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DEPLOYED: Learn How to Wear a Shoulder Holster Properly

or For Fucks Sake Stop Wearing it

Even a powder blue everything wearing tool like Don Johnson knows how to properly wear a shoulder holster – what’s your excuse?

Every day I see an Officer or NCO walking around Iraq giving shoulder holsters a bad name by wearing them like a 12 year old going trick-o-treating. How you can screw up wearing something as simple as a shoulder holster be-founds me. I mean, all you do is put one arm through the big hole then repeat.

It’s bad enough that I have to stand in line at the chow hall with the barrel of your Beretta sticking out of the back end of your shoulder holster pointing directly at my face or chest. But it makes my eyes bleed every time I see an otherwise squared away looking soldier walking around wearing the suede shoulder holster + ACU combo.

For those of you who don’t know: In Iraq most Officers and NCO’s are issued a pistol instead of a rifle, probably so they won’t accidentally leave their M-4 propped against their desk next to the “T” body armor stand (with an inch of dust on their kit) when they make a PX run.

And inevitably every one of them will buy a cheap-ass locally made suede shoulder holster from the Hajji Bazaar. Besides looking completely ridiculous when worn over ACU’s – they can’t seem to figure out what the adjustable straps are for, so they just wear it at whatever length it was adjusted to when they bought it.

So how many wrong ways are there to wear a Shoulder Holster? About a dozen but here are my two favorites and the most commonly seen in Iraq:

Stupid Way to Wear a Shoulder Holster # 1 – Sagging Past Your Hips:

One of the most common sights is seeing one of these engineers wearing a shoulder holster that is so loose it bounces in and out off their hip. One would think the constant banging of a pistol on your thigh would make you realize that perhaps you were not doing something right. Apparently not.

Stupid Way to Wear a Shoulder Holster # 2 – Wearing a Shoulder Holster Backwards:

No I’m not joking here, a minimum of at least 5 times a day I see some Mil guy or gal walking around with their shoulder holster on backwards. What they do is loosen it up (apparently this group of scientists has figured how to use the adjustable straps) so it droops all the way down to their waist, then they adjust it so the pistols grip is facing up – basically making a bastard hanging hip holster from a shoulder holster.

The fact that they put in so much work and thought to wear a shoulder holster the wrong way astounds me.

More Stupid Human Shoulder Holster Tricks:

Mil folks also have to wear a lanyard connected to their pistols, just close your eyes and imagine someone walking around wearing ACU’s with a shoulder holster and a phone-cord looking lanyard hooked from their pistol to the back-side of a shoulder holster with the cord flapping against their back.

I have also seen them wearing their shoulder holsters inside-out, with the leather strap on the back twisted up so badly it looks like a drill-bit and my personal favorite; walking around with 2 mags in the shoulder holster mag pouch and no pistol.

Fun and Games with Shoulder Holsters:

The only upside to this is me and my boys have made a game out of it – remember playing “Punch-Buggy” when you were a kid (for the younger folks here: When you saw a VW Beetle you would punch the person next to you in the arm and yell “Punch-Buggy”).

So now whenever we drive around base and see some Full-Bird Colonel walking around wearing a shoulder holster with it bouncing around his knees we smack the shit out of the guy sitting beside us and yell “Douchebag”

In conclusion…

If you are an Officer or NCO in Iraq and you are currently wearing a shoulder holster than for the love of god learn how to properly wear one because you look like a damn fool.

Or even better – just buy a drop leg holster (don’t worry, it won’t get in your way when getting up and down from your desk chair) and forgo the ACU Miami Vice look.


~James G
Founder – Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long; he has traveled to over 50 countries chasing fortune and glory. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns, writing poorly written articles and canvassing the internet for pictures of sexy girls holding guns


  1. We get that here in the UK with some police detectives when they’ve mananged to convince someone they can be trusted with a firearm.
    I was once called out to force entry to a drug dealers home only to find that the Detective Inspector in charge had somehow managed to jam his Glock upside down in a sprung shoulder holster (fully loaded and cocked of course)
    It took us longer to dismantle the weapon and remove it from the holster than the time taken getting past the dealers 5 locks.

  2. If you don’t know how to wear ANY holster, you should not be carrying a handgun. My other “favorite” is strong-side belt holsters worn well in front of the hip. Ugh.

