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What are your feelings on shoulder rigs for CCW?

  • Prefer them over other types

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Very occasionally use them

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Never use one

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • When the weather/situation dictates

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Only a hollywood wannabe would use one

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Like them as good as any

    Votes: 0 0.0%

Shoulder Rigs/Holsters or I wanna be in pictures

2879 Views 23 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  paulrabe78
So often you read that shoulder rigs are the slowest type of holster for presentation. Even slower than a belt worn crossdraw holster. For the most part that probably IS true. I know some are even of the belief that to wear one you have visions of being Don Johnson in his Miami Vice days or wanting to be a big screen action hero.

It seems that for the most part, writers and those "in the know" do not care overly much for them. Or that for the price of a good shoulder rig you can get 1 1/2 to 2 good belt or IWB holsters.

But many of these "experts" do not have to deal with single digit and sub zero weather during the winter. Do not have to wear multiple layers of clothing to keep warm. Or go through a very precipitation ladden spring and fall, with rain and snow the same day or sometimes mixed together, while being required to wear a protective overcoat of some sort (even a treated light cotton one) over a suit jacket or blazer.

Until you have practiced presenting your handgun from under a heavy coat or coats or multiple layers of clothing, it is hard to comprehend how awkward it can be and how much chance there is of possibly loosing a good grip or even dropping your gun. I will not even begin to complain about the abuse your clothing can take from an IWB or belt holster underneath a couple coats when trying for a fast presentation.

Even when putting on formal wear a sublte shoudler holster works best due to the pant being tailored a bit closer to your body.

I am a firm believer in a good shoulder rig when the weather or even sometimes the required dress code dictates
(answer #4) having to regularly cope with these adversities. It is much easier to reach inside a couple garments then trying to swoop them both out of the way to get to your gun. This is particualrly true when you have on a heavy 3/4 length winter overcoat and a suit jacket or blazer beneath that, or even a car coat and blazer.

Even a bargain priced suit in the hands of a good tailor and not the glorified seemstress that so many retailers use, can make a shoulder harness completely invisible. The old story of "give me a cheap suit and a good tailor over an expensive suit and no tailor anyday".

I know not everyone regularly dons formal wear and most do not wear suits or blazers often (even with jeans I will usually have a blazer on). There is still weather and other reasons.

I am not trying to convert everyone to the shoulder holster, I just wanted to point out what some of us in the northern states have to deal with. Its not like down home in North Carolina where you have a cook out on New Year's day.

I am inclined toward a shoulder harness just as much or moreso than most other types. I would really appretiate other folks views and WHY you feel that way..... please no "well so and so writer says...." or workarounds you have found instead of a shoulder rig.

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I edited the poll from "When weather dictates" to "When weather/situation dictates" and added a 6th choice of "like them as good as any".

My apology for the mistake
Well I currently do not have a good shoulder rig. But I do have a cheapy, that actually hids real well, and is not that uncomfortable. It is a horizontal hold. My son has one for his BUG, and it is a full leather custom job,and does a vertical hold, but it lacks some to me in the support section over the shoulder, that my cheapo does have.

It seems to come down to what works for you. His is for a revolver, and works for him. Mine is for a semi auto, with a place to carry spare mags on the off side. That seems to work for me. Mine ties down to my belt on both sides and I do not get any swinging motion, which I notice in his before he puts a coat on.
Reading your post several things crossed my mind. I think holster style is not entirely unaffected by fad. In some places, holster discussions are quite open minded, in others very adamant.

I find myself wondering about your size and age. I used to prefer a shoulder holster any time I was wearing a coat. All you say about northern factors versus southern is true (altho I would have said Florida instead of N. Carolina), but I find my body getting more arthritic and larger in girth as I get older. A bad shoulder and a farther distance makes reaching across to a shoulder holster more difficult in the case of a vertical holster. And the horizontal holsters seem to be hard to make hold still when running or drawing. Exact harness construction and adjustment and gun angle can help, but there comes a point of diminishing returns.

Overall it's as others say, it's up to the individual. Beyond that I think poking fun at people who use shoulder holsters, making cracks about Don Johnson is uncalled for.

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Mr JimL,

To answer your questions about size and age I am 48 years old, 6'1" and 215 lbs. I have a 45 chest and now up to a little over a 33 waist. Long gone are the days of the 29-30 inch waist. I too have had multiple surgeries on my right arm and shoulder but am left dominant.

My rig of choice is the jackass since you can cant it more than the miami classic types. And using a shoulder harness IS very dependant on weather and dress.

As for the Don Johnson part, I actually read that in a magaizine where the author was stating that shoulder rigs were for the "hollywood" types and those whom didn't know any better. I beleive he,the writer, also lives in Ca. I thought it was pretty darn poor myself.

<smiles> And my family is from N.C. close to the S.C. border. I have been home more than once for a cookout New Year's day.

The above mindset and having read similar by writers in noted magazines and webzines etc is EXACTLY why I posted the poll. I know it does boil down to personal preference but in the time I have been "lurking" and reading the posts here as well as other forums, this seems one of the more adult and open minded. To me it seems that furthering the possibilty of our own safety and other's safety would be a priority. Not belittleing one holster over another or one idea vs another if both have merit. And even if it IS a bad idea- state your arguement positively and at least attempt to be considerate of another's views. Politeness doesn't cost you anything except maybe thinking twice. Hence my post sir.

Respectfully - Brizz
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Brizz if you have read many posts by now you know that JimL and I jump in where angel fear to tread. I have opinions about many things, good facts about some things, and love to get involved in many subjects.

I too love polite, and after working online for over 10 years, I sit on my hands when someone comes up that deserves a flame job,"put down" for being either impolite, or just plain being a pain in the caboose.

