June 4th, 2009 12:20 AM
Shoulder Holster Query
I am looking to purchase a couple of shoulder holsters. One, a leather traditional CCW SH and the other a synthetic SH to wear when performing physical activity.
I am a fairly big guy with a 52" chest.
I would prefer tie-downs on both sides and an ammo carrier on the off side.
I have read this fellow's reviews:
Shoulder Holster Review
Also, I did a search on "shoulder holster" on this sub-forum and found quite a few hits, which I perused and learned a bit.
Any experience you can share would be appreciated.
My three main options I have considered are Galco, El Paso Saddlery, & Aker. Alessi* & Del Fatti are out of the competition. Just too much money and too long a wait. I am open to other options.
Possible weapons to pack in leather SH, in order of preference:
1911 full size / GM
1911 OACP / 3.5" bbl
SW M19 2.5" bbl snubby
SW M629 4" bbl
Galco (Galco holsters; Holsters; Gun holster, pistol holsters, western holsters, shoulder holsters, leather holster and Glock holsters)
Galco has the Jackass, Miami Classic, Miami Classic II, and VHS.
MC & MC II hold the weapon horizontally, the Jackass at about a 45deg muzzle-up tilt, and the VHS is vertical.
Galco has a nice option to order a large version of the MC/MCII/VHS harness that will accommodate up to a 64" chest, whereas their standard harness is good to 52" chests. (The 52" limit seems to cut it too close for my tastes.)
I suspect that the 1911GM and the SW629 4" would require a vertical carry or angled carry to stay concealed, but am not certain. My worry is that the VHS is too big & bulky and the Jackass rig is kinda chintzy.
El Paso Saddlery (El Paso Saddlery - Holsters)
EPS has the 200 (muzzle angled up 45deg) and the Spyder (horizontal).
My initial thought is that EPS is better quality than Galco. OTOH, the leather harness that EPS uses looks kinda thick.
Again, they have hoizontal (107) and muzzle-up (101) angled permutations.
I would prefer that the holster part of the SH NOT be nylon or any sort of fabric that retains moisture. My druthers would be kydex or some such for the holster portion.
My usual first stop when considering a new holster-type is Uncle Mikes, as UM is cheap and can help determine if the particular holster type is workable or not. But, UM SHs are all fabric.
Possible weapons to pack in synthetic SH, in order of preference:
SW M629 4" bbl
1911 full size / GM
SW M19 2 1/2" snubby
Blackhawk (Home BLACKHAWK!)
Honestly, I usually avoid this purveyor of tacticool like the plague. But, their Serpa holster can be supplemented with a shoulder harness.
Survival Sheath Systems (SURVIVAL SHEATH SYSTEMS : Kydex Holsters & Sheaths, Knives, Survival Kits, Water Purifiers, Fire Starters and More)
They look better made than BH and have the advantage of not being made by BH.
* In doing research, I learned that Lou Alessi has gone to his reward. A sad day for his family and a sad day for those who appreciate the best in gunleather. May he rest in peace.
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
June 4th, 2009 01:22 AM
I have an andrews monarch leather shoulder holster. Actually 2 of them. One for a glock 17 and another for a Glock 20. I like them, but mostly use them when I am out hunting. Andrews Custom Leather
I am barrel chested and have 52" chest. I do find that being barrel chested is not the most conductive to shoulder holster carry. Just my 0.02.
June 4th, 2009 02:18 AM
I have a Galco Miami Classic for my Ruger Sp101 snubbie. It is by far the most comfortable shoulder rig I have ever owend. It has tie downs on the holster and the ammo dump pouches on the off side. It is a modular system so you get a different holster/Mag holders and they swap right out. I can go from my snubbie revolver to my 1911 with just a few quick snaps. It is great CC set up.
We can't stop here...this is bat country.
Res Ipsa Loquitur
June 4th, 2009 09:18 AM
I have a Galco Vsh, for my Sigma SW9VE, and it hides very well. My chest measured ~48", and the harness had quite a bit of room to expand. The gun is held very securely, but is easy to draw from.
June 4th, 2009 11:22 AM
I just recently got a Galco Miami Classic II and only have about 40 hrs wear time with it. Although my first shoulder holster, I'm very impressed with it. The wider straps really help distribute the weight of my 1911 Kimber and even after 8 hours, it is still very comfortable. Both the holster and mag carrier has tension adjustment screws and the holster has great detail molded in which also helps on retention. The thumb break snaps shut firmly yet is easily deployed. It has a lot of adjustment capability in the harness regarding height and cant of the holster / mag carrier. It does sound like you would benefit from the larger harness option judging from your measurements. The tie-down options are nice with a decent range of adjustment. You will definitely want the tie-downs as they help keep everthing in place and do aid in offering the extra bit of resistance on the draw-stroke. You'll also like the modular ability of the Galco especially for the different models you have listed. I can't speak for El Paso quality but I have multiple Galco products and have always been very impressed with their quality and consistancy.
