Compared to the now popular IWB, belly band, OWB or appendix carry style holster, the shoulder holster is a rather traditional holstering style used by old timers. That being said, the best shoulder holster can be configured to either a vertical (muzzle pointing up or down), horizontal and to 45 degrees angle according to your personal preference and ease of use.
You need to basically carry them over your shoulders, almost similar to carrying a backpack or schoolbag, so you get the full picture. In other words, it is designed in such a way that you can either holster the firearm on one shoulder and additional ammo or magazine on the other. Therefore, they’re usually ambidextrous, thus user-friendly as you can utilize them using your most dominant hand.
The shoulder holster makes it rather easy to draw the weapon when you’re sitting for instance, however it might not be comfortable to wear for long hours due to its design, where it involves wearing straps over your upper body. Hence why, this holstering style is a little outdated and less preferred compared to the latest holster styles. But no matter, some loyal users stick to this type of holster.
Top 5 Rated Shoulder Holster Comparison Table
|Name of Product||Weight||Mag Pouch||Tie-down Belts||Comfort||Price|
|UTG Deluxe Vertical Shoulder Holster||5.6 oz||Yes||Yes||High||$$|
|Gould & Goldrich Gold Line Holsters||14.4 oz||Yes||No||High||$$$|
|New Barsony Leather Sheath||12 oz||No||Yes||High||$$|
|Generic Tactical Cross Draw Holster||4.8 oz||Yes||No||Moderate||$$|
|Galco Miami Classic Shoulder System||1.5 lb||Yes||No||High||$$$|
The main purpose of using a holster is to conceal your weapon well, so that the outline of the gun, additional ammo or magazine doesn’t print on the outline of your shirt. You can’t go around putting your gun in the pocket, that would be absurd and not to mention, dangerous. For this shoulder holster, it is best to wear an oversized jacket with it to provide you with the best concealment.
You can even wear a vest to secure it in place, because some vertical style sheaths have higher tendency of the gun dropping either when you’re bending down or if you fall forward. Moving on, this product comes with shoulder harnesses and straps in which you should adjust to fit your body size so the extras doesn’t bulge out. Adjustments should be made to ensure maximum comfort, without restricting your movement.
It is important for your sheath to have great retention to securely hold the weapon in place. In addition to that, good retention not only allows your firearm to be properly holstered, but also makes it easier to draw out and re-holster your gun, for your added convenience.
The shoulder holster is not famous for its comfort factor. That is the main reason why people turn to IWB, appendix and other modern type of holsters. However, if you’re an old timer or veteran or even a beginner who want to try them out, you should make the best out of it.
First and foremost, you need to make sure that the shoulder straps and harnesses are secured in place. It should be modified to fit your body to ensure great comfort, without restricting your movements, as mentioned above. It is best if the shoulder pads have good padding so it wouldn’t be too bad to carry them all day long.
Most holsters are of leather construction which comes in handy to provide maximum comfort as they are soft and comfy against your body. Not only that, they come with adjustable Velcro straps to make easy adjustments.
By the way, you will also want to keep your gun in a good gun safe. Click here to check out the expert advice to buy the best nightstand gun safe for the money.
UTG Deluxe Vertical Shoulder Holster
First things first, this vertical shoulder holster is equipped with an innovative design to accommodate various types of weapons such as pistols, MP sub-machined guns, and it is custom fit to the UZI. Not only that, it can fit the MP5 pistols or medium to large fully equipped pistols with additional laser and flashlight accessory, which comes in handy if you plan to go hunting during low light conditions.
That being said, all components and parts of this product is adjustable with Velcro straps, for your added convenience. These Velcro straps on the other hand are attached to the web belt to provide great holster and pouch retention so you are able to draw out and re-holster your weapon back with maximum ease.
In addition to that, the adjustable Velcro straps are paired with a snap on and buckle system to ensure that the additional ammo and magazine as well as your favorite pistol, is secured in place. Speaking about the magazine, this product comes with a handy double magazine pouch that has Velcro closure for auto or speed loader for your revolver, in which it functions to hold it securely in place.
Apart from that, it includes a modular design as well as an impressive reversible thumb break system which comes in handy so you are able to utilize either your left or right hand for operation. In other words, it is fully ambidextrous hence very user-friendly, in my opinion! Since the thumb break is reversible, you get to adjust them according to your preference.
