There are two key factors to look for when you seek the best shoulder holster – comfort and performance. You’ll probably get the comfort you need with a natural leather holster or from one of the new designs using man-made materials. But with this last choice, you’ll need to make sure you get a great fit. In addition, you’ll need to make sure there is liner protection for your gun and moisture protection for your body.
Most of the top-line holsters use high-quality, natural leather, this is one tool you may want to follow the crowd on. If you’re searching for your first holster of this design, you might also look for “underarm” holsters, which is the term some people use to describe them. A shoulder holster is a great choice for concealed carry, under the coat or jacket, or for open carry when you’re on an assignment.
You will probably be best served by sticking with a recognized and trusted name in quality leather holsters, simply because the leading companies in this field have made adjustments and changes through the decades to offer small, light, but very functional products. Simplicity is one of the key elements to look for, along with supple leather that doesn’t irritate your body during carry.
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- 1 How to Choose the Best Shoulder Holster
- 2 Top 6 Best Shoulder Holsters 2018 – Reviews and Guide
- 2.1 1. Under Control Tactical Shoulder Holster – Best Price
- 2.2 2. Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster System – Best Overall, Horizontal
- 2.3 3. Gould & Goodrich Gold Line Shoulder Holster – Best for Glock
- 2.4 4. Galco Vertical Shoulder Holster – Best Overall, Vertical
- 2.5 5. Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder System – Best Overall
- 2.6 6. UTG Deluxe Universal Shoulder Holster – Best Price
- 3 How to Wear a Shoulder Holster Properly
- 4 Conclusion
How to Choose the Best Shoulder Holster
The best shoulder holster will also have a magazine pouch and will be available for a range of handguns. Look for X straps in the back for comfort and make sure you get a holster providing for size adjustment. Manufacturers of the top-line holsters have also provided for right-hand use or left-hand use, but you should make sure your choice takes this into account.
The need for adequate adjustment can’t be over-emphasized. Your holster should provide for changes in weight, clothing, and so on. In fact, the best holster will have several adjustment points for maximum versatility. Your choice should also have a thumb break (retaining strap) as a safety device, so the weapon can’t be drawn unintentionally. In addition, this keeps the weapon more secure as you engage in physical activity.
In most cases, this retaining strap uses the same material (leather, nylon) as the sheath. Some holsters have a removable thumb break, held by a metal snap. Look closely at holsters as you shop so you know exactly which features you’re buying. An adjustable thumb break can be a distinct advantage, so your holster accommodates different firearms. This might be a way to save some money on firearm accessories, since it means you don’t have to buy a different holster for each handgun.
If you’re a policeman or military personnel, you may want to take a bit of extra care when choosing your holster, so it works perfectly under your jacket or blazer. It’s essential to find the most comfortable design and fit so you can use this holster on a daily basis. As mentioned earlier, the choice of material is strictly up to the individual. Allow time to break in a new, leather product.
Top 6 Best Shoulder Holsters 2018 – Reviews and Guide
|Under Control Tactical Shoulder Holster||7.7 x 4.3 x 2||NA||Nylon||4.5|
|Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster System||16 x 10 x 4||NA||Leather||4.8|
|Gould & Goodrich Gold Line Shoulder Holster||10 x 8 x 4||1 oz.||Leather||4.8|
|Galco Vertical Shoulder Holster||1 x 1 x 1||12.8 oz.||Leather||4.7|
|Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder System||1 x 1 x 1||25.5 oz.||Leather||4.9|
|UTG Deluxe Universal Shoulder Holster||10.8 x 8.5 x 2.8||12 oz.||Polyester||4.6|
1. Under Control Tactical Shoulder Holster – Best Price
This highly rated, popular shoulder holster will probably be your best option if price is the key factor. It’s marketed as having “universal fit” for most hand guns, and is made from rugged nylon for long-term use. It’s waterproof and lightweight, and the company gives you a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
With this Under Control Tactical holster you get such “military” features as adjustable shoulder straps, two additional pouches, and universal fit for handguns and revolvers of various sizes. If you’re looking for a holster using man-made nylon, this one gets high marks for body comfort and for working with most guns.
2. Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster System – Best Overall, Horizontal
In the world of high-quality leather holsters, this is a well-known name. The manufacturer has been around for a few decades. If any company has perfected the shoulder holster, it might be Galco. The Classic Lite is indeed light and small, yet it holds your weapon securely in a horizontal position. Made from top-shelf, soft leather, you’ll find this a perfect choice for everyday carry and for concealed carry when the situation dictates.
