Best Shoulder Holsters – 2021 Round-up

| Last Updated: March 11, 2021

Whether you've just got your concealed carry or if you're looking for a more convenient way to transport your pistol, a shoulder holster is a great bet.

They provide easy access to your firearm when you need it and are comfortable and lightweight. But not all shoulder holsters are created equal. That's why we took the time to break down and review some of the top names on the market; that way, you can rest easy knowing you have the best holster around.

Our Top Picks for Best Shoulder Holsters

  • For horizontal gun carry
  • Adjustable with flex backplate
  • Accepts tie down attachments
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  • Reinforced pouch & holster
  • Wide and adjustable straps
  • Open-end, thumb break design
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  • Quick full grip access
  • Cant adjustable holster
  • Sleek and tough leather
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Comparison of the Best Shoulder Holsters

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Made from premium center cut steerhide leather
  • Vertical single magazine carrier with secure flaps
  • Fully adjustable harness & horizontal carry holster
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  • Suits most full sized and sub compact pistol models
  • Holster offers diagonal carry for maximum concealment
  • Made from premium US leather with comfort-flex design
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  • Accepts muzzle devices and top mounted sights
  • Modular attachments with adjustable holster angle
  • Precision molded design with wide shoulder support
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  • Back swivel plate helps with concealment
  • Horizontal holster fully adjustable for comfort
  • Double mag carrier and tough non-glare hardware
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  • Two mag holders and two elastic belt straps
  • Premium leather straps reinforced on the shoulder
  • Comfortable neoprene cover helps with concealment
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  • Comfortable design and very easy to conceal
  • Vertical double mag pouch with two-button flaps
  • Leather holster compatible with many barrel lengths
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  • Dual speed closure for retention and stability
  • Vertical carry holster with detachable retainer strap
  • Adjustable soft leather harness suits up to 48” chest
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  • Swiveling backplate, horizontal carry & adjustable
  • Premium steerhide leather and medium width straps
  • Double magazine carrier & accepts tie downs/accessories
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How to Choose a Shoulder Holster

Whether you're new to concealed carry or are looking to make the jump to a shoulder holster, we realize you probably have a few questions. That's why we highlighted the essential features to look for in your shoulder holster.

Proper Retention

The most vital feature of a shoulder holster is that it fits your pistol. If it's too large, your pistol will move around on you and potentially fall out. If it's too small, you won't be able to use it at all. Always double-check that your pistol will fit in the holster you're purchasing.

Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster

Get Leather If You Can

Not all holsters are created equal—the more steerhide, cowhide, and leather, the better. Many manufacturers have been switching to plastic and composite materials for their shoulder holsters. While it's cheaper to make, they don't last nearly as long.

Safety Features

You can't compromise on safety. Trigger guards prevent accidents, and belt straps keep your pistol from moving around all over the place, which can be a safety hazard as well. Other factors to consider are the latching systems. The last thing you want is a pistol to go off because of inadequate safety measures.

Quick Take - The Best Shoulder Holsters

Review of Best Shoulder Holsters

There are tons of shoulder holsters out there. Figuring out which one you need can be a little overwhelming; that's why we took the time to review the most popular shoulder holsters available. We did the hard work, so you don't have to.

Pros

  • Has spots for your firearm, magazine, and gear
  • Made from reliable and durable premium center cut steerhide
  • Horizontal carry style provides natural and easy access to your firearm
  • Has comprehensive tie-downs so you can customize your setup with more gear
  • Meets state concealed carry guidelines, so you can wear it whenever you head out!

Cons

  • Holster tie-downs purchased separately
  • You have to break in the leather

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love the Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster, although they note that it takes a while for the soft leather to form to your firearm. They agree that it's comfortable and lightweight, and they love the ability to customize the getup with different tie-downs.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Our favorite part of the Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster is that it comes with a fully customizable setup that comes with a spot to store an extra magazine. Even better is the fact that the holster is premium center cut steerhide.

While it's tough to break-in, it lasts a lifetime. We also love that it's a horizontal carry, which gives you easy access to your firearm when you need it. Even better, it meets state concealed carry guidelines, so you can wear it whether you're heading out to the store or out for a hunt!

Bottom Line

It's the best shoulder holster that we found. It's the last one you'll ever need to buy, and you'll never be lacking for options. If you want a top-of-the-line shoulder holster, look no further than the Galco Classic Lite Shoulder Holster.

