Shoulder holster versus IWB
This is a discussion on Shoulder holster versus IWB within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; From what I've seen here recently, I get the impression that a lot of people carry IWB and OWB. I don't see much feedback on ...
January 22nd, 2007 07:21 PM
Shoulder holster versus IWB
From what I've seen here recently, I get the impression that a lot of people carry IWB and OWB. I don't see much feedback on shoulder holsters, but I'm wondering why.
I'm very new to CCW, so not much experience, but have been trying IWB with a 3" Kimber UC II. Recently received a MaxCon V and started wearing it. Still trying to find where it best sits on me. Wondering if over time, it will shape at all to my body. Trying several cover garments, but much of what I'd normally wear, will either allow printing, or riding up to expose. Not very comfortable in any of my vehicles, either.
So it seems like a shoulder holster would be a great way to carry. I would think printing would be less likely under your arm. Easier to get to than IWB. Definitely easier access and greater comfort while driving. Riding up not an issue. Some coats coming open could be an issue, but not for the jackets I wear. Just keep them zipped or buttoned at the bottom. Harder to put on and take off?
Am I missing something? I'd love to hear from those who either carry this way, or tried it and found out what I'm missing. Hate to reinvent the wheel.
"You're already flying upside down. You might as well turn on the smoke and have some fun."
- Laurence Gonzales - "Deep Survival"
January 22nd, 2007 09:00 PM
VIP Member (Retired Staff)
I used a Bianchi X-15 for a good many months - winter tho. I used it for my P95 in fact 4 years ago or more. It was good for concealment and pretty good for comfort except - the elastic top cross strap would ride up too high onto my neck and show at times.
Draw was fine - the rig is front break (steel spring inside leather). I will still use it at times but am OWB almost all time now. Less hassle taking on and off a lot - if that applied, but doesn't except morning and evening!
IWB just doesn't suit me for comfort at all - plus i have such broad cover options OWB is a cinch - even in summer very manageable.
I would tho invest only in a good leather rig and not one of these stiff cloth deals. I think some folks here do use sho rigs and so hopefully will chip in.
Chris - P95
NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.
"To own a gun and assume that you are armed
is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."
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January 22nd, 2007 09:48 PM
To me a shoulder holster is a speciality holster. Very few of the folks I work with use them daily as in comparison they tend to be less comfortable when used for long periods. Also, any horizontal holster provides a higher risk of the oops (I've had it happen with a Bianchi X-15, Galco Miami Classic and an Andrews rig). However, if I plan on being seated most of the time and deep concealment isnt a priority, then I pull out either one of the above three holsters. When functioning as a driver on a dignitary detail I always used a horizontal shoulder rig, infact I carried it in my duty bag incase of a change of assignment during a detail. Now when I travel I always carry a ITP and shoulder holster in my bag to back up my t-shirt holsters.
Back to my cage now.
"Respect all ... Fear none!!!
January 22nd, 2007 10:11 PM
I have a Taurus PT-99 that lives in a M-7 holster, military design. Had to wear one for almost 20 years in the Army, so I am used to them. They are GREAT when driving, GREAT for carrying out in the woods, free both hands up, EXCELLENT for storage and carrying in this great weather we have been getting the past month or so. They have a cross chest strap that goes around your body and hooks to the inside top of the holster. Have to keep the jacket completely buttoned or zipped up if you want to hide it. If a person would have 2 sec warning about trouble, you can unzip and draw. Don't think that is gonna happen, tho. Other designs have holster on one side and ammo carrier on the other side and attach to you belt on each side. Methinks that when it starts to get t-shirt weather again, I'm gonna have to do something else. Yes, they are good for some situations, but not the best for most situations.
A person is justified in the use of deadly force, if such person reasonably believes deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to such person or a third person.
January 22nd, 2007 10:21 PM
What's ITP? In The Pants? Surely not In The Purse?
Originally Posted by fed_wif_a_sig
I've been interested in a shoulder rig as an option. Which of the 3 is your favorite and why?
Charlie - 40FIVER
Why I carry:
"The heart is deceitul above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
January 23rd, 2007 12:17 AM
For me, I bought a shoulder holster and thought it was okay. Then I had an occasion where I instinctively went for my gun... yup, I reached to my right 4:00!
I've always had my gun on my side both CCW and prior to that on duty. So the shoulder holster is in the box with two dozen other holsters I no longer use.
I've settled on Milt Sparks VersaMax-II for ALL my CCW's!
ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!
"A superior Operator is best defined as someone who uses his superior
judgement to keep himself out of situations that would require a display of his
January 23rd, 2007 12:37 AM
Personally I prefer the shoulder holster. My only problem with it is that you cannot remove the covering garment. If I am going to be driving a lot and maybe going in and out of stores I wear a shoulder holster.
If I am going somewhere that requires I remove my covering garment then it is IWB, OWB, or a belly band under the shirt.
January 23rd, 2007 12:37 AM
January 23rd, 2007 01:47 AM
Most people find a shoulder holster to be rather uncomfortable for extended periods. And as stated, an IWB or OWB is generally more concealable with less wardrobe restrictions. You are correct in that a shoulder rig may be more accessible while seated or driving in particular, and I usually consider them special purpose rigs that may be better suited to those that spend alot of time behind the wheel (officers on surveilence, bodyguard chauffers, etc). In an actual upright, standing, face-to-face self-defense reactionary scenario, a draw from a shoulder holster is slower than strong-side hip carry since it is not a direct line to the target/threat on the draw. It is also a much more telegraphed draw and easily defended/defeated by an opponent in close proximity who knows what he's doing. It is also near impossible to one-handed reholster into a shoulder holster if that is a concern.
