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Old September 8, 2013, 02:57 PM   #1
Join Date: July 25, 2013
Location: Gainesville, FL
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Considering Shoulder Holster...

I've been carrying IWB for the past year, 1-2 o'clock position, strong side draw, a compact Ruger SR9c. Works great while standing and walking.

Problem is I can't draw it quick n smoothly while sitting in my car without shifting towards the driver side door, possibly towards a threat. FL is a conceal carry state only, so no open carry.

In the Fall, Winter, and Spring I've been considering wearing tight undershirts with a loose button up shirt over it, unbuttoned of course. A friend of mine does this year round, he carries his full-size 1911 .45 comfortably. I've been considering this set-up as well, gives me the option of carrying my 1911 or when my SR9c using the extended 17 round mag instead of the smaller 10 rounder.

His shoulder rig is a horizontal deal, I've been considering a vertical one for my 1911, and a smaller horizontal one for the Ruger. I used a horizontal shoulder holster in the Army, drawing the pistol from a Humvee or any vehicle was quick n easy.

What's your experience with shoulder holsters and civilian clothes? Pros n cons of vert vs horizontal? The vertical allows you to carry a longer pistol and reduses the chance of it falling out when getting something off the floor.
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Old September 8, 2013, 04:22 PM   #2
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Personally, . . . I've got a couple of shoulder rigs, . . . but once I got used to carrying a 1911 at 3:30 IWB, . . . the shoulder holsters just don't get the playing time they used to.

Try carrying your 1911, . . . empty, . . . without a holster (better known as Mexican carry) on your strong side, . . . about an inch behind the belt loop that is on the 3 oclock position. You will need to graduate to a holster, . . . as MC can be less secure.

YES, . . . it does take a bit of getting used to, and at first you wonder if you ever will, . . . but when you do, . . . you wonder why you ever carried any other way.

I wouldn't trade my any of my strong side IWB's for a box full of shoulder holsters (unless of course I could have a table at a local gun show).

Just my $.02, . . . but it really does work for me, . . . 24/7, . . . and both of my carry guns are 1911's, all steel, . . . one full size / one commander size.

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Old September 8, 2013, 04:25 PM   #3
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Shoulder holsters and civilian clothes: in general it doesn't work, except in movies. Just my experience.
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Old September 8, 2013, 05:41 PM   #4
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Tried the IWB with my 1911, no way. I have a 44in chest, 32in waist line, and short torso. Does not work. My SR9c barely works.

Like I said a friend does shoulder carry daily, just wears a long sleeve button-up shirt, unbuttoned, untucked.
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Old September 8, 2013, 05:49 PM   #5
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Remember, with a shoulder holster you'll need to sweep the gun across youself and perhaps others who are no threat. With a 1911 design if you're going for the safety, it can be very, very problematic.

Also, the common wisdom is that a butt forward pistol is a lot easier for the bad guy to reach for it.

And, if you're somewhat barrel chested reaching across yourself and grasping the pistol can be a bit harder. Try a shoulder holster of your choice and see if you can reach the butt easily.
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Old September 8, 2013, 05:59 PM   #6
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Not saying that others can't use a shoulder holster, but I can't, at least not normally. If it's a really heavy coat, then okay. I have 2 X-15's and they stick out enough to clearly show through the jacket. And the straps can sometimes show underneath if the jacket is thin. I can conceal my tanker's holster better. I wish I had listened to the warnings before I bought them.
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Old September 8, 2013, 09:38 PM   #7
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I love shoulder holster carry in the cooler seasons.... around here that is basically late October through early April.

I have a Galco Miami Classic... this has to be one of the better rigs. Don't go cheap. I carry a Glock 19 in this rig.

I carry under loose fitting sweaters (wool, cotton, or synthetic).... Also under loose fitting sweatshirts, zip up fleece. Also works great with a sport coat, and as I have gotten older I find myself wearing a casual sport coat with jeans to go out and about.

I also prefer this rig when hiking / hunting in which case I open carry.... I hate a bunch of weight on my belt when I am hiking/climbing/ crawling... I find shoulder holster carry much better in this case.

Practice is required to draw smoothly, especially with a sweater or sweatshirt.

One thing that is not discussed often is the size of gun that can be concealed. The deeper your chest is (front to back), the larger the gun that can be concealed... A man with a barrel chest, or a woman with a large bust line can conceal a full size 1911 or N frame with ease... But some very thin individuals will have trouble with anything that large... I can do a Glock 19, but not a Glock 17 or full size 1911.
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Old September 8, 2013, 09:49 PM   #8
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My preferred method of carry is a shoulder holster.

