The present work focuses on the in-plane shear respond and failure mode of large size honeycomb sandwich composites which consist of plain weave carbon fabric laminate skins and aramid paper core. A special size specimen based on a typical element of aircraft fuselage was designed and manufactured. A modified in-plane shear test method and the corresponding fixture was developed. Three large size specimens were tested. The distributed strain gauges were used to monitor the mechanical response and ultimate bearing capacity. The results show that a linear respond of displacement and strain appears with the increase of the load. The average shear failure load reaches 205.68 kN with the shear failure occurring on the face sheet, and the maximum shear strain monitored on the composite plate is up to 16,115 με. A combination of theoretical analysis and finite element method (FEM) was conducted to predict the shear field distribution and the overall buckling load. The out-of-plane displacement field distribution and in-plane shear strain field distribution under the pure shear loading were revealed. The theoretical analysis method was deduced to obtain the variation rule of the shear buckling load. A good agreement was achieved among the experiment, theoretical analysis, and FEM results. It can be concluded that the theoretical analysis method is relatively conservative, and the FEM is more accurate in case of deformation and strain. The results predicted by h element and p element methods are very close. The results of the study could provide data support for the comprehensive promotion of the design and application of honeycomb sandwich composites.