When the subject turns to shoulder holsters the first thing that needs to be addressed is exactly what purpose is this holster intended to serve? Because the use of any holster will depend on the task at hand even the shoulder rigs have some different design features that make them better served for one type of carry than another.
By example, the shoulder rig can be set up as a chest holster for very large heavy handguns, or tucked under the arm for total concealment. Military holsters that are often carried out in the open are again different blend of field application and will be designed for that roll in mind. Also depending on the holster design one may work well with automatic handgun carry while another will be better suited to wheel guns. The following are some suggestions in terms of different holster types that are all shoulder holsters but serve different purposes at times.
- Best Shoulder Holsters
- 1. Galco Vertical Holster System
- 2. Mioyoow Brand Shoulder Holster
- 3. Xaegis Shoulder Holster
- 4. Aikate Deep Concealment Shoulder Holster
- 5. Cardini Leather Shoulder Holster
- 6. Galco Kodiak Shoulder Holster
- 7. Gould & Goodrich 804-G17 Gold Line
- 8. Galco Miami Classic II
- 9. Bandolier Shoulder Holster Unscoped 4
- 10. Galco Kodiak Hunter Shoulder Holster
Best Shoulder Holsters
1. Galco Vertical Holster System
The first holster I have selected is the Galco VHS shoulder system that is a vertical carry which is very safe in terms of firearms retention and is also set up with an extra twin magazine pouch on the weak side. I have used this system for both automatics and wheel guns based on a slightly different model as offered by this manufacture for years. I had some issues with cross-hanging holsters ( underslung) in the past, and have always felt safer using the vertically installed system.
This example of a solid safe carry system will handle big guns as in the Government 1911’s, and even the big Smith & Wesson Model 629 44 Magnum. Galco offers holsters made from the best steer hide available on the market. And the holster is double stitch and form fit to your handgun. Snaps and straps are well made and designed for long periods of carry. The holster is a professional system for both civilian and police applications.
This rig has double dump pouches for wheel guns, and twin pouches for magazines. The harness retains a swiveling Flexalon back[plate, and the system is ambidextrous.
2. Mioyoow Brand Shoulder Holster
This budget band is a good vertical holster for general use. This unit is made from PU leather and is anti-corrosive strong and durable. The holster is fully adjustable, makes use of metal snaps and hardware, and retains a padded shoulder harness.
The weak side retains a magazine pouch and the holster is set up for an automatic weapon.
Now, I have included this holster because it has issues. It is also set up for any series of handguns. No information as to sizing, and would seem to be best suited to small frame weapons but don’t take my word on that point. Leather construction is not leather, but a compressed material and not very high in quality. Be careful what you’re buying and remember as always your going to get exactly what you’re paying for. This rig looks nice but is best used for less than serious gun retention work. I have included this holster because it is a good example of the lower end of the program.
3. Xaegis Shoulder Holster
This vertical shoulder holster is made of fabric and is a one-size-fits-all.
The ballistic nylon it is made of is comfortable, I can attest to this as I use two holsters in this material and they are lightweight, fit smoothly to the body and retain a field weapon with ease.
The short form is that I like the fabric material design. In this case, the vertical holster design is a safer option in underarm carry and also is tough as nails when the weather gets nasty or you just happen to get real wet or full of mud. I can happen out there so never say never.
Adjustable in all areas and the holster itself will fit automatic weapons from 3.5” through 5” barrel lengths.
Snaps are metal and are a rugged design for heavy field applications. The holster retains an end loop that will fit over our belt to add in stabilization if you take a tumble, or decide to wrestle a bear on the woods.
The unit retains double magazine pouches weak side mounted and upside down for quick gravity drop. The outfit can be set up for both right and left hand use.
4. Aikate Deep Concealment Shoulder Holster
Here we have a holster that is a take off from the waistband tuck in style for small frame weapons.
This ring uses a wrap around wide band with a shoulder strap to stabilize and maintain the positioning of the whole system. The holster is vertical and is not at all a fast draw rig. Rather it is designed for deep weapons cover inside the shirt.
Weapons that it will fit are subcompacts and compact pistols. S&W Bodyguard, M&P Shield 9mm( my carry gun,) Glock 19,26,42, and 43., Ruger LCP, LC9, and Sig P365. That about covers them all in this class of carry weapons.
Holster material is neoprene based, color black. The system is simple and effective.
5. Cardini Leather Shoulder Holster
Here we have a professional model in a shoulder holster. The rig is made with quality leather (real) and fits larger frame automatics. Examples include Glock 17 Sig P220 and full size 1911 Government 45’s.
The holster is flexible in that it will rotate with the body as a parallel or vertical rig. The weak side carries a double magazine pouch, and the rig will fit a wide range of body types and sizes.
The construction on this holster is double stitched and uses heavy positive locking snaps. This element is critical when using the horizontal style rig because the weapon can fall out forward if the user bends forward. It has happened to me and seeing the muzzle of that big 45 Government dead center at your head as it falls away to the ground is a bit unnerving to say the least.
