Introduction The Evolution of Shoulder Holsters

Introduction: The Evolution of Shoulder Holsters

What comes to your mind when you hear the words shoulder holsters? Figures of power, both on the good and bad side, right? That is because shoulder holsters have a long and rich history featuring several prominent historical and fictional figures, such as gangster Al Capone and fictional character James Bond.

Besides being an integral part of the “cool” factor in pop culture, shoulder holsters offer a wealth of benefits: comfort, good concealment, quick and easy access, security, and, of course, style. The better you choose your shoulder holster, the better your carry experience is.

Today, we talk about all there is to know about shoulder holsters, from types of material to types of holsters to factors that should influence your choice.

Classic Leather Shoulder Holsters: The Gold Standard

Leather is a classic choice of holster material for its durability, strength, comfort, and aesthetics combination.

When properly cared for, leather holsters can withstand daily wear for years without impacting the weapon’s security. In addition, its timeless aesthetic appeal gives off elegance and sophistication. Leather has a rich texture that, combined with its deep colours, conveys a classic, fashionable image.

What is more, leather is known for providing comfort, as it conforms to the weapon’s shape and the carrier’s body over time. This feature makes leather holsters ideal for gun enthusiasts who carry their firearms for long periods. Another feature that contributes to increased comfort is customisation. It is common for leather holsters to integrate adjustable straps, which makes them a fit for different types of bodies. Likewise, they are available in various carry styles, accommodating different draw styles and carry position preferences.

Modern Alternatives: The New Kids on the Block

Although classic leather shoulder holsters have an enduring allure, the world of holsters has been getting to know modern alternatives. These more contemporary options are made of synthetic materials, such as Kydex and nylon, allowing the integration of innovative features like adjustable systems, quick-release mechanisms, and modular systems.

Kydex: It is a durable thermoplastic material best known for its sturdiness and versatility. They keep the gun in place, are moisture-resistant, and offer excellent retention.

Nylon: It is a less rigid but more affordable material that offers comfort in everyday carry due to its lightweight nature.

Hybrid: This is a modern option that combines different materials to get the best of both worlds. For instance, you can see a holster with a Kydex shell for security and leather backing for comfort.

These modern alternatives are crucial because they make your gun experience more versatile. By having more rigid Kydex holsters or lightweight nylon holsters, you can choose a holster that fits your purpose, budget, and lifestyle specifically.

Side by Side: Comparing Classic and Modern


Modern alternatives (Kydex, Nylon, Hybrid)

Comfort and fit

  • More comfortable over time as they conform to the carrier’s body;
    Excellent retention and comfort ballance;
    Some adjustability.
  • Highly adjustable systems;
  • High level of customisation;
  • Decreased comfort, except for hybrid models with leather.


  • Extremely durable;
  • High maintenance.
  • Kydex and hybrids are highly durable and resistant in harsh conditions;
  • Nylon is a weaker material.


  • Sophisticated appearance
  • Contemporary and utilitarian appearance.

Making the Right Choice: Factors to Consider

Making the right decision when buying a holster requires assessing key factors about your preferences, needs, and lifestyle. Follow these tips to ensure you get the right holster for you.

Consider Your Personal Needs

Determine if you plan to carry your gun daily. That will impact your material choice and your carry style and position. For example, if you wear your holster every day of the week, you should look for a leather holster for concealed carry to be comfortable and discreet. But if you are going with occasional use, a modern Kydex or hybrid holster might be more versatile and durable for varying conditions.

Establish a Budget

Classic leather holsters are usually more costly but offer fantastic durability and style. Modern alternatives are more affordable but tend to wear down more quickly. If you are looking for a good quality/price relationship, Kydex and hybrids (Kydex+leather) are the best options, as they offer resistance and durability.

Consider Future Needs and Preferences

Modern holsters, especially hybrids, offer flexibility and may adapt to changes in preferences and different guns. Leather, on the other hand, can outlast your firearm. Here, you must consider whether you want to invest in a holster that may last you decades.

Ultimately, the best choice for you boils down to your requirements and priorities. Before purchasing, try different options to determine which one best suits you.

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