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Thread: Shoulder versus Chest Holster questions

  1. #1
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    Default Shoulder versus Chest Holster questions

    I have a S&W 329 PD. I currently carry it in a crossdraw holster on my pack hip belt, but I've been looking for something different. I am trying to decide between a chest type holster or a shoulder holster.

    In the past I carried my Ruger SBH in a Alaska Sportsman chest holster but did not care for it due to sweating under the large nylon surface area and the strap causing my shoulder to ache under the pack strap. Is the Diamond D leather chest holster any different? It seems like it would be better, but I'm hoping some of you can provide a direct comparison. Also, how compatible is the Diamond D with a pack? No interference? Always having to adjust?

    My other question is how does the Diamond D compare to a quality shoulder rig from Bianchi or Galco? I'm guessing the shoulder rigs have more of a tendency to interfere with pack straps but I would like to know your guys thoughts.

    I've read through several posts on the forum and I am leaning towards getting a Diamond D, but just want to make sure I'm not going to duplicate my experience with the Alaska Sportsman or miss something in a shoulder holster. Thanks for your help!

  2. #2

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    I've used Bianchi's leather break-front shoulder holsters for almost 40 years. I've tried other brands and styles including the chest versions. Call me an old dog without a new trick to his name, but I haven't found any that suited me so well. A guy gets used to what he gets used to, I guess. Those holsters sure aren't high fashion these days, but they work extremely well for me.

    One thing I like about the Bianchi- It hangs low enough under my arm that backpacks have never been an issue for me. I'm 6'4", so maybe it has something to do with the way I adjust them, compared to someone without so much distance between armpit and waist.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Diamond D holsters won't fall short on quality and fit. My wife wears her SW 629 in one and many on these forums have spoken well of their products; http://www.diamonddcustomleather.com/Chest_Holsters.php. One more thing. At last year's Great Alaska Sportsman Show (http://greatalaskasportsmanshow.com/, starts March 29 this year), I saw one with some age on it; nice burnished finish of well-aged quality leather. Nice looking piece of gear.

    Leather by Bianchi seems similarly well made; arguably a finer initial finish to it. Among the top leather holsters, I wonder if the differences are maybe small. Whatever suits one's taste more than anything? I use a different holster (http://www.alaskasportsmanproducts.com/Order.html), which I wouldn't put in the same class. I have some friends who use Uncle Mikes too, but it didn't seem to affect their ability to land nice fish, or moose .

    It seems a big advantage to me to be able to try out a holster, especially if you're going to shell out for one of the $100 ones. See how the fit of the holster/hardware and the finish of the leather work with your pistol (or one like it). I did order a leather holster sight unseen for my Redhawk from another company and was annoyed to find that snapping the retention strap could unlatch the cylinder and the edge of a rivet would sometimes catch on the edge of the cylinder as i drew the pistol.

    By numbers, I'd guess Uncle Mike's, Alaska Sportman, Diamond D/Bianchi and Other would be the top 5 you see around maybe for revolvers anyway. Have fun looking. Be interesting to hear what others suggest.

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    I would say that the "Alaska Sportsman" isn't even in the same league as the Dimond D, "Guides Choice", in quality, comfort, access to the gun, on/off, and the simplicity of it all.

    I'm satisfied, that you would NOT hafta re-adjust it.

    Dave has a reely good thing goin with the design. It's remarkable, IMO, almost too good to be true.

    I've not used mine with a pack, but I see no reason why I couldn't. There is little that could interfere.

    BTW, he also makes a Bandoleer holster, that is perfect for the ladies.

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    Default True dat! ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I would say that the "Alaska Sportsman" isn't even in the same league as the Dimond D, "Guides Choice", in quality, comfort, access to the gun, on/off, and the simplicity of it all... Smitty of the North
    In fact the AK Sportsman might be in a league of its own! Nylon, not leather at all, with thin webbing and no padding to speak of on the shoulder. Definitely on the value end in quality, comfort, access to the gun..

    Regarding your post though, ("...I have a S&W 329 PD. I currently carry it in a crossdraw holster on my pack hip belt, but I've been looking for something different. I am trying to decide between a chest type holster or a shoulder holster..."), there are a few things I like about the AK Sportsman holster:

    1). Accessories: It carries two speed loaders right on the panel. I don't have other attachments hanging off elsewhere. When I take it off at night, everything is right there together. Personal preference to be sure.
    2). Versatility: I can wear this holster on chest, under shoulder or on my belt, strong side. I usually carry the same revolver, SW329PD, which is light enough to not really need a chest carry and just like the option of moving it sometimes.
    3). No maintenance, no worry.

