As temperatures drop, I begin to reevaluate my concealed-carry options. If I can properly hide the gun and holster, I prefer to fill my hand with a larger platform and increased capacity that is quick to access. The fastest concealed carry style for me to draw from is the appendix-inside-the-waistband (AIWB) position using a Level 1 holster that features friction-fit retention. (For AIWB holsters, I prefer a pistol featuring a manual safety.) Next, my fastest draws are a tossup between using a crossdraw holster and those worn over the hip and outside-the-waistband (OWB). When considering an OWB holster worn over or behind my hip, I can appreciate the security of a Level 2.
There are various ways to achieve Level 2, including push buttons activated by the trigger finger and thumb breaks unsnapped during the grip process. (I recommend thumb-break holsters over those with a button near the trigger.) Level 2 holsters prevent a pistol from being launched up and out of the holster should a person sit down and catch the muzzle on the armrest of a chair, for example, but they also add a level of difficulty for a potential threat that’s intent on ambushing you and grabbing your gun.
Though I understand the virtues of an open-slide OWB holster such as the Yaqui Slide, I prefer closed holsters with an open muzzle that protect the full length of a pistol. Blackhawk’s pancake holster fits the description.
Most of us familiar with Blackhawk’s leather holsters know of the Italian-made 3-Slot Leather Pankcake Holster in black. The holster isn’t new, but it’s now available in two new brown colors: Antique Brown and Burnished Brown, which was a good-enough excuse for me to revisit the classic and comfortable pancake design for concealed carry.
The original pancake holster was developed decades ago by Roy Baker as a flat, two-slot holster worn close the the body. The style is popular and tested. Blackhawk’s design is different in that it’s adaptable due to the three-slot design that allows us to carry it with zero cant or a 45-degree forward rake. Thinking outside the box, the 3-slot design offers multiple carry angles and positions including strong-side hip carry and crossdraw options.
Blackhawk’s approach to the pancake holster features a reinforced thumb break that allows quick access with minimal motion. (It cost me .4 seconds at the range versus an OWB leather pancake holster without a thumb break.)
Blackhawk’s holster is a two-piece design with reinforcement stitching at the contours. The leather is premium and molded to curve around our waist structure. The belt slots pull it tight to the body and increase retention.
This is an ideal platform for larger handguns, but it also works with smaller guns. The triggerguard is fully covered for safety, yet cut for a full firing grip.
After 90 days of carry, I can easily recommend this holster. It’s been comfortable to wear and dependable to draw from.
Blackhawk 3-Slot Leather Pancake Specs
- Materials: Leather (two pieces)
- Carry Type: Outside the waistband (OWB)
- Retention Type: Level 2; locking snap button and friction fit
- Adjustability: Yes; cant and belt position
- MSRP: $74
- Handgun Fit: Semiautos and revolvers; model specific (SIG Sauer P320 tested)
- Accessory Rail Accommodations: No
- Positions to Carry: OWB, 3 to 5 o’clock (right or left hand); AOWB or Crossdraw OWB
- Average Time to Attach: 45 seconds
- Comfort Rating: 5/5
- Concealment Clothing: Long jacket or loose-fit; untucked button-down shirt
- Average Draw-to-Fire Time: 1.45 seconds*
- Manufacturer: Blackhawk, 406-284-3840, blackhawk.com
*Draw-to-fire time is the average of five clean draws producing an A-zone hit on a stationary target positioned at 21 feet.