In a quickly changing world, one thing always stays the same for everyone: an internal need to feel safe. In the United States, this feeling is frequently guaranteed by carrying a gun. It is never a bad idea to have some “extra ammo”: you never know what kind of situation you might get in. This fact made people think of how to keep a gun always at hand, but make it a surprise for a bad guy who is threatening you in the streets? Obtaining a gun holster — that’s the answer.
Weapon Security Introduction
Experienced gun owners already know how important it is not to rush when choosing equipment. If you are a newbie, you might want to boast of your weapon put in the holster system in the public. Before doing that, remember that no matter what, you are wearing a life-threatening machine, and some people might get stressed about it. A responsible gun owner will always prefer concealed carry holsters — a choice for those who think not only about their own safety but also about others’.
The variety of holsters available on the market can be rather surprising. You can pick the material: Kydex and leather holster options are the most frequently chosen ones. You can even pick the body part that you consider to be the most comfortable for wearing a gun holster: the upper body products, like shoulder holsters or chest holster systems, are known to be the easiest in operation. However, a hip holster might serve you as long as the former variants.
In this article, a shoulder holster system will be the focus of our attention. We will discuss several top shoulder holster options that you can easily buy online, and, as a result, you will be able to distinguish between a bad and a good shoulder holster with no trouble.
Best Shoulder Holster Choices For Everyone
In the section that follows, we will review the best shoulder holsters available on the market today.
Gould & Goodrich shoulder holsters are familiar for everyone who has at least some experience in ‘gun-owning’. Frankly, even those who don’t have weapons have probably heard of this company and its high standards. Most shoulder holsters must be dreaming of being products of Gould & Goodrich since this name is a warranty of the high-quality and long service.
This particular Gould & Goodrich B804-G17 Gold Line Shoulder Holster is an exemplar of well-designed gear with adjustable shoulder straps for better balance in use. Such a shoulder holster is produced in the USA from the best quality materials — vegetable tanned genuine leather. Such a classic shoulder holster will serve you for years and will bring you much joy from exploitation.
If you are a Sig Sauer or Smith & Wesson owner, this gun holster will bring you much satisfaction. For the full list of applicable weapons, check the link. But, for better or for worse, this specific horizontal holster does not fit a wide range of guns: only lucky owners of several particular weapons will be able to use it on an ongoing basis.
But, with all of the listed pluses, there is one significant debatable point — the price of such a shoulder holster. It can be stated for sure that Gould & Goodrich products for concealed carry act like status symbols in the world of weapons: they cost more than average shoulder holsters one can meet on the market. That is why, these holsters are most frequently chosen by the experts in the field, who can truly appreciate and enjoy its benefits.
UTG Deluxe Universal Horizontal Shoulder Holster is a concealed carry holster for those who need as many benefits of the product as possible. Because this shoulder holster is definitely the one with a lot of those.
First of all, this gun holster fits both left-handed and right-handed people and guarantees smooth draw in both cases. Secondly, this is a holster, adjustable between various positions. Make it a horizontal shoulder holster, or a vertical one, it serves perfectly in any case.
Another significant feature, especially valuable for those who have a lot of guns is that it is universal. This product will surprise you with the range of the gear that you will be able to keep under your arm pit, be it a Sig Sauer or anything else.
An adjustable shoulder strap is a detail you cannot imagine such a great holster without. It also comes with a double magazine pouch, which makes using this shoulder holster an even more pleasant experience.
Summing up, this is definitely one of the best options that a person can find today, and considering it is strongly recommended.
Continuing with the line of ambidextrous equipment, we are now ready to introduce VISM by NcStar Shoulder Holster. This is a nice horizontal shoulder holster, which can be used by both left-handed and right-handed owners. Its significant benefit is a double mag pouch, which is always an advantage, especially for those who do not want their ammunition to run out quickly.
