Shoulder holsters

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by TranterUK, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Does anyone have any experience with shoulder holsters?

    If so, did you get on with them? Do you have any observations?
  2. cycloneman

    cycloneman Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I have a couple of GALCO's. I have a horizontal draw for a Smith 1076 and a vertivcal for a Kimer 1911. Cost about 150.00 U.S. Brown leather very comfortable. Don't get that nylon tactacal B/S. It's hard on you, at least I found that to be the case. Spend the money for comfort.
  3. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

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    I have tried shoulder holsters. I don't like them, except perhaps for lightweight guns like a Model 37 or LCP. Belt holsters are more comfortable, IMO.

    But shoulder holsters DO look very, very cool. :cool::cool::cool:
  4. chemfantry

    chemfantry New Member

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    I have a Bianchi horizontal draw shoulder holster that I use to carry my Sig SAS when it is cold enough to wear a heavy jacket. Sometimes I find it hard to clear a high riding or IWB holster with a jacket. As loong as you don't zip the jacket up to your neck, it is much easier to clear (even one handed) IMO.Thus the shoulder holster.

    Mine is very comfortable, once I figured out where I wanted it to ride. If it rides too high, it gets into your armpit and makes you walk like a gorilla. Too low and it beats you to death and is harder to clear. Once you find the happy medium, it is comfortable and fast on the draw. They are also much more comfortable if you spend any extended time a vehicle (I drive 5 hours one way every weekend to go home).

    I have tried and don't like the vertical draw holsters. The additional up movement in the draw makes it a little awkward under a jacket and I don't need suspenders.

    I will agree that the nylon type are rough feeling, even outside a t-shirt.
  5. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Interesting.

    I have always disliked them, but have never used one for an extended period so have no valid experience. They do have their uses, as mentioned above for example, in a vehicle. Have you tried drawing a sidearm from a belt holster while sitting in a car? Of course cross draw has a role there as well.

    I have seen their use in a service role, with a plain clothed army escort for sensitive components, but that's it. Oh and a lot of TV cop shows !!!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2009
  6. Personally, I've never found a shoulder rig I found comfortable to wear for any extended period of time. They always make me feel like I'm a plow horse harnessed up for a day plowing up the south 40. :D
  7. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    I like a shoulder rig for riding my motorcycle. The main reason being that I've had my jacket work up and expose my CCW on strong-side IWB, and didn't realize it until I was stopped at a gas station. For riding, the shoulder holster is pretty practical.

    For the most part, I never caught on with those nylon high-speed tactical shoulder rigs...and was never comfortable with my sidearm being fixed to my vest either. I remained pretty stubborn, and still do, with low strong-side hip carry. I've carried with those thigh drop holsters at work, but I found the lower it goes the more I don't like it. The hip is a natural spot...I compromise and adjust low enough to not be interfered with by body armor/kit or carbine high cross-slung at low-ready needing to be pushed back to use hands etc.

    I have an exception though....I don't guess it's on the market anymore, but there used to be a universal nylon shoulder rig I sure liked. It was extremely simple. It was just a 5" holster with adjustable thumb break strap and a single velcro mag pouch big enough for 1 Glock/Beretta mag or 2 1911 mags. The should harness was a single 1.5" strap with a hook fastener to the holster. It was comfortable, simple, easy to put on/off, and would fit just about any service auto I know of. What made it work was the holster and mag were sewn side-by-side on a piece of med-weight square nylon at about a 45 degree angle. So simple.

    My last thing on shoulder holsters...some people insist on wearing them toooooooo low. They need to be worn pretty dang high or you're just showering with a raincoat on, ya know. You see the same thing with those 3-point carbine slings...toooooo low...they should be adjusted so the butt of the stock naturally rests an inch or two from the shoulder pocket....not be dangling down at waist level. Same principle. Anyways....shoulder rigs...the higher they fit the better they work. My humble opinion.
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
  8. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    This observation I made this weekend.

    If you're going to poop/#2 in a public restroom and the bottoms of the stalls are nearly knee-high....man it is inconvenient to sit on the pot with your handgun IWB...everyone in the place can see your roscoe, unless you turn the grip towards the floor inside your trousers, which risks the weapon falling out unless you utilize some support from your boxers. It can be done, but is inconvenient.

    Just that observation...a shoulder holster is mostly unaffected while crapping in public.
  9. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    I've made that same observation about IWB. When carrying that way, I generally pull the whole rig out and set it on the back of the toilet or on top of the paper dispenser before getting started.
    It's still a pain, but it's better than your gun hitting the floor and scarring the (rest of the) crap out of the guy next to you.
  10. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Yeah I've done that too, but the place mentioned, the back of the toilet was just a pipe and the paper dispenser was just a round plastic thing on the stall wall...I guess I could have used the coat hook.:D
  11. obxned

    obxned New Member

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    I read all the negitive stuff that has been written about shoulder holsters, and never planned to own one. However, at work a firearm in a belt holster gets banged against counters quite often since we have so much crammed into a very small space. Not good - I could break a glass counter, or worse damage one of my beloved pistols.

    So I bought a very inexpensive shoulder holster from Passport Sports. If it seemed to work for me, I planned to buy a really nice holster later. Well, I'm still using that cheap holster and have no plans to replace it. The darn thing works very well, and is quite comfortable for all day carry.