  3. @ Chimborazo – LOL, that’s actually how I wear my burner when I am wearing just a pistol on a duty-type belt openly or packing concealed with a belly holster, I am a big fan of the appendix carry

    ~James G

  4. Really? I have never thought of any reason I can articulate as to why it’s bad, but for some reason it annoys me. But hey, whatever works best for you is what you should go with. Of course, you wear velcro shoes too. I joke!!! I kid!!! Don’t forget, I was one of your main supporters with the velcro kicks. If only they came in multicam….

  5. James, as descriptive as you tried to be, I just can’t wrap my head around some of those carrying positions. Any chance of posting pics of the offenders? Opsec and Persec applies of course.

  6. Hopefully Polish mil guys are issued (or smart enough) to wear drop leg holsters.
    But you should really see pics of Polish policemen wearing handguns…
    Could write at last 3 more articles like this one.

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  7. Dude, just got back from the PX yesterday, and you are so freaking right. I did not see the inside out ones, but damn if it did not look like a rap concert with the droopy holsters…like some XXXXXXXL white T-shirt wearing DB.

    I even saw one with his M9 tucked in his cargo pocket…..yes, it was of course an officer.

  8. The saddest part is… these douchebags are so pathetic, they don’t even have friends helping them out. (^_^). I bet you everybody laughs at them as they walk out of the TOC, giggling and laughing at what a fucking dork he/she is. These are the same types who did not earn a beret, yet they wear the black one all jacked up.

  9. If you don’t know how to wear ANY holster, you should not be carrying a handgun. My other “favorite” is strong-side belt holsters worn well in front of the hip. Ugh.  (Quote This Comment)

    One of my “favorite” holsters to disrespect is the classic IWB. I can’t count how many times I’ve handed one to someone that should know better, and then they get all giddy and put it in their pocket.

    Another favorite is when not-so-bright people use a paddle holster, but put the paddle on the outside of their pants. The entire thing just flaps around like a mule’s pecker, and they have no idea what they’re doing wrong.

  10. Never understood the horizontal rig, like, thanks for sweeping everyone with your muzzle. If you’re wearing something concealing, just hip the damn thing.

    Funny thing, they hand out one to everyone, most who will never leave the wire, as if Haji is going to tunnel under the base like Sappers and spring up in the night. (which all he’d have to do is pop a few shots, yell something about Allah….then hide and let the Fobbits kill each other.).

    BUT….the one time the Army recently needed a gun at the office….Ft. Hood…there was nothing.


  11. Okay, here is my 2 cents worth on the holsters. a small improvement of the douchbag game, play pistol-whip the snot out of them, then yell douchebag!! when their gear isnt properly worn, it tells me that they havent had any training and should be taken to the wood shed and whooped. otherwise, dont wear it!!!

  12. How about the dumb ass’s that wear a ankle holster and the freakin pistol comes loose and gets kicked across the floor! I witnessed this in a McDonalds one night, the person who was wearing the ankle holster was a uniformed cop……

  13. I have never been a fan of the shoulder holster. I just never “got it” I suppose. But I have seen the guys that you describe, officers in Iraq or even detectives stateside that choose to where them that way. It makes them look ridiculous. Nor have I ever been able to understand how they figured they could run in it, jump, do anything other than stand around looking like a moron.

    I prefer belt holsters (or a good and secure paddle holster) and IWB. For me it is so much easier to protect from a gun grab with those and access means to deal with someone going for a gun grab. But for in country I prefer a chest rig for my kit and a drop leg for walking around.

    I agree with Mike though, I say pistol whip them.

  14. Different Mike than the one above.

    The same brain donors that can’t properly wear a shoulder holster also fuck up wearing a drop holster. How many Fobbits have you seen with a drop holster hanging down to their knees flopping around like a wind-sock. Hey retrard, cinch the holster up so it’s not banging your knee cap and fasten the thigh straps. It’s not only about looking like a jackass but about actually being able to draw your pistol using something other than the Barney Fife method.

    If the chain of command would mandate a list of approved (barrell down) shoulder holsters (then stock them in the PX or issue them with the RFI) and ban the “barrel pointing at the dude behind you” haji holsters it would be a simple fix. If the PX can stock fucking flat panel televisions then they should be able to stock decent shoulder holsters.

