The 5 Best Shoulder Holsters [Leather/Nylon and Concealed Carry]
Picking the best shoulder holster requires a little more consideration than your traditional leg or hip holster. After all, you’re picking a product that has more material, more fitment requirements, and more labor hours required to produce. That means you’re investing in a product that should help you defend yourself – though poor craftsmanship can make for a poor shoulder holster.
With that in mind, we’re going to help you wade your way through the muck of the world of shoulder holsters, so you can find one you’ll wear confidently, comfortably, and with ease. Not even sure why (or if) you want a shoulder holster? Let’s break down their unique benefits:
Benefits of Using Shoulder Holsters
For one, they’re actually easier to draw from in certain circumstances. For example, try fiddling for your gun in that hip or appendix holster while sitting in your chair at the office, with your shirt tucked and suit pressed. It ain’t easy! Try it with a shoulder holster, and all you have to do is whip that fancy coat aside and draw. Because you’re sitting, you can easily conceal your actions and maintain some level of surprise, too. After all, you won’t want to become a target by showing off that iconic “chicken wing” arm movement while drawing from a conventional belt holster.
Although many claim hip holsters are more comfortable, the shoulder holster can actually be a better choice for bigger guns, or if you’re a bigger guy or gal. A properly sized and snugged up shoulder holster distributes weight better, and it won’t make your pants snag. You’ll have no barrel contending with your undies or twisting up your clothes, either. In essence, the shoulder holster is the gentleman’s holster – it works better than other holsters in certain dress or environments.
The 5 Best Shoulder Holsters
So, now you can see why a shoulder holster can be awesome depending on your needs. Let’s figure out which ones are the best on the market.
If simple, sweet, and superbly priced are your three requirements when buying a shoulder holster, you should try the Deluxe Universal Holster from UTG. This is what we consider an entry-level, no-frills shoulder holster. It provides just enough functionality and adjustability to fit your frame perfectly, without overloading you with complexities or unneeded features.
The UTG is well executed, featuring plenty of shoulder padding and four points of vertical adjustability to ensure weight is distributed and things are snug against your body. Preventing your weapon and mags from flapping around is always a major concern of any shoulder holster, but the UTG combats this well with its adjustment points and belt retention straps, located on both the gun bucket and the magazine pouches under each arm.
Most shoulder holsters are made of leather, but the relatively thin and low-profile nylon material of the UTG holster makes comfort and concealment easier than most other options. We agree the simplicity, price, comfort and minimalism of the UTG shoulder holster makes it one of the best nylon shoulder holsters currently available.
Are you a fan of the venerable and versatile Glock? Then check out the Classic Lite Shoulder Holster from Galco, available for the Glock 17, 19, 22, 23 26, 27, and 31 through 36. We consider the Classic Lite to be the “police special” of shoulder holsters, thanks to its broad compatibility with the Glock line and its detective-esque styling and construction.
The Classic Lite Shoulder Holster is the UTG’s leather cousin when it comes to relative simplicity and minimalism – but that doesn’t mean this holster isn’t a top-tier contender for your own handgun and carry needs. Made of premium, soft suede leather and featuring set screws for adjustment, the Classic Lite’s thin but supple bands make all-day wear comfortable and easy to get used to. A padded cross-center helps distribute weight across the back instead of the shoulders. Galco makes this clover shaped cross-center out of a patented material called Flexalon. This by-design material is soft and padded to keep things snug and comfortable.
Adjustable buckles help you form this holster to your size and frame, while a simple gun bucket comes with an organic and rounded profile to enhance comfort and reduce any chaffing or rubbing during wear. An included Belt clip rests below the ammo carrier to keep the whole rig some shifting or flapping around. Functionally, the Galco is barebones and it doesn’t turn the shoulder holster world upside down, but it is highly rated and trusted by law enforcement. Its natural hide finish, stitching, and black hardware make it an aesthetic choice to consider, especially at such a low price point.
Okay, so this is a bit of a departure from your conventional shoulder holster. It’s certainly less concealable than other choices, but it gets a spot on our list of top shoulder holsters thanks to its history, unique fitment, and ability to hold just about every handgun on the market – up to and including a S&W 500.
The M7 Tanker Holster is easily our most rugged and accommodating holster in the lineup. While this is not an everyday shoulder holster for deep concealment, it will provide surprising functionality and concealment when you’re out and about with your cold weather or winter garbs.