The shoulder harness on the other hand is well padded to ensure maximum comfort so you won’t feel discomfort, especially if you have to wear them all day long. However, you might face the issue of having an extra Velcro strap that goes over the thumb break, which can be a little annoying.
Made from polyester material, this vertical holster works well as a concealed carry holster, provided you put an oversized jacket on for better concealment. Also, you have a high risk of dropping your weapon when bending over or if you fall down. So, my advice to you is either wear a vest to hold it tightly in place or make sure that the holster has great retention.
In terms of construction, this product is rather durable and solid because it comes with reinforced thread stitching as well as is double-edged stitched at pressure points to ensure that the stitching stays intact when in contact with any sort of impacts.
Suitable for :
- Reversible thumb break system
- Well-padded shoulder harness
- Double mag pouch
- Fully adjustable Velcro straps
Gould & Goldrich Gold Line Holsters
If you’re a fan of Glock pistols, this holster is a must-have for you. That being said, it is rather versatile as it can accommodate a few types of Glock pistols which include the Glock 20, 21, 29, 30 and 36. Unlike the vertical holster above, this product is a horizontal style holster in which you don’t have to adjust the muzzle to face upwards or downwards.
In terms of safety, the trigger fits well into the pocket of the holster and is well-protected hence preventing any scenarios of unintentional firing. In other words, the probability of you accidentally depressing the trigger of the gun while holstered is close to zero. Not only that, it takes a while to break in. Once the break-in period is achieved, it is rather easy to draw out and re-holster the weapon into place, for your added convenience.
Moving on to the construction, it is made from the rugged, top grain vegetable tanned genuine leather that comes in an attractive chestnut brown finish. Also, it consists of a black non-glare hardware finish. For your information, the belt tie downs (functions to improve stability) are not included upon the purchase of this product, so you need to buy them separately.
Moreover, this holster is fully adjustable based on your comfort level and personal preference, with a black swivel which functions to ensure that the strap lay flat for good concealment. In other words, you can adjust the strap to fit your body perfectly without any extra straps bulging out from your jacket or shirt, hence maximizing the concealment.
However, it is a little difficult to conceal without wearing an oversized outfit (shirt or jacket) to fully prevent any printing of the weapon and additional ammunition. The holster is also comfortable and soft, for added convenience.
Besides that, it includes a handy double ammunition carrier/magazine pouch. These magazine pouch is able to accommodate about 10 to 15 mag rounds. In addition to that, the pouch has 2 straps where one is for the shorter mag and the latter for the longer one. That being said, they play an important role in holding your additional ammo and mag safely, without any chances of it dropping to the ground.
Suitable for :
- Fully adjustable with black swivel
- Chestnut brown leather finish
- Double ammo carrier/mag pouch
- Horizontal style holster
New Barsony Leather Sheath
Weighing 8 ounces, this leather holster is rather lightweight. They are precision stitched, which further contributes to its durability. Moving on, its leather material construction is really soft and comfortable. However, the straps are not leather-constructed so they may provide a little discomfort, especially if you wear them without an undershirt.
In addition to that, this traditional shoulder sheath is equipped with wide shoulder pad which is made from soft leather material. The soft leather, as mentioned above, is comfy against your body. Also, they have adjustable retention straps which comes in handy to hold the weapon securely in place, therefore eliminating any chances of it dropping to the ground.
Speaking of the straps, you can make your own modifications by cutting off the extra length of strap as well as re-stitching them to stiffen the rig and prevent the loop from slipping of your shoulders, for added comfort. Not only that, it comes with a belt loop tie down but unfortunately, without a magazine pouch. In other words, you have no space on the shoulder holster itself to keep your additional ammunition or magazine.
Furthermore, the shoulder harness is rather handy because it offers 2 way height and 4 way size adjustment to accommodate your semi-auto weapon with maximum ease. The straps on the other hand are fully adjustable for all day comfort, so wearing it the whole day won’t be too bad.
The thumb break is basically a strap across the butt of the weapon that snaps onto the side of the holster. For your information, a thumb break or also known as a retaining strap functions as a safety device on holsters to prevent the weapon from being unintentionally drawn out. In other words, they mainly prevent another person from drawing the weapon from your body, for your ultimate safety.