It is an adjustable exemplar with a secondary retention strap for comfort and safety. You can attach the device to your belt so that it did not dangle in use. Having additional straps is one of the ways to ensure comfortable exploitation, on an equal basis with belt hooks and belt loops. It also comes with a thumb break system — a simple but effective mechanism, which allows easy drawing in emergency (and not only) cases.
But, as always, there is a debatable issue concerning this great shoulder holster. We are now talking about its inability to adjust the cant. Having an adjustable cant is essential for those who have a specific ‘tradition’ of drawing the gun out of the case. If you are a newcomer, VISM by NcStar shoulder holster will be a nice choice to start, but if you have an extended experience of using holsters, you should keep this specificity in mind before purchasing the device.
This sample goes in strict black color, made of cotton. It is a relatively soft shoulder holster, it is pleasant to touch, and those who appreciate this quality in devices will enjoy the exploitation for sure.
This Bianchi X15 Shoulder Holster is a brighter option for those who prefer traditional leather colors. This holster is one of the most interesting exemplars in this review. If you prefer bigger sizes — this might be exactly what you need.
This is not the cheapest shoulder holster, as it is made of high-quality leather, but the manufacturer suggests two versions of the device: you can either pick a right or left-hand orientation and let your needs lead you.
It also comes in several sizes, but usually, this holster is chosen to carry large heavy guns. When you carry something heavy, you definitely need the weight to be distributed properly, and this is what Bianchi X15 can guarantee.
As a big gun owner, you might also be worried about the reliability of the fit, and might be afraid of the weapon falling out of the device. In this case, there is no need to worry, as secondary straps are included as well to make the gun stay motionlessly.
A sad thing about this shoulder holster is that it only provides an opportunity to draw the gun vertically, no way you can do it otherwise. Besides, scope gun owners will not find it fitting and handy — consider this fact before paying the money.
It would have been a poor review if we had skipped more available lower-price shoulder holsters. Obviously, not everyone is ready to pay hundreds of dollars for this kind of equipment. That is why in this section we will be talking about one of the cheapest exemplars, available on the market today, and it is Uncle Mike’s Black Kodra shoulder holster.
Among experienced users, there is a shared belief that nylon shoulder holsters should be avoided anyway. Leather and cotton holsters are preferable choices for a reason. Our goal is to make you less skeptical about several nylon options, as some of them might be rather attractive, especially for the newcomers, who are not ready to pay big money for the equipment.
Uncle Mike’s holster is a product that provides enough attractive features to compensate for the material it is made of. You can pick both hand orientation and the size of the device for your needs.
The holster is light in weight, and you can adjust it any way you prefer to carry the device. The producers also claim that you can wear it both under the clothes (say, a coat) and over it, outside the jacket. These qualities make it a perfect choice for hunting. In this case, the material is black, which makes it less noticeable if worn outside the jacket.
These holsters come with belt loops for secure wearing. It also fits people of bigger sizes, as it is applicable for those whose chest is up to 48 inches. There is no specific recommendation concerning the gender of the user, the device fits perfectly well for both men and women. But, with it, the vertical draw is only possible
By choosing such a shoulder holster, you pay less and get more. For those who are only at the beginning of their gun-ownership and use journey, this is a must-have.
The next element in the review is an entire system for concealed carry. This Galco Miami Classic II shoulder system is a very specific product, which will be able to satisfy the needs of very specific gun holders.
Galco Miami Classic II matches several particular weapons, including 5-inch Colt, Kimber, and Springfield. Lucky owners of those can consider purchasing this high-quality system with no hesitation. The manufacturer suggests two colors for the system: classic Black and Tan, both made of leather.
The company produces equipment for Military and Law Enforcement needs, and this specific system is used in these cases as well. But it does not mean that such a shoulder system cannot be obtained by ordinary citizens — this is also an option.
Galco Gunleather is known for the best quality of their products, which guarantees long service. The durability is tested and confirmed multiple times by experienced users since the system was firstly launched in 2005. The company, thus, highly appreciates trust and loyalty among customers and does everything possible to improve the products.
