The Best Shoulder Holsters for a 1911

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If you are in a hurry our research suggests that Alien Gear’s ShapeShift Shoulder Holster is the best shoulder holster. 

In the market for a 1911 shoulder holster? Do not worry; we got you covered. Buying a shoulder holster for your gun is not just an excellent way to carry it; it is a unique way to protect it. The Best 1911 Shoulder Holsters attach to a harness that swivels so you can easily access the gun and adjust it throughout the day.

Based on our research, there are multiple points to consider to ensure you buy one of the top shoulder holsters on the market today. So while you are continuing your social distancing and self-quarantine, let us review our data on this matter.

Why Should You Trust Us? 

With everything going on in the world today, why should you trust this random website? The answer is that we use the analytical skills that we learned from years of being in the healthcare field to bring you the best information possible.

What Should You Look for in any Holster?

When you start looking for a holster, you need to start asking yourself a few basic questions about your needs and how you will use the gun. Some common questions about holsters include the following.

What Type of Holster Do You Need?

The type of holster that will work best for you depends on how you plan to use and carry the gun. It will not only fit the weapon but also fit you.

Ankle

The ankle holster only applies to certain types of guns and does not fit everyone’s ankles. While they are perfect for smaller pistols, they can be uncomfortable to wear, and if you have small ankles, they tend to flop around with any sort of gun no matter what the size.

Belly Band

The belly band holster holds your gun at your belly, making it easier for a cross draw. They also make it easy to carry your weapon and keep it concealed if you choose that method, but depending on how you dress-it can be more challenging to draw from using this method. 

Chest

A chest holster is a popular way to carry a handgun and keep it close to your hand. It fits tightly to your chest and is an excellent way to concealed carry your pistol with a coat to reduce visibility while in public.

Drop Leg

Those that carry multiple guns favor the drop leg design. It straps to your thigh muscle to put it within easy access of your hand. Generally used to carry smaller weapons, the model can also carry knives of all sorts.

Shoulder

The shoulder holster is another common way to carry a pistol as it can let the gun hang freely while not constricting the rest of your body. It enables the weapon to hang near your hand and often has storage for extra ammo on the non-dominant side.

Top Shoulder Holsters for 1911

How does the Holster Fit?

How your holster fits is one of the most important things to consider before you make your purchase. Not all shapes of holsters fit bigger or smaller bodies. The cut of the rig can be tight to the back shoulder blades or hang looser with more space in between. The straps to adjust the holster need to allow it to hang down where your hands are for quick drawing as well as comfort.

The Types of Pistols it Holds

Not all shoulder holsters will hold the calibers. As you look at each one to determine if it will work for you, read reviews and ask questions from the manufacturer to help you decide which 1911 Shoulder Holster is right for you.

Some types of shoulder holsters try to be universal for all pistol calibers and body types. They do not always work together, so be careful when considering how these might fit you and your gun.

Extra Ammunition Slots

Having a shoulder holster with extra ammo slots is handy, but not necessary for the holster to be functional. The extra ammo slots are add-ons that will make your purchase more expensive, no matter what type of materials they are.

Material

The type of material the rig is will help you determine whether it is a good fit as a 1911 Shoulder Holster. Materials used are generally leather and plastic, and the adjustable components can be metal or plastic.

Leather

Leather shoulder holsters are traditional. Leather is a durable, long-lasting material that will not just hold your gun, but last for years. Most often made of cow, the leather can also be deer or other animals. They are not as adjustable as a nylon holster, so you will need to match your body size almost precisely for it to be a tight fit for you.

Leather does work well as a 1911 Shoulder Holster. It provides a perfect grip to the gun and prevents it from slipping. You can also make the leather more supple by using wax paper (link to leather wax) on the holster and repeatedly drawing and reholstering your gun.

Nylon

Nylon is not as durable as leather, though many companies are making top-rated models that will last almost as long. They are more adjustable than the leather rigs and require less time for you to maintain them. They are easy to abuse without severe damage and often come ready to use with no break-in period. 

Nylon holsters are comfortable to wear for long periods and are lightweight. Many manufacturers are even adding shoulder pads to help them be more suitable for extended wear and to reduce long-term wear.

