From Dirty Harry to just about every cop show since Dragnet, the shoulder holster has been an iconic presence. As a kid, I would occasionally catch a glimpse of a real shoulder rig worn by one of the truck drivers who worked for my dad. I don’t think the Teamsters union approved, but those guys had to make deliveries in some pretty rough neighborhoods.
I was so fascinated by the shoulder holsters; my brother and I would use old belts and leather strips to make shoulder holsters for our cap guns. It’s amazing the things you can do with bunch of old nuts, bolts and a pop-rivet gun. I think we created the first-ever two-cap-gun shoulder rigs. It’s too bad we didn’t have a better marketing team, we coulda’ been famous.
Fast-forward a few years to my days in the USMC. I found myself using a shoulder holster to hide my M9 or unauthorized Glock under my flak jacket, and sometimes under my cammies — my CO never had a clue.
My initial exposure to seeing a detective attempt to shoot from a shoulder rig happened during my first week on the police department range staff. The first day of the shoot, the senior range master told me to always wear my vest and also said I was going to see things that would make me want to quit. “Wait until you see how some of these guys handle weapons and shoot,” he said.
Before the first shot was even fired, a senior detective with a cheap shoulder holster had violated every one of the range safety rules at least two or three times — just during the serial number verification.
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