    What pisses me off is that there are 10 different guidelines on when and how to wear a watch cap but no guidleines on how to properly wear a sidearm. Fuck me running…

  15. Yup, I agree with the Mike above. The Army has a -10 for everything it owns, but won’t tell you how to properly use holsters and slings. I blame the COC, of course it’s not like it used to be. Now days the 1SG’s and SMG’s are all “young” are “grew-up” in the Cold War Army. They rarely had any mentors with true combat experience to show them the ropes.

    I was under the impression that the Army had said “no” to the shoulder holsters that have the barrel pointing backwards? That’s what I was told several years ago, only facing down. Is this true?

  16. While I don’t really care for shoulder holsters in general I would prefer the horizontal (actually muzzle up some) to the vertical. It is a faster and easier drawstroke. If it has a covered trigger guard I don’t see it as being anywhere near as bad as every other jackass who sweeps fully half the DFAC every time he picks up or sets down a long gun.

    We don’t teach most of our soldiers to be safe, we just don’t allow them to have an accident (except that doesn’t work either).

  17. @ Buckaroomedic:

    I don’t think so dude, I see about a hundred of em every day

    ~James G

  18. Damn funny yet damn straight! Way to go, James!!

  19. James, excellent article and something that has been driving me crazy everytime I go to BAF or Phoenix in Afghanistan(or I guess anywhere there are super high speed support guys). Drop leg holsters are really not any better when the guys decide that they should be knee/canckle length and the tightning straps have no use. Also, this post should include pictures!

  20. Shoulder holsters- LOL!

    I once saw a thick soldier wearing a shoulder holster while in PT gear. She was carrying three steam trays back from the DFAC when her M9 fell out and hit the deck. Instead of putting down the food so she could secure her weapon with both hands, she dragged it across the ground with that gay-ass retention cord instead.

  21. Yep – needs pictures but I don’t have a shoulder holster, will have to figure something out

    ~James G

  22. Shoulder holsters- LOL! I once saw a thick soldier wearing a shoulder holster while in PT gear. She was carrying three steam trays back from the DFAC when her M9 fell out and hit the deck. Instead of putting down the food so she could secure her weapon with both hands, she dragged it across the ground with that gay-ass retention cord instead.  (Quote This Comment)

    Hahaha! Are you kidding?! That was the most awsome funniest shit i’ve ever heard.. I wish you had pictures :( Could have made an awsome motivational poster.

  23. All I can say is welcome to the “New Army”! Im sure a lot of you remember the days of if it was not issue you didnt wear it and if it was issue it has best be squared away unless you were a 4 star or something else a world of shit was headed your way.

    My last CC holster was a horizontal carry but the thumb release went over the back of the weapon between the hammer and ass end when cocked. I think from what im reading they have watched to many westerns with the gun slinger hanging his colt down the knee or stuck in the front of his trousers.

    @ James G Just take the pics and do your CIA photo shyte!

  24. This was a great article! My favorite is seeing a field grade officer wearing his body armor ON TOP of the shoulder holster. Vest undone like a cover garment and his left side bulging like a colostomy bag! 

  25. Easy… In Israely Army most of officers or NCO’s that got pistols wear them just tucked them in back of their pants, like gangstas.

  26. Hahahahahahahahahaha. You forgot to mention the fact that some (most?) of these douchebags aren’t even carrying a loaded mag with them. Of course, that’s probably a good thing.

  27. So I have been waiting and waiting for a buddy of mine to upload pics from our camping trip of what he took from his phone. I say this because I thought of him once I read this article.

    It was late last spring when this camping trip happened. I caught him wearing a shoulder holster as pictured the morning of the first day I arrived into camp. I pulled him aside from his three teenage sons and the others there before I dropped the boom on him.

    Then a couple months later I read this article and thought I had to get him to post his pics. Finally…

    He’s a good guy, has a heart of gold and is simply good people. Still, He made my day when I saw him wearing that damned thing.

    Enjoy the pic.


  28. Had an US Army 3 Star rig his M-9 in the Bianchi Shoulder Holster issued by the Army and got it to where the muzzle pointed straight up at the sky.

    He somehow lost it in the play box.

    Do you know how big that fucking box is?

    Things stopped, everyone except the General got shoulder to shoulder and walked in line formation looking for that sidearm…..Einstein didn’t look in his Hummer or he would have found it.

