This is a discussion on shoulder rigs? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by ELCruisr All depends on the design. An Andrews Monarch will not do that due to back strap design. Neither will my Alessi. ...
Forget the "getting used to it"scenario, It's all abou body type. Either yu'r broad enough in the shoulders and narrow in body mass or not.
BORROW a shoulder rig and try it on. You'll know almost immediately if it will work for you.
Shoulder rigs are my favorite way to carry. I think this is the way to go when travelling in a car. I use a Galco Executive for my Sig P232 and a Bianchi X-15 for my S&W 686+ (in winter under a coat). If the rig is adjusted correctly, I can carry all day long this way.
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For me, I have found this depends on the gun I am carrying and how it is balanced.
Because I'm a woman have have a little more curves on the upper body to work around I have a little "looser" or a setup than usual. If I don't use a tie down and am carrying a 1911 (especially a steel one) things can get a little lopsided and the harness can dig into my neck a bit. The lighter the gun and the more mags on the other side to counter the weight, the better.
Now, I also have a Galco Executive Elite for my S&W 360 j-frame. You couldn't find a more comfortable set up if you tried. The gun is so light and the holster is so weightless you wouldn't even know you were carrying a gun. I'm very fond of that setup.
I have always been fond of my shoulder holster but still prefer carry on the waist more for the ease of draw than anything.
Funny story: I was once talking to a coworker about carry options. I was wearing my Kimber CDP in my Miami Classic Light under a flowery white shirt. I told him that I carried a 1911 to which he responded by looking me up and down and saying, "Now, I'm sorry, but where in God's name can you be hiding a 1911?"
I pulled open my cover shirt and his eyes popped as he replied, "Oh, that's where!.. And now I feel really stupid. I've been working with you all night and I never even once imagined you might be carrying tonight, especially not under a shirt like that."
It boosted my confidence in my shoulder rig. I've often carried in my shoulder rig to trick people who were deliberately looking on my waist for "the gun bulge."
I use a SERPA shoulder rig with spare mags on the opposite side when I ride motorcycle. I have found it to be comfortable all day riding ,ect.
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I now own an Andrews Monarch, a real work of art, and as already mentioned, bending over will not cause anything to flop forward into view. This rig is fairly new to me, so I have not worn it much, as I almost always carry on the hip, as I normally want to carry off the clock the same place I carry a duty pistol on the clock. I like shoulder rigs for times such as long car trips. I also have a Galco Executive for a J-frame, which is used on special occasions; it is VERY comfortable.
In the past, I have worn a now-discontinued nylon vertical shoulder rig to carry an N-frame sixgun for 16+ hours a day, seven days a week, while on surveillance/stakeout to catch some armed robbers who had murdered one business owner, and were still hitting local businesses. It was a comfortable rig; the straps were wide, but not thick, and the pouch part of the holster had a belt loop at the bottom, so the belt and shoulders shared the weight. (I was also wearing an HK P7 on my hip, and had a shotgun as the main armament. )
A shoulder rig has to be "right" for your body type. A guy who is barrel-chested or has a large gut is not going to be able to reach the weapon so easily, especially if he has shorter arms. If the area to the side of the chest, under the armpits, has extra tissue, the gun might not hide so well. Conversely, a skinny guy's body might be so thin front-to-back that a horizontal rig cannot hide anything larger than a snubby or pocket pistol, and a large-gripped weapon will stick out in the front if worn in a vertical rig.
Drawing the weapon need not mean sweeping your arm, or other folks, with the muzzle. Step back with the leg opposite the weapon, or step forward with the weapon side, raise the non-shooting hand/arm, in a manner that doubles as covering/protecting your face, or as a "back-off" gesture, and pull the weapon toward the opposite pec, with the muzzle oriented toward the threat. Practice in front of a mirror.
Last edited by Rexster; April 26th, 2009 at 06:03 PM.