Pros

  • Comes with dual magazine pouch
  • Diagonal carry for maximum concealment
  • Made from premium grade US leather for long-lasting durability
  • Contoured shoulder harness that keeps everything in place for extra comfort
  • Even weight distributions – fits like a vest instead of a traditional shoulder holster

Cons

  • Limited fitment options for pistols
  • Long leather break-in process for proper fitment

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers love that the Aker Leather Comfort Flex fits like a vest and evenly distributes weight for maximum comfort. However, many buyers are disappointed that this vest doesn't fit more pistols – currently, it only fits select full or subcompact pistols.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

It's the most comfortable shoulder holster that we reviewed. It keeps everything in place, so the weight is always placed on your shoulders, and it never shifts to your neck.

Furthermore, Aker strategically placed the dual magazine pouch to balance the weight distribution across the entire harness. Moreover, the Aker designed this shoulder harness to fit like a vest, and it's comfortable and lightweight.

Finally, it is a diagonal carry holster for maximum concealment. If you're in a state with strict concealed carry laws, this is an outstanding choice.

Bottom Line

If you conceal carry an M&P, this is the holster for you. However, it's not a universal holster, so don't purchase it, thinking that you'll get anything to fit. Aker made this holster from top-notch materials, so it'll be the last shoulder holster you ever need to purchase.

Pros

  • Made from top-grain cowhide for a long-lasting product
  • It's a tremendous open carry option, but you can conceal it
  • The molded holster fits your firearm perfectly from day one
  • Available in both black and unlined leather for extra customization
  • Thumb break fastener provides easy access when drawing your firearm

Cons

  • Long shipping time
  • Does not include the entire shoulder harness – just the holster

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love the high-quality finish and the fantastic price tag that the DeSantis New York Undercover Holster provides. It's a long-lasting and easy to use the product, and consumers recognize the craftsmanship and durability that this cowhide holster offers from day one.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The most significant factor that sets this holster apart from the pack is the price. It's a fantastic value for a custom-fitted holster, but you do need to be wary of the fact that it isn't a full shoulder harness.

We love that you have two different color options and that it's custom-molded for the firearm you select. No long break-in process and a perfect fit from the first day you strap it on.

We also love that it's a perfect fit for both open and concealed carry, so no matter what you need it for, it's up for the job.

Bottom Line

It's not a full shoulder harness, but it's a custom-fitted holster that immediately upgrades your rig. It's easy to use and will last forever. Just be sure to order it a little early to account for the longer than average shipping time.

Best Leather Shoulder Holster:
Gould & Goodrich B804-G17

Pros

  • Horizontal design for easy access to your firearm
  • Made with non-glare hardware for maximum concealment
  • Double ammunition carrier gives you maximum effectiveness
  • Fits a wide range of pistol options – almost a universal holster
  • Handmade concealed holsters are long-lasting and high-quality to last forever

Cons

  • Like all leather holsters, it has a long break-in time
  • No belt straps that hold your holster in place – but you can buy them and add them to the setup

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers love the lay flat straps, but they do note that they wish the holster came with straps that attach to your belt to help secure the holster in place. Furthermore, they love the comfort and durability that this premium leather holster provides.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love that Gould & Goodrich designed this holster with maximum usability and comfort in mind. It fits a wide assortment of pistol options, and they created every component for maximum comfort and ease of use.

The horizontal design makes it easy to draw your firearm when you need it, and it has concealed holsters and non-glare hardware that provide unparalleled concealment.

We also love the precise craftsmanship that went into the design and production of these holsters, and we do not doubt that it will be the last shoulder holster you ever need to buy. Finally, the double ammunition carrier is a nice touch that helps to set the rig apart.

Bottom Line

It's a high-quality holster for an affordable price. It's all about concealed carry, and it fits a ton of different pistol options. It's about as close to a universal holster that you'll find.

