It’s hard to beat the classic aesthetic of a shoulder holster. It has a professional, put-together look and feel that is attractive to many gun owners.
However, carrying responsibly from a shoulder pistol holster requires some extra training and caution. It’s not like carrying at the waist – which we’ll contrast with it, and for the purposes of which we’ll consider both inside and outside waistband carry (IWB and OWB, respectively) to be effectively the same method.
Carrying in a Shoulder Holster (Cross Draw)
Shoulder holsters seat a pistol at the non-dominant side of the body, requiring the wearer to reach across the body (cross draw) in order to draw the weapon. Because the pistol is situated beneath the shoulder and supported by a series of straps, cross draw can enable the carry of larger or heavier pistols and full-size handguns that would be difficult to carry in a waistband or hip holster.
Shoulder holsters are also highly practical when wearing professional clothing or bulky outerwear, as the extra clothing helps to conceal the holster and the weapon. Some find shoulder holsters more comfortable than waistband holsters. A shoulder holster also won’t get in the way when you’re sitting down.
However, carrying from a shoulder holster or in another cross draw configuration requires the wearer to practice extra concern.
Because of the manner in which the pistol must be drawn, it is possible to unintentionally muzzle unintended targets (such as the bystander or the wearer’s own arm) while in the act of drawing. For this reason alone, it’s advisable for those interested in cross draw or shoulder carry to train consistently in order to ensure safe habits and handling.
Some other wearers have concerns about the fact that it’s more practical for an adversary to wrest a gun from a shoulder holster than from a hip holster. Others have stated that if a user’s chest is up against a wall, or the ground, it can be difficult if not impossible to draw a shoulder holstered pistol.
Drawing from the Hip (IWB and OWB Pistol Holsters)
Hip holsters, both inside and outside waistband, afford easy access to a holstered pistol. They are not as practical for carrying larger platforms and not as comfortable while sitting. That said, some high-quality hip holsters do a decent job of balancing the weight of a pistol and are fairly comfortable. All else being equal, OWB holsters are suitable for open carry and IWB holsters are better as concealed carry holsters. Some models of waistband gun holsters are suitable for both concealed and open carry.
However, hip holsters are free from some of the concerns carried by shoulder holsters. The muzzle travels a lesser necessary distance upon drawing, making it less likely to unintentionally muzzle an unintended target. They’re also easy to access from nearly any position, and due to the manner in which they ride on the body and orient the gun, in most instances, it would be very difficult for an adversary to gain access to the firearm.
Which Pistol Holster Is Right for You?
None of this is to suggest that shoulder holsters are superior or inferior to hip carry. It just means that there are some situations in which one might be preferable to the other. For instance, when carrying a larger pistol, a shoulder holster might be preferable; whereas when carrying a subcompact pistol concealed, an IWB holster might be preferable.
Keep in mind there are other types of holsters in addition, such as leg holsters, ankle holsters, belly bands, and even paddle holsters. Let the situation and your personal preferences dictate the equipment.
Then visit SARCO Inc. at SarcoInc.com and pick up a holster that fits you and your firearm. They carry a wide range of high-quality holsters for equally as many disciplines, from hip carry to shoulder carry. Check out their collection of pistol holsters via the previous link and contact their customer service team at 610-250-3960 if you have any questions.
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