This product is able to fit the 9mm and 10mm, .40 and .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols with barrel lengths ranging from 2.5 inch to 4 inch. Also, it is adjustable up to 52 inch chest size. For operation, if you’re right handed, the holster will go under your left arm and vice versa.
Suitable for :
- Wide flat leather shoulder pad
- Belt loop tie down included
- Adjustable harness
- Adjustable retention strap for holster
Generic Tactical Cross Draw Holster
First and foremost, the general tactical holster basically consists of a concealed design that includes a horizontal carry style cross-draw holster, designed for right-handed users. In terms of construction, they are made of ballistic polycloth material, however tie-down belts are not included upon the purchase of the product.
Since tie-down belts are useful to stabilize and make sure the whole holster stay in place, you shouldn’t hesitate to buy them separately. Besides that, it is equipped with fully adjustable belt loops, harness and magazine pouch to ensure that you have the best shooting experience. Not only that, the adjustable Velcro strap as well as quick release buckle ensure that the shoulder holster fits perfectly onto your body, for maximum comfort.
Moreover, this horizontal sheath is able to hold handguns, revolvers and pistols according to your preference. That being said, the weapon stays well secured in the sheath, even when you’re involved in high movement activities such as running. How does the holster hold the weapon safely?
To answer your doubts, they come in an adjustable Velcro strap as well as a snap button with quick release (as mentioned above) in order to ensure that the firearm is properly holstered. Not only that, it is a little stiff and bulky to provide good concealment, hence why you should wear an oversized jacket so the gun outline don’t print on your shirt.
This product has plenty of room for adjustments, especially for its straps. In other words, you can (depending on your personal preference) make some modifications to alter the straps to fit your build so it is comfortable to walk in, without restricting your movements. A spare magazine carrier as well as double mag pouch is attached at the right side so you’ll never run out of ammo.
It is ambidextrous, hence can be utilized by either left or right-handed users. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with any instructions so you got to figure out the operation out by yourself (not suitable for beginners). Also, some people tend to complain about getting some sort of chemical smell off the sheath, but I didn’t.
Suitable for :
- Horizontal carry cross-draw style
- Fully adjustable belt loops
- Adjustable Velcro and quick release buttons
- Spare mag carrier and double mag pouch
Galco Miami Classic Shoulder System
The Miami Classic is classified as one of the most imitated shoulder system which is a direct descendant of the original shoulder system. So you can imagine how authentic it is! That being said, the system is constructed from premium saddle leather and includes the holster itself, ammo carrier, harness and a set of system screws upon the purchase of the product.
All in all, this shoulder system is fully modular. Moving on to its spider harness, all 4 points of the spider harness pivots independently. They are connected by the clover shaped, unique Flexalon swivel back plate, a popular Galco trademark, which further results in a perfect fit and long-lasting comfort.
It will take quite some time for you to adjust the harness to your fit. Making proper adjustments are essential to ensure maximum comfort for you as well as ensure that the shoulder straps doesn’t bulge out or print from your clothing. Overall, it is a comfortable holster, even with your weapon holstered with 2 spare magazines, as it doesn’t restrict your movement.
Furthermore, this product comes with a black finish and is designed for right-handed users. It fits various types of weapon including the 1911 5-inch Colt, Para, Kimber and Springfield weapons, hence it is designed to accommodate semi-automatic pistols and revolvers, according to your preference.
Apart from that, the retention snap on the other hand is rather strong, therefore it holds your weapon securely in place, especially if you’re engaged in high energy movements such as running.
As mentioned above, it is equipped with 2 magazine pouches for you to keep additional ammo and magazine, however it doesn’t include tie down straps so you need to buy them separately. To ensure maximum concealment, this shoulder holster is best worn with an oversized dark shirt to keep it well hidden.
Suitable for :
- Saddle leather construction
- 2 magazine pouches
- Right hand draw
- Clover shaped Flexalon swivel back plate
All in all, if you prefer the old-fashioned holstering style, you should totally go for this type of holster. They are rather straightforward to operate once you get a hang of it and provided you adjust the straps to perfectly fit your build. Not only that, the holster can be in the vertical or horizontal style, depending on your preference. Therefore, I hope my review assists you in making the right choice.
If you’re a fan of IWB holster, check them out for these Glock pistols :