    Alaska Sportsman, Diamond D and Simply Rugged all used to be Alaska made, but Simply Rugged (http://www.simplyrugged.com/), moved elsewhere a couple years ago.

    Good luck in your search.

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    Can the Diamond D be adjusted such that the pistol rides over on your side, underneath your arm...almost becoming a shoulder holster?

    I would love to try one out first, but I live down in Idaho now and don't see how it would be possible with out being in Alaska. Bianchi on the other hand I might be able to track down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KES View Post
    Can the Diamond D be adjusted such that the pistol rides over on your side, underneath your arm...almost becoming a shoulder holster?

    I would love to try one out first, but I live down in Idaho now and don't see how it would be possible with out being in Alaska. Bianchi on the other hand I might be able to track down.
    Where abouts in Idaho?
    I have a couple Diamond D's you could try.
    "The older I get, the better I was."

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    Hey travelers, thanks for the offer, I sent you a PM.

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    I agree with what the others have said. I like shoulder holsters by Galco for 'in town' carry but when hiking/fishing I like the chest rig. It allows much more freedom for swinging your arms while huffing it up a hill or flipping flies. There is NO replacing quality and comfort! A quality leather rig supports my 500 all day long. Kayaking I sometimes wear a 686 in the nylon chest rig but they are apples vs oranges and each has a place. If you ever get in a 'stuff hits the fan'- it is a natural reflex and position for people to pull their arms to their chest as a protective move and wether you are standin, sitting, laying in any position you can still get the gun out of a chest rig. Just a tip- hopefully you never need to, but it makes sense to practice getting out with the weak hand as well (never know what may happen to the strong hand).

    I moved here from Boise and did a lot of hiking in the Clearwater area- beautiful country!

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    Your shoulder will get used to the stap up there, mine does, first trip might feel ache a bit, but then good to go all season. Don't notice it there anymore. Diamond D has been at the gun shows, was at Wasilla High school's this month.

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    I've kinda settled into a Hill People chest pack. It carries my .45LC BH or 6" G20 just fine and I can also carry survival and other handy stuff as well does not get in the way of any normal activities. The double shoulder straps seem to support the weight a lot better than a single one would and my only complaint is when riding a dirt bike/ATV it sometimes bounces and gets to be a little bit of a PIA but then a holster would do that too. I have set mine up so I can hang my DSLR camera or binocs off the front and you can also use a back pack over top of the straps and put the chest strap under the chest pack. It is a little bit of a hassle getting it on and off with the back pack, but not that bad. It is not the only solution but I like it.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    I have gone a lot of miles wearing a pack with my 7X Leather chest holster. It is very comfortable and fits well with a full pack, even with a big revolver. It has an all leather harness so I don't know how that would compare to the Diamond with its nylon harness.

    I have since replaced all of my shoulder holsters with the 7X.

    Here is a pic from this summer scouting Mountain goats and fishing the high mountian lakes.


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    Quote Originally Posted by freedom475 View Post
    I have gone a lot of miles wearing a pack with my 7X Leather chest holster. It is very comfortable and fits well with a full pack, even with a big revolver. It has an all leather harness so I don't know how that would compare to the Diamond with its nylon harness.

    I have since replaced all of my shoulder holsters with the 7X.

    Here is a pic from this summer scouting Mountain goats and fishing the high mountian lakes.

    The only nylon on the Diamond-D Guides Choice is the quick adjust strap, I‘ve not seen any as well designed and made as Dave’s rig.
    Scrool down and watch the vid at this link.
    http://www.diamonddcustomleather.com/Chest_Holsters.php
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    Handsome tooling on some of those 7X holsters. Interesting post.
    Quote Originally Posted by freedom475 View Post
    I have gone a lot of miles wearing a pack with my 7X Leather chest holster. It is very comfortable and fits well with a full pack, even with a big revolver. It has an all leather harness so I don't know how that would compare to the Diamond with its nylon harness.

    I have since replaced all of my shoulder holsters with the 7X.

    Here is a pic from this summer scouting Mountain goats and fishing the high mountian lakes.


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    I like the looks of the 7X. I'm not sure how the harness attaches once it's on though. I did go ahead and order a Diamond D before I saw this latest addition to my thread. I just received it so haven't had a chance to use since it arrived. It does fit the gun well, is easy to put on and works good with my pack, at least in the living room. I probably would have investigated the 7X a little more if I had known about, but I think I will be quite pleased with the Diamond D. Thanks for everyone's help and ideas. I'll report back when I get a little more use out of my Diamond D!

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