If I'm wearing a jacket or sweater, I like carrying my Bersa 9 USC in a Masters shoulder rig.
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I use an inexpensive nylon rig I purchased at at gunshow in Knoxville. It actually works very well with my Kimber Ultra CDP. It is worn while riding on the motorcycle and around the house when I don't want a heavy gun tugging at my waist.
I see another excellent post by "Rexster" with insightful knowledge and pro-level experience. Ok, here’s another customer of the Ken Null SMZ for my 642. If there ever were a bikini shoulder rig, this would be the thong version. It takes the minimalist approach in design with quality construction. Still, I remain true to my assertion that for every plus, there is an equal minus.
The vinyl carrier is very solid although the release method whereby you pull slightly forward and sharply twist the gun from the carrier snap, is anything but easy. In terms of security it’s a good thing but in practice, it requires a diligent mindset, with very careful hand placement.
According to Ken, you can draw from under a shirt, although I have yet to feel confident with this maneuver. You see, the underside of the carrier (closest to your body) is open to a fully exposed trigger! As such, I prefer to gently pry apart the lock snap before drawing. Only in this manner do I personally feel comfortable with upholstering the gun. Maybe after a lot more unloaded practice; I’ll feel different about that.
In short, it’s an excellent concealment rig for an experienced user, although it’s not for everyone. Ken offers an updated version called the City Slicker SKR. In general, I like shoulder rigs for the same reasons mentioned by other members. In fact, I just sold a beautiful Galco for a song. It held my 1911 that I let go a while back. Currently, I’m eyeing the Galco “Executive” but as the name implies, it comes with an "executive" price tag.
Last edited by Saber; April 26th, 2009 at 07:58 PM. Reason: content correction
“Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
~ Stephen King
For a shoulder holster I've been using the Kangaroo holster. It's sort of like a cross between a belly band and a shoulder holster. The only thing I don't like about it is that it's a vertical carry and I think I'd prefer a horizontal carry. But it's pretty comfortable and conceals well.
I have a Galco Miami Classic from way back for my Colt Python 6" Blue Gun. It works. 6 years ago I had the elastic replaced so it would truss up across my back and stay in place. Yes, elastic does lose its strength. I use this carry when going Formal with a Tux or fine suit. All are cut 1 size larger to take care of the extra girth under the arm. My Dade Speed Loaders go into the left jacket pocket so access is easier if i need it, just a little jerk and the jacket is open and the gun is ready. This is the only time I use the shoulder holster. All others are FBI rake just behind the hip on the right side with a G-19 and two reloads on the left side. One extra reload is in the right jacket pocket which holds it open for a draw when needed.
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I carry with a locally made shoulder holster designed to mimic the miami classic. I OC at work and it is great for range of motion. I have the tie downs for a belt and I keep a leatherman on me (just another tool ). I feel that the shoulder rig works well even here in SOFL. I wear a light sport coat when I am out and about I got 2 for $50 at men's warehouse on sale and they work well with jeans. Other than that as OP on the thread have mentioned a nice Hawaiian shirt works well also.
My former chiropractor who used to have a lot of LEO patients always said he could tell the ones that wore shoulder holsters regularly When I flew as aircrew on helicopters I had to wear one, because there aren't alot of carry options when you wear a flightsuit. Hopefully you can try or borrow one before you buy one. If it works for you go for it! It didn't work for me under most circumstances. Good luck!
Retired Police Lieutenant, Retired USAF Reserve, Glock Armorer, NC CWP, HR-218 Qualified
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My shoulder rig was my favorite carry for my M9 during my service. I spent a lot of time driving.
Not sure how "crossing your midline" could happen with a proper draw. Other detractors will talk about flashing those behind you, but are o.k. with shoving a loaded pistol in their pants.
Shoulder holsters have a definite roll. Nothing is perfect everywhere. I've found shoulder rigs excel when spending lots of time seated, carrying heavy rigs, and when wearing a loose cover garment.