shoulder holster musings

shoulder holster musings

This is a discussion on shoulder holster musings within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So, as the weather drops down to freezing here, it would be convenient to carry my snubnose Taurus .38 in a shoulder holster. So I ...

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Thread: shoulder holster musings

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array TRX's Avatar
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    shoulder holster musings

    So, as the weather drops down to freezing here, it would be convenient to carry my snubnose Taurus .38 in a shoulder holster. So I go online to shop for one.

    My. Shoulder holster prices are steep compared to belt holsters. Yes, I understand they're much more complicated, I just wasn't expecting the price difference. I'll cringe a bit, though.

    Selection of left hand shoulder holsters is very sparse. Unfortunately, I insist on a left-handed holster.

    Most of the ones I've found were leather. Mongo like leather, but in the case of a shoulder holster, I think I'd prefer something synthetic, machine-washable, and non-staining. But I'll take leather if I have to.

    Some holsters loop around both armpits and your back, in what I think of as the "classic" style. Hunting holsters have an additional strap across the front to keep the holster from flopping about during various activities; a fine idea, but the strap isn't desirable for concealed carry.

    Another type of holster has shoulder loops, but instead of taking the weight against the opposite armpit, a strap goes down to your belt (loop types) or pants (spring clips). Some have a second belt strap under the holster itself, offering extra stability to the holster. Nice idea. I'm guessing you have to hunt for the "neutral axis" position for the straps so your pants don't hitch up when you sit down.

    There seem to be two basic gun positions - alongside the rib cage, mostly vertical, or lower or under the rib cage, completely horizontal, butt sticking straight forward.

    Since I'm built more like Orson Welles than Slim Pickens, I was looking for a holster that would position the gun up near my shoulder, instead of down closer to my equator. Though I'm sure I've seen pictures of such holster somewhere, I haven't been able to locate any "high ride" shoulder holsters so far.

    I'd also kinda like one of those pushbutton "retention" devices like some of the belt holsters have, but I haven't found a shoulder rig with that, either.


    I expect I'll eventually find something I can live with, but it's interesting that google, amazon, midway, and ebay keep throwing up the same three or four holsters; I guess there's just not a lot out there in a left hand J frame shoulder rig nowadays.
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  2. #2
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    Here are a few suggestions I've not filtered for your exact criteria, but these shoulder rigs generally end up at the top on any list:

    Sam Andrews: Andrews Custom Leather

    Navigate to the left hand side, and find "Shoulder Rigs" These are top shelf, and pricey. They have great reputations, and are well worth the money. My wife has two.

    Galco "Jackass": JACKASS RIG SHOULDER SYSTEM: Holsters & Ammo Carriers: Shoulder Holster Systems at Galco

    There are many satisfied users of this rig.

    Galco: Holsters & Ammo Carriers: Shoulder Holster Systems at Galco

    The Miami rig has been mentioned often too.

    I think you'll find leather to be the predominant material due to its' strength, suppleness, and weight characteristics. With a minor amount of care, leather will last for decades serving the final day as well as the first. Additionally, it will conform and fit you as well as any material given time as it is broken in (think nice leather shoes).

    The main consideration for any shoulder rig is to fit it properly.

    Good luck.
    gatorbait51, Aceoky and Bad Bob like this.


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    I have an ancient Bianchi upside down shoulder holster that for a revolver that is the best I have found for me. The Bianchi is no longer made but here is a link to a more modern version.

    Upside Down Shoulder Holster

    This is what it looks like when worn.

    steve-mcqueen-bullitt.jpg
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    I have a Tagua holster I bought for my SR40C. Pro side, I like the way it fits. Con side, I can't snap the thumb break with the holster on. I have to take it off and cuss over it on my desk top to snap it. Wish I knew how to fix that!!

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    If you haven't ever tried shoulder holsters before I would suggest trying out one of the Bulldog Case nylon type ones. They are cheaper than the good leather ones by a good margin and if you don't like it you did not waste near the amount of money on a holster. I shoulder carried for apporx~ 3 days and gave up on it. Presentation was too slow and it was never comfortable for me. I would set the adjustments on it and then throughout the day the holster would flop around or like you said, there would be extra tension against my belt. Long story short, it didn't work out for me and I had a ~$150 holster that was worthless to me.



    Deluxe Shoulder Harness Sz 2 (H) Med Revolvers 2 - 2 1/2 [WSHD2] - $45.25 : Bulldog Cases!, Nothing protects your gun like a Bulldog
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    I have an ancient Bianchi upside down shoulder holster that for a revolver that is the best I have found for me. The Bianchi is no longer made but here is a link to a more modern version.

