Shoulder Holsters – Not Just for the Big Screen

shoulder holsterFew people have enjoyed a cop movie or a military drama without seeing likely a few shoulder holsters adorning the torsos of those on the silver screen. While perhaps not for everyone, a shoulder holster can be practical for everyday use in certain situations. Like all holsters, it comes down to the features and specifications that are most important to the user, and even those that aren’t planning on starring in the next Hollywood hit may find shoulder holsters a valid option.

The Good

Shoulder holsters provide one of the quickest options for weapons access. With a little practice and a good fit, impressive draw times can be achieved. They’re also very comfortable, and depending on the size of the gun that is being carried, they can help eliminate the risk of sagging pants from a weighty weapon.

The Bad

Many shoulder holsters feature a horizontal position which means that they are constantly staring others head on.  For everyday wear, muzzle sweeping your friends and colleagues may not be the best option. They’re also a bit more challenging to use from a sitting position, however they are actually easier to use while sitting than a hip holster or a pocket holster, both of which are near impossible to use practically while sitting.

The Ugly

Shoulder rigs are considered concealed carry holsters, however a bit of effort needs to be employed in order to actually conceal them. A jacket or light coat is almost always required. There is simply no way to use a shoulder holster without some sort of exterior clothing over your every day wear. If required to remove a jacket or coat, the firearm then is in plain sight, making it a poor choice for summertime outdoor activities and other situations where a jacket is not practical. It’s a good idea to browse shoulder holster reviews to see which ones provide the best level of concealment and the least amount of printing.

Undeserved Bad Wrap

While not always practical, shoulder holsters can be ideal for comfortably carrying heavier weapons and improving the speed of your draw. There are both safety and practicality concerns involved, and this is true with any holster. Your specific needs and situation will help determine if a torso based rig is ideal for you.

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Kydex Versus Leather

kydex holster

Nowadays, holsters can be found in a very wide range of materials. Nylon and plastic models are amongst some of the most common, and the cheapest. However, choosing the right material for you is almost as important as picking the right holster to begin with. There are drawbacks and benefits to each type of material in terms of durability and wear, cost and comfort. Examining holster reviews can help to choose a specific product, but selecting the right material is often the first matter of business.

Leather Luxury

Leather holsters are considered premium options, and this is furthered by those that are made with top grain leather, which comes from a specific part of the animal hide. These types of holsters are almost always at the top end of the cost spectrum, but do have some benefits. Holsters made from top grain leather can and often do last an entire lifetime and they’re incredibly durable. They also can be repaired in the unlikely event that they do need some attention. In terms of flexibility and comfort, many users find them to be the absolute best because they mold nicely and shape to the body well. Be warned, however, some holsters are advertised as leather but are not top grain, they are actually split grain. This is a much poorer quality leather that will often lead to durability issues quickly.

Kudos to Kydex

Kydex holsters are those that are made from a tough plastic material. Holsters made from Kydex are quite durable and reasonably priced because the cost of their manufacture is so low. These key elements make them a popular choice because they can last a long time and are very tough. However unlike top grain leather, they offer nothing in terms of flexibility and don’t mold to the body. Hence, some users find them impractical for all day wear especially if a lot of movement is expected. They’re known for a secure hold and solid retention but definitely not comfortable and long term wear. But, given their often substantially lower price point, they remain a very popular choice.

Pick your Battles

It’s important before choosing a holster material to decide what is most important to you. If comfortable and long term wear is valuable, then top grain leather might be the way to go. If value and security are your top priorities, the space age plastic known as Kydex might fit the bill. Regardless, a holster should considered as important of a purchase as the firearm inside to ensure safe and reliable usage everyday if needed.