Like in the majority of cases, the highest quality means higher prices, and this system is not an exception. This, however, cannot be called a drawback of the product, as it is not of the highest price on the market, and it performs its functions perfectly.
This is a perfect choice for hunting, with the total weight of the entire system being equal to 0.5 pounds. It fits both men and women, but the user has to be right-handed, this is the only condition. If needed, one can order some additional accessories, such as a spare magazine carrier, but the system is fully equipped to start using it from the day of purchase.
Another shoulder holster system by Galco to cover in this review is Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster System. The name of the model speaks for itself as it is made of leather and performed in traditional tan color, whereas the name of the manufacturer, again, speaks for the highest quality of the product.
This holder system matches a range of Glocks, including more than 10 versions of the weapons (for the full list of applicable guns, check the link). The manufacturer suggests two orientations to choose from, for left- and right-handed people respectively.
Like in the previous case, a user can obtain additional accessories if needed, however, the exploitation is completely possible with the standard set. This is a later model (produced since 2009), but it also managed to gain trust and respect among weapon owners.
In comparison to the abovementioned system, this model is much lighter in weight (1 ounce in total), which makes it even better for hunting purposes. Also, it is cheaper, so even the very beginners in shooting and hunting will be able to afford it.
The last shoulder holster manufacturer to cover on the list is holsters by Alien Gear. The company suggests a range of holsters from relatively cheap options (about 50$ per unit) to more advanced systems for professional users (200$ +).
One of the most expensive products by the company is Alien Gear ShapeShift Shoulder Holster. Such a shapeshift shoulder holster has one significant difference from the majority of the list: there is no need for belt loops or hooks with such a system, as it is ‘belt-independent’. You can enjoy its functioning without attaching the device to the pants, and this fact increases comfort and convenience drastically.
The product is created on the territory of the USA and can be used both for open and concealed carry. The manufacturer suggests a range of guns that can be carried in the holster, starting from traditional Glock 42 and finishing with Kimber Micro. Both left- and right-handed users can enjoy its exploitation.
Designed from leather and colored in black, this shoulder holster will become an elegant complement to your outfit. The style is traditional and graceful, that is why the real connoisseur will be glad to receive it as a gift.
The device comes with two additional mag carriers, which perform two main functions: keep extra ammunition at hand and ensures a better balance of the system. You can wear it the way it is most comfortable: the majority of the elements are adjustable. You can change the cant for the smoothest draw possible. An integral thumb break mechanism adds safety to the convenience.
Your Shoulder Holster: Basic Characteristics
If you need a shoulder holster, you are definitely looking for the best shoulder holster that will not only perform its functions well but will also be a perfect option for you specifically. Before investing in a personal shoulder rig, familiarize yourself with the following characteristics.
This point refers to the question of whether you want your shoulder holster to be manufactured or to be custom-made. It is a well-known fact that the best shoulder holsters are made “manually” in the workshops. In the United States, there are dozens of masters ready to create a comfortable shoulder holster for your needs.
But, such a top-quality holster to conceal carry usually costs way too much. An average amateur hardly will be ready to pay several hundred dollars to get his gun secure. That is why, from the point of efficiency, manufactured shoulder holsters are the best shoulder holsters.
Nowadays, if you want a separate shoulder holster for each of your weapon units, you can buy it online. It means that you can either get a universal shoulder holster, that will fit several of your handgun models or pick any of the available specific shoulder holster offers.
Before buying a shoulder holster for you or your family members, learn more about the weight distribution that it suggests. The best shoulder holster utilizes smart techniques that allow adjusting the gear perfectly without body damage. For instance, in some systems, there are additional magazine carriers inserted for better balance (one of the examples below demonstrates it).
The reason one should consider getting a shoulder holster instead of, for instance, a hip or chest holster, is that well-developed former samples distribute weight between both shoulders, creating equilibrium and protecting human bodies from back pain.
