Finding that "perfect" concealed carry holster is almost a never ending quest for individuals who carry concealed. Most people go through a series of holsters in a trial and error process trying to find the perfect combination of comfort and concealment.

In most cases, handgun owners end up with the proverbial "box of holsters" that end up sitting around without being used.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Guide to Shoulder Holsters

Few weapon holsters have been as widely glamorized by various movies and TV shows as shoulder holsters. Shoulder holsters can be traced all the way back to the days of the old west as handgunslingers and lawmen used them as a means of carrying a smaller or secondary handhandgun on their person. Historians that specialize in old west history have found evidence that a number of famous wild west personalities like Don Holiday and Bat Masterson were known to carry a shoulder holster at some point. Any information on shoulder holsters would be doing an injustice if no mention of Miami Vice was made. This 1980's television series brought a resurging popularity of shoulder holsters as a shoulder holster was worn by one of the main characters.

Shoulder holsters are designed to carry a handpistol in a holster that is generally suspended under the armpit. Some of the newer generation shoulder holsters that are made for long barreled or scoped revolvers across the chest, although the harness itself is still worn over the shoulder. The harness itself is usually made of a single or double loop that rides over one or both shoulders. The harnesses come in several different configurations including a full harness, half harness, or executive harness. The full harness has dual harness loops so one loops over each shoulder. The half harness has a single harness that loops over one shoulder. The executive harness is really only designed to support smaller handweapons. It features a single loop that doesn't fully go over the shoulder and connects to the belt.

For the most part, shoulder holsters come in three different variations:

Vertical carry - In this style, the holster itself rides vertically on the body. The muzzle of the handhandgun rides either straight up or straight down. In most cases, the muzzle rides in the downward position, but there are a select few models where the muzzle actually rides up towards the armpit. The models where the muzzle rides upward are generally restricted to small, short barrel revolvers like the S&W J frame series.

Horizontal carry - The holster itself rides horizontal to the body so the barrel points out underneath the armpit backwards from the body. This is probably the most popular style today as it will fit most any semi-automatic weapon.

Chest Carry - These are somewhat of a specialized shoulder holster where the holster itself rides in the front of the chest while it is still supported by loops that go over each shoulder. This style is very popular for hunting revolvers that have a long barrel (over 6") or are equipped with a scope.

Shoulder holsters can be a good choice for handweapon carry in certain applications. For long barreled revolvers or hunting handhandguns equipped with optics, it may be the only choice. For concealed carry, it can be very effective as long as you are prepared to wear a cover garment. The trick to shoulder holsters is being able to honestly evaluate your carrying needs and then determining if a shoulder holster will meet those needs.

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