Pancake Holsters – What Are They?

Pancake holsters are incredibly convenient tactical holsters. They can be manufactured from a wide variety of materials and fabrics. The best pancake holster manufacturers commonly use leather or nylon.

They’re traditionally hip-worn & close to the body. Built to fit a regular sized pistol, they allow quick access to your firearm without drawing a ridiculous amount of attention to it.

They cause the pistol to sit much higher than a regular holster. This means the pistol rides up along the top of the hip rather than hanging out at the side of your pants. Because of this design, they make for amazing concealed carry holsters.

It’s very common to see them in both civilian and professional life. They’re absolutely ideal for the practice of concealed carry. If you’re planning on wearing them inside your waste band, they’re possibly one of the most comfortable holsters you could expect to see.

The review below will assess products from some of the bigger named brands that manufacture pancake holsters. All of the companies have a reputation for consistently putting out high quality products. This made narrowing down the list of options a little bit easier, but plenty of thought still had to go into ensuring each holster was up to our standards.

The Best Pancake Holster – Items You Can Buy In 2020

Relentless Tactical – 3 Slot Pancake Holster [Best 1911 Compatible]

The relentless tactical 3 slot pancake holster is crafted incredibly well. It comes with the option of either black or brown leather. There’s also a left handed variant available in both color schemes.

The immediate upside of getting a high quality, leather holster is that it’ll withstand a fair amount of use. Leather jackets can last you for years – the same principle applies to leather holsters.

It has 3 different slots in order to ensure that you can fit your holster in a position that you’re truly comfortable with. It arrives curved out of the box – you don’t need to wait for it to mold to your shape. This allows your firearm to sit closer to your body, making for a more effective concealed carry.

These holsters are made exclusively in the USA too. The leather the goes in to crafting them is exclusively US cowhide leather.

It’s compatible with basically all 1911 style handguns – regardless of the length of the barrel. It doesn’t matter if you’re rocking a Colt, a Remington or a Browning.

Gould & Goodrich Two Slot Pancake Holster [Best Glock Compatible]

The Gould & Goodrich two slot pancake holster is another popular leather design. Gould & Goodrich have a solid reputation for putting out high quality holsters for countless different use-cases.

It’s also made out of real, authentic leather. The vegetable-tanned, full grain leather is designed for comfort and reliability. It’s crafted by some of the worlds best tanners, too. With a reasonable level of thickness, this is neither so thick that it’s awkward/burdensome or so thin that it’s prone to tearing. It’s just right.

This is quite possibly one of the best pancake holsters available on the market for Glocks.

The durability of this holster is considerable – you can expect to wear it daily for well over a year before you see any significant signs of wear.

It’s compatible with a Glock 17, 22 and 31. It’ll keep a gun held tightly against your body and well elevated above the standard holster position. Concealed carry doesn’t have to be uncomfortable and doesn’t have to be dangerous – this holster is a testament to that fact.

Bianchi 56 Serpent Holster [Best For S&W M&P]

This holster doesn’t officially declare itself to be a “pancake holster”. Yet the low profile and high ride of the firearm indicate that is. It comes with a rectangular thumb-snap to hold your firearm in place. This is a quick release thumb-snap so you can quickly draw your firearm without issue.

This thumb-snap is also reinforced for added security. The high quality, full grain leather used to manufacture this holster has been molded to enhance user comfort and accessibility. This leather will further mold to your firearm of choice after a short period of use. This process can be sped along by leaving your firearm in it overnight when it is safe and responsible to do so.

The belt slots are fit for a belt measuring about 1.5″, you could also potentially fit it on a thinner belt. but we’d recommend just spending the money on a belt that fits – it’s safer and more practical.

This is compatible with a Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm or an M&P 40. It will generally also fit many other semi automatic pistols and some revolvers with a smaller frame.

Winthrop Holsters OWB Pancake Holster

This holster is pretty unique. Instead of crafting a holster that can fit a broad range of handguns such as “glocks” or “1911s”, Winthrop have opted for a more nuanced approach. This holster is available in up to 100 different variations. Each of them are wet molded to fit a specific variation of a firearm.

Some of them even have sub variations. For example, there’s an M&P Bodyguard option. There’s also an M&P Bodyguard with laser-sight variation.

This can erase the hassle of finding a generic holster that’ll mold well to your gun. They come pre-molded and are an instant snug fit. The incredibly large volume of different pistols to choose from mean that the odds are you’ll easily find your own firearm from the massive list to choose from.

Each holster is made from premium quality cow hide. More specifically Hermann Oak. The cow hide weighs in at about 7-8oz before they’re finished with it!

If you have a firearm that’s particularly difficult to find a holster for – odds are you’ll be able to find a holster that’s pre-molded to fit your weapon.

Each holster arrives in a plastic bag – to protect it from scratches and dust. It also arrives with a clear set of instructions on loosening the holster (using the plastic big) if you find it too rigid.

The profile of this holster is absolutely ideal for concealment – even when bending over or crouching down. A generic sweatshirt, a light jacket or a pullover hoodie is more than enough to guarantee concealment.

To top things off, it also comes with a lifetime warranty. If you experience any kind of manufacturing error or defect this can be promptly returned to the manufacturer for a replacement.


