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Author Topic: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters  (Read 4933 times)

LowKey

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Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
« on: March 30, 2020, 02:23:30 pm »
I'm going to try my hand at making a holster for my EAA Witness.
Pancake holsters (made from two pieces if leather) seem to be the most common but I've also seen "scabbard" holsters which would seem to be much simpler to construct being made from one piece of leather folded over onto itself.    I have a leather tanker holster that was manufactured this way, for example. 
While the tanker holster isn't formed to the shape of a handgun, I see no reason why it couldn't be if wetted down with the handgun in place and and vacuumed sealed  in a bag to mold the leather to the gun.

I'm hoping someone here can shed some light on why the pancake holsters seem to dominate the market.
Are they simply better at retaining the handgun?
Is it that by using two smaller pieces of leather it allows the maker to get more holster from a single hide and thus is more profitable?

This first holster will be for a sort of shoulder rig, not a belt holster, but if I don't make a complete mess out of this project I may try making a few belt holsters as well. 



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    sqlbullet

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #1 on: March 30, 2020, 02:53:28 pm »
    In a belt holster a pancake design generally holds the gun tighter to the body than other designs.  I think this accounts for it's popularity.

    I agree about a scabbard or tanker holster that wraps around being very easily molded as well.  Make it a tight fit, put it in 160° water for 30-40 seconds and then pull it out and stuff the gun in.  Mold and bone to the desired shape.  Vacuum is nice but not needed.

    You might want to be careful about how much boning and molding you do in a shoulder rig.  My belt hoster is TIGHT, especially at first.  Not sure I would have ever gotten it out of a shoulder rig at first without two hands.
    Utah

    coelacanth

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #2 on: March 30, 2020, 07:31:28 pm »
    Maybe Luke Adams will weigh in here but as for my experience, a pancake style can be made to ride closer to the body and fit the gun more closely as one piece of leather serves as a backer and the other pulls the gun up tight to it. You can even use different types of leather or at least different weights and finishes. ( even some hybrid leather and Kydex designs . . .   :hmm )   In a pouch or scabbard style holster the space where the gun fits is formed by one piece of leather sewn and reinforced at strategic locations but it ends up being unable to pull up tight or hold everything securely unless it is pretty heavy stuff. 

    Design counts for a lot and the best holsters manage to overcome the limitations of materials because of it.   :coffee
    Arizona" A republic, if you can keep it."

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    sqlbullet

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #3 on: March 31, 2020, 09:20:07 am »
    The Askins Avenger is probably the best example of a "wrap around" construction style that hugs the body.  However, if you have ever worn one compared to a good pancake holster, there is a big difference in how tight it is to the body.
    Utah

    coelacanth

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #4 on: March 31, 2020, 02:53:58 pm »
    Agreed.  I have worn one of those and while I like it OK for some guns the hitch seems to be enough stiffness to stand open for a one hand re-holster and maintaining that over time.  Extra layers at the holster mouth and things like sewn in, internal metal stiffeners have been used but even the best of them seem to be no better than a good pancake design - IMO.   :coffee
    Arizona" A republic, if you can keep it."

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    luke213(adamsholsters)

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #5 on: March 31, 2020, 04:04:18 pm »
    So the points hit on above are spot on, pancakes because of the design will be tighter to the body than say an Avenger, it's how the forces are applied and where the force comes from. So in a pancake either wing is pulling towards the body, the front from of course the front and the rear the same. In something like an Avenger design the front loop is behind the holster and pulling towards the body directly rather than from the front so it doesn't pull the front leading edge of the holster towards the body. In a normal Scabbard fold over style it's even looser so to speak than an Avenger because you have a single point to the belt, and there is a limited amount of pull and no way to change the direction of the pull so to speak. So they by nature will not ride as tight to the body as an Avenger or Pancake.

