What is a Pancake Holster?

A Comprehensive Guide

A holster is a device used to hold and carry a firearm. The difference between holsters can be pretty vast. The type of holster you use depends on your firearm type, fashion preferences, how you plan to carry your gun, and your daily lifestyle. In this blog post, you will get the answer to the question “what is a pancake holster?”. 

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The first holsters were designed by gunsmiths, who crafted them out of cowhide or leather. Nowadays, there are several different types of holsters anyone can purchase or make themselves.

What is a Pancake Holster?

One type of holster is the pancake holster, designed to be worn on a gun belt. A gun belt is typically not wider than one and a half inches, except in some western styles. A pancake or two-piece gun belt consists of two belt halves connected by steel or brass hardware. This type of holster is named for its resemblance to a stack of pancakes. It features two separate panels that are attached at the sides by either metal clips or loops. The pancake holster is more suitable than other styles since it distributes the weight of your weapon evenly around your waist. 


A pancake holster features a single clip that holds it in place on the wearer’s belt or pants and has enough coverage to offer protection for the firearm. A pancake holster differs from an inside waistband holster because the clip is on the outside, whereas an IWB holster has its clip on the inside. Because it’s held by a belt clip rather than around the waist, pancake holsters are much easier to put on and take off. Pancake holsters are typically made out of leather or molded plastic. 

Pancake Holster 1

Why Use a Pancake Holster?

There are a variety of reasons you might need a pancake holster, including: You’re a member of law enforcement and regularly wear a bulletproof vest.  Bullets can’t penetrate the material in most vests, but they still pose a risk for injury from blunt force trauma. Pancake holsters give law enforcement officers a place to conceal their backup weapons without adding too much bulk or weight. You’re in the military and plan to wear body armor that day.  The added weight of a firearm could be uncomfortable when you’re required to carry around heavier equipment like a helmet, vest, and boots(not recommended). Pancake holsters are great for this because they’re lighter than other types of belt holsters.

You own more than one firearm and want to carry them around openly.  Pancake holsters allow you to move your guns around quickly when you need another one in a hurry(like when you have kids). You plan on carrying concealed and need an easy way to access your firearm.  Pancake holsters make it easier for you to draw your gun quickly and aren’t as easily detected by people who don’t know what they’re looking at.


You want a holster that’s comfortable for everyday carry. This is especially true if you need to wear a firearm for work. You can easily conceal your pancake holster under an outer layer of clothing.  Plus, the soft material won’t irritate your skin throughout the day. There are many different reasons to own a pancake holster, but they all have one thing in common: you want your gun to be easy to access when you need it.

Features of a Pancake Holster

Let’s look at what makes up a pancake holster.


Pancake holsters typically feature three to five belt slots, allowing you to adjust your firearm’s ride height. A lower ride height means that your weapon will sit higher on your waist, while a higher ride height lets it rest closer to your hips. The best ride height for you will depend on your body type, the size of your firearm, and how you plan to use it.


Pancake holsters are made with strong stitching or double-stitching along the seams. This adds strength to both the outside and inside of the holster so that it can withstand wear throughout its life. The best sewing machines are able to stitch through various layers of fabric and tough leather without coming apart.


A pancake holster typically features a metal belt clip. Some models feature plastic clips, but they don’t generally hold up as well as metal clips. Pancake holsters are often made out of leather, but there are also models that feature soft suede. Some pancake holsters come in two separate pieces. The belt clip attaches to the holster with a post and screw to be removed for easier cleaning.


Some pancake holsters feature a thumb break, which offers an extra level of security to prevent the firearm from falling out. A retention strap with snap closure is another way that pancake holsters keep the gun in place. The added security feature of a retention strap or thumb break can be an essential factor to consider when carrying a firearm for personal protection.


Pancake holsters are considered to be low profile, which means they provide a small amount of coverage. You can wear them under your shirt, and no one will know unless you tell them or see the firearm. A pancake holster is not as comfortable to carry concealed in warm weather because it requires a belt, which can be restrictive when you’re wearing light clothing like shorts or a sweatsuit. 


A pancake holster is easy to access quickly. All you have to do is reach under your shirt and draw the firearm from the holster. It’s a smooth, fast process that allows you to get your gun into play immediately if necessary. An inside waistband holster may be more comfortable for some people if they plan on carrying the firearm for long periods. Still, not everyone has the option to carry their firearms concealed inside their waistbands. 

Pancake Holster 2

How to Use a Pancake Holster?

For the best results, secure your gun belt to your pants or shorts with a high-quality holster. Then, attach the belt clip of the pancake holster to the front of your firearm’s trigger guard and slide it towards the back of your waistband until you feel it snap into place. Retract the retention strap over the top of your weapon and holster. If your pancake holster includes a thumb break, then use your weak hand to pull up on the retention strap while you grip your gun with your dominant hand and lift it from the holster. To re-holster, place the weapon inside the holster and push it down until you hear a snap. If needed, adjust the placement of the gun by moving the holster around on your belt until it’s in a comfortable position. Then, tighten down your pants or shorts and adjust them to make sure they aren’t digging into you uncomfortably.


The barrel-forward carry position prints the least because it pulls your shirt up over your firearm. You can also try wearing looser clothing or an inside-the-waistband holster to prevent printing.

The FBI uses a variety of holsters, including outside-the-waistband leather holsters and belt slide pancake holsters.

A pancake leather holster is a magazine carrier that features a belt clip and a flap to cover the top of the magazine. It’s also known as a flat yoke.

The pancake holster is regarded as being low-profile, which makes them great for concealed carry. However, they are not as comfortable to wear in warm weather because they require a belt.


Pancake holsters are an excellent choice for concealed carry because of their low-profile design. They fit under most clothing items quickly, which allows you to wear them with your daily wardrobe without any hassle or discomfort. Most pancake belts attach securely with belt clips that snap into place. They also include retention straps and thumb breaks for extra security during intense situations. We have covered the topic of what is a pancake holster and how to use a pancake holster. Thank you for reading the article on ‘what is a pancake holster?’.

Author Profile

Gabriel Tackett
Double major in Engineering and Geology at the University of Minnesota. Experienced shooter & hunter for over 15 years. Certified NRA officer for over 10 years working as a writer at Ballachy.com .

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