistols, from different locations within the car, and against different targets at different locations through out the car I am convinced that the Shoulder Holster is a superb option for just about any vehicle situation. I'm sure the "what if" will eventually find something I missed, but fact is still fact. This worked very well when it came time to perform the actions in the tasks I mentioned. As far as addressing the concern that the pistol might be oriented towards the back seat; there's easy solutions. Cant it down, and better yet ensure the holster has adequate protection to the pistol as worn... Which most do anyway. Lastly, practice, practice, practice. You can never be safer with a firearm then when you're proficient with not just the normal tasks, but the ones you will have to use when it counts.

    Sum-up though I am a lot more supportive of Shoulder Holsters now. I would also like to encourage people that are interested in this topic to visit another thread at http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=442350 which hits a few more points that are worth mentioning.

    I've been thanked by no less than a dozen people personally who have found this very informative so on behalf of them thank you for the input, please keep it coming if you have more. I haven't really heard a very good argument against Shoulder Rigs, is there someone who has had a bad experience that could help us with the topic?
  10. hirundo82

    hirundo82 Well-Known Member

    I've tried both shoulder and ankle holsters for driving. While an ankle holster is probably better than a shoulder holster for access while seated, that is one of the only positions where it is reasonably fast to draw. I therefore typically only use an ankle holster when I am carrying another gun, usually on my belt.

    Shoulder holsters, while not the fastest draw while either seated or standing, work reasonably well for both. If I'm only going to be carrying one gun while driving, I use the shoulder holster.
  11. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Well-Known Member

    Oh, a variation on what you say
    I often shift my pocket pistol (and the holster) from pants pocket to my coat breast pocket when driving, as it is on me, and easily reached. But I would like a shoulder holster, I don't like too much stuff on/in my beltline, it's a bit overloaded as it is.....
  12. Siberious

    Siberious Active Member


    Whatever you do, do yourself a big favor and watch this video...


    It is a woman demonstrating various carry options *specifically from a womans point of view*. She discusses Shoulder, IWB, OWB, Ankle, SoB, BellyBand, etc.

    Its 15 minutes long, but WELL worth the time. Every woman I know who carries had seen this, and recommends this video 100%....

  13. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    I just went through this selection with a friend and she settled on a waistband holster with the gun worn in the appendix position. She spends a lot of her time seated and her gun (Kahr K9) remains very accessible...she wears it under a loose top or sweater...and is much faster than behind the hip.

    This position is actually superior to the more common behind the hip carry as long as you are willing to blouse your clothing over it. I've carried a Colt Commander in this position when, working plain clothes details, under an untucked T-shirt.

    I have found the shoulder holster to not be especially workable with female clients. The vertical carry has presentation problem and the horizontal holster (generally a bad idea for concealment anyway) had access problems for buxom women. It has been my experience that the most workable shoulder holster for females is the Ken Null City Slicker (SKR) or the SMZ. Accessing the gun is cleaner and releasing it clears both anatomy and clothing. Sometimes the older designs still work...the SMZ was originally designed to be used with a suppressed pistol
  14. Shadow 7D

    Shadow 7D Well-Known Member

    Ah, yes,
    forgot that there could be anatomy issues.
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Anatomy varies quite a bit, and it's a good idea to adjust the straps to see what is most comfortable. I've known women who can conceal and comfortably carry full size semis and two mags on a Galco rig.
  16. Black Knight

    Black Knight Well-Known Member

    I have worn shoulder holsters at times and they do a good job but do have some downsides. One is in a car. The seat belt/shoulder strap design can make drawing slightly difficult. This dificulty can be amplified in the winter when wearing a heavier coat or jacket. The coat and seatbelt combo acts like a clamshell over the shoulder holster and gun. Is it impossible to take care of this difficulty? No, you just need to keep a clear head and remember to undo the seat belt first. We have a tendency to train "Go for the gun, go for the gun, go for the gun" to the point that we sometimes forget that we may need to clear a path so our hand can go for the gun. The shoulder holster is like anything else we carry. We must understand its operation and limitations completely in order to maximize its advantages.

    India you may go through many different carry modes before you find out which suits you best. What works best for me or someone else may not be right for you.

    I would like to welcome you here and say that you should feel free to ask any question you want here about guns, holsters, or anything related to personal defense. We all have one thing in common, we want to go on with our lives with the least amount of trouble as possible. If we can help someone else do the same maybe they will do the same for someone else. There are folks here who have met the wolf growling at the door, there are others here who have trained to meet that wolf and there are many here willing to help others prepare for that wolf. Good luck and stay safe.
  17. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    I do too...it is actually easier for them to conceal with their anatomy. The problem is the rapid deployment of the gun from that carry position
  18. DM~

    DM~ Well-Known Member

    I think you have to try for yourself, what works best for YOU, your gun, and your body stature.

    I myself, do like shoulder holsters very much, and i like my Safari brand holsters best.


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