Even though the gun bucket on this holster is huge, it isn’t too cumbersome. It still sports a relatively compact shape with few edges and turns, reducing its overall profile in comparison to other holsters that can fit weapons of this size. The Tanker Holster is constructed of premium, black drum dyed leather with a padded shoulder strap and clip-on connections. The entire rig is adjustable for fitment, too.
To reduce bulk and keep things snug, the Tanker Holder uses one strap, opposite of the bucket. A bottom-facing belt loop helps keep things secure and in place while walking or running. Because this holster rests across the side of the abdomen instead of against the side of the ribcage, drawing is quicker and easier, with less arm movement required. Carrying massive revolvers or overly large handguns can be a challenge, but the M7 Tanker Shoulder Holster presents a great way to do so easily, at a great price.
Printing and a lack of a snug fit are two of the greatest concerns shooters find when they try out a shoulder holster. The Deep Concealment Shoulder Holster from Linixu is designed specifically to combat these two concerns, and it does so quite well.
Featuring a belly band-like design, the Linixu Shoulder Holster foregoes any belt and strap systems in favor of a compression fit and wide, elastic chest band measuring approximately 8” in width. The result is a very well-secured shoulder holster system that distributes weight across the entire torso, ensuring maximum retention and a close fit for reduced printing. A singular shoulder strap can be secured over whichever shoulder you prefer, whether you’re a left- or right-handed shooter.
Extra padding around the gun bucket helps to protect against perspiration and chaffing, while a vertical cant angle keeps your handgun high and concealed more wholly under your armpit and bicep. A stretchable retention strap and open design allows for concealment of numerous handgun sizes. Simply pick up the size you need based on your shirt size (Medium, Large, X-Large), and then make further adjustments using the hook-and-loop fasteners to achieve the desired fit!
This is one of the most affordable shoulder holsters available, and its unique approach to addressing common problems with conventional shoulder holsters makes it a great buy. It is certainly one of the most comfortable shoulder holsters one can buy. We wager it is also one of the best shoulder holsters for concealed carry, barring any other measurements.
Gould & Goodrich’s Gold Line Shoulder Holster is perfect for the traditional shooter who wants a classic shoulder rig with a high-quality construction, advanced adjustment features, a rugged design, quality leather, steel fasteners, and a compact gun bucket, perfectly molded to the gun of one’s choice.
The Gould & Goodrich Holster is made of vegetable tanned, genuine leather, sourced from what they claim to be the world’s best tanners. Based on the finish, grain, cut, and general feel of the leather, we can’t argue with their claim. Immediate impressions say this is a shoulder holster that was handcrafted, with time taken for every detail.
Every adjustment hole is perfectly spaced and rounded. All fasteners and hardware are torqued to spec and perfectly angled for a quick draw and comfortable carrying position, standing or sitting. The broad, wide, flattened shoulder straps distribute weight without issue and provide a minimal profile under any clothing. The back cross-over is rounded and comfortable, keeping all straps tame and in the right place.
The non-shooting side features two magazine pouches for plenty of extra rounds, and the gun bucket is perfectly molded to your weapon, reducing bulk and the chance of printing. A horizontal cant makes cross-drawing quick and simple, and all straps are secured by swivels to keep things flat and concealed.
Our reviewed holster carries the Glock 17, 19, 22, 23, 31, 32, 34, 35, or 39, although Gould & Goodrich make shoulder holsters for plenty of other handguns in the same configuration, with the same features. This is one of few shoulder holsters that does not include belt straps, which some prefer for the ease of wear. This shoulder rig’s adjustability and overall build quality really negate the need for belt straps since the shooter can adjust this rig to fit perfectly.
Which is the Overall Best Shoulder Holster? Final Thoughts
Shoulder holsters vary wildly in their design and execution, so picking a “best of” is difficult. If we had to pick one to edge out the rest, we’d stick with Gould & Goodrich’s option as the overall best shoulder holster. Sure, it’s the most expensive, but it’s also the most proven design, it features arguably the best construction, the nicest shoulder straps, and it comes with the most adjustability. Everything about the Gould & Goodrich Holster is just perfectly placed for comfort and ergonomics. Plus, it’s stylish as hell – these are gentlemen’s holsters, after all.
Featured Image by Zorin Denu