I'm suprised you are having comfort/concealment issues with the Mav-Con V. Most who try that style of IWB consider it the most confortable and concealable they have tried and rarely go back to anything else.
"He who makes things with his hands is a laborer, he who makes things with his hands and his head is a craftsman, he who makes things with his hands, his head, and his heart is an artist."
January 23rd, 2007 07:18 AM
How comfortable a shoulder holster will be after a few hours of wear depends entirely on what sort of strap system you decide on. You need a wider strap of soft leather that rides over the shoulder.
The Alessi holster makes the draw and presentation for the shoulder quite fast since there is no retention strap.
It's possible to pretty much avoid telegraphing the presentation with a practiced technique and shifting body position but, like everything else it requires a practiced methodology.
In my opinion if you're willing to dedicate some good time toward carrying at the shoulder in a high quality shoulder rig then it's a workable and highly comfortable mode of carry.
If your intention is to just stuff your pistol into a cheap generic shoulder rig then you'll probably not be able to take full advantage of the comfort or the carry location.
Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ
January 23rd, 2007 10:08 AM
I sometimes carry using a Galco Miami Classic. I find it very comfortable, easy to draw and reholster, and looks good to boot (mine is in brown).
"You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone." - Al Capone
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January 24th, 2007 01:58 PM
When you say you've shifted around the IWB holster, are you shifting it far enough in one direction or another? Have you tried it at 2:00 or so (I can't, but I've heard of others that have), or go back to say 4:00-5:00? Personally, I've found that I can carry a fairly large auto (Sig 226 & Glock 21) IWB behind my strongside hip. It pretty much disappears until I bend forward.
Another problem with shoulder holsters is that you also need the right cover garment as well as a good harness system. The harness straps can print through the cover garment, also if you're wearing a "cheap" system, it will be VERY uncomfortable at the end of a long day.
Some will probably disagree with me here, but the shoulder holster is one holster where it has to be right. You can't skimp. I believe your attire is more important when wearing one. I have not heard of people using a "cheap" shoulder holster for any length of time, but I've definitely heard of people using "cheap" IWB holster just about indefinitely. I'm not saying you should, there is a difference. It's just that the margin of error is much less for a shoulder holster, IMHO.
A good IWB, like the one you have (Definitely one of the best), just needs you to find the "sweet" spot on your waist. Once you do that & you're wearing slightly loose pants & a good belt, just about any shirt will do as long as it hangs below your belt.
The other issue here too, is that a good shoulder holster is quite a bit more expensive than a good IWB holster. So, unless you're indendently wealthy, it's not something you'll buy alot of to "test" them out, like you might an IWB holster.
"Use human means as though divine ones didn't exist, and divine means as though there were no human ones." Baltasar Gracian
Integrated Close Combat
Glock 19 & 26, Kahr CM9 & P45, Para P12, Kel-Tec P-32, S&W 442, & Dan Wesson 14-2.
January 24th, 2007 03:07 PM
First of all, you need to understand that what works for others might not work for you, and you must find out what works for you. Shoulder holsters might, and they might not.
I have found that a Kangaroo shoulder holster works well for me. I wear an undershirt, and put the Kangaroo holster on with the undershirt next to the skin. I tend to wear button shirts, and can conceal a Makarov, a 642, or a small glock with no problems with that, as long as the shirt is not a white shirt. Any pattern shirt or other color will break up the outline and printing nicely.
With concealed carry, most IWB or OWB will have to wear a cover garment. With a shoulder carry, you will have to wear a cover garment as well, either a shirt or jacket. If you wear a button shirt, as I do, access will be slower. You will likely find you will use different methods of carry. I use pocket carry or shoulder carry, depending on the dress, and how I might need to dress.
You will likely find that all forms of CC leave some form of sign, some printing, some bulge, some strap showing. Find what you are comfortable with, what you can use, and what tradeoffs you are willing to make. As always, you mileage may vary. Good luck.
"Gun Bans don't disarm criminals, gun bans ATTRACT them."
January 24th, 2007 03:38 PM
Have worn a shoulder rig for years now, works very well for me. I prefer it for guns that weigh more than 30 oz empty. 1076,1066,delta and other heavy guns have been worn for 16+ hour days. comfortably.
January 24th, 2007 04:40 PM
In addition to the disadvantages already mentioned, I think a shoulder rig has some tactical/training disadvantages as well. With a shoulder holster, it's difficult to draw without sweeping your weak side arm. A bullet through your brachial artery is really going to ruin your day. Drawing from a shoulder holster will also sweep anyone standing on your weak side. This can be troublesome, particularly in training when you're standing on the firing line with a lot of other people. A lot of trainers discourage or don't allow shoulder or crossdraw holsters for this reason.
Tactically, shoulder holsters make it easier for an opponent to grab your gun or interfere with your draw. A shoulder holster presents your gun to a BG standing in front of you butt first, making it much easier to for him to grab it and bring it into action than a gun in a strong side hip holster. It also means you have to move your hand and arm closer to an opponent, giving him the oppurtunity to grab or cut your arm or pin it against your chest during the draw. With a strong side hip holster, you can put your weak shoulder towards a potential assailant, putting your gun and strong side arm out of his reach.
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