Best Alien Gear Shoulder Holster:
Alien Gear Holsters Shapeshift

Pros

  • Two different color options – black and brown
  • Horizontal carry for easy access to your firearm when you need it
  • Comes with belt straps to keep your holster in place as you move around
  • Made from premium leather and comfortable neoprene for a comfortable fit
  • Provides perfect fitment for concealed carry under a wide range of outer garments

Cons

  • Not as long-lasting as other shoulder holsters we reviewed
  • Not a full holster – you need a Shift Shell to convert it to a full holster

What Recent Buyers Report

Customers love the neoprene shoulder straps that make this one of the more comfortable shoulder holsters around. They also love that it easily fits under most outer garments, allowing you conceal carry almost anywhere.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love that this Alien Gear Shoulder Holster provides a smooth perfect fitment and comes with belt straps to keep your holster in place. Horizontal carry is a definite perk that gives you easy access to your firearm.

We also love the neoprene shoulder straps, but we're glad that the holster itself is high-quality premium leather that extends its shelf life.

The two different color options are also a nice touch, as it's easier to conceal the harness depending on what you're wearing.

Bottom Line

It's a great option, but it's not a full holster setup. To get everything you'll likely need, you'll also need to order the Shift Shell to convert it to a full holster. However, it's comfortable and easy to use.

Best Galco Shoulder Holster:
Galco Miami Classic

Galco Miami Classic Shoulder Holster System Tan Compatible with 3'-5' 1911

Pros

  • Fits multiple pistol options – including revolvers
  • Fully customizable with custom accessories and components
  • Double magazine carrier gives you maximum preparation ability
  • Made from premium steerhide for a product that will last a lifetime
  • Four-point spider harness provides a perfect fit and fantastic comfort for everyone

Cons

  • It has a plastic thumb tab release instead of brass
  • Made with plastic knobs instead of Chicago screws

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers have mixed feelings about the Galco Miami Classic. While they love the comfort and fitment, some customers complain that Galco has changed some of the brass and metal components to plastic. Others rave about its durability and craftsmanship, leaving it all a bit of a mixed bag.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love that you can customize this shoulder harness with different accessories and components. But what sets this harness apart is the four-point spider harness along the back. Each component is individually attached and can swivel independently.

This provides each wearer a perfect fit, regardless of height or weight. From there, we love that the harness itself is 100 percent premium steerhide. Galco built this holster to last, and you can tell that Graco takes a lot of pride in this product.

Finally, it's incredible that this shoulder holster can fit tons of pistol options, from long barrels to revolvers; this isn't a holster built for a single pistol type.

Bottom Line

It's a tremendous high-quality shoulder harness that provides an excellent fitment for everyone that wears it. It fits tons of pistol sizes and has a double magazine carrier for maximum versatility. It's fully customizable and an excellent option for a wide range of uses.

Best Revolver Shoulder Holster:
Bianchi X15

Pros

  • Fits tons of pistol options
  • Evenly supports and distributes weight across the shoulders
  • Both left-hand and right-hand options available – it is not reversible
  • Made from full-grain vegetable-tanned cowhide for a long-lasting finish
  • Dual spring design and secondary retention strap provides both speed and security

Cons

  • Soft leather takes a while to break-in
  • The holster does not have a trigger cover

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love that the Bianchi X15 fits a wide array of pistols. They love the premium leather holster. However, they note that the holster does not have a trigger cover and that until you break the leather in the retention strap can cock the gun when putting it in the holster.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Our favorite part of the Bianchi X15 is the dual spring design and the secondary retention strap. Once you break everything in, it's a great feature that secures your pistol and makes it easier to draw when you need it.

We love the wide range of pistol options that it can holster and the premium leather design. However, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that we are concerned by the lack of a trigger cover.

Finally, we like that they have both left-hand and right-hand options available and how it excels at evenly distributing weight across your shoulders.

Bottom Line

It's a great holster, but you need to be careful with it since it lacks a trigger guard. It's built from top-end materials and will last a lifetime, and it's comfortable to wear too!

Best Double Shoulder Holster:
Galco Miami Classic II

Pros

  • Two-color options to choose from – black and brown
  • Horizontal carry position for easy access and comfort
  • Two magazine holders, so you can better prepare yourself
  • Premium steerhide holster and the full-grain leather harness makes this a long-lasting holster
  • Tie-downs, cuff cases, and other attachable accessories allow you to customize this holster fully

Cons

  • Limited fitment if your pistol has accessories
  • Leather straps are a bit thin – but are quality nylon

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers love that the Galco Miami Classic II shoulder holster is comfortable and made from high-quality leather. It's easy to adjust and fits most pistols, making it the perfect choice for those looking for a high-end shoulder holster.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Like the buyers, we love that Galco made this holster from the finest materials available. It's built to last and comes in two different color options.