This holster provides a single magazine pouch and works with a variety of handguns. But, when you shop for Galco leather, make sure you get the model that’s ideal for your guns. The Classic Lite has the necessary X straps for comfort and adjustment. It’s certainly one of the finest natural-leather products available, but you should be prepared to pay for the leather and the quality.
3. Gould & Goodrich Gold Line Shoulder Holster – Best for Glock
This outstanding shoulder holster from Gould & Goodrich holds your gun horizontally, providing for a fast draw. It’s completely adjustable to provide great comfort, and comes with a back swivel for best positioning. The Gold Line gives you two magazine pouches or holders for your speed loaders on the opposite side.
You can depend on getting world-class quality, as the company has been producing excellent, natural-leather holsters for quite some time. This particular model is intended for Glock series, but the company also makes Gold Line products for other handgun models. As with other top-shelf holsters, you should plan to pay a bit extra for the leather and the outstanding design. This product gets high marks for weapon fit, for comfort, and for exceptional look.
4. Galco Vertical Shoulder Holster – Best Overall, Vertical
If you’re personal tastes or habits call for a quality, vertical-position holster, you might want to give serious consideration to the Galco Vertical. As is the case with the horizontal design, this product uses many of the features of their Classic line and combines them with the vertical design. It’s been used successfully in a number of military settings and accommodates almost any body shape or size.
This one is ideal for the 1911, 5-inch Colt, Springfield, Kimber, and offers swivel connectors and clover shape. Because it’s made by Galco, you can add a number accessories produced to work with their holsters. Available in black or tan leather.
5. Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder System – Best Overall
A review of the best shoulder holster wouldn’t be complete without including the Miami Classic. Though this specific model is made for Glock series, you can get this same line for other handgun models. Many lesser-known companies imitate the design details of this holster, for good reason. It’s proven to be a favorite with professionals in many locations around the world.
Features include a spider harness connected by clover-shaped swivel, for a great fit and best comfort. Galco uses saddle-grade leather for this model available in tan or black. You get two magazine pouches with the Classic II.
6. UTG Deluxe Universal Shoulder Holster – Best Price
As is the situation with the Under Control holster mentioned earlier, this would be a great choice if you’re looking for decent quality at a low price. These two factors (quality, price) have made the UTG Deluxe one of the most popular should holsters available. You’ll give it high marks for function, especially because of the price.
It’s probably not going to stand up to long-term, hard use like a top-quality leather product, but it will be just fine for someone who wants to get started with a solid shoulder holster. Features include universal fit for many handgun types, magazine pouch, padded harness. It can be configured for right-hand or left-hand use.
How to Wear a Shoulder Holster Properly
This might seem to be a strange subject to include with reviews of professional-grade holsters, but you’d be surprised how often a law-enforcement or military professional, or a hobby shooter, uses a shoulder holster incorrectly. Some veterans of these agencies have reported seeing a handgun in a holster pointed straight toward the person standing in line behind! Even with a horizontal holster, there is a way to make sure the gun is in a safe position. If you can’t adjust the pouch angle, you might want to look at a vertical-position holster.
You might also see a new user with an incorrectly adjusted holster, which allows the weapon pouch to bounce around near the hip or waist, instead of being secure somewhere under the arm. The best holsters provide plenty of adjustment options so you can avoid this. Make sure your holster fits snugly but comfortably, and use the tie downs on the sides if you have them.
When you first put your holster on and make adjustments, make sure it’s perfectly centered on your back. This is the way the product is designed, so it will work best when the initial position is correct.
To summarize: You can save a lot of money when you buy a nylon shoulder holster, but you may be buying one again in a couple of years, simply because the material may not stand up to hard use as long as natural leather. But to get the look and feel of great leather, you’re going to spend quite a bit more. That said, any of the six products reviewed will deliver great performance. But, you must make sure you’re getting the right holster for your gun model (unless it’s a universal design).
Many individuals prefer a shoulder holster over a belt holster, for personal reasons. It’s obviously best for concealed carry and works well for professionals who wear a blazer, suit, or other jacket during work hours. This keeps the weapon and magazines safely out of sight and out of the way, until you need to access them.
You can get an outstanding product without having to compromise on something designed decades ago. Look closely for the features you need and give plenty of thought to your personal comfort when making this investment. Buy a product that’s well-made, comfortable to wear, and adjustable. You’ll be glad you did.