Just like the clothing items, shoulder holsters are produced from different materials. Each of the materials, thus, has its pros and cons.
Basically, weapon owners now are picking between two options: synthetic shoulder holsters and those made of full-grain leather. Synthetic options are perfect for those who never know where their lives will take them. Professional users frequently choose synthetic shoulder holsters, as they are more reliable and usually (with some exceptions) serve longer.
A leather shoulder holster is a choice for those who are used to surrounding themselves with traditional things. If you ask an old-fashioned user, what is the best material for a classic shoulder holster, they will definitely name leather. Its’ main advantage is almost no need for additional harness straps. Usually, a retention strap serves to prevent the weapon from falling from the holster, but due to the peculiarities of the material (its roughness, mainly), leather shoulder holsters do not allow even compact handguns to fall out of the gear.
The most frequently met shoulder holsters involve two options: either one magazine pouch included or two magazine pouches, for more ammunition to carry at once. The choice of magazine pouches number is totally dependent on one’s needs.
For instance, if you prefer to feel fully equipped in any situation, and frequently use your guns somewhere in the backyard for unprofessional shooting, you might prefer having a holster with a dual magazine pouch. On the contrary, if you have modest needs, picking a holster with a double magazine pouch is not obligatory.
Shoulder Holster Size
An obvious thing that matters is the size of the holsters for concealed carry of weapons. Shapes and sizes of the shoulder holsters vary in the sense that there are exemplars that fit a number of gun models, and, also, there are products that are supposed to fit a specific model only.
This is totally a matter of choice: some prefer versatility and, thus, pick universal shoulder holster variants, others value accuracy, and exactness. There is no correct answer on what to choose, but it is essential to check what kind of shoulder rig is in front of you before buying.
Cant Makes Difference
Experienced users already know what cant refers to, but in case you don’t, under the cant weapon owners usually understand the tilt or the angle of inclination of the gun when carried in the holster.
The best way to figure out which cant fits you perfectly is, of course, trying different options with your body. There are two main types of cants: adjustable and fixed ones. Frequently, a fixed one is more rigid, whereas the advantages of an adjustable cant speak for themselves.
The point is that it is always better to try a shoulder holster on your body before spending money on it. However, this is not always possible since such purchases nowadays are often made online.
Shoulder holsters (meaning their characteristics) might vary depending on the gender they are created for. Obviously, men and women are not the same: the average height differs, the hips differ, and the breasts differ, highlighting the necessity for making special equipment for men and for women.
It is a well-known fact that men are more likely to deal with weapons, thus, the majority of shoulder holsters are made for them. But, it does not mean that a woman cannot find the best shoulder holster that will fit her parameters perfectly.
Shoulder Holster as a Decent Investment
Now, when you are already acquainted with the very best shoulder holsters, you can explore the market by yourself. There is a great diversity of products worth your consideration: holsters of different sizes, colors, materials, adjustable and non-adjustable options, those which involve a thumb break system, and not only.
In this section, we will explain why buying a shoulder holster is a decent investment.
Basically, there are several main reasons. They go as follows:
- A shoulder holster is the best alternative to a waistband
There are multiple situations, in which using a waistband is too uncomfortable. For example, while driving a car. Drawing in these cases is weird and inconvenient, that is why choosing a shoulder holster might be a solution.
- Bigger guns are welcome
Tastes differ: some people prefer bigger sizes of the weapons, and some prefer smaller ones. If you are from the first category, a shoulder holster will eliminate a significant share of problems associated with carrying large guns.
- Comfortable for open and concealed carry
In this article, we talked about the devices for concealed carry mainly. However, shoulder holsters work just fine in the cases of the open carry as well.
- Full range of adjustability
Retention straps, additional straps, a cant. With smart models, all these elements can be adjusted to your needs, making the process of concealed carrying quite a pleasant one.
