When I reviewed the new 2020 Colt Python .357 Magnum revolver back in August, I was totally enamored with it. The only thing that I was missing to test the revolver was a good holster. I found my answer in the Craft Holsters Vertical Roto-Shoulder Holster.
How to Carry It
The Colt Python is a big gun, and trying to carry it concealed using a conventional belt holster increases the odds that there might be some barrel/holster protruding below the shirt or jacket line. I suppose an IWB holster could work, but dang — that’s a lot of gun barrel to carry underneath the beltline! I decided to give the shoulder holster a shot.
The Right Shoulder Rig
A shoulder holster allows you to keep your gun high above the belt — or at least in line with it — thus reducing exposure should the covering jacket or vest slide up above the holster during daily wear. This type of holster distributes the weight across the shoulder rather than allowing it to rest on your hips. When worn, a shoulder holster should be positioned on the weak-hand side under the armpit, with the muzzle down, requiring a cross draw to clear the gun.
I wanted to find a leather shoulder rig for the Colt Python — a modern synthetic rig just wouldn’t do. I turned again to Craft Holsters. (You can view Craft Holsters’ other Colt Python holsters here.)
Craft Holsters is a European supplier of fine leather holsters, magazine and speedloader pouches, gun belts, and bags. Its product line is diverse and of excellent quality. The Craft Holsters Vertical Roto-Shoulder Holster interested me most — so named because of its ability to allow the weapon to rotate downward for a horizontal draw rather than a vertical one. This holster was specifically produced by Falco Holsters for Craft Holsters.
The shoulder holster for semi-autos and revolvers is an all-leather construction — except for the off-side nylon belt-attachment strap. It is important to note that the holster’s vertical carry rig requires the person to wear a solid belt to attach both the holster side and the off-side to it. Make sure to use the same solidly constructed belt that you would use with an OWB holster. This keeps the gun from shifting around.
How it Works
The actual holster portion of the shoulder holster consists of two components: the scabbard portion that encases the handgun and the outer covering/retention flap that allows the gun to rotate. It is an ingenious arrangement.
The handgun is inserted into the holster as usual. The retention strap secures across the rear of the trigger guard and locks it into place on the front portion of the flap. This holds the handgun securely in place with a snap. Only the grip is exposed. When ready to draw, release the snap and rotate the grip downward until it’s parallel with the ground. Then pull it from the rig and sweep it on target. Note that some ranges prohibit the use of drawing from a shoulder rig, as the muzzle tends to momentarily point to the rear and side as the draw is made. You can draw safely with a lot of practice. However, you should do that practice at home with an unloaded gun.
I had specifically requested the holster with the optional dual speedloader pouch, which is worn on the weak side and attached to the shoulder straps. The holster portion is attached to cross straps that meet in the center of the back when the rig is worn. There are several points of adjustment, which is vital for comfortable wear.
After holstering the unloaded Colt Python, I donned the entire rig to get a feel for things. I immediately realized some adjustments were in order since the speedloader pouch assembly was directly under my right armpit and quite uncomfortable. There was a lot of slop in the rig, and the holster was not set firmly against my side. I undid the appropriate retention screws on the straps on both sides … and bingo! The holster rig was much more comfortable with the pouch riding behind my right triceps.
I decided to test the comfort of the shoulder holster rig during my routine mile walk. While the rig was noticeable — this isn’t a gun and holster you can wear and forget about — the weight was distributed nicely. The holster rig makes carrying the Colt Python concealed viable so long as it’s worn under a covering garment.
This holster should work nicely in the great outdoors — particularly in areas where large, dangerous animals dwell. Considering this handgun has a 6-inch barrel, I think this holster gives owners of large handguns another viable carry option.
About Scott W. Wagner
Scott W. Wagner is a criminal justice professor and police academy commander from Columbus, Ohio. He has been a police officer since 1980, working as an undercover liquor investigator, undercover narcotics investigator, patrol officer, SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader. Scott is currently a patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. He has been a police firearms instructor since 1986 and is certified to instruct revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.