Bianchi has recently launched their new website and logo, and we’ve done a short series of reviews of some of their holsters. In this third and final review of that series, we’ll take a look at the Bianchi Agent Leather Shoulder Holster. Shoulder holsters aren’t seen that often in recent memory, with the exception of television and in movies, but I still read of accounts of people concealed carrying with one on occasion. Are shoulder holsters still viable? Let’s find out.
Bianchi @ TFB:
- TFB Review: Bianchi P.I. Holster- S&W 36, 112 More Gun Models Accommodated
- TFB Review: Bianchi Universal Revolver Holster – UM84R
- Bianchi Rebrands to Bianchi Leather to Reconnect with Customers
- Bianchi Releases NEW Shenandoah Convertible Hybrid Holster
BIANCHI AGENT SHOULDER HOLSTER
While I was in the police academy, I personally witnessed a fellow cadet conceal a full sized Beretta 92 in a shoulder holster under a long sleeve t-shirt. I should note that he was taller and skinnier than I, but I was still amazed. That was nearly twenty years ago now, and even then, shoulder holsters seemed to be waning in popularity. That’s certainly not to say shoulder holsters can’t or shouldn’t be used, however, they may have more specific roles such as hiking, biking, hunting or “winter carry” if concealment is still the goal. The hiking and hunting scenarios may or may not require a level of concealment depending on the locale and if that populous thinks guns are icky. Given the namesake of the Bianchi Agent, perhaps there’s some level of law enforcement that still uses shoulder holsters.
BIANCHI AGENT SHOULDER HOLSTER: INITIAL IMPRESSIONS
The Bianchi Agent shoulder holster is made of full-grain leather and comes with plenty of adjustment options to meet different body types and preferences on how the user wants to wear it. The shoulder straps are effectively held in place by plastic retaining stoppers, but the system also utilizes Chicago screws to affix the loose ends to the front of the strap. The leather of the shoulder straps is of a softer suede with more of a textured feel which helps keep them from sliding on your clothing underneath. Meanwhile, the holster and magazine pouch have a smooth finish that won’t drag on the outer clothing.
The holster is reinforced and includes a thumb break snap button for an added level of security since the holstered pistol may be affected more by gravity than one worn on a belt. The stitching on the holster and mag pouch looked tidy and snug. The center hub that ties all the straps together with grommets looked a little on the cheaper side, but was actually quite strong and gave me no reason to doubt its durability. The included tie-downs are also secured with Chicago screws directly to the holster and mag pouch, and incorporate some elasticity to give flexibility to the wearer.
BIANCHI AGENT SHOULDER HOLSTER: FIELD USE
Early on, I cinched up the Bianchi Agent’s straps so that the holster and mag pouch rode underneath my armpits. I’d seen advise on doing it this way years ago and it always made sense so that the gun isn’t swinging and flopping around. I found that the high ride for the shoulder holster worked well for me in general, but I’m sure there could be times or body styles that could conceal better with a lower ride. I didn’t really go to places where I was concerned about being found out for carrying, but for general use around the house, doing chores around the homestead and driving, the shoulder holster worked great and was comfortable. The first and only time I didn’t care for the shoulder holster was while I was trying to start the finicky engine on the log splitter as the gun swung and slapped my side. It didn’t hurt, it was just something else going on and I’m not used to having my carry guns hit me.
Drawing from the Bianchi Agent was easy as it looks in the movies, but each time I made the conscious effort to clear the muzzle downward from the holster, then out to the target. One downside to the shoulder holster concept is the fact that while the gun is in the holster, or coming into or going out of it, the muzzle is pointing towards things and people you’d rather not destroy, so taking care of what you’re doing during those instances is important.
On my recent Concealed Carry While Running article, TFB reader, Joe R. adamantly recommended shoulder holsters for running, which sounded like a fair test. During the run on the treadmill, I found I needed to hold my arms up a little higher than usual to stabilize the grip of my Glock, otherwise it was swinging just enough to hit my forearm, which was an annoyance. Once I figured that out, the Bianchi Agent was not bothersome at all. Around the one-mile mark, I heard a noise of something hitting the deck. I stopped the treadmill and took off the shoulder holster to see that the male end of the holster side screw had loosened and fallen. The plastic strap keepers had kept the shoulder straps in place though, and there was no concern about the holster coming loose or falling.
Bianchi’s website shows the placement of the Chicago screws at the closest holes to the holster hardware, whereas I had put them furthest from. I found the missing part and snugged down the rest of the screws while I was at it.
Despite shoulder holsters seeing limited usage in recent years, they still seem to have their utility. Even though shoulder holsters have traditionally been used for concealment, they can still provide a different placement for your pistol while being more overtly accessible during some activities or concealed under a jacket for others. The Bianchi Agent was up to each task I put it to, even with my induced screw failure. Bianchi lists the Agent shoulder holster at $163.50, which is pretty standard pricing for other leather shoulder holsters I’ve seen. The Agent is currently only available in tan leather and at present, there’s not a list of compatible pistols, so feel free to check out Bianchi’s Agent product page to search if it’s made for your pistol. You can also view Bianchi’s new website, Bianchileather.com to see all of their other products.
What do you think about the Bianchi Agent? If you’ve been using one already, let us know how your experience has been. Have you seen others using shoulder holsters lately?