For some reason, shoulder rigs are not as popular as they used to be. In part it is due to the clothing we wear. One particular shoulder rig offers a lot of potential and won’t show under today’s fashions, but it warrants some thought because the handgun hangs like a vampire, upside down.
The retention is an elastic band, with a shelf or hook sewn into the edge of the holster, which hooks on to the trigger guard of the revolver. And that’s the first restriction: this holster works with revolvers only. You want to use this holster only with a revolver for one simple reason: the muzzle is pointed more-or-less at you when holstered.
An advantage is that drawing is simple: reach in, get a firing grasp and yank it down and forward. It helps to pull a bit toward your centerline, which you want to do anyway to get the sights on line between you and the target.
The second benefit is one that works in a variety of settings, including sitting. Seated at a desk, in a vehicle, your snubbie is readily available. (And in the lavatory, it’s impossible to inadvertently leave behind your gun.)
This upside-down shoulder rig allows for easy draw with your strong hand and the holster fits well with today's fashion designs.
Also, it is possible to draw with either hand. Doing a support-hand draw with this rig takes a bit of practice, and a handy post to hide the arm movement, but you can do a weak-hand draw and not have anyone notice.
The good news is that you can wear an un-tucked, closed-front garment, like a pullover sweater, and still draw. Just use your left (right-handed shooters) hand to lift the edge, and snake your hand up underneath. The bad news is that you need a relatively heavy garment to hide the shoulder straps.
For someone who will be seated in a car for a lot of their work, and who is used to a double-action trigger, this can be an ideal carry rig.
But it’s not without its flaws.
Besides being limited to revolvers, another drawback is caliber and capacity. For a while, I carried a 3-inch S&W M-65 in a Safariland holster this way, but that was as big and heavy as you can get. So, you are limited to a five- or six-shot snubbie, in .38 Spl. or .357 Mag.
It is vitally important to be careful with what you carry in this rig for a simple, and mechanical, reason: There is no projecting edge, like the trigger guard of a revolver, for the holster to secure the pistol. Since you have to depend on a snap or strap, then you are also at the mercy of gravity—that is, if the snap or strap fails, you will have a pistol crashing to the floor.
When I was packing heavy, back in the day, the Safariland rig I have held my Colt Agent, as my secondary backup. The main gun was a 1911, as was the second one. These days, the combo would be more common as a Glock with a + connector, and an S&W 442. Those would have a lot more in common, trigger-wise, than my old combo, but I spent a lot of time practicing, and I felt comfortable with them.
It isn’t as easy to find such a holster these days and, given the lighter-weight clothing we all wear, some shoulder holsters are a bit more difficult to hide. But in the right circumstances, the “vampire” rig bears a good, hard look.