  29. Oh damn…that is some funy shit!!! I still see almost all of the above everyday on Camp Victory/Camp Liberty. I have never been able to figure why folks will put a real nice pistol in the CHEAPEST damn holster they can find. Back in the states I would throw a couple cheap ass holsters a year off the back of the range into the boontoolies and issue the owner an ass chewing…newbies got a pass but detectives and command staff…never!!!!

  30. I had a staff sergeant at my old reserve unit (VERY cool guy and easy to work for… but a total DOUCHEBAG when it comes to ANYTHING weapons related besides armory procedures) who did this exact same shit. Drove me crazy, granted that is a VERY short trip. He had a brown leather (what’s sad…) Galco Miami Classic… 160 dollar shoulder rig he bought here in the states that he did this with… really nice… Even bought the 2 mags and light carrier for it, yet to add insult to lunacy, he never put more than one mag in it and although he had his CCW here in NC and used a shoulder rig frequently, he preferred a freaking UTG POS rig (why? I don’t know). He’d put this damn thing on… weapon rode like the old Counter-Carjacking-Rigs (think horizontal cross draw bet rig). He left it hanging on a nail by the M9 racks one day and I tried to be the good little Lance Corporal/Company’s-Resident-Gun-Nut and hook him up. In reality, I’d seen it as long as I could stand it and was like “Fuck this, he is going to wear this damn thing right, even if it’s only for five seconds, come hell or high water.” So I adjusted the thing (he’s a little bigger than me) to a little too big for me and hung it back up… This dude threw a worse coniption (sp?) fit than any spoiled 5 year old brat in need of a belt to the hindquarters that didn’t get his way… “WHY THE FUCK DID YOU DO THAT!!!!????!!!!!???” like I had cut it to shreds… After about 20 minutes of bitching and explaining that “this is how I did it in Iraq” and he went down the “I’m a Staff Sergeant and I’ve been in for 8 years….” road a couple times and then he went on about his business and left me alone.

    I also have an idiot cousin who I’ve considered beating half to death on several occasions who bought a BlackHawk Angle Draw rig off me… never buy used gear from me… (first clue to this cat’s IQ… he offered me 50 bucks for it because he saw it new for 55 and ASSUMED I hadn’t abused it because it still looked somewhat black…)… and wound up stuffing a damn Hi Point 45 in there… with no retention strap… Now against the better advice of EVERYONE HE KNOWS, this fucker rents an apartment in the ghetto and he’s as white as I am (we’re talking hillbilly and neon white here)… Well… he gets his CCW and decides to pack his heat… First day toting it… he added a Hi Point 45 to the arsenal of the local gang bangers. Thank God the damn thing never worked right.

  31. Couldn’t agree more! During my three tours I saw countless examples of retards showing the world they had no idea of how to wear a shoulder holster. The best example was an overweight female, air force major at Joint Base Balad. She was wearing it backwards, with her keys clipped through the lanyard ring! What the fuck! I guess if you’re never going to fire the weapon, why not use it as a key chain!

  32. My favorite is a “concealed” weapon that isn’t concealed at all, hanging loose at the left side with the grip facing toward the back so any fool can come up behind him and take it. Designed for a .45 he is carrying a 9mm buried somewhere inside. The gun is swinging so wildly it could take out your penis or his own at any moment (or put an eye out). When he tries to draw the weapon he can’t bcause he has packed it wrong to begin with, has to extinguish his cigarette first, (but wait for one last drag, please) so instead of an easy gliding motion to withdraw his pistola, now he has to come up awkwardly from behind with his left hand, pull it out, transfer ownership to his dominant hand, (if it is under a coat or jacket this will be even trickier), all the time he’s wondering how those guys on tv do it so fast. These are the same guys who advertise as bodguards and have knowledge of Tae Kwon do, but still can’t spell it right, and have never practiced it. They watch videos of Bruce Lee and think, hmm I could do that if I had to. They Smoke cigarettes and eat donuts until they are obese, clean their fingernails with large knives to intimidate you, and fantasize about protectng celebrities. I’m not pissing on your dream, but don’t make it my nightmare please! And, of course, they were trained by the CIA. Hahahaha

  33. Haha I\’ve never done that. I think you\’re jealous of my butter bars.

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