Project Description

Ever since we first published this short piece of advice in 2013, we have had more comments and debate over it than anything else! We originally wrote:

A Sam Browne belt is worn so that it crosses over the right shoulder and is fastened on the left handside of the body.

Sam Browne was a British solider who served in India in the 19th Century. Duringe the Indian Rebellion of 1857  Captain Browne was serving with the 2nd Punjab Irregular Cavalry when he sustained a two sword cuts that severed his left arm. This meant in future he would find it difficult to draw his sword since he needed his left hand to hold the scabbard still while he withdrew the sword with his right.

Browne then developed the idea of a second belt which went over his right shoulder and held the scabbard on the left side of his body, meaning he could draw his sword using just his right arm.

Since then we’ve received numerous comments and questions. Some of the most common comments are addressed below. Overwhelmingly however, guys have appreciated the clarification and we have had contact from several guys who serve in the services who have confirmed our information.

The Sam Browne today is a redundant piece of army uniform that has been incorporated into many versions of ceremonial dress.

Its original purpose was to hold a sword and swords were worn on the left hip since that’s the side you drew your sword from with your right hand. Even if you were left handed (which was looked on in those days with suspicion and fear) you would learn to fight with the sword in your right hand.

So today, the Sam Browne doesn’t actually serve a purpose, so it makes sense to follow established military dresscodes.

Some guys choose to wear their Sam Browne to indicate their preference and of course that’s fine.

However, for us, items that indicate preferences should be restricted to those items that are not governed by dresscodes – key chains, hankies, which boot the crop is in etc.

Sam Brownes are part of a uniform and how you wear a uniform is not up for debate in the military services.

We contacted Langlitz to ask them if there was any particular reason for this. It turns out there isn’t!

One suggestion is that going from left hip to right shoulder, it would cover up the Watch pocket (if one was present) and you wouldn’t be able to unzip the front zipper very far at all.

Another idea was that while hanging the sword on the left hip made sense back in the day, when guns were carried, the holster was worn on the right hip.

However, as the Langlitz representative told us, “…there’s no official “Langlitz way”, because “our way”, is whatever way makes you happy!”

At last! The definitive indisputable information. This will settle an argument we were having at a MSC London meeting recently. Thanks!
Paul Stagg, London
Hello! Thanks for the info. I know which side to wear my Sam Browne belt. It has settled a long running argument with a leather mate! I’ll get him to look at this page. Appreciate it!
Ken Neely, London
Many thanks for supplying this information. Now I know the correct way to wear the Sam Browne.
Bootstud (Tjeer), Amsterdam
I used to wear mine so it went over the right shoulder, then and I was told it was wrong by someone who had a right rant at me!! Most people wear it the other way so I ended up changing it to do what they did! Thanks for the correct information.
Marc, Cardiff
Imagine the Sam Brown’s purpose is made originally to wear a sword, and you are to grab your sword from the right arm on your left hip. The guy in the pic wears it right!!!
Paul, Bristol
There is only ever ever one answer. To your left hip. It’s where you wear your sword in army uniform. Only those who dress themselves on mirror wear it on the right.
Mark, Dublin
Yes! My Handler always points out that the origin of the Sam Browne was as an extra support to the weight of a sword – a sword was always work on the left hip, so it could be drawn freely by the dominant right hand, therefore, the strap of a Sam Browne should attach at the left hip and travel diagonally across the body to the right shoulder.
Bootbrush, Gloucester