Sunday, September 2, 2012


I was able to get a very nice three slot Simply Rugged Sourdough Pancake holster made for, or at least advertised for, a Smith and Wesson Model 686, which is an L frame seven shot .357 revolver. It was advertised as fitting a  gun with a four inch barrel.

I do't have a Model 686 but I do have a like sized gun that I needed a good belt holster for, a Smith and Wesson Model 386 SC Mountain Lite, a Scadnium framed L frame holding seven rounds of .357 and weighing in at about 18 and a half ounces unloaded. Sometimes holsters for a Model 686 will fit the Model 386 SC. 

I'll note at this point, as many revolver fan knows, that there is sometimes interchangeability in holsters made for other like sized guns. One of those "sometimes it fits" rather than an "it always fits" in this or that holster.

For example, this Simply Rugged Pancake fits, and fits well, not only the Model 386 but a 2 and a half inch barreled Colt Python, and a 3 inch barreled K frame. I have not tried to see if a Model 29 or 329PD would fit in this holster, but I don't think they would based on the size of the holster. The pictures with the auction made it look as if the taller front sight of the Model 386 SC would work with this holster, and my guessing was right.

I've owned a lot of pancake holsters for different guns going back to the early 1980's, and this Simply Rugged holster beats them all out (Yes, even a Roy's Pancake holster) because of the stiff yet thin leather construction of the holster. It holds the L frame Model 386 SC at a forward cant as I wear it now, nicely tucking the butt of the gun to my side. Take it from a fellow who has been carrying 

Most pancake holsters designed for concealment wear fail in that they are too thin to support a heavy gun like a Colt Python with a 2 and a half or 4 inch barrel. This Simply Rugged IS THE FIRST holster in more than 30 years of Python carryin' that a pancake holster didn't feel floppy.

Of course, the Model 386 SC weighs half of what the Python does, so it carrys more steady in the lowest carry position of the Simply Rugged three belt loop system. I like the fact that the loops on this holster are sized to the belt sizes I wear. That too, contributes heavily to helping a holster feel steady, particularly on a more, ahem, middle aged torso.

This holster was a screaming deal price wise, even though the Simply Rugged holster as new is very reasonably priced. I'm surprised, based on it's quality, that it doesn't cost twice what it does. It's that good and yes, it's that rugged. I forsee this holster lasting decades beyond my time on this earth, like some of  my Rugers... 

This holster also came with the belt loop attachments, for using this holster as an IWB holster. It's a bit large for my tastes as a IWB holster, but a quick try with the loops the other day showed me it was comfortable and very secure as an IWB holster. Again, I generally prefer thinner suede out IWB holsters by Safariland and Bianchi from the old days, but I'm open to new ideas.

I prefer this type of belt loop system on an IWB holster, because having the two loops above the belt loops and away from the side of the gun makes the bulk much less and imho, supports the weight of the gun much better. Some IWB loop holsters have a single large loop over the cylinder area of the holster, and this adds much bulk. Having two loops, with one on either side of the gun as Simply Rugged does, makes the holster much more concealable and to me, comfortable.

The loops, snaps, screw attachments and the holster itself are well constructed and are simple and rugged. Very rugged without excessive width.

I like it that this holster fits the Model 386 SC especially because this gun is hard to fit. The highly elevated rectangular fiber optic front sight on hte 386 makes fitting in many holsters for similarly sized gun impossible. This holster fits it perfectly, with no binding or chafing of the front sight in the bottom of the holster. The fact that it fits other guns well is an added bonus.

The 386 SC also sports a barrel just a smidgen over 3 inches, so a regular holster for a 2 and a half or 3 inch medium to large frame revolver usually won't fit it in that department unless it itself is oversized a bit, and many of the 4 inch holsters won't fit the Model 386 SC due to the elevated front fiber optic sight.

I've worn this Simply Rugged holster and revolver on two different fishing expeditions this summer. It is an easy carry and is easily worn and concealed under a T Shirt with some fishing shorts. The holster fits the gun tight, yet the gun is easily drawn from the holster.  One reason this particular revolver is so concealable is that it has a round butt, perhaps the size of a K frame RB but perhaps even a bit smaller. The Model 386 SC has a lanyard indentation and pin in the rear bottom of the grip strap, and this is a feature I use whenever near the water.

So the Hogue (I think) rounded grips on the smaller sized rounded butt of the Model 386 SC make the gun much easier to conceal than other medium to large frame revolvers with a square grip. K frames like the Model 10 and Model 13 with round butts are similarly easy to conceal in this holster, with both stock wood grips and with the Pachmayr Compac rubber grips. The Pachmayrs are a bit less concealable than the stock wood grips but miles and miles more pleasureable to shoot the gun with.

I could put Pachmayrs on the Model 386 SC and that would certainly improve lessening felt recoil since the Pachmayrs would cover the backstrap of the frame unlike the stock factory rubber grips, but it would plug up the lanyard hole which is actually a feature I use with some regularity. My next idea will be trying some of the slip on Pachmayr grips that fit the super small .32's and .380's  autos and see how they fit on top of the factory grips on the 386 SC. 

I put a Dr Slick wrist lanyard through the loop and if using the gun whilst hanging over or right near the water, my wrist is through the loop if it's not attached to the belt lanyard. Otherwise, a small but sturdy caribiner keeps the wrist loop secured to a longer pistol lanyard attached to the belt. This keeps the handgun from "deep sixing" if it fell out of the holster in any number of ways culminating in a tumble into the water. I'll state that I feel much more comfortable with a revolver on a belt lanyard than a semi-auto, with perhaps exception to the H and K P7M8 or PSP.

Holster fit is a pet peeve of mine, and I've found that several Galco and other brands of holsters have been just a bit "too tight" of a fit for the gun they were designed for. I've learned of the "plastic bag trick" which involves placing the unloaded gun in a plastic bag (the bag many holsters comes in works fine, or two of them) and the gun is placed in the holster to stretch.

Seems like all of the old holsters I bought back in the day, and the used "vintage" holsters I've bought in the recent past, always fit the gun from the get go. I didn't have to "stretch" them out to get a proper fit and most importantly, an easy draw. I have several holsters that need to be stretched to be able to draw the gun from the holster. It's such a tight fit that it's hard to withdraw the gun from the holster. And these are Galco brand holsters bought new.

So the fact that this holster fits the guns well is a pleasant surprise.

One modification I'll do is make a "hammer loop" from a piece of spare leather and secure it to the front hole in the upper portion of the holster which is where the IWB loop screw mount attaches. I can craft a loop of the right size and angle that will work as a hammer loop or a hammer thong, even though I'm pretty sure the holster doesn't need one. This hammer loop can just screw into the preexisting hole above the upper belt loop.

I'll be buying some holsters from Simply Rugged in the near future. A trio of 1911 holsters for the 3, 4 and 5 inch lengths, one for the Kel-Tec 30 shot .22 magnum called the Field and Stream with extra magazine holder, and one for the Governor with six loops on the exterior of the holster. And for sure another like this one for the N frame Model 329PD. And I'd really like to have one for a 4 3/4 inch barreled Colt 1873 Colt clone and...

And here's their SIMPLY RUGGED WEBSITE in case you too find a hankering for one of their simple but rugged holsters.

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