How to Wear a Shoulder Holster?

Do you not know how to wear a shoulder holster?

How to Wear a Shoulder Holster?

… Then you probably haven’t seen James “Sonny” Crochet in the Miami Vice movie.

Shoulder holsters are not just attractive, as seen in the Miami classic, but they assure safety and other exciting benefits.

A shoulder holster, when worn adequately, can enhance the easy and free carriage of a weapon while running.

Even when driving or sitting, it is comfortable for individuals to draw out their guns from the holster quickly.

This article contains a step-by-step guide on how to wear a shoulder holster. It also features other essential information to be conscious of.

It wouldn’t take much of your time, and you should be wearing a shoulder holster with relative ease afterward.


Getting Ready

To wear a shoulder holster properly, one must be fully dressed and keep a standing position. It is a good practice to ensure the shoulder holster is tailored for you to provide a good fit at all times.

Shoulder holsters are often adjustable to fit the gun owner appropriately, which can prove beneficial.

It is important to note that shoulder holsters are of three common types. You can only have a vertical holster, a horizontal holster, or an upside-down holster. Their names suggest the orientation of the gun (and holster).

The Galco Miami Classic ii is a typical vertical shoulder holster. On the other hand, the Galco Jackass can classify as a horizontal shoulder holster.

The ideal shoulder holster should have the following components.

  1. Harness: It is a fastener that holds the rig of the shoulders. There should be no restrictions on the movement of the shoulder harness.
  2. Harness strap: Considering the material used for this part is essential as it influences your comfort. There are various strap materials, e.g., leather, nylon, Kydex (plastic polymer), and more. The leather shoulder strap is advisable as it stretches and does not wear out quickly. Besides, the strap length is crucial, and some tend to be adjustable.
  3. Padding: This is a type of reinforcement of the contact area between the gun and the body. It ensures the firearm has no body contact.
  4. Retention strap: This prevents the gun from falling off the holster by covering the gun’s grip. Although the retention strap proves enough to secure the firearm, a push on its release button can set it open. It may also be made from leather.
  5. Scabbard: This is the pocket where the gun sits regarding concealment. Often, the gun’s weight determines the scabbard’s material. The selected material also depends on the harness, e.g., leather straps and leather scabbard.

The functions of a shoulder holster

A good shoulder holster is a tactical gear and should be able to do the following:

  • It must fit nicely on your body without causing any discomfort.
  • It must allow you to reach the handgun and draw it out quickly at any time with one hand, where self-defense is crucial. Here is one aspect where the shoulder carry wins over the hip holster. It beats the ankle holster hands down as well.
  • Unlike a pocket carry holster, it must conceal the weapon and keep it away from public eyes to avoid unwanted attention. If it cannot, it is not less than an open carry.
  • It must reduce the possibility of accidental discharge from you or external parties. In this regard, some gun owners believe that a shoulder holster is better than a belt holster.
  • It must protect the gun from sweat, rain, and elements.

8 simple steps to wear a shoulder holster correctly

Unlike the IWB carry holster that needs a belt loop, carrying a gun is much easier with a shoulder holster. You do not have to conceal it in your trousers or intimidate someone with it.

Gun owners with more sitting time will appreciate shoulder holsters for their convenience.

Shoulder holsters are adaptable and will suit most users regardless of their body size. This attribute makes it one of the best carry holsters available.

While a shoulder carry might appear simple, it may prove tricky to wear without prior knowledge. Below are eight steps to help you wear them correctly.

Step 1: Suspend the holster rig from the back

Detach the cargo area (scabbard) from the holster rig (if possible) and correctly set it on your back. Each loop should align with each arm.

Run your arms through the loops, similar to how you would wear a backpack. Hold the harness with one hand and slide in the other arm at the opposite loop.

Put in the second arm in the other as well. When you are done, the cargo area (or its hook if detached) and magazine area (if available) should be below your arms.

Step 2: Balance the holster and align the straps

Shift the shoulder rig properly, so the strap aligns with the back of the neck. You might want to adjust the entire rig upward so the strap’s cross-point right below your neck.

