How am I supposed to set it up?
It’s a natural thing to wonder, but bear in mind that we designed this shoulder holster so you could get a custom fit without having to have it tailored. That way, you can get a more comfortable carry, can carry in the fashion that you wish to, and therefore will be more likely to actually use your shoulder holster.
How do you do that? Let’s dive in!
Don’t Say You Cant: Horizontal Or Vertical Shoulder Holster
One of the most common adjustments to the ShapeShift Shoulder Holster is to adjust the cant angle. Some pistols carry quite comfortably and conceal easily when carried at a horizontal position, but some happen to carry a little better and conceal a little more easily in a vertical orientation.
For instance, a vertical shoulder holster design is quite popular for carrying 1911 pistols, as the slim width allows for a very big gun to be more easily concealed when carried under a jacket in this manner.
Our shoulder holster is easily adjusted for cant angle. If you turn the holster base over, you’ll notice multiple locking ports for the straps. You simply change the position where the straps lock into the holster base to change the cant angle.
To orient the holster vertically, you simply relocate the strap locks to the top of the holster base.
The operation is fairly simple. The strap locks use the same locking cam design as the belt clips on our ShapeShift 4.0 IWB and Cloak Tuck 3.5 IWB holster. To unlock the strap, you rotate until the locking cam is aligned with the port, and gently pry out.
If you have a bit of trouble, push on the strap lock from the other side of the holster base. That’ll usually help it pop out.
After you’ve moved the shoulder straps, move the belt hook to match and you’ve done it!
Adjusting Strap Length On Your Leather Shoulder Holster
You’ll also want to know how to adjust strap length on the leather shoulder holster straps.
This is how you adjust the fit of your ShapeShift shoulder holster. The proper fit is important with any shoulder holster, as a good fit ensures a comfortable carry. You can also ensure easier concealment as a shoulder holster should be somewhat tight to the body. You don’t want it to be uncomfortable, but you want to prevent the pistol from flopping around too much while you move with it.
When you look at the straps, you’ll notice the length is determined by the strap adjusters and by fasteners. At first glance, they may seem complicated but the philosophy of use is rather simple. The fasteners set the overall length, but the strap adjusters give you some room to adjust up or down as you see fit.
The first step is to move the keeper, then loosen the strap adjusters. From there, you lengthen or shorten the straps if only a small adjustment is needed.
If you find that your shoulder holster straps are too long, move to the next belt hole up. If you find them too short, move to the next belt hole down. This will give you a little less or more overall length, as needed.
From there, you can adjust the straps with the strap adjuster until you have it set. Then replace the keepers.
This process can also be repeated with the belt hooks at the bottom of the holster base and the magazine carrier base.
How Should My Shoulder Holster Fit?
How should a shoulder holster fit? It should fit well, for a start…but let’s build on that a bit more.
A proper fit for a shoulder holster is a balancing act, which is harder to pull off than many people realize at first blush. This is the reason why a lot of people give up or only carry with theirs on occasion, or seek out a holster maker that specializes in tailored shoulder holsters. Tailored shoulder holster rigs only fit the wearer (or those with the same or close measurements) but also require a significant investment of funds (usually several hundred dollars) and have a lead time of a few months.
The benefit of the ShapeShift Shoulder Holster, of course, is that you get the adjustability required to achieve the right fit. This was a design priority, and as a result, makes the ShapeShift Shoulder Holster unique compared to many one-size-fits…someone…designs from competitors.
The holster must fit snug but not too tight. A loose-fitting shoulder rig won’t carry comfortably and won’t conceal well either. Tell-tale printing will occur through clothing, obviating the effort to conceal your pistol. You’ll feel the gun bounce and swing around as you carry, which will make it awkward.
The gun should right tight to the body. It shouldn’t be so tight that it digs into you, but shouldn’t jostle very much when walking. A little movement is to be expected; you’re suspending a gun, which is heavy, by strapping. However, it should be rather minimal.
If you’re carrying your pistol in the horizontal position, you want the holster to ride in a location that doesn’t hinder arm movement, but still allows for concealment. A good rule of thumb is to have the top of the slide in about the middle of the ribcage. That creates a bit of clearance and doesn’t crowd the armpit.
For vertical shoulder holster carry, you want the muzzle as close to the belt as possible. That prohibits the grip, rear of the slide (or worse, the hammer) riding up into the armpit. While you can remove the belt hooks on our shoulder holster, it’s a good idea to employ them to pull the gun tight to the body.
As you can see, some adjustment is likely to be needed for a proper fit with a shoulder holster, which is essential. If the holster and shoulder harness don’t fit quite right, chances are you won’t like carrying with it. What we at Alien Gear Holsters know through personal and professional experience is that a holster you don’t like carrying with is one you’re likely to not use. What, after all, is the point of having a concealed carry pistol if you aren’t going to carry it?
We hope that this mini guide gives you the tools to dial in your ShapeShift Shoulder Holster to your satisfaction, and get that much more use out of it.
Keep calm and carry on!
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