Vertical Vs Horizontal Shoulder Holster

Specification Comparison and Reviews

Vertical Shoulder Holster


Horizontal Shoulder Holster

Vertical Vs Horizontal Shoulder Holster

Specification Comparison and Reviews

Holsters are gun-carrying cases that hold the weapon in place near the body, allowing for quick access. They are commonly used by law enforcement officers, the military, and civilians. The weight of the weapon can cause health problems, so holsters are made to reduce muscle strain on the body. There are four main purposes of holsters: safety, comfort, convenience, and legality.

Table of Contents

In this article, we are going to discuss the key differences between Vertical vs Horizontal shoulder holsters.

Types of Holsters

Holsters have evolved from simple leather pouches for holding weapons too complex contraptions that distribute weight evenly across the body. There are two main types of holsters: the belt holster and the shoulder holster. Both types of holsters can be made from leather or plastic, and some are waterproof or fireproof. A belt holster is worn around the waist on a belt, allowing easy horizontal access to one’s weapon. Belt holsters are usually used by police officers or civilians who carry weapons for their protection. While carrying a belt holster, it is important to wear pants that fit well and allow for the weapon. The shoulder holster is worn over one shoulder to carry a gun in a vertical position in front of the chest. The gun also tends to slip downwards, meaning that there may be an increased risk of the weapon being dropped.

Types of Shoulder Holsters

The most common type of shoulder holster is a modular design, meaning that it can be highly adjustable and fit any person who wants to wear it well. The only real limitation is the size of the gun. Because of this modularity, it is easy to swap out various components for the holster to fit a person’s preferences. However, this modularity comes at a price, as shoulder holsters can be expensive depending on the brand and materials used.


While the benefits of using a shoulder holster are that it leaves hands free and makes it easier to reach the weapon, it has several limitations. The weight of the gun can cause neck and back pain, and if a person is not used to using a shoulder holster, it may be uncomfortable at first. In addition, because it covers a large amount of skin on one’s chest area, sunburns or heatstroke can occur in warm weather. Shoulder holsters come in two types: Vertical shoulder holster and horizontal shoulder holster.

Types of Shoulder Holsters

Vertical Shoulder Holsters

The vertical shoulder holster is also known as the “James Bond”, with the gun’s barrel facing down towards the ground. This type of shoulder holster has an advantage because it minimizes printing, making it easy to hide the weapon under a jacket or unbuttoned shirt. The downside to this type of shoulder holster is that it causes neck strain. If the holster is not high enough, it may cause muscle pain between the shoulder blades or the neck.


Unlike a vertical one, a horizontal shoulder holster features the gun’s barrel facing up to the sky. In addition, there are two holsters instead of just one: a smaller holster for holding magazines and another for holding a spare gun. A major advantage of the horizontal holster is that it does not cause neck strain. However, it may be more difficult to hide under clothing because there are two gun shapes instead of just one and because the firearm may print through thin clothing.

Differences Between Vertical and Horizontal Shoulder Holster

The main difference between a vertical and horizontal shoulder holster is its orientation. A vertical holster has the grip pointing down towards the ground, while a horizontal holster has the grip facing up towards the sky. Both shoulder holsters can be made from leather, but modern materials like injection molded plastics are also commonly used. The downside to wearing a leather holster is that it can be uncomfortable in hot weather or when sitting down, whereas drift molded plastics help to prevent the gun from digging into one’s skin.

Reasons to Use a Vertical Shoulder Holster

A vertical shoulder holster does not cause neck pain because both shoulders carry the gun’s weight rather than just one. In addition, there is minimal print when wearing a jacket or unbuttoned shirt, which means that people cannot see the weapon underneath clothing. There is also greater comfort when bending down or sitting for long periods. So, a vertical shoulder holster is more suitable if you need to go into places where weapons are not allowed.

Vertical Shoulder Holster

Reasons to Use a Horizontal Shoulder Holster

There are two holsters in a horizontal shoulder holster: one for carrying magazines and another for carrying a spare gun. The magazine holster has an advantage over the other type because the main weapon will always be fully loaded. In addition, if one needs to reload in a hurry, there is no need to swap out guns, as both are easy to reach.

Horizontal Shoulder Holster

Disadvantages of a Vertical Shoulder Holster

The coverage of a vertical shoulder holster is not as good as horizontal ones because it prints through clothes more easily. Most jackets are designed with enough fabric to cover the print of a gun, but shirts are not. Therefore, it is more difficult to conceal the firearm with a vertical shoulder holster than a horizontal one. Vertical shoulder holsters tend to be stiffer than their counterparts because they are made of harder material like leather or drift-molded plastics. If your holster is not molded to your gun well, it could lead to jamming problems if the holster cannot flex.

Disadvantages of a Horizontal Shoulder Holster

A major disadvantage of a horizontal shoulder holster is to cause pain in the neck when the gun pulls down on one side. In addition, there is also limited concealment because two gun shapes are visible when wearing thin clothing. It can be difficult to adjust a horizontal shoulder holster for comfort and safety because it must be worn close to the body. Many shoulder holsters also tend to stick out at odd angles, making them awkward and uncomfortable. A well-made horizontal shoulder holster should have sturdy stitching around the gun grip to prevent hand slippage when drawing your weapon.


Without proper padding, many people complain of having a red ring around their shoulder from the constant rubbing of the holster. Any holster that is not sturdy enough to hold its shape can also cause jamming problems by preventing a smooth gun draw. Choosing large enough clothes to conceal your firearm is important if one is wearing a horizontal shoulder holster. For example, wearing a jacket with the waist cut very high and the bottom hanging loose will cover your holster. However, wearing a jacket with a waist cut lower and sitting close to your body will make it more difficult to conceal the gun.


A well-built shoulder holster should be both sturdy and comfortable. Many factors contribute to its comfort, including adjustable straps, padding materials, and gun fit – which helps prevent jamming.

The main advantage of a shoulder holster is that it can provide deep concealment if the wearer wears baggy jackets or coats. The downside to this type of holster is that it can cause neck strain and difficulty drawing because both straps need to be undone.

A shoulder holster is not bad for everyone, but some people should stay away from it. For example, those with limited arm strength may find drawing the gun with one hand difficult.

The decision of vertical vs horizontal shoulder holster is mostly down to personal preference. While there are some distinct advantages, the comfort and safety levels largely depend on how well it fits.


A shoulder holster is a good option for those looking for a convenient way to carry a gun, but comfort and safety largely depend on how well the holster fits. The choice between a vertical vs horizontal shoulder holster comes down to personal preference. However, one over the other, most factors depend largely on how well the holster fits. We have covered the basics about the obvious advantages of a vertical shoulder holster over horizontal ones, along with some tips to help you choose which is best for your needs.


If you have more questions on these two types of holsters, feel free to leave comments below or get in touch with us directly. We are always happy to answer any questions that customers may have. It’s important to note that choosing a good holster is just one of the steps for safely carrying a gun. We hope you found this article on vertical vs horizontal shoulder holsters helpful and informative. Be safe.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at .

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