Placing the cross close to the neck allows a proper fitting and more convenience when making adjustments. It ensures a balance of the weight across the shoulders.

Being comfortable is essential. Leather holsters cause minor discomfort if worn nicely compared to an IWB holster. Many gun enthusiasts prefer leather holsters because of how they blend in.

Ensure the straps have no twists and stay flat on your shoulder and back. If your selected holster rig features shoulder pads, ensure they sit nicely on your shoulders close to your neck.

Step 3: Adjust the shoulder straps

Although the straps should hold the body firm, they should not be too tight. Ideally, it must allow free movement of the arms while walking or running.

Your arms should swing freely at all times without displacing the straps. Some straps are adjustable; hence, ensure that they are not too tight or loose on you.

If you removed the cargo area earlier, it is time to return it. Check that you can access the holster conveniently.

You might want to stand in front of a mirror (preferably full length) to observe if it sits pretty well on you.

It can look awkward at first, but you will get used to it. Furthermore, place the hooks and belts in areas that won’t hinder your movement.

Step 4: Move the holster close to your armpit

Some shoulder holsters offer a little flexibility regarding the cargo area. These options may allow you to shift the gun area below the armpit. For others, you may just have to endure wherever it stays.

If you can move the pistol holster placement to your armpit, ensure it is slightly pushed forward. This way, you don’t feel uncomfortable or struggle to get it out at any time. The size of the holster (handgun) plays a crucial role here.

Many individuals prefer to carry their guns halfway between the armpit and the belt. Therefore, it stays right below their chest.

It might interest you that some holsters provide a room for a magazine. If your shoulder holster comes with one, shift it close to your armpit too.

Also, you need to consider if you are right-handed or left-handed. Ideally, a right-handed shooter should have their holster placement near the left arm.

For a left-handed shooter, go for the right arm. Interestingly, you might not have to worry about your orientation if the holster provides slots for two guns.

Step 5: Angle the holster properly

Besides placing the holster on the ideal side of the body, you need to angle it fittingly. Some users may bend the handgun (butt) slightly up or down. You may have your preference as well but consider which is most comfortable.

Your preference should allow you to draw out your firearm quickly. As a side note, many people claim that the horizontal position is the easiest. However, some options are strictly vertical holsters.

If you do not know how to draw your weapon, it is normal if you are worried about angling. Keep practicing; you cannot be the next Don Johnson or James Bond in a day.

Step 6: Put the gun and the magazine into their holsters

When you have positioned the straps and the holster to your taste, you can go ahead to fill the cargo areas.

Open up the hostler. Carry your handgun in the opposite (shooting) hand to the holster, then place it in the holster.

Put the other gun in the second slot or magazine in the mag pouch. You will need the other hand to do that. You might have to check for balance for holsters with multiple cargo areas.

Step 7: Ask for help

Request help from more experienced individuals to assess you, especially if you are a newbie. You may have missed a fitting at an out-of-sight area.

Step 8: Concealment of the shoulder holster

Except if you are permitted, another aspect of wearing a shoulder holster is hiding it from public view to avoid intimidating others. You do not have to show off your leather holster and gun.

Therefore, you should wear a coat, baggie shirt, jacket, or loose clothing over the gun holster to conceal the firearm.

You may also want to wear something that blends, e.g., a brown leather shoulder carry and a matching leather jacket.

The clothes should not squeeze too tight on your body after wearing the holster; else, the holster may be noticeable.

Depending on your privileges, you might also need to keep the jacket unzipped or unbuttoned for easy access.


Gun loss is a concern and a serious issue. The guide discusses how you can wear your shoulder holster and ensure it doesn’t slack or fall off when worn as in the old west.

A good carry holster should offer easy access, maximum safety, and complete firearm concealment. A shoulder carry will always pose as the best concealed carry holster due to the design.

To achieve that, one needs to know to wear a shoulder holster correctly as a gun enthusiast. Choosing the best shoulder holster is ideal if you want to carry a firearm.

Whether you purchase one from Alien Gear or not, it is as important as your choice of handgun.

As a side note for decision-making, the leather shoulder holster is often regarded as the best in terms of quality and aesthetics.

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