Another feature that sets this holster apart from the pack is the ability to customize it with tons of different accessories. However, it comes with two magazine holders and a pistol holster right out of the box, so you won't feel like you're missing out if you don't make any additional purchases.

Finally, like all the best shoulder holsters on the market, the Galco Miami Classic II is horizontally mounted, which gives you better access to your pistol if you ever need it.

Bottom Line

The Galco Miami Classic II is a premium shoulder holster that stands apart from the pack. Galco made it from the highest quality materials, and the craftsmanship that goes into its construction shines through at every stitch.

Are Shoulder Holsters Universal?

The short answer is no; shoulder holsters are not universal. The full answer is a bit more complicated.

Shoulder holsters typically fit specific pistol types. That way, you get a snug fit, and the pistol won't move around on you, or even worse fall out, as you go about your day.

However, some shoulder holsters can fit multiple pistol types. Other shoulder holsters can only fit one particular pistol model.

Before purchasing a shoulder holster, verify that the holster you are looking to buy will fit your pistol.

Comparison Overview

Between vertical and horizontal holsters, there's a lot to compare the different types of holsters. 

Vertical vs Horizontal Shoulder Holster

Horizontal shoulder holsters provide the most comfortable access, which can be critical if you ever need to use your pistol. However, vertical shoulder holsters provide maximum concealed carry, and in states with strict gun laws, this might be something you need.

There is a cross between a vertical and horizontal holster. The diagonal holster provides easier access but a more concealed carry as well – a cross between both features.

Shoulder Holster vs IWB

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options. If you're not wearing jackets or sports coats, a shoulder holster probably isn't what you're looking for. However, shoulder holsters allow you to attach more gear, like additional magazines, and gives you easy access to all of it.

On the other hand, IWB, or in the waistband, holsters give you easy access to your weapon. Furthermore, since it's exceptionally close to your body, it usually gives you a little more protection over your weapon as well.

In the end, what is best for comes down to personal preference and when you plan on using it!

Photo credit: outdoormethods.com

How to Put on a Shoulder Holster

  1. Put it on and line up the straps

    Put the straps over your shoulder and line up where they intersect across your back. Make sure that the straps lay flat and that they cross near the top of your back. You should line it up directly along the middle of your back.

  2. Tighten the straps

    Once you line everything up, pull the straps tight against your body. Make sure that they lay flat against you for maximum comfort.

  3. Place the holster near the armpit

    Position the holster until it is near your armpit. This gives you easy access to your weapon if you ever need it. If you are vertically holstering your weapon, lower it a bit compared to a horizontally mounted holster.

  4. Adjust the holster angle

    Adjust the holster angle to the required angle. This is not a personal preference, and you should adjust the shoulder holster to manufacturer specifications. If you would like a different angle, you need to purchase a shoulder holster designed that way.

Photo credit: soutdoors.com

Conclusion

If you're thinking about purchasing a shoulder holster, it's time to commit. They offer superior comfort and protection and allows you to conceal carry with ease in almost every situation.

Buy a quality holster the first time, and you'll never have to make another purchase again!

People Also Ask

We know you have questions about shoulder holsters. That's why we took the time to address some of the most commonly asked questions here. Below are the four most commonly asked questions about shoulder holsters to help get you squared away!  

How to Adjust a Shoulder Holster

Getting the perfect fit on your shoulder holster is easier than you think. Simply line up the center of the shoulder holster against your upper back with the rig empty. From there, pull the straps tight to get a perfect fit!

Galco Miami Classic II

How Should a Shoulder Holster Fit?

The straps should cross high along your upper back. From there, you should pull everything tight so nothing moves around on you while you're wearing it. If the shoulder holster has belt straps, make sure to connect them to your pants so your holster doesn't move around on you!

Is a Shoulder Holster Good For Concealed Carry?

Shoulder holsters are phenomenal for concealed carry – as long as you're wearing some sort of jacket. Sportcoats work great; that way, you can access your weapon if you need it, but you still meet all of the concealed carry guidelines. Just make sure not to take your jacket off while you're out.

Is a Shoulder Holster Considered Open Carry?

States do not consider shoulder holsters open carry as long as you cover it up with a jacket. However, if the shoulder holster is not covered while you are wearing it, it is open carry.

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!