The Pancake Holster

By Liston Matthews
Liston makes the case for the lowly, Pancake Holster, for occasional carry.

Kimber Micro 9 Two-Tone 9mm in Kramer Leather OWB Leather Pancake Holster Belt Scabbard
Kimber Micro 9 Two-Tone 9mm in Kramer Leather OWB Leather Pancake Holster Belt Scabbard


U.S.A. -( 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 – – – so that the barrel doesn’t show.

Buntline Special that recently sold for $1250.00 at
Buntline Special that recently sold for $1250.00 at

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.

Pancake Holster

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
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.

High and tight!
High and tight!

You can see that the holster draws the pistol up very close to the body.

Pancake Holster : 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 in a Pancake Holster, at GRPC.
And here I am, in the red sport coat, with that pistol in a Pancake Holster, at GRPC.

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.

Outside the waistband carry has proven to be the most comfortable way for me to carry a full-size pistol. The Pancake Holster 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?

Liston Matthews

About Liston Matthews

Liston Matthews has been involved in the gun rights movement since 1971. He was involved in the passage of the Tennessee carry law, and its improvements. He has testified before local legislative bodies. He has contacted politicians and had numerous editorial letters published. He believes that politicians must be carefully vetted at the local level because few change their positions when they move to higher office.

Liston writes his own blog Good Hill Press is an AmmoLand News contributor, and formerly wrote at


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I have and like Pancake or belt slide holsters for just about every handgun I might carry. I use them instead of a IWB anytime the covering garment is long enough. They are just more comfortable to wear and easier to draw and re-holster with.