Shoulder Holster Orientation

This is a discussion on Shoulder Holster Orientation within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am curious about y'all's input on shoulder holster orientation. I know that there are vertical, horizontal and what I will call angled shoulder rigs. ...

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Thread: Shoulder Holster Orientation

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array ksholder's Avatar
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    Shoulder Holster Orientation

    I am curious about y'all's input on shoulder holster orientation. I know that there are vertical, horizontal and what I will call angled shoulder rigs. I am not so much worried about the specific holster make/model as I am in learning what y'all think about the various orientations - both good and bad. I have never had a shoulder holster and am considering getting one, but I need to figure out what is best.

    One thing that concerns me with a horizontal is that in the car, my kids are sitting behind me. This would mean the gun is aimed at them while I am driving. I realize that if you don't touch the trigger the gun will not go off, etc., but you might have to draw while in the driver's seat so this is somewhat a concern. Horizontal rigs do appear to be easier to draw from than vertical rigs, but this may not be true.

    I appreciate all your input.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Guantes's Avatar
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    Personally, I prefer a verticle orientation. Standard for autos and inverted for revolvers.
    "I do what I do." Cpl 'coach' Bowden, "Southern Comfort".

  3. #3
    Member Array Arisin Wind's Avatar
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    Jun 2006
    I use vertical for both revolvers and auto.
    Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. psalm22:11

  4. #4
    Array QKShooter's Avatar
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    I'd go with a horizontal. The gun is not going to go off when you draw and I'm certain that you'll be especially careful to have your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger if you need to draw your firearm with your kids in the back seat.

    Stop & think about this. Do you have concrete floors in your house? Because if you carry in a vertical shoulder holster or (in fact) any holster located located on your waist and you walk around on your second floor your muzzle is pointing at the tops of the skulls of anybody sitting or standing on the first floor below you. You are covering their heads just the same as if they were sitting in the car back seat.
    You just can't see them so it doesn't bother you but, the average home floor & ceiling will not stop a bullet.
    Psychologically it is a concern but, not a real world concern if you buy a high quality holster and practice your safe draw technique.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
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    I have horizontal (Miami Class II) and I am aware that I may sweep someone when I have to draw but I'm willing to take that chance because it is so dang comfortable and I hope I might be able to turn in such a way that I don't sweep anyoone. Your concern about your kids is justified but if you don't put your finger on the trigger no problem. Whatever you decide, practice drawing from a sitting position in your car to get proficient. I did and still do so.

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Der Alte's Avatar
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    Goldsboro, NC
    Carrying a S&W 625 - vertical is the only way to go.
    Its a shame that youth is wasted on the young.

  7. #7
    Member Array Geronimo45's Avatar
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    Jun 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I use inverted, vertical, horizontal. Vertical works well, but it requires a tie-down. Horizontal works well, but it tends to move with your body - so drawing it while standing could be difficult - it also prints more than vertical. Inverted works great.

  8. #8
    Member Array loboleather's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    A lot will depend on your physique. Short arms and a large torso can make the reach for a vertical shoulder holster difficult, whereas the horizontal carry presents the grip-frame further to the front allowing easier access. Also, drawing from a vertical shoulder holster will typically require a rotated wrist (weakened grip strength) and shifting the weapon in your hand to get a good "shooting grip", while a good horizontal holster will permit a solid and correct grip during the draw.

    With the kids in the back seat, if you are in a situation in which you are forced to draw your weapon for defense of yourself and your family, the requirements of the situation dictate that your response is a smooth and unimpeded draw followed by the likely necessity for rapid use of the weapon. Not a time to be struggling to reach the weapon or fumbling around for a good grip that permits controlled and accurate shooting.

    No perfect solution for every user or every situation. Everything is a compromise. Training, safe gun-handling skills, and situational awareness are required no matter what equipment you are using.
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  9. #9
    Member Array strider777's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    I carry a 1911 in a Monarch horizontal rig, and can't imagine anything safer. Granted, if I take off my jacket (or shirt as the case often is) then it could be frustrating for folks to see a barrel pointed at them, but they don't see it, 'cause I never do it. The gun has two safeties, and a huge chunk of leather between the frame and hammer, it ain't going off. And when I draw, the safety is quite naturally disengaged as I come to bear on the target, long after I've swept whatever I sweep. As to sweeping, I tend to draw from "beneath" the jacket, and sweep down, though that is probably not common.

    The idea of sweeping with a holstered gun is not very valid, for points already mentioned. My loving wife has a gun pointed at her an awful lot, for that's how the PM9 in my pocket points. I would sooner use it on myself than take a chance with her safety! As with most systems, "know" your safe before you carry, then just stay safe.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member
    Array cammo's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    What about the same question with respect to mag position - what are the pros and cons of each for shoulder rigs?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Array EvilMonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cammo girl View Post
    What about the same question with respect to mag position - what are the pros and cons of each for shoulder rigs?
    Mag positions are just as idiosyncratic to their owners as the gun's position. That said, I like the "opens down" variety that mine has. This is a configuration that literally unsnaps the flap straight down so the magazine drops (thanks to our friend, Mr. Gravity) right into your hand. I know some guys/gals like the horizontal mag pouches for access and security, but I like it when things work for me, so...

    Hope this helps!
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Goldy49's Avatar
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    I have both horizontal and vertical shoulder holsters. I like the vertical for a couple of reasons - it is easily accessable with either hand. I also like it because it attaches to my belt and that makes it feel more secure. It would be my favorite way to carry except it doesn't conceal as well as my horizontal shoulder holster (Miami Classic). I normally wear sport coats and the Miami Classic is very concealable and the "printing" is minimal at best. Some of this has to do with my body shape. I am 5'6" and wear a 44 Short sport coat with a 32' waist line. My torso conceals horizontally much better then it conceals vertically.

    I also prefer horizontal mag carries. Experiment. Your clothing choices, your body type and your life style will help you determine what kind of holster to wear. There are a lot of good holsters out there. My Miami Classic is probably my favorite.

  13. #13
    Member Array John Wesley's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    I prefer drawing from a horizontal rig. That's how I carry my smaller guns. However, my Beretta 92 prints way too much that way. So for the Beretta I use a vertical rig. It is also good if it is often exposed. It doesn't seem to freak out people as bad. I do believe I draw slightly faster with the horizontal rig. As someone in an earlier post said... it is all a compromise.

    I also don't like a shoulder rig without tie-downs...


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