The holster retains a limited lifetime warranty.
On a scale of one to ten this is a nine grade professional rig.
6. Galco Kodiak Shoulder Holster
This holster is designed for the big guns and in effect it starts with the 44 Magnum and moves up from there.
I have this very rig in the slot style built for my scoped Ruger Super Black Hawk 44 Magnum and the Leupold 4X scope.
In Alaska, these holsters and others in this style are used by fishermen and hunters alike for bear gun defense carry. The angle adjustment puts the gun on your chest within an easy reach very quickly.
This rig is professional quality with the very best leather, stitching and fitting. My big Ruger drops into it like a glove and comes out quickly if required.
I use the rig for handgun hunting deer in the Dakota Black Hills, and just finish a hog hunt in South Carolina in which I lived with my 44 Magnum in the deep gator, snake, and bore infested swamps along the salt coast for a week.
Using quick snaps and easy on looped straps this is a nice rig and retains all day carry comfort even with a massively big gun.
Be advised that I have toured the Galco plant in Phoenix Arizona and I was very impressed by the manufacture methods used.
The holsters built by Galco are all handmade, molded and make use of very high grade materials. I rate the holster is a perfect 10 in my book of rules.
7. Gould & Goodrich 804-G17 Gold Line
Here is a holster built for the left handed shooter. Yes, some outfits do care about you.
Gould like the other high grade outfits is a class act and makes a good product to say the least.
The holsters are real quality leather, molded to fit the weapon with exactness, and are double stitched for strength.
This holster fits Glock automatics in the full series of 17’s through 39’s. Check with manufacture regarding other fit offerings in this style rig.
The holster is without question a very high end rig and it is nice someone offers the left hand shoot an option here.
Gould holsters built many different styles in the shoulder holster. Again, check in with them for additional styles and weapons molded patterns.
8. Galco Miami Classic II
Here is a holster that needs to b class as professional due to cost, range and serviceability.
This holster is a horizontal style with an open muzzle end and flat setting magazine access. Designed for weapons such as the Sig P229- P226 as well as several others.
The system uses a spider harness that is classic and comfortable to use all day long.
Police and professional operators find this style of holster the clear deal for very possible weapons clearing function ( Drawdown on a bad source).
The holster is made from very high grade saddle leather, hand built one at a time by craftsmen in the leather working business. And the mainframe of the holster is molded to the exact gun it will carry.
9. Bandolier Shoulder Holster Unscoped 4
Here is a very simple over-the-head wide strap holster that is very common with the Alaska style rings but lacks the extra mid body strap.
The holster will allow the user to wear the rig in several different positions and is made of nylon with snap inclosure. The rig is vertical in terms of position and again this is the safety first positron in my opinion.
The shoulder strap is a full 1 ½ inches wide and the holster retains a snap retention strap.
The holster includes a one inch belt to be used to adjust for varied positions.
I use this basic style on one of my leather big game holsters that is very flexible in that I carry 45 Government, 454 Cass, 44 Magnums in Model 29, Ruger Super Blackhawk, and even my old three screw 357 Ruger Magnum.
This is a great work style holster for outdoorsmen that do not require professional standard when afield. Pricing is very reasonable and totally affordable for anyone owning a handgun.
10. Galco Kodiak Hunter Shoulder Holster
Here we have a chest holster that fits the super big guns with scopes. I own this system as applied to a ruger Super BlackHawk 44 Magnum and a Leupold 4X scope setup.
The rig is ultra well made and high end all around. This holster is double stitch, well finish dark brown quality leather and has a very smooth surface with quality fittings and straps. The forward end of the holster is slotted wide and set up for a drop of the barrel then a slight move forward so the front sight can lock into the protected muzzle section of the holster.
The back strap retainer on the holster is the safety retention point and when released the gun can come straight up and out of the rig. Hunters require an easy reach system in a chest rig and even fishermen in bear country may need to react with speed if under attack.
This rig fits Smith & Wesson 460’s,500’s, and other related weapons with scopes. I ordered mine to fit the Ruger Blackhawk on special request. The company had my holster to me in less than a week’s time.
While I have covered a few handgun rigs here to be sure this is only a scratch in the pile of offerings available to the hand gunner today. Fabric rigs are budget priced and often get the job done just fine for the average deer hunter that wants that backup gun with him or her afield. Higher priced rigs and special rigs for the oversize weapon are moving into the professional grade product, but if you hunt and carry a whole lot the systems an outstanding to say the least.
Shop with care, understand your needs in this area and don’t overbuy because it is fancy or you are expected to do just that. Meeting your needs is easy as this area of gun product accessorizes is over the top with options today.
I have been writing firearms and outdoor material of over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world including Russia and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American west and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the Big Horn mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design, and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems.TM. Web site www.metrogun.com.