Friday, October 28, 2016

The pancake holster

Inside the waistband (IWB) holsters seem to be the in thing these days, with many carrying on or behind the hip. The appendix inside the waistband (AIWB), or appendix carry for short, has gained a lot of popularity, too. [I must admit that appendix carry, which places the barrel in close proximity to certain delicate anatomical parts, makes me a wee  bit nervous.]

I have used an IWB at times,
but never found any to be comfortable all day. The problem, for me, is they require a larger waist size in the trousers. I tried that, then grew to fit the pants. Not good. It seems the biggest advantage to the IWB is to carry your Buntline Special - - -

Buntline Special that recently sold for $1250.00 at 
- - - so that the barrel doesn't show.

But if you are wearing a long-tailed coat like some of these guys - -
or a sport coat, or Hawaiian Shirt, then - -

The pancake holster might work for you.

When I had a 1911, I wore it in a pancake from El Paso Saddlery similar to this:
Dual Duty Holster from El Paso Saddlery
How effective at concealment are these types of holsters? While at the Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC) in September, I wore an open top pancake style, either under a sport coat or Hawaiian cut print shirt.

Afterwards, I questioned some of my friends who had been at the GRPC:
Were you able to tell whether or not I was carrying? If you saw anything, please describe.
Here are their answers:
  1. I could not see anything! Your body language seemed a tiny bit stiff ... but I could not tell at all! What were you packing? C.T.
  2. I didn't notice anything. I wasn't looking but never saw anything that would have suggested it. J.R.
  3. I wasn't exactly looking but I didn't see any telltale signs or bulges. S.L.
  4. I don't remember in particular. I guess I just expected that everyone at the conference would be carrying, so if I saw bulges or printing I wouldn't have really paid attention to it. R.M.
Except for the evening reception Friday, I was wearing my Ruger SR9, strong side, in a leather abbreviated open-top pancake style holster I made, with a little leather finishing advice from Dennis at Dragon Leatherworks.
You can see that the holster draws the pistol up very close to the body.

High and tight!

NOTE: This non-retention holster is not recommended for open carry.

And here I am, in the red sport coat, with that pistol, at GRPC. On the right side of the photo is John Cushman of New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, then Cheryl Todd of Arizona's Gun Freedom Radio. Unfortunately, I don't know the name of the gentleman in the bow tie.
Photo courtesy Dave Workman
Outside the waistband carry has proven to be the most comfortable way for me to carry a full-size pistol. The pancake style keeps it close. The cover garment covers the grip as well as any IWB carry, and covers the barrel/slide.

Unless you're packing one of those Buntline Specials!

What do you think? What is your experience? Have you tried it?


  1. I have used every type of holster ever devised for a handgun over a period of 50 years and have found that the pancake style to be the very best for comfort, concealment and fast access. I have access to a local leather repair guy allows me to take any handgun to him and have him custom make the holster to fit said handgun. The guy sews two pieces of soft, pliable leather together and sews two belt loops, one on each end. This allows the wearer unlimited positioning of their weapon on their side while form fitting the weapon to the individuals body. I normally carry a Kahr CW 45 under a pullover and nobody can tell that I am armed.

  2. Like most, I have been carrying for 30+ years.
    In that time I have aquired so many holsters and rigs that I could open a small store.
    That said I don't like or use IWB, just uncomfortable and the blueing on the gun gets rubbed away quickly by body perspiration and friction.
    Also, I have generally gotten away for leather. I my (old?) line of activity I sweated a lot. The leather always gets dark and smelled after a while.
    I use Nylon holsters for a while. Soft and washable.
    For the last 4-5 years I have been using a Versa-carry. It hooks onto your belt or stiff waistband, the barrel of your gun slips over the short rod. It can be OWB straight draw or cross-draw. I like it.
    Versa-carry is cailber-selective. That means you choose based upon caliber since it's the rod inside the barrel that does the support. I found I can us my wife's VC for her .380 for my 9mm. It's slightly loose, but fits. The downside is that when it's lose if your shirt that covers the gun is lose the butt of the gun will swing out.
    That's my 2-cents worth.

    Oh, BTW, a the best thing about the Buntline revolver is that ammo wasn't not a necessity. It's barrel was long enough that you could just wack your opponent and still be a safe distance away.

  3. Do you? Regardless, there are many ways to go about buying a gun safe, whatever manufacturer you end up deciding to go with. gun safe


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