You are neither, keep posting and asking I love it.
I have 3 shoulder rigs 2 of them are Miami Classic's and the 3rd was made by Milt Sparks in the early 70's for 1911 style pistols the other 2 are for a XD and a snubby all are used here mostly in the winter for the reasons you stated / cold weather extra layers of clothing and occasionally a dress up wedding etc. I am happy with all 3 most people never get them adjusted right and give up but like anything new they take some getting used to.
I had a number of shoulder rigs, over time, and, in the right context, they are the way to go. I did not care for the vertical style, as it didn't conceal very well, at all. The horizontal style worked ok with the right gun, but needed a lot of adjustment to find the best angle.
The upside down rig worked the best, for me with a snub .38, or .357.
Now, I prefer, mostly IWB or pocket carry.
I read this many years ago, but I don't remember where. Remembering the cast of Barney Miller, the only detective to wear a shoulder rig was Fish. The interesting thing about Fish was he spent a lot of time using the bathroom facilities. A shoulder rig would be perfect for someone with a need, either temporary or permanent, like this. Having had many bouts with IBS, (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), I see the value.
Brizzo said:
Mr JimL,
Hence my post sir.

Respectfully - Brizz
Robby is right about our posting, but I assure you I had no negative intent about your post or poll, rather spoke dead seriously about my own limitations. In so doing I thought I was probably speaking for at least some other than myself. That is, in regard to old fart limitations. :D

I didn't make an entry in your poll, because as of now my carrying is limited to that from a safe or dresser drawer to whatever door might be being banged on by a BG from the nearby work house. Heck, gas is too high to even go to Walmart! ;D Besides I don't even have a CCW now and my LEO days are long past.

My gun is in the shop, so at the moment ANY holster is beside the point.

It occurs to me that maybe if your poll was about preferences instead of actual "today" use you might get more inut.

I didn't vote as I don't have a shoulder holster and am not likely to get one, but there is still a chance. Part of that is that I have 4+ years of time having my primary gun on my hip. I have debated getting either a Null (http://www.klnullholsters.com/) or a Jackass for occasional use (when traveling etc) but I would still have my "primary" on my hip. The shoulder holstered gun would technically be the secondary but would function as the primary at times (buckled in while driving etc) due to easier accessibility.

As far as how I deal with getting to the gun on my hip with a winter coat on, I put a snubbie in an outer pocket. That gives me 5 rounds to either deal with the thread or give me time to get out my belt gun. I do still carry reloads for the snub as well.

I have a Horizontal Cross Draw Shoulder Holster for My 1911 Stainless... But, I don't care for it, because its just not handy to get all rigged up to head out... So 1911 is the one that gets to stay home, and the BUG is the "always" Gun... But in a Gun Fight, you would wish you were packing the 1911...<:))
I've never used one except for Military purposes. I have been considering getting one though. I don't usually carry around the house and a shoulder holster would be nice to throw on for the quick ride up to the store for milk and cookies.

Can anyone recommend a good quality leather shoulder holster?
Aloysius said:
Can anyone recommend a good quality leather shoulder holster?
Nothing to recommend other than to say, don't buy one unless you can try it on. There are HUGE differences between brands and models.

One style advertised on eBay a lot is called a military shoulder holster. It isn't military. It is made so you really need an across-the-shoulders adjustment, but it doesn't have one. It has pads on the shoulders, but the pads are badly designed. The straps aren't the right lengths (long where they should be short and vise versa). That's just one tiny reference.

Some are made with straps. Some are made with wide bands. Some can be made to fit. Some can't. The designs are all over the place - good and bad.

Thanks for the heads up. That seems to be the issue with most holster purchases. I could save a lot of money, if I could try them out first.
Brizzo, I myself have two shoulder rigs. And I do
use them, especially during the cold months, when I can wear an
outer jacket. Whatever works for the user, is what's carried.

I am by no means interested in being a "Sonny Crocket." But I
use my shoulder rigs because they work for me. And, I enjoyed
your post very much!
Aloysius said:
Thanks for the heads up. That seems to be the issue with most holster purchases.
True, but shoulder holsters are many times worse when it comes to variations, becauses there's so many more parts to get right. Which may be why they aren't more popular. A shoulder holster that fits perfectly is hard to come by and hard to beat.

I don't own so I can't use a shoulder holster, but I do have some skill with a needle and thread. I ride a motorcycle and my jackets won't keep an IWB holster from showing. So I've sewn pockets inside a few of the jackets and vests for when I'm riding or during cold weather. I find this close to a shoulder rig in use but with the ability to remove the jacket without exposing the gun.

Presentation of the gun is a little slower but less than a smartcarry with long johns or sweat pants on under jeans. And I don't worry about printing. ;)
I also have some padded vests, that with internal pockets are handy for short term carry under another jacket or coat in cold weather. But mine rides low, cross draw.
One of the leather vests that I bought for concealed carry has two inside pockets low and the gun is held with elastic. But they are way low and hard to draw from. That's why I put in a pocket up high. I'm able to get the gun out without unzipping my motorcycle jacket more then 1/3 of the way down. Pretty much were the zipper is at when I'm not actively riding, ie in a store or walking around.
stephpd said:
One of the leather vests that I bought for concealed carry has two inside pockets low and the gun is held with elastic. But they are way low and hard to draw from. That's why I put in a pocket up high. I'm able to get the gun out without unzipping my motorcycle jacket more then 1/3 of the way down. Pretty much were the zipper is at when I'm not actively riding, ie in a store or walking around.
It sounds to me like you have developed the perfect, latest entry into the shoulder holster market!! :clap:

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