I've carried anything from a J frame snubbie to a 4" N frame to an HK P7.

I've found that wide shoulder straps are much preferable to narrow ones for long-term comfort.

Clothing for concealment must be carefully chosen, though.
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Old September 8, 2013, 09:52 PM   #9
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I have a belly band holster that I don't use because I have to lift a shirt up to get to the pistol. I can hide my full-size 1911 under my left... Uh, pec? It creates like a curtain. A benefit of lifting weights I guess.

I can conceal my 1911 in a vertical position with the 8round mag, not with the 10round and not horizontally. I already have a few button up shirts, I'll go to a few gun shops and try out a few shoulder holsters, see how it goes.

From doing a little research and talking to my friend, I need a vertical holster, no squared edges, and a mag holder on the opposite side helps balance the weight. Or get a dual gun rig and just put my compact pistol on the opposite side. It'll help balance it out. I don't know, that seems a little excessive, LOL.

We'll see.
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Old September 9, 2013, 07:38 AM   #10
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The only shoulder holster I have ever used was for my Ruger Redhawk with 7 1/2" barrel. Big gun. And I am not very big or tall. The Uncle Mike's holster did not work for me as it came from the factory. Tried to push the gun up into my arm pit. I replaced the belt loop with a long loop made from seat belt strapping. Worked fine, used for quite a few years hiking, hunting, in my truck and while on my tractor. Sometimes you have to be innovative.
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Old September 9, 2013, 09:06 AM   #11
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What's your experience with shoulder holsters...
Being over-weight, I find that the reach under the left arm is too far is awkward for us hefty guys. Pocket carry for me, instead. I have a couple of shoulder holsters, but I just use them to carry my guns out to my pole barn range, and sometimes into my woods...not for concealed carry.
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Old September 9, 2013, 09:34 AM   #12
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I carry many of my guns in a quality leather shoulder holster. Shoulder rigs work good for jacket weather and are very discreat. Riding on ATV or motorcycles and cars. I like them hiking and hunting. I am 6'3 210lbs and they dont print at all. I find them more comfortable distributing the weight better than on the hip. I usually carry a tactical light in one mag pouch and a spare mag in the other. Grab the rig and go, you got all your gear with you.

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Last edited by Mystro; September 9, 2013 at 09:39 AM.
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Old September 9, 2013, 10:00 AM   #13
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I use a shoulder holster occasionally for my 1911. Like Mystro says, they work well when riding motorcycle with a jacket, and work better for me than IWB when sittin' in my truck. I also like them for open carry when hiking, hunting or working on stuff outside. As has been said, buy a good one with wide shoulder straps and you can comfortably carry a heavier firearm like a 5'' 1911 all day. Like all things in life, what works well for one may or may not work well for someone else.
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Old September 9, 2013, 12:40 PM   #14
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UncleEd said,
Remember, with a shoulder holster you'll need to sweep the gun across youself and perhaps others who are no threat. With a 1911 design if you're going for the safety, it can be very, very problematic.
This is a common, but false, assumption.

With shoulder holster, or any other crossdraw rig, this problem can be almost completely negated by pivoting or stepping.

I am right handed, so crossdraws for me are on my left side. If faced with a threat, I can:
1) pivot clockwise on the ball of my left foot, sweeping my right foot back; or
2) pivot clockwise on the ball of my right foot, stepping my left foot forward.

Either movement pushes the muzzle toward the threat, and pulls the grip away from the threat. This minimizes the chances of sweeping innocents, or of having the gun granned by the threat.

Also, I should raise my left arm, to minimize chances of sweeping it.

As far as 1911 safeties go, just click off safe during draw and presentation, not in the holster.

That said, I find shoulder holsters difficult to conceal, and generally only use them for extended vehicle travel.
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Old September 9, 2013, 01:44 PM   #15
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A shoulder holster takes a little time to get it adjusted right. But well worth it if you drive a lot. As for concealment its just like any other holster,cas you need to dress around it. I've got two.....ones a Miami rig with gun one one side and two mags on the other. The second is a double holster rig, with a p95 and extra mag on EACH side. A simple Hawaiian shirt or maybe one size bigger or will easly hide both rigs. I can carry the single gun Miami rig under a work uniform shirt a size or so bigger.