    In a shoulder rig, or chest rig it depends on the design, mine are all basically a pancake design but the reason it made sense in that application was the ability to build the pivots into the body of the holster. I like the way that works so it made sense to go that route, though there are quite a few fold over designs that have been done over the years. Usually though in those you're stitching your strap attachments to the body of the holster prior to folding and then tend to not allow much in the form of configuration after the fact. Come to think of it my Vertical shoulder rig is a fold over, but that was the way that design works, I need to attach top and bottom, not really in the middle so it made sense.

    I'd say figure out how you want the gun to ride, then design the rig and attachments around that. On wet molding it's certainly doable with veg tan that isn't already sealed. You can use warm or cold water, warm will make the hide move more but it depends on the temper of the actual leather as well. Sometimes cold would be a better choice if the hide is less than ideal since it will move less. But around 8-9oz good hide would be my recommendation, likely Hermann Oak holster leather. And pending it's a shoulder, back etc not a belly give it a dip in warm water and mold it up. As mentioned though depending on the design of the holster you may not want to do a bunch of boning. I'd typically avoid going into the trigger guard unless it's actively a point of retention, same with the chamber. If you're using a thumb break then don't worry too much about retention.

    As far as the gun itself generally make sure the leather is wet but not dripping, it's called "cased" which is damp enough to move but not be super wet. Then slip the gun in, mold it, pull the gun out, give the holster a slight pinch since it will expand when you pull the gun out. Then go ahead wipe down the gun with a good gun oil and make sure water didn't get anywhere to cause rust and you're good to go.

    Luke
    MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, [email protected]

    sqlbullet

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #6 on: March 31, 2020, 05:39:14 pm »
    Then go ahead wipe down the gun with a good gun oil and make sure water didn't get anywhere to cause rust and you're good to go.

    Luke

    This is notable too.  When I did my first holster I was very concerned about the gun being exposed to moisture. I have never gone cold, only hot, but I found that the gun doesn't need to be in the wet holster long.  Just clean and oil the gun well right after and it is really a non-issue.  I wouldn't want to make holsters 24/7 with a steel gun, but one or two is no big deal at all.  Probably no worse than carrying IWB on a hot summer day in the midwest.
    Utah

    luke213(adamsholsters)

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #7 on: March 31, 2020, 06:02:22 pm »
    This is notable too.  When I did my first holster I was very concerned about the gun being exposed to moisture. I have never gone cold, only hot, but I found that the gun doesn't need to be in the wet holster long.  Just clean and oil the gun well right after and it is really a non-issue.  I wouldn't want to make holsters 24/7 with a steel gun, but one or two is no big deal at all.  Probably no worse than carrying IWB on a hot summer day in the midwest.

    For sure, for day to day use a dummy gun is WAY the best option and it's cheaper;)
    MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, [email protected]

    cpaspr

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #8 on: April 01, 2020, 12:22:53 pm »
    As I recall, the one time I made a form fitting holster, I put the gun in a thin plastic bag (that I had previously checked for air leaks) before putting it in the wet holster.  Proceeded with the molding, then left the gun there while it dried.  The plastic stayed leakproof, so no rust when I pulled the gun out a couple days later.

    Your luck may vary, but it worked for me that one time.  :whistle

    That said, I will be the first to admit that while the holster did an adequate job, it was made for a Sig P239, but will also fit a Ruger SR9c just fine.  The holster I got later from Luke specifically for the SR9c fits it much better, and the P239 wouldn't even go in.  Luke's tolerances (and skill) are much better than what my last only attempt years ago yielded.  Also, the holster I made was an OWB design, for use in IDPA.  It was never intended as a carry rig.
    Oregon

    LowKey

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #9 on: April 08, 2020, 03:48:59 am »
    Thanks to everyone for responding.   I'm thinking through what all of you have said, and am considering how to proceed.   I may end up doing a belt holster to minimize the variables this first time through.