    It takes very little practice to be able to quickly and safely deploy the pistol. Concealment is very, very good, even with just a shirt as a cover garment.
  12. Oldeyes

    Oldeyes Member

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    I 2nd cycloneman's endorsement of Galco brand shoulder holsters. My personal experience with Galco is based upon several years of authorized 1911A1 carrying concealed while at work for some very long days. All of the employees tried various styles and brands of concealed carry shoulder holsters and to a person we found the Galco units were the most adjustable to various physiques, most comfortable, and most concealable of the entire lot available at the time. The older and no longer available Galco SS2 shoulder holster system has been replaced by their Jackass shoulder holster system. Both of these systems allow prolonged 12-18 hours plus concealed carry of numerous fairly heavy handguns with great comfort and concealment. The current production model of Galco Jackass shoulder holster can be seen at
    http://www.usgalco.com/HolsterPT3.asp?ProductID=651&CatalogID=2
    Note the nice widened upper load bearing portions of the shoulder straps.
  13. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    Thank you gentlemen for some good input.

    Apart from the image of Delta on the can wrestling with his weapon...
  14. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Ehhhh...some days you're the squirrel, some days the acorn.:D
  15. USMC-03

    USMC-03 New Member

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    Shoulder holsters: along with Delta, I definitely prefer them for use in/on a vehicle, either for concealed or open carry. I also think that shoulder holsters, such as the M-7 style, are also a great option when burdened with a ballistics vest, load bearing gear, et al, especially when on the move by foot for long periods; drop leg rigs tend to rub me raw on long marches. The problem I have with shoulder holsters, in that case, is the sidearm, positioned on the week side chest, being right in the way when assuming a good prone shooting position.

    Also, IWB holsters are a problem for #2 restroom breaks but not so much for #1; unless you're wearing button fly jeans... Regardless of #1 or #2, always use a stall when carrying to create some extra distance while indisposed.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  16. SARG

    SARG Member

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    I've got several Galco rigs with all the bells and whistles set-up for the Glocks and "off-Duty" call out.

    But if you carry a j-frame or a snub k frame........ look up the Bianchi 9R type clam shell shoulder rigs. They were made with belt slots for usage on the belt ( LH or RH ) as well as a shoulder rig with the elastic straps. Got one for the 36 & the 19 snubby.

    Without question the most comfortable and most concealable rigs out there.
  17. GojuBrian

    GojuBrian Former Guest

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    I wouldn't want a shoulder holster.

    Being a longtime martial artist I can tell you that just gives you a tactical disadvantage. From a grappling perspective someone could easily grab the straps and have complete control over your body. They could take you down and hold you there or use it to throw you around. Forget getting your gun out when someone has that kind of control.

    Same thing with having long hair. Try moving when someone has your cute little ponytail pinned to the floor. Or has a fistfull of hair a all for that matter.

    If you are going to get a shoulder holster then you need to train with it extensively.
  18. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    I don't disagree. This is true. However, I will say from many years of experience training and teaching Jiu-Jitsu and Judo that the same could be said about an arm and be just as true. :)

    ....someone could easily grab the arm and have complete control over your body.

    ....someone could easily grab the shirt collar and have complete control over your body.

    I understand where you're coming from though. When I went through bodyguard school they told us to wear clip-on ties...the real ones apparently can get you hanged.:D

    The only important vulnerability suffered from the shoulder holster isn't the straps...remember above when you read "shirt collar" and thought, "I'd just slip out of my shirt or break the grip before I'm blood choked"...and so on with those straps, most will not suffice to hold a man long as they can slip off.

    No, the most important vulnerability (tactical disadvantage if you rather) is that you must draw across your upper body to present the weapon...so this leaves you either 1. putting your strong arm in position to be pinned to your chest/offered for a bent arm bar before you can even touch the weapon 2. presenting your sidearm in a way that it can be easily turned back into your own torso 3. or turn your body away from the threat in a way that allows you to be effortlessly clinched and dropped or tossed like a sack of corn.

    My humble opinion, the wearer of a shoulder rig needs more time/distance to deploy his piece.
  19. GojuBrian

    GojuBrian Former Guest

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    LOL! Yes, buy you can pull back with your arm.
    Your straps are out of your bodily control and wrapped securly around your torso. Grabbing these gives more control than grabbing a judogi lapel.

    See above. A shirt collar is completely different than leather or nylon straps around you. Tell you what, I'll wear a regular shirt and you have the straps,lol.

    The straps are a harness, and not likely to 'slip out of'. Which gives you better control of a dog, a collar or a harness? A harness ofcourse. By grabbing both sides of the harness you could easily throw someone down or just control them without them being able to slip out unless they are just that much bigger or stronger.

    I agree about the drawing of the weapon making you vulnerable. I don't think shoulder harnesses are a good alternative to other means of carrying a firearm though.
  20. CampingJosh

    CampingJosh Well-Known Member

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    If I let a person get a hold of my shoulder holster on both sides, then I probably wasn't going to win that fight anyway.

    I've never used a shoulder holster, and I probably never will. The downsides (especially the need for an extra garment as cover) outweigh any upsides for my purposes.

    In some situations, they are the best available choice. Remember, something doesn't have to be good to the best.
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