Pro's & Con's of pancake vs. hip holster

This is a discussion on Pro's & Con's of pancake vs. hip holster within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Ok I'm ready to carry my Bersa BP-9cc and I'm exploring all options from IWB to hip or pancake style holsters. I currently carry my ...

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Thread: Pro's & Con's of pancake vs. hip holster

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    Member Array BigDeal's Avatar
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    Pro's & Con's of pancake vs. hip holster

    Ok I'm ready to carry my Bersa BP-9cc and I'm exploring all options from IWB to hip or pancake style holsters. I currently carry my LCP in my pocket with a De Santis Super Fly. I just don't think this will work well for the Bersa. If I decide to carry OWB I want to make sure it stays put and cannot be easily removed by anyone but me. Your input on this will help me make my decision, Also as long as I'm asking questions here's one more. I've heard kydex holsters will damage the bluing in areas of the pistol that come in contact with it. True? If so does a leather holster offer the same advantages of keeping the pistol locked in till I'm ready to use it like the kydex? Thanks for the insight and help on this subject. I'm not flush with money and would like to get this choice right the first time.

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    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    This is how I carry my PPS.
    Bare Asset

    The Bersa has extremely similar dimensions. I don't see a huge width reduction in Kydex over leather. Certainly to enough to make up for the comfort difference. If we are carrying a tiny, thin pistol, the benefit is so you can comfortably carry IWB. I carry my 1911 OWB in a leather pancake holster. I prefer leather for the comfort IWB and how it wears the finish.

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    Member Array BigDeal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nmuskier View Post
    This is how I carry my PPS.
    Bare Asset

    The Bersa has extremely similar dimensions. I don't see a huge width reduction in Kydex over leather. Certainly to enough to make up for the comfort difference. If we are carrying a tiny, thin pistol, the benefit is so you can comfortably carry IWB. I carry my 1911 OWB in a leather pancake holster. I prefer leather for the comfort IWB and how it wears the finish.
    Thanks but I've ruled out IWB it just isn't what I want to go with. I'm looking for OWB only at this time, and want to hear the pro's & con's of pancake vs. hip holsters and kydex vs. leather.

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    Help me understand what you mean by "hip" holster. I know what a pancake holster is, to be sure. Do you possibly mean a "wraparound" holster? Both are worn on the hip.

    Holsters and Gun Leather Design
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    Member Array SnoMan97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDeal View Post
    Thanks but I've ruled out IWB it just isn't what I want to go with. I'm looking for OWB only at this time, and want to hear the pro's & con's of pancake vs. hip holsters and kydex vs. leather.
    By "hip holster" do you mean paddle holster?
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    Member Array triage1998's Avatar
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    BigDeal are you comparing a basic pancake vs a Professional style or Avenger style holster?

    Professional style
    BHP Harrier cordovan cow hide FBI Cant (87).jpg

    Pancake
    HK P30L Osprey OWB black cowhide with cordovan reinforcement piece (31).jpg

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    Member Array triage1998's Avatar
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    Here is another design I really like. This is called a snap cake style. Its basically a pancake holster with "pull the dot" directional snaps. The holster can be removed without removing the belt by pulling the snaps up or down depending on the way the holster maker situated the snaps. I prefer pulling them up to remove. It is a very popular style of holster but it can be removed with difficulty by someone besides yourself.

    snap cake style holster
    SIG P220r Griffon V black horse hide with grey elephant trim (38) - Copy.jpg

    Professional style Holster
    HK P30S Harrier brown horse hide.jpg

    Pancake style holster

    HK P30L Osprey brown horse hide with black shark reinforcement piece (113).jpg

    The Pancake and the Professional style of holsters are both very popular styles.

    The Pancake style is a really good all around concealed or range holster. The pancake style pulls in closer to the body than the Processional style. The 2 "wings on each side allow the belt to pull the holster in really tight to your hip. The downside is if you are really thin in the waist say 32" or less the "wings tend to bunch up and is really uncomfortable.

    The Professional style is a folded style of holsters that I prefer to the pancake style due to looks only. It is a classic design first used by Bruce Nelson. The professional style is better than the pancake style for really thin people but does not "pull in as tight to the body as a pancake style. It has a tendency to "flop" if your belt is not cinched in tight.

    When it comes to damaging the finish on a pistol both leather and kydex holster will wear the high areas that come into contact with the firearm. I am not a big fan of kydex and I only wear leather holsters so I don't know if it wears the finish more than leather. It inevitable that the firearm will get holster wear. You just need to keep the inside of the leather or kydex free of dirt and dust. Dirt and dust act as an abrasive and sand down the high areas over time. Just blow the interior of your holster from time to time with compressed air and clean out the lint.