    Luke:  I was originally considering doing something that would be quite similar to your chest rig using my (freshly made) leather suspenders but with the "chest strap" running behind the body and down to the belt-line.    I like the position that it puts the gun in, like a cross draw but higher up on the body.

    luke213(adamsholsters)

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #10 on: April 08, 2020, 07:23:35 pm »
    Well I'll say this about shoulder and chest rigs. They are a tricky something;) They are a fair bit more difficult to figure out how to work out, and the harness can be very tricky. I don't think for anyone I'd recommend shooting for one first go around. I'd do a belt holster to start with if it were me, ballpark I did around 400 belt rigs before I built my first shoulder holster and I'll be honest the first 10 or so prototypes weren't very good;)

    So completely up to you, but the biggest thing I can say about holsters after quite a few years doing it daily, it's all about how many you make and working to make them better like most things. So the first one isn't likely gonna light your fire, but you make a few thousand and all of a sudden you can build a good rig;) Now I'm not saying you've gotta go that route, for an occasional rig it doesn't make any sense at all. But I guess figure that's what it's taken me to get where I am now as far as skill designing and building(and I'm not tooting my own horn since there are guys I really like who I figure are better than me at least in some areas).

    But I'd do a belt rig first, shoulder rigs are really kinda a PITA to figure out and they are a struggle for a lot of guys even with a bunch of experience.

    Take care!

    Luke
    MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, [email protected]

    LowKey

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #11 on: April 09, 2020, 03:52:45 am »
    Luke,
    Yeah, after a bit of consideration I thought focusing on getting the holster molded properly, ect would be enough of a challenge on the first go around.
    As to the complexity of shoulder holsters, what I was/am considering is more along the lines of hanging a belt holster off my suspenders.  :P
    I mentioned wanting to do something like this in a different thread here quite some time ago, and later I was browsing your site and ran across this photo https://adamsholsters.com/store/image/cache/catalog/CHEST/luis-b-1911-800x600.jpg   of your Burnsie.    Quite close to what I was thinking of, a holster suspended from a <ahem> suspender, where the hammer of the firearm would be about in line with the chest. 
    My idea was to have it hanging off a set of regular leather suspenders rather than a separate harness, but I've started to reconsider that.  I  travel a lot, and let's just say that public restrooms are problematic with any harness attached in any way to trousers.  :doh

    luke213(adamsholsters)

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #12 on: April 09, 2020, 11:27:48 am »
    Well that design isn't too bad but the position of the pivots and the way it hangs is tricky depending on the gun and it's weight balance etc. I will say it's not a good concealment rig though at all;) Unless you're wearing a winter jacket even then it's spotty;)

    Also tricky that rig really likes to have a tie down, it arrests the movement towards the strong side during the draw unless the rig is quite tight. It's basically a stop point for that movement making the draw easier you can do it without the tie down but the draw is more clunky compared to having it there.

    For not having attachment to the pants I'd say you're looking at a horizontal shoulder rig, verticals generally have the same tie down problem so to speak. All my vertical rigs tie to the belt to stop upward movement on draw. I personally don't mind IWB when it comes to bathroom, my theory of use has always been sit down, draw the gun from the holster and set it in my underwear. It's easy to get to and doesn't flop or weigh down the outside of the pants. The other option that works is to turn the tail of your belt back through the first loop, which makes the gunbelt too thick to pull back through the loops holding the holster in place while you do your business. A buddy of mine who might be a little more cautious than most just draws his gun and holds it while doing his business. Now he's got an interesting past and I don't want to say much more but if he did have an ND he'd also be the guy who could in an emergency patch you up and has all the proper paperwork saying he can if you get my drift. He worked some serious time in crazy urban ER's and has patched ALOT of GSW's over the years.

    None the less setting it in my underwear is more often than not my solution when I use a public bathroom, though I also have been known to turn my belt for normal day to day use as well.

    Luke
    MichiganI am the owner/proprietor of www.adamsholsters.com Custom holsters made for you. To contact me please use E-mail rather than Private Messages, [email protected]

    RMc

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    Re: Scabbard vs Pancake Holsters
    « Reply #13 on: April 11, 2020, 03:38:51 am »
    One of my favorite holsters for the S&W 4 inch L-frame revolver is a well preserved original Roy Baker unlined thumb break model from the late 70s.  That one was originally made for the Colt Python and so marked from Roy's Custom Leather Goods in Magnolia, AR.
    Alabama

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