Best Shoulder Holsters Takeaway
We elaborated on seven leading models/companies producing shoulder holsters, which can be considered the most convenient and efficient ones. These were the best shoulder holsters not only in our humble opinion but also according to the experience of users. On average, the abovementioned shoulder holsters gained 4.5 stars out of 5, which speaks for the quality and helpfulness of the products.
Summing up, on the modern market, one can find any kind of a holster for any kind of needs. Of course, there is always an option to ask a master to create a shoulder holster for you individually in the workshop, but why? Buying a fitting shoulder holster of great quality has never been easier than today.
Remember, that it is better to know as much as possible about your weapon and its peculiarities and your personal needs before purchasing a shoulder holster for it. Create a list of requirements for the product so that it could navigate you in the world of holsters.
Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ
Are shoulder holsters a good idea?
A shoulder holster will definitely be a must for those who prefer large frame pistols, but, of course, one can easily find the perfect equipment for concealed carry for every possible barrel length. A shoulder holster’s primary goal is to keep a gun at hand and to enhance its use. If the original holster does not completely satisfy its owner’s needs, it is possible to buy additional accessories to solve the problem.
How to make a leather shoulder holster?
Creating a shoulder holster from leather might be a complicated task for those who have never done it before. The whole process involves several steps. First, you have to prepare the material, the equipment, and the gun itself. The gun must be empty. The material then must be stretched, and the inserts must be made where necessary. Once the inserts are stitched, you must apply the glue to the remaining parts. Adding shoulder straps is also recommended. If you can, apply adjustable straps for convenience.
Are shoulder holsters comfortable?
Shoulder holsters are kept right under the arm pit, which allows keeping your weapon just “at hand”. Adjustable shoulder straps make the exploitation process even more comfortable, with a thumb break system making it as secure as possible. If you buy a deep concealment shoulder holster, you can wear almost any kind of clothing with it. On the market, you can now find a really great holster that will satisfy your safety needs.
How to make a shoulder holster for a gun?
Making a shoulder holster manually involves serious preparation, both financially and emotionally due to the difficulties one might face on the path. First, you have to buy the materials and equipment and prepare the target weapon. Step by step, process the material, shape it in a way so that it fits the gun properly, and sew and stitch it where necessary. Do not forget to add a shoulder strap for convenience in use.
How to wear a vertical shoulder holster?
When a gun cannot be worn on a hip, a vertical shoulder holster is your choice. There are two ways a gun can be placed within a shoulder holster for vertical carry: with a barrel up or with a barrel down. There can be either one or two shoulder straps. All the straps serve to make it more comfortable to wear really large weapons.
Where to buy a shoulder holster?
A shoulder holster is an item that nowadays can be easily bought online. The options, available on the Internet (and not only) are rather diverse: you can pick between vertical or horizontal shoulder holster variants, get a product with a belt loop or without one (which is less popular but still), or pick a universal holster or one for a specific model. Concealed carry has never been more available than today.
Are shoulder holsters considered concealed?
Shoulder holsters are a special type of equipment that is mainly used to carry weapons in a concealed way. The gun, thus, is usually put inside the holster, and the holster itself lies under the clothes. The shoulder harness allows the holster to stay right where it has to be. Using a shoulder holster is a responsible way to carry weapons, as it might scare ordinary citizens.
Are shoulder holsters easy to conceal?
Shoulder holsters are indeed easy to conceal as this kind of equipment is developed specifically for the purpose of concealed carry. If one wants to ensure better secrecy, a weapon owner can choose an iwb holster, a part of which will also be “hidden” in the owner’s pants. Owb holsters, however, are also easy to conceal, especially if one wears some sort of jacket or a coat.
Is a shoulder holster good for concealed carry?
A shoulder holster is a nice option for concealed carry, as it performs its function of keeping a gun in a safe and hidden place rather well. Sometimes, when one needs to conceal a large weapon, using a shoulder holster might be the only way. Such devices usually include a retention strap, which keeps the gun inside the case even if the person wears a horizontal shoulder holster.