Swivels

The holsters may come with swivels to help the holster itself hang more freely. They usually are plastic or metal, and it is up to you to decide how that will work with your holster. The plastic ones are more prone to breaking, but the metal ones are harder to adjust. They both allow you to change the holster as you need.

Concealment

Not all types of shoulder holsters work well to carry a firearm concealed. The design of the rig can place the gun too far forward on some people to use a jacket for concealment. How the holster is adjusted can determine the amount of concealment you will have. Nylon holsters are more adjustable than leather, and they can fit your body better than leather.

Leather holsters can conceal just as well as nylon ones.

Your drawing method also effects how well your weapon is concealed. If you choose a holster that lets you have a gun vertical, it is less visible to most people than a horizontal or a diagonal carry.

What are the advantages and benefits of shoulder holsters?

There are many reasons why shoulder holsters have long been a favorite way of carrying a gun. 

Quick Draw

The ability to draw quickly can save your life. For example, a shoulder holster allows you to draw faster while driving a car than if you were carrying IWB. It also can benefit those sitting behind a desk.

Concealed Carry

If you concealed, carry your weapon in cold weather, having a shoulder holster can help you access your gun through layers of clothing more quickly. Those extra layers are bulky and make drawing from the hip, back, or leg more difficult and waist time. 

Better Balance and Versatility

A good shoulder holster has a design to distribute the weight of the firearm evenly across the apparatus. This allows the wearer better balance while carrying. Another interesting fact many people forget is not everyone carrying a gun is male. Shoulder holsters are very versatile and work just as well for women as they do for men. 

Extra Ammo

Most shoulder holsters often include storage for extra ammo. This is a huge benefit for someone who may need extra ammo while they carry. 

The rigs often come customizable, so you can choose to include other tools such as knives or a flashlight on the apparatus in addition to ammo.

What are the Best Ways to use a Shoulder Holster?

The best way to use a shoulder holster is to find one that fits your gun and your body. You adjust it up on your shoulders, so it fits snugly without cutting off circulation or being too loose. If your holster is also free, it will swing around, and your firearm is more likely to fall out of the holster or get in your way.

The holster often comes with extra straps you can thread through your belt loops to keep it from moving around. On many shoulder holsters, the holster itself and any additional ammo compartments adjust up and down to let you find the fit that works best for you.

Most holsters come with retention straps over the butt of the gun to prevent them from falling out accidentally, especially if you adjust the holster for a horizontal or downward draw. A vertical draw will have the strap as well but relies more on gravity to keep the holster in place.

What are the Best 1911 Shoulder Holsters?

The shoulder holster you should purchase is the one that works for your gun and your body. Now let us review the top shoulder holsters. 

Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder System for 1911

The Galco Miami Classic II Shoulder System for 1911 is a standard design holster. It is one of the original shoulder holster systems patented in the 1970s for professionals to use. As of today this holster is still a favorite for law enforcement and the military for the versatility of the system.

The shoulder holster comes with the spider harness design that allows it to pivot independently. It also comes with clover-shaped Flexalon swivel on the backplate that lets is swing freely and is the symbol of the Glaco brand.

The spider harness results in the holster being a perfect fit for most people and are comfortable to wear for hours. Its harness is made of premium saddle leather that includes the holster and extra ammo storage to help it be long-lasting and durable.

Pro

  • You can carry your pistol and two extra clips in the holsters.
  • The design of the holster is the spider harness, which makes it comfortable and maneuverable.
  • The shoulder holster’s construction is premium saddle leather.

Con

  • Does not include retention straps for the magazine holders
  • Not a snug fit for many smaller people.

***Check Price on Amazon***

Desantis New York Undercover Holster for 1911 Colt Commander

The Desantis New York Undercover Holster for the 1911 Colt Commander Gun is made of top-grain cowhide leather, molded to fit a 1911 colt perfectly. The design of the holster comes with custom made straps you can adjust so that the gun rides higher or lower.

The design of the holster has seen adjustment since its early 1970s introduction. The changes involve making the straps more adjustable for a more precise fit and the addition of a double ammo carry sling. There are pivots at all four junction points on the harness to help you adjust it up or down to fit your shoulders and chest.

A person with a fifty-four-inch chest can fit in this holster well. The holster weighs 5.8 pounds by itself. It is worth noting how well the holster retains a firearm once it is holstered. As a result, the wearer can move about freely without worrying if their gun is secured. 

