min read
shoulder holster

Try These Tips For Using A Shoulder Holster Before You Admit Defeat

A lot of people have bought a shoulder holster and consigned it to either very occasional use, to a holster drawer to gather dust, or straight up threw it away. Which is a shame, because they're awesome to carry with IF you get them dialed in.

And that's usually the problem. The user just hasn't bothered to really get the holster set up for their body shape and dimensions. The lack of results leads to disappointment, and next thing you know the user accepts the idea that a shoulder holster isn't for them.

While we appreciate that not every type of holster is not for everybody or every situation, we think a lot more people can successfully use a shoulder holster than end up doing so.

We make leather shoulder holsters, so we know exactly how they work. Here are some of our tips on how to successfully carry with a shoulder holster, so that they're comfortable and concealable.

Comfortable, Concealable Shoulder Holsters

Clothing Shouldn't Be An Afterthought With A Shoulder Holster


One of the first things you need to know is that clothing selection is a big deal when using a shoulder holster.

People will get theirs, strap it up, insert their gun and go "oh my god! There's a huge goiter there! How can I conceal and carry this way?!"

This is why you have to make judicious clothing selection, especially with your cover garment. After all, you have a certain amount of material appearing somewhere that it didn't use to be!

You don't necessarily need to wear a sport coat, but given that most of them have a nice roomy cut compared to most suit coats, they do work very well for the purpose. So will a roomy jacket or button-up shirt.

If you're committed to using a shoulder holster, you may want to go up one shirt or jacket size for a bit of extra room.

Not being able to dress well around a shoulder holster does trip people up, so it bears mentioning.

Reconsider Pistol Orientation With Your Shoulder Holster

vertical shoulder holster

Another area where you may want to have another look is the orientation of the gun in your shoulder holster.

Most come from the factory oriented horizontally, so the pistol is parallel to the ground. Some, but not all, also allow for vertical orientation or can be configured either as a horizontal or vertical shoulder holster at the buyer's discretion.

A select few have both capabilities.

For the person who hasn't ever used a shoulder holster before, being able to switch orientations is a desirable feature. It allows one to be able to change configuration to their preferences or choice if they find the factory settings are disadvantageous to them.

The reason this might matter is that the longer a gun is, the less conducive it will be to concealment or comfort when oriented horizontally under the arm.

A compact or subcompact pistol such as, say, a Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield or a Sig Sauer P365 is not an issue if carried horizontally. A Beretta 92, Sig Sauer P226 or P320, a Glock 17 or - if you have taste in guns - a 1911 pistol can be problematic.

If you carry a compact or larger, vertical orientation could take a shoulder holster from zero to hero, potentially; some people find doing so resolves their comfort and concealability problems all on its own.

Horizontal Or Vertical Shoulder Holsters

Use Belt Hooks With Your Shoulder Holster And Take Time To Adjust Their Position

shoulder holster belt hooks

Belt hooks anchor the holster and gun to the body, as well as the magazine carrier. It draws them a little tighter to the body, which keeps them both tighter when walking around. Doing so can make the shoulder holster more comfortable to wear, and easier to conceal.

If concealment is your goal, you need to have the gun snug to the body to eliminate printing to the utmost degree possible.

You may also need to adjust the position of the belt hooks. You might find that pulling the holster a little forward or backward, rather than just attaching the hooks directly below the holster, helps keep it a little more stable and anchored in place.

Take Time To Adjust The Straps Of Your Shoulder Holster

shoulder holster

The fit of a shoulder holster is much more dependent on the measurements involved, specifically the straps, and to an extent that no other holster type is.

You can just put most IWB holsters or OWB holsters on and go. Maybe adjust them a bit forward or back; it really doesn't take much effort.

You can't necessarily do that with shoulder holsters. That's why in the early days of the design, they were tailored. In fact, some super high-end holster makers require actual measurements to make you a shoulder holster, like making a suit.

If it doesn't fit quite right out of the packaging, but seems like it could...chances are you need to spend some time adjusting it up. That's why it's a good idea to buy a shoulder holster that has built-in adjustability.

It might take some time. If you're committing to carrying with a shoulder holster every day or semi-regularly, you want to commit some time to getting it dialed in correctly.

A lot of people expect it to be perfect from the jump, which is insane.

The problem there is that - again - shoulder holsters either fit you correctly or they don't, and they have to in order to carry comfortably and conceal well. That's why an adjustable shoulder holster is a good idea!

If you find your shoulder holster doesn't conceal quite right, you may want to set aside a few hours to adjust and experiment with it. You might be tantalizingly close to comfortable concealment in style...if you put in some time.

Adjustable Shoulder Holsters

About The Author

Writer sam hoober