Carrying Concealed Is Hard Work Or Simply Rugged

By Major Van Harl USAF Ret

Simply Rugged Sourdough Pancake Holsters
Simply Rugged Sourdough Pancake Holsters
AmmoLand Gun News
AmmoLand Gun News

Wisconsin –-(  It was pouring down rain so the temperature dropped from the low 80s to the mid 60s in about thirty minutes.

The Colonel commented that is was cool in the house and put on a sweater.

I stated I love this kind of cool weather because it is easier to carry a handgun concealed. I have lived in at least a half-a-dozen States where just prior to me arriving or shortly after moving there, concealed carry of personal firearms became the law of the land.

Every time I moved to a new State there was this short lived euphoria by citizens of that State because they could now carry a handgun.

I am an old cop who has carried a handgun for over 35 years. In my earlier days very few States had concealed carry laws, so it really was a private club within law enforcement when it came to who got to carry a handgun– a protected class is you will (this is slowly changing praise the Lord).

I bought my first handgun in my freshman year of college while living in the State of Illinois. Illinois was the last State in the Union to create a concealed carry law for their residents in 2013. Needless to say, there was no way a private citizen could carry a handgun in Illinois back in my college days. This lack of handgun ownership mobility in the eyes of the State of Illinois did not however negate the need for me to have a holster to carry my Smith & Wesson Model 28, 357mag revolver.

There was a good-old boy by the name of Roy Baker in the holster business who started a novel idea for carrying handguns back in the late 1950s. Mr. Baker took two flat, sorted of round pieces of leather, sewed them together, put belt slits on the edges and created the Roy Baker Pancake holster.

Roy Baker Pancake Holster
Roy Baker Pancake Holster

I bought one for my big N-framed revolver and started carrying my handgun. The Pancake holster holds the firearm close to the body and positions about half of the handgun above the belt line. High and tight is how I would categorize the way a handgun rides on a person as it sits securely in a Roy Baker Pancake holster.

What I learned at an early age is carrying around almost three pounds of steel on your hip is hard work, if you in fact carry every day.

Every day you have to consciously think about putting on the holster and that handgun which seems to get heavier with each passing day. The novelty of carrying a handgun wears off very quickly for the undedicated, but I have always persisted. I have no less than ten old Roy Baker Pancake holsters. Sadly Mr. Baker is gone and so there are no new Baker Pancake holsters. Whenever I see a used one for sale at a gun show I buy it.

Many of the new double actions semi-auto handguns will not fit any of my old Baker holsters, but I really wanted a Pancake holster to carry a new 45acp pistol in. I still want the high and tight ability when carrying a handgun. Enter Simply Rugged Holsters of Prescott, AZ (

The folks at Simply Rugged have continued the manufacturing of the Baker style Pancake holster. I ordered one for my 45 acp pistol and the Simply Rugged holster works just like my forty year old Baker holster. In fact the leather on the new holster is a little thicker and I must assume it will be around for me to pass on to any future grandchild that will need it.

People buy handguns and then get their concealed carry permit. Then they discover that this tool that will save their life is heavy, so they start making up excuses why they don’t need to carry the handgun. First they put it in a bag and position it under the seat of their vehicle, then they start locking the bag and handgun in the vehicle trunk. After a while even the bag is too much of an effort so they start leaving it home.

Very quickly the gun-owning, concealed carry permitted believer in the 2nd Amendment is back to being an unarmed potential victim. This happens because of poor holster selection and demonstrated bad behavior when it comes to failing to be prepared to protect and defend.

Almost everyone in the holster making business has tried to copy Roy Baker. Simply Rugged pays true tribute to the master of the Pancake holster and follows the original intent of the original design. If you carry a handgun for a living or for your life, get a Pancake holster. You will find you carry a lot more often without complaint when the handgun rides in a Pancake holster that is by design, Simply Rugged.

Major Van Harl USAF / [email protected]

About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

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Darrell Graf

I was a Chief of Police in ND. I used a Roy Baker pancake 3 belt loop for me Colt 1911 and loved it – comfortable, easy access to rod, Had a strap across top so I could rely on it not to let the 1911 drop unless I unsnapped it then puling it our for “work”. It “disappeared” in about 2004 and I would really like to find a replacement – it was black, color makes no real difference to me. It was so comfortable. It was designed so the 1911 would fit nicely. Please advise where I can… Read more »

Dan Hutchens

I have a few of the Simply Rugged CUDA holsters. I’ve found that when you tighten your belt on your holstered gun it will stay in place, most of the time. I’ve had a couple of falls that left me looking for my handgun. I personally find them extremely hard to try and reholster after the gun has been drawn etc..It pretty much is a one draw holster then you have to reach in the holster with your off hand and pry it open to reholster. Pretty much useless when it comes to drills etc..

Wild Bill

Complete set of Don Hume for the HK USP LEM.


If you like leather and good holsterly another good choice would be Wright Leather Works. I never had a chance at Roy Baker holster, but very happy with WLW.


My first carry holster was a Roy Baker Pancake holster. It was definitely the best holster I ever owned! Roy made it especially for a .380 automatic that I carried for many, many years. He actually molded it to fit the pistol perfectly. I’m glad you listed Simply Rugged in Az. I just sent them an Email about their holsters.


I just recently bought a pancake holster from El Paso Saddlery that fits my Beretta Compact PX4 Storm perfectly. It wears high and tight and is very comfortable for all day wear


I am at home on the computer , my 45 ACP is on my hip inside the waistband , wherever I go it is on my hip inside the waist band or under my lift armpit . if I go nowhere is in inside my waistband or under my left armpit , occasionally it may be at the small of my back , all depending on environmental factors , the point is , it is where I am regardless of comfort , as I prefer comforting to comfort . Excuses are what will get you killed .