    Upside Down Shoulder Holster

    This is what it looks like when worn.

    steve-mcqueen-bullitt.jpg
    For a snub nosed revolver, the upside down rig IMHO is the way to go. I'd like to find one for my Sp101 2.25" barrel and now I have. Otherwise, I have had real luck with Galco Miami Classic shoulder holsters for my 1911's and my Beretta 92. They are also relatively easy to obtain in left handed models (I am left handed). Cost? The last Galco SH I bought was $135 a few years ago. At that time a good belt would go for $45 - $50, a good holster would also be $55 to $70, and mag carrier would go for $20 to $40. I figured one would spend about the same money for a good belt, mag carrier, and holster one would spend for a decent shoulder holster. I am a big shoulder holster fan, obviously.
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    I also have migrated to shoulder holsters for CC. After a couple of years trying IWB and OWB, different holsters and positioning, mostly very uncomfortable (especially IWB), found OWB Cross Draw my best position. I have had 2 spinal ops, and a third to come in Jan, reaching "behind my right hip" taxing on my shoulder, but across the body acceptable. I have a Fist #42 CD and Driving Holster on order, looks great to me. Otherwise I use a Miami Classic Lite SH to carry my Kahr CM9 or Ruger KLCR .357mag. (I have one for each). After a couple of days, I found them more than adequate for my needs. Cover with a unbuttoned button down shirt, light vest, light jacket, etc is easy, with fast access (with practice, just as fast as waist draw).i do like the "Upside Down Holster" though. I even saw a comment on one thread saying they carried under a t-shirt easily with that rig, probably will order one soon, or look on eBay for a used Bianchi version first. Good luck, just my $.02. Take care.
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    Here's what I use for long trips, or when I rode my Harley (now sold...hip surgery)... (zf) #70 VERTICAL SHOULDER HOLSTER

    It's comfortable, and I prefer the 'vertical' holster...just reach over and out comes my Glock-36.
    It works very well without any straps attaching to the belt...it just hangs free...gun on one side and one mag on the other.
    Fist can make it for either side draw. Quality leather...mine has been around for 4-5 years without problems.
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    MJK
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    I carry my G36 in a left-hand Alessi shoulder rig. It works well.
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    Check out the Galco Classic Lite. I've had very good luck with mine. I did not want anything fancy and this fits the bill; it is made of suede as opposed to finished leather, yet is not light weight and is very durable. The holster is not molded but has very good retention even without the snap being fastened. Same harness system as the Miami Classic models. Single as opposed to dual mag carrier- less bulk, which is a plus for me. Quite a bit less than the more costly Classic models.

    I wear mine very high under the arm pits and it works great in terms of stability and ability to conceal. I highly recommend it as a consideration.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by msgt/ret View Post
    I have an ancient Bianchi upside down shoulder holster
    I *like* that! It looks like it might be easier to adjust to fit than some of the others I've seen, and doesn't have a big plastic knob where the straps cross behind your back...

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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Here's what I use for long trips, or when I rode my Harley (now sold...hip surgery)... (zf) #70 VERTICAL SHOULDER HOLSTER
    I like the way the designer laid that one out.

    Arthritis made me hang up my helmet a couple of years ago. At the time I was able to make a grand gesture, and I gave my Bandit 1200 to a friend. I think he washes and waxes it every weekend...
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    Cool

    OK not a shoulder rig but quite ancient is my Warshal's Sporting Goods #46 Leather Sentinel 6" holster for my High Standard Sentinel revolver. I got 10 bucks into it. Five minutes after I traded for my High Standard I scored this holster. No fancy tooling elegant in it's simplicity belt holster. Looks as good today as the day I got it some 20 years ago. I figure it's 30 years old.

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    Member Array Goldy49's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    Here's what I use for long trips, or when I rode my Harley (now sold...hip surgery)... (zf) #70 VERTICAL SHOULDER HOLSTER

    It's comfortable, and I prefer the 'vertical' holster...just reach over and out comes my Glock-36.
    It works very well without any straps attaching to the belt...it just hangs free...gun on one side and one mag on the other.
    Fist can make it for either side draw. Quality leather...mine has been around for 4-5 years without problems.
    I forgot about a relatively inexpensive shoulder holster that I have used in the past for both my 1911 and a Beretta 92. It is an old Uncle Mike's nylon Vertical rig (#5) that I used to use when I backpacked. It has to be 20 years old and I used to use it a lot. I got the original left handed nylon SH for $10 in a bargain barrel and the gun store MGR sold me a matching right handed one for $5.00. Over the years, I put the two together so I can carry two 1911's vertically. It is fun to put on, but since I combined the two to make one double, I have never used it. Anyway, the nylon vertical rig from Uncle Mike's is not a bad route to go for "roughing it" or biking.

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    Not to completely thread jack but since there are so many well informed people on this thread regarding shoulder holsters I thought I'd ask.

    I'm looking for a shoulder rig to start carrying at work. I have to wear a button up, tucked in (company issue, so it's pretty fluffy and loose fitting) and I don't like having to tuck my shirt in between my holster and my pants. It feels awkward and is pretty hard to draw from. I figured if I have to draw then I don't care about popping a few buttons on my shirt to get to my pistol so I've been looking at shoulder rigs. I really want one that has the strap across the front seeing as I move, bend, and do a lot of lifting at work and don't want it to flopping around the whole time. Realistically, the tighter it fits to my chest and the less it moves the better. The last thing is that I can't stand the snap style button that comes on most shoulder setups. Are there any companies that produce one with a Serpa style release? If not, I'll probably try to make my own Frankenstein setup.
    "Holy crap, what a turd that thing was. I love Ruger, but man, the first time I pulled the trigger I thought I was going to have a birthday before it broke. " - Yarg28

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