I admit the double rig is more for the range or woods... also a little show off at club events as an open carry. But still an easy to hide rig.
Wind breakers and jakets and even hoodies can work.. hoodies take some practice but with the zipper down to its max a draw is easy with practice.

It takes practice and trial and error to find what you can and cant wear with it.... also for the nay sayers. It can be done, I've seen a guy take off 15 guns that there was no way you would of ever see one of them. Ok most were pocket guns... just jeans and wind breaker.
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Old September 9, 2013, 02:34 PM   #16
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Florida; shoulder rigs....

note: Florida changed the concealed carry/W law(s).
You can "open carry" now in Florida. The Florida Assembly voted to allow W/license holders to have firearms & holsters exposed but only under limited conditions. If a breeze blows your coat open or your bend down, a citizen can't call 911 saying you aren't concealing your firearm.
You can not walk down the street like a SWAT cop or Boba Fett in Florida but if you have a W/concealed carry license & you won't get in trouble if your pistol is in view briefly.

See: .

As for shoulder rigs, Id look at the Kirkpatrick Leather shoulder holster, the DelFatti, the Galco Miami Classic II, the Aker Comfort Flex, the Ted Blocker Lifeline(used on the Fox hit series; Bones).

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Old September 9, 2013, 03:40 PM   #17
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RE: sweeping across others with a SH draw Has anyone ever been accidentally shot by a person drawing from a shoulder holster (other than the person intended to be shot)? I think it is good to be aware, but too much caution can border on the ridiculous. Horizontal shoulder holsters have been around for many decades, and I have never heard of a death or injury in my areas of operation.
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Old September 9, 2013, 04:18 PM   #18
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I use a Bianchi X15 vertical holster, works well with autos, or revolvers.
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Old September 9, 2013, 04:44 PM   #19
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post 17; ER doctor....

Post #17 may sound extreme but strange or even bizarre complaints about shoulder rigs do occur.

Id read of a sworn LE officer/helicopter pilot who got into a spat with a ER doctor who made a formal complaint about the uniformed cop's horizontal shoulder holster/sidearm.
Im glad I wasn't there. I've had bogus, petty complaints too re: firearms & gear but there's a limit!
Some gun ranges & training sites refuse any shoulder rigs or holsters for safety reasons which I can see but IMO shoulder holsters are not unsafe or reckless.

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Old September 9, 2013, 07:43 PM   #20
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I like the old M3 military holster with the single diagonal chest strap. It works well for me in fall and winter, when I wear a light or heavy coat, that I can zip up enough to hide the strap. The later M7 isn't as user friendly for me.

As an active person, I don't like getting bumped by the pistol butt in a horizontal carry holster, and I don't like the barrel pointing at whom ever is standing behind me. YMMV.
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Old September 9, 2013, 08:27 PM   #21
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I like shoulder holsters. I have vertical rigs for revolvers and a horizontal rig for my Sig P220.
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Old September 9, 2013, 08:53 PM   #22
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As Rotten Mick said they do take a few tries to get adjusted correctly. When they are though it's wonderful for carrying a mid-frame or compact 9mm.

My Walther P5 rides very nicely in an Uncle Mike's rig, and I have the next size down for the PP as well.

Works very well for autumn carry with a heavy flannel or cotton duck shirt over a T.
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Old September 9, 2013, 11:44 PM   #23
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I'm a skinny guy, and always have been.

Between my size and the way I prefer to dress, I've never found a shoulder holster that worked for me - even for open carry.
I've tried 3 vertical carry holsters and 2 horizontal (and everything from full size .44 Mags, to a P95, to a Taurus .380 and a S&W J frame). For concealed carry, they just don't work with my body and choice of clothing. If it's comfortable, I look like I'm concealing a handgun in a shoulder holster.
If the holster isn't obvious through clothing, it's uncomfortable (and therefore, not an option).

If I had another 40 lbs, or so, of mass, I might be able to get away with it. I would very much prefer to carry with a shoulder holster. But, as a skinny guy, it doesn't seem to be an option for me.
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Old September 10, 2013, 11:16 PM   #24
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If the issue is primarily in-car carry then examine some alternates where you transfer the pistol to an off-body but handy position.
All data is flawed, some just less so.
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Old September 10, 2013, 11:35 PM   #25
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When I carry my Coonan I do so in a shoulder holster. Mine is basically a jackass holster but instead of 2 mags on the other side mine holdes 4.

Unless I am wearing a heavy coat this is not real concealable. So when I wear it 90% of the time I open carry.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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