Galco Combat Master


Galco are truly powerhouses when it comes to manufacturing great quality holsters. They’re made in Phoenix, AZ out of authentic leather. Traditionally galco holsters are made using pretty thick leather – which gives them the benefit of being extremely tough and durable. They’re also double-stitched too, further increasing the survivability of an already tough piece of gear.

This will fit almost any 1911 with traditional geometry. It’s built to mould to the shape of whatever 1911 you throw at it. It’ll even fit a desert eagle 1911GR with relative ease. It’ll also fit a pretty wide scope of other semi-automatic pistols with similar profiles. It’s also compatible with double action revolvers.

It lives up to its title of “Combat Master” very well. The high-ride makes concealment a total breeze, but still grants you quick and easy access to your firearm if the situation calls for it.

It comes in both left handed and right handed variants. You also have the choice between tan or black – both variants of this holster look pretty great – although I’m personally a bigger fan of the tan.

Houston Gun Holsters Soft Holster

This holster has found itself breaking from the established pattern of hard, leather, exteriors. This soft holster may not look as cool, but it brings with it a whole selection of benefits that aren’t available from traditional pancake holsters.

On top of being extremely comfortable, this design also ensures that it’s compatible with a much wider range of pistols. The soft interior also protects your gun from scratches.

This is an “inside the waste-band” type concealed carry holster. Designed to remain safe and comfortable whilst also being resistant to sweat and water.


Bulldog Molded Leather Holster [Best Budget Buy]

If you’re looking for a reliable pancake holster that isn’t too expensive, the bulldog leather holster is a safe bet. If you’re just looking for something to get the job done this is an ideal starting point. It’s made with authentic leather, which is quite surprising for the price range it sits in. It is however imported, and makes use of single stitching instead of double.

Despite this, it’s still an extremely durable product. This holster also has the rather unique feature of being identical on both sides. This means that you can wear it on either side of the belt. Perfect for left handed gun owners!

The Bulldog molded leather holster further expands on the theme of adaptability in it’s high level of compatibility. Most popular semi-auto handguns will fit pretty snugly in this holster. It’s perfect for XD’s, Ruger LCs, Glocks & M&P40s. “Generic” fit holsters are often notorious for being a loose fit for 90% of the weapons they come in contact with. Not this – it’ll fit snuggly and mold to accommodate most pistols you can (metaphorically) throw at it.

The lower pricing point would leave many skeptical, that’s understandable. But it’s made of hand-tooled leather and resistant to a high level of stress.

Are you looking for a placeholder holster to tide you over until you can afford a premium quality product? This is honestly one of the best possible options for you available on the market right now.


Other Info:

Concealment Issues?

Having trouble getting a pancake holster to effectively conceal your firearm? Some people actually opt to go for the opposite-handed variant to what they need. For example, if you’re right handed, using a left handed holster and placing it where you would normally place a right handed holster. For some people, this fits their profile better and actually allows them to conceal more effectively.

Need Your Holster To Mold To Your Gun Fast?

A long-running tip from professionals dictates that there is a “shortcut” to molding your holster to fit your gun. Simply put your gun a plastic bag and then place the gun + plastic bag combo inside the holster.

Always Check Concealed Carry Laws Before Carrying.

Talks may be underway at the moment surrounding the federal governments official stance on concealed carry. That doesn’t mean that state-rights will be over-ruled.

Each state has different policy surrounding concealed carry. Some states are relatively relaxed. Other states completely prohibit concealed carry. Even if your state doesn’t exclusively prohibit concealed carry – it’s possible for towns, provinces and districts of any kind to enforce their own regulations surrounding CC.

It may be your constitutional right to bear arms – but this defense will only go so far in a court of law.

Be responsible with your CC. Do it legally and safely. We don’t want to see any of our readers suffering from legal issues stemming from a basic lack of research.

Don’t Fidget.

We’ve picked some of the most comfortable holsters you can possibly find on the market in the article above. But eventually, even the comfiest of rigs can simply slide into the wrong place. Maybe your grip is sticking into your side. Maybe the fabric is brushing against your side in an uncomfortable way.

The best thing to do in this situation is ignore it and let the problem self-correct. If you really can’t handle the discomfort – go to somewhere with relative privacy to readjust. A private cubicle in a bathroom, for example.

Repeatedly fidget with your CC holster can make you look nervous or uncomfortable. This can arouse peoples suspicions and even in a state with relaxed CC laws, you can still be questioned.

Whilst you may be in a situation where you can’t be arrested for your CC – do you really want to waste your time answering questions that could’ve easily been avoided if you’d simple waited to adjust your rig?

Don’t Cheap Out On A Belt

As much as we’d strongly advise against cheaping out on a holster, we can see the need to pick up a budget one whilst you save for a nicer one. But if you’re planning on using a holster of any description, you should make sure you have a belt that’s reliable.

Imagine this: You have a reliable, great quality holster and an expensive firearm with you. Your belt breaks because it’s made of poorer quality materials and can’t handle the additional load of a firearm. You now have to either awkwardly tuck your firearm into your pants – or carry it in your arms. Neither of these are ideal scenarios – especially if you’re in a crowded place.

Don’t cheap out on a belt. Reliable belts will last you years, the money you’d save alone on replacing cheaper belts will make it worth it.


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