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    Member Array BigDeal's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies What I mean by hip holster is the type of holster that is a OWB that hangs from a belt, kinda like the type you see in westerns. Sorry i don't know what their name would be.

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    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDeal View Post
    Ok I'm ready to carry my Bersa BP-9cc and I'm exploring all options from IWB to hip or pancake style holsters.
    If you've ruled out IWB, I still recommend High Noon's belt slide holsters. As another option, I carry my 1911 in this:

    Side Guard Holsters - OWB Holsters - The Slide

    Kydex is fine for Tupperware pistols. Tennifer, Melonite, etc. are metal treatments, not finishes. Even when the Kydex wears the finish, the treatment is still impregnated into the metal. I prefer leather for a quality 1911, my nickel finished CZ, a nice revolver, or any classic gun deserves care. Kydex is nice, but classic pistols deserve quality leather. Leather does require breaking in, and eventually it will break down. It really isn't much thicker than Kydex, and is more comfortable on your skin.

    By hip holster, you may mean "drop holster". In that case, having worn one fans a duty rig, I strongly recommend against it. In fact, there was a quite humorous discussion of it here. Maybe a search will uncover it.

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    Member Array BigDeal's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, after seeing the links and looking the various holsters over I can say that the pancake is the option I will more than likely go with. I'm just not comfortable at this time with a IWB holster, my concerns are difficulty with access to the pistol when seated, whether in a car at a restaurant or sitting on a chair or stool. I know the pistol may be more easily detected with a pancake vs. an IWB but I can live with that. Now the only other decision...Will the material be leather or kydex and will it be a level 2 retention style. Any suggestions will be most welcome.

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    Your bluing is going to eventually show wear from both Kydex as well as leather.

    When you see your firearm bluing beginning to show signs of holster wear...that's good!

    Practice your draw and rub some more of that blue off!

    Nothing stays new forever and the more finish that you wear off of your self-defense handgun during practice the better your chances will be of surviving some future deadly confrontation.
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    Member Array MidWorld's Avatar
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    Kydex it really the way to go for a gun that small. The stiffness of the Kydex allows the gun to ride so high and tight that you should be able to conceal it easily, OWB, under a T shirt.
    All holsters will wear the finish on your gun. Leather tends to do a slower all over wear, while Kydex will mostly wear the corners and high spots and then pretty much stop as long as you keep it clean. The thing to look for in a Kydex holster is one designed to limit wear by reducing catch points. You can tell if the maker is thinking about that by looking at the holster. For one thing, you want to avoid any Kydex holster that has Kydex molded in to the ejection port. That is the biggest potential catch point and the easiest to avoid. IMHO ejection port molding is a sign of a holster that is not well thought out.

    You might think I am just trying to sell you a holster, but I don't have a dummy gun for the Bersa, so I can't do it anyway, but there are plenty of other makers of quality, well thought out Kydex holsters out there and I just hope this information will give you a place to start.
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    VIP Member Array Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Many of us wind up with a big ol' box of holsters, accumulated while we learn what will and won't work for us. I think you're making a good choice with the Bersa but you may be too quick to dismiss IWB rigs. I carried that same gun and I found it an ideal candidate for IWB due to the thinness and small size. Kydex is a good idea for the Bersa, due not only to the small size of the gun but also the relatively light trigger- you want to have something rigid protecting the trigger. It's true that you will see wear faster on certain spots on the gun with Kydex. I don't think this is a big deal. The gun is a tool and as guns go the Bersa isn't super expensive.

    When I carried my BP9cc I used a Theis kydex/leather hybrid. You may not want IWB and that's cool, but you might want to consider a holster that lets you adjust the cant. I found that 10-15 degrees of forward cant made the sidearm hide better. Beyond that I can't give any better advice that you've already been given.

    BTW, congrats on finally getting CCW!
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    Senior Member Array Beans's Avatar
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    As for myself carrying a handgun for over 40 years as an LEO and a civilian I have found that the well designed pancake holster can provide a smooth transition from the belt, around the handgun and back to the belt therefore eliminating much of the observed bulge of a OWB holster, such as a speed scabbard. I.E. 1920 "Tom Threeperson's" - 2" to 7 1/2" Barrels.

    I started carrying a "Pancake" type holster, for concealed carry when Roy Baker first came out with his design in the 70's and Yes, I do have a box of used holsters, including kydex, leather and combo material of many designs trying to find the "perfect" holster and find myself returning to the "pancake" type holster for EDC.

    Body type, style of clothing, ETC dictates the effeteness of how well any holster type conceals your chosen handgun.
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