The main difference I see between the Galco and El Paso other than the holster molding is the mag carrier. The MCII has the horizontal mag carrier which is a BIG plus. They actually screwed up and shipped mine with the vertical mag carries (Friday packaging LOL) and I tried it until the horizontal one came. IMHO, you just have too many unnatural forces against you with the vertical one when going for the spare mag. It may be that I didn't give it enough time to get acquainted with it but even adjusting the cant with the mags more forward didn't seem to help much. The horizontal one just feels right when going for a spare mag and that would be the only style I'd use from this point forward and with the tension screws, they stay snug with no fear of falling out.
There would be no issue with having a Govt 1911 in the horizontal holster. I figured the barrel would stick out and print but it doesn't at all. Some people don't like the horizontal due to the muzzle sweeping objects behind them and they don't feel it's a safe carry method. I'm just as anal as most people on this board about safety but I also know that if my booger picker is off the bang switch, it won't go off. The horizontal is also going to offer a more natural drawstroke.
Personally no experience with any of the nylon holsters but I would be more inclined to go with the Blackhawk company as they seem to have a good reputation.
Now for obligatory gun porn!
June 4th, 2009 12:05 PM
+1 on Andrews Monarch. I use mine for a 5" 1911. An excellent product.
June 4th, 2009 12:09 PM
As posted elsewhere, I like shoulder rigs too! Unfortunately, there is a lot of trial and error involved but that’s always the case in this hobby. Heck, you’re lucky to find the right gun that fills most of your needs without building your own small arsenal.
I just sold the high-end Galco 1911 rig with a double-mag holder, twin tie-downs, etc. It was beautiful and the forum member who bought it, was very happy! It didn’t work for me because I’m a smaller size man so the whole arrangement was simply over the top. Second, I opted for a Ken Null bikini style plastic thing’ although it doesn’t work the way I expected. Also, it exposes the trigger and that’s something I simply can’t deal with. Next up? I’m headed back to Galco ($$) and this time, I'm opting for the “Executive” for my S&W 642. It’s available for several guns, and I’m praying it will be the cat’s meow.
“Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
~ Stephen King
June 4th, 2009 12:26 PM
A search for shoulder holsters should give you many results. Here is my take on the SERPA shoulder rig. http://www.defensivecarry.com/vbulle...er-review.html
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset
June 4th, 2009 06:25 PM
I use the Galco Executive for my Sig P232, A Bianchi X-15 for a big S&W revolver (vertical carry) and just got a used Hunter holster for the Glock. Do I like shoulder rigs? You bet. I suggest that, if you are on a budget, peruse the member for-sale sections of gun forums. There are always members who are selling their shoulder rigs.
NRA, IDPA, GSSF & GSSA member
Certified Glock Armorer
June 4th, 2009 09:36 PM
A lot of good information, folks, to help me make a better decision. Much appreciated.
I contacted El Paso Saddlery and the guy I communicated with is also on the large side (54"). He wears their Spyder rig and still has some more room to adjust for a larger man with the stock straps.
The EPS & Galco (MC & Jackass) rigs look similar enough, design-wise, but the EPS has the wider straps and longer straps stock, not as an accessory like the Galco...and Galco does not have a "long & wide" option.
I'll give myself a few days to chew on all my research and then pull the trigger.
I saw your SERPA SH review doing my due-diligence, pre-posting search. Helpful data. The date was NOV2008. Any additional information?
Unfortunately, they only make SERPA variants for the 1911s I own. Granted, my SW1911 is my primary CCW, but I wanted the synthetic SH more for outdoorsy, "jfruser sweats his backside off" applications for which my 4" SW629 .44mag is most appropriate.
Thanks for the tip.
I always appreciate such purty pictures!
Originally Posted by jfruser / EPS commo
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."
June 4th, 2009 11:10 PM
IMO, the Andrew Monarch is the premier shoulder rig and the one to get if you want to do it right the first time.
Training means learning the rules. Experience means learning the exceptions.
June 4th, 2009 11:24 PM
I'd vote for the Sam Andrews Monarch - my wife has two Monarchs.
June 5th, 2009 08:29 AM
Another Andrews Monarch fan here. Have interchangeable setups for 1911 and J Frame. With the right design you don't need the tie downs. With the right leather sweat is not an issue. As per the makers instructions I spray the holsters with silicone every 6 months or so and have never had a sweaty gun and I live in FL.
If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
June 5th, 2009 11:31 AM
The Monarch does have a great design and looks like it would be very comfortable.
June 5th, 2009 11:53 AM
For me, the Galco Jackass rig has been my choice for the past 20 years....
I beg to differ with the author of the link regarding drawing speed. I have tested this from time to time, and notice little difference in the speed at which I can draw. One thing to consider, anytime you are drawing from concealment there is going to be a delay, whether from a hip holster, fanny pack or shoulder rig. The key is to practice with whichever medium you choose so you can minimize your time and drawing is an automatic motion.....
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry
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