Where this holster falls short is how easy it is for the firearm and holster to protrude once you start wearing it. 

Pro

  • Very sturdy design
  • The design of the rig helps prevent your firearm from moving around.
  • No assembly required 

Con

  • For some people, a stabilizer strap is necessary.
  • The straps can be stiff when new.

***Check Price on Amazon***

Aker Leather 101 Comfort-Flex Shoulder Holster 

The Aker Leather 101 Comfort-Flex Shoulder Holster fits the 1911 and multiple other firearms, making it more versatile than other holsters.

Aker’s uses a vegetable-tanned cowhide with additional raw materials in making this holster. Its harness adjusts to fit chests up to sixty-two inches with tension screws and comes with unique contours to make sure the holster fits your shoulders and your gun.

Many law enforcement agencies use this holster because of the way the holster retains the pistol and prevents it from slipping out of the holster. We are pretty sure the double ammo storage case does not hurt as well. This particular holster fits the 1911 government and officer models without rails. It also includes additional side safety so you can stay safe while using it.

Pro

  • Two tension screws help set the perfect retention.
  • Holsters for the magazines have retention straps
  • The leather used in its construction is supple and fits the pistols and magazines of multiple firearms

Con

  • The swivels are plastic.
  • A plastic centerpiece that may split

***Check Price on Amazon***

XAegis Shoulder Holster 

The XAegis Shoulder Holster has a ballistic nylon design. The nylon is stiffer than most shoulder holsters, but it is resilient and resistant to wear. Trust us; you can wear this shoulder holster for hours without feeling discomfort. We tried it out. 

The rig comes with a right-hand draw and two velcro cases for magazine storage. The platform is a universal fit design for most pistols with a 3.5-inch to a 5-inch barrel. You can adjust the holster as needed with double thumb break snaps. The straps come with tie-down straps for your belt or belt loop.

The XAegis Shoulder Holster can be adjusted to fit almost anybody style with extra nylon strap to extend the holster and magazines for larger adults. Yet, it can also be shrunk down for smaller adults. The nylon design of the rig is durable and made to last for years.

Pro

  • The rig is customizable for larger adults.
  • It allows you to carry larger guns
  • It is a universal fit for most pistols.

Con

  • Smaller adults might find it hangs too much.
  • The shoulder holster adjustments can be challenging to use.

***Check Price on Amazon***

Alien Gear ShapeShift Shoulder Holster 

The Alien Gear ShapeShift Shoulder Holster is one you can custom order for your gun. You can select the type of weapon it will hold as well as whether you want a right hand or a left-hand draw. You can customize the fit of the rig after purchase to help it hang just right for your gun.

The rig has room to store two extra magazines and have them move with your body while in action. The holster for the pistol has a leather strap holding it in the holster to prevent it from sliding around. It also comes with two additional loops so you can secure it to your belt or a belt loop.

Alien Gear’s ShapeShift Shoulder Holster is a leather rig made in the USA. The fine stitching Alien Gear has performed makes for a durable, long-lasting product. This holster comes with the ShapeShift line integration to help you find the right way for the gun and the ammo to hang from your body, both open and concealed carry.

The rig comes with full trigger guard protection to prevent accidents and a ventilated neoprene back that prevents the buildup of sweat while you wear it. It also has a spring steel core to reinforce the base of the pistol to prevent it from moving around.

Pro

  • The holster and a ventilated neoprene backing to reduce sweat buildup
  • You can customize the holster for your gun before you buy it
  • The holster comes with trigger guard protection

Con

  • The holster is not cheap.
  • Not all types of guns fit the shoulder holster.

***Check Price on Amazon***

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right shoulder holster is like selecting a pair of boots. If it is not a good fit, you will forever be uncomfortable. With that said, our data points to the Alien Gear’s ShapeShift as the best shoulder holster on the market today due to its fit, longevity, and comfort.

Unfortunately, the Alien Gear ShapeShift Shoulder Holster is not the cheapest. Still, it is the most versatile in fit and design with Alien Gear’s legendary ShapeShift feature that helps you adjust the shoulder holster for your body and your gun. You can also depend on it to last for years to come due to its leather construction, tight stitching, and metal buckles that keep it in place while in use.

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