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First Holster Review & Giveaway: Simply Rugged Silver Dollar Pancake for J-frames
March 9, 2014|Holster Reviews

First Holster Review & Giveaway: Simply Rugged Silver Dollar Pancake for J-frames

Simply Rugged Silver Dollar Pancake for J-frames

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So here is our first review and giveaway (drawing in May 2014)!  With the popularity of the semi-auto platform, you are probably wondering why the hell we picked a J-frame holster for the first review.  The answer is simply that it is one of the most popular guns out there and if you have only one revolver, it is probably a J-frame.  Don’t worry, we’ve got holster reviews for Sigs, Glocks, Rugers, 1911s of different types, etc., on the way!

The Holster:

On deck is the Silver Dollar Pancake for small revolvers, made by Rob Leahy, over at Simply Rugged.  I’m going to put a link here:  Simply Rugged Holsters , so you can find him, but know that it is NOT SPONSORED.  In other words, we receive no compensation for the reviews.  That lets us pick them apart….but more on that, later in the review.  According to my order form, this holster is for:

Right Hand Carry, S&W J frames M-40,42,442,642,340,640, 2.25  and is marked “B (I assume for Black) and 20A”


The holster retails for $50 and shipping is $11.  I found out about Simply Rugged, from Jeff at  I don’t know Jeff, but I like his gun reviews.  I also respect that he did some video where he allowed himself to be shown getting owned by someone tasked with dis-arming him.  I think most of us would not have sacrificed our machismo, to look like a punk, so the rest of us could learn from the mistakes.  Hats off to Jeff! Find his video linked from his page at


First Impressions:

Simply—-Rugged.  Rob could not have picked a better name for his company.  This holster is STRONG and well constructed.  The leather is thick enough to hold shape and securely protect the firearm.  The stitching is likewise rugged and I can see it lasting YEARS.  This holster has two holes, that allow you to mount optional straps for IWB use.  I did not buy it for that reason and so, did not review that aspect.  There are also belt slots, which allow for a few different carry options.  I found that it fit me best, using the two top slots, which give it a nice cant for strong-side carry.  It can also be worn crossdraw, if preferred.  I’m actually going to make an argument for crossdraw in a future post, but not today.  I wore this strong-side only.  See my note about the belt, at the bottom of this post.

4 o' Clock Strong Side Carry

4 o’ Clock Strong Side Carry

Concealability and Carry:

I ran by 1.5 inch belt through the slots, with no trouble.  I think a 1.75 inch belt would be tighter, but still fit.  I’m not a huge fan of threading holsters on belts and prefer to use a paddle for OWB, so my prejudice is  noted.  That said, the holster snugs up tight to the body and actually hides a bit better than most paddles.

Carrying the AirLite in this holster makes you forget you have a gun on you.  Seriously, it feels like you are just wearing a belt.  I put my Rossi (J-frame copy) in for a few minutes and could not feel much of a difference.  So, you should be comfortable with any J-frame of similar size.  But, unless you are open carrying, you’ll need an overshirt.  A loose tee will suffice.  No need for the fat guy Hawaiian shirt.

Fits well against my middle aged spread

Fits well against my middle aged spread

Retention?  Friction only, but the right amount of it.  If you are worried about someone grabbing your piece, then don’t open carry it.  Under a shirt, your gun is going nowhere with this holster.  Almost the perfect blend of friction and draw speed.  It won’t fall out, even upside down and shaken, yet it does not require a big yank to break it loose.  The retention might be my favorite thing about this holster.

Nice fit, with little wasted space (you always have SOME, with this type of holster).

Nice fit, with little wasted space (you always have SOME, with this type of holster).

What We Liked:

Rugged.  This holster might actually stop a bullet.  It is the strongest, most bad-ass, indestructible piece of craftsmanship, that I’ve seen in a long time.  It carries well, conceals well, retains well.  What more do you want?

What We Didn’t Like:

I’ve only got one bitch about this holster and that is the dye.  Every time I handle it, there is a little dye left behind.  Like I was fingerprinted some time ago, for a drunk-and-disorderly, but don’t remember exactly when.  It washes off and seems to wash out of clothes, but I suggest you stick with jeans or dark pants.  I would not let this thing touch your tan Armani slacks.  Luckily, I can’t afford those anyway.  Note that you may not have the same issues with the other colors.  You can see from the shot of the paper, some came off just while I was photographing it.  Also, the matte finish of the titanium cylinder, picks up the dye.  It seems to clean off easily, but it’s something you’ll want to be aware of.  I’ve had this holster for over six months, so it isn’t a matter of the dye “drying”.  Maybe waxing the holster would be a good approach.  Whoever wins this, you might want to ask Rob for some tips.

Dye Smudges on paper, left after contacting for a minute or so.

Dye Smudges on paper, left after contacting for a minute or so.


Dye Smudge on cylinder, from inserting into holster. Wipes off easily.

Dye Smudge on cylinder, from inserting into holster. Wipes off easily.


Conclusion (except for the gunporn, below):

Except for the dye complaint, (and it is a tiny complaint) you really can’t hope to do better than the Simply Rugged Silver Dollar Pancake,  if you are looking for a Pancake style holster for your J-frame.  It’s good stuff!

For a chance to win this holster in our monthly drawings (starting May 2nd, to give people time to sign up), put your email in the box above this post.


We are not a gun review site, but I think that we should at least add a little info about each gun used in the reviews, because weight can have a lot to do with how the gun carries in each holster.  Today’s review used my S&W AirLite Model 340SC .357 Magnum.  I find the 340 to be the among the best concealed carry revolvers.  This 10.5 oz pocket cannon has a set of walnut grips installed.  The rubber type that it came with were lint magnets and made for a very slow and sticky pocket draw.  They also grabbed my t-shirt when carrying IWB or OWB.  The wood allows the shirt to slide off, for better concealability.  Again, you can find plenty of reviews about this find little pocket piece.  I will sum it up as follows: For an impressive fireball and a recoil that feels like catching a hammer in your palm, load this up with 158 gr .357s.  Otherwise, stick with .38s.  I’ve shot  guns with a bigger overall recoil (.44 Mag, .460, etc.) but short of the BFR in .45-70 or the TC and Remington bolt actions, I have never feel anything else that recoils as “sharply”.  Go for the AirWeight over the AirLite, unless you are absolutely obsessed with weight.  The extra 5 oz or so, will go a long way toward managing the recoil.  Plus, they are cheaper than the Scandium (frame) and Titanium (cylinder) combo.

GunPorn: S&W 340 SC

GunPorn: S&W 340 SC


Notes about our Reviews:

Please look at our “Categories” section and read the About info.  There, you can see some photos of my “body type” (no, I’m not naked, nobody needs to see that shit).  I’m a middle-aged guy with a little bit of flab.  Not a whale, but the six-pack abs passed by about 300 cases ago.  You need to have a look, because the comfort of any holster system is strongly dependent on body type and any review will be biased accordingly.

Next, the belt.  Hold the “get a proper gun belt” comments.  I’ve got one.  But, it’s hard to see where the holster starts the belt stops, when I use a 1.5 inch black leather strap with no markings.  So, I’m using a 5.11 Nylon piece, which provides a nicer background for the photos.  For that reason, I don’t comment on belt sag, because, some of it is the dang belt!

Please comment and add your experiences with this or any other holster for this model of firearm




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