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Old 06-01-2017, 11:15 PM
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Default Casting call: Roy Baker Pancake holsters

Every pistolero today knows what a Baker pancake holster is, but we actually know surprisingly little about Roy himself. Here's some of the info I tracked down.

Roy Lee Baker lived 08 April 1922-07 July 1990 and was born in Arkansas. He married Fayma Davis age 16 in Emerson there in 1946. By 1960 he appeared in Rockford, IL in its city directory as a heat treater. It was from the listed city address there that he filed his "gun holster" patent in May of 1971 that was granted in May of 1973 as 3,731,858.

Those of us who were there can attest that the pancake took the industry by storm. Unfortunately for Roy his patent was drawn so narrowly -- it is for a holster that is ambidextrous and limited to three, not two, slots that have been stitched around -- that the industry quickly rallied with its own, non-infringing versions.

An American Handgunner article of Jan/Feb 1980 indicates that Roy left Roy's Custom Leather Goods in Magnolia, AR; an announcement made by its new president Calvin Porter. It has been claimed that this is the year that Roy sold up, and experience indicates that the old owner rarely stays on under new ownership.

There is other information floating 'round about Roy that I've not been able to corroborate and so I won't repeat it here.

Let's see your Baker brand Pancakes; here are two from my files:

Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-baker-dec-3-jpg Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-baker-dec-3-jpg

And two of his marks:

Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-baker-dec-5-jpg Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-baker-dec-4-jpg
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Old 06-01-2017, 11:39 PM
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I have one.
Didn't shoot the back,
But it says - Roy's Leather Goods,
Magnolia, Arkansas
(Just like the picture above.)
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Old 06-02-2017, 12:36 AM
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Red:

Yep!! That was THE holster to have at one time. I had a couple back in the 70s, some time, and may still have them tucked around somewhere. We just couldn't get over how good they were at concealing a fairly large handgun, and held it tight to the body. I loved mine, but as you say, there were soon plenty of imitators out there. But I still remember fie real thing. I'll have to dig around and see if I still have one buried somewhere!!

Best Regards, Les
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Old 06-02-2017, 01:23 AM
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I have one for a 4" N-frame Smith that I still use often. I've tried other designs over the years. One I like really well is by Simply Rugged, but I keep coming back to the Baker. I still haven't found one that accomplishes its purpose better than the Baker and most don't even do it as well IMHO.
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Old 06-02-2017, 02:46 AM
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Roy Baker the Pancake Maker. $8.75 in 1975. Shown here with my
S&W model 19 Combat Magnum.

PS Sorry no shot of the back. Mine says:
ROY'S LEATHER GOODS
MAGNOLIA, ARK.
PATENTED
19
S.6
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:52 AM
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I've bought and sold them over the years but never accumulated them. Here are some recent pass-throughs.
Regards,
turnerriver



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Old 06-02-2017, 11:22 AM
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Packed a Model 58 off duty in one those for many years.
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Old 06-02-2017, 03:51 PM
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I bought my first Roy Baker pancake holster in 1977 and fell in love with them. When I began my full time law enforcement career with the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Division I was issued a 2.5 inch Model 66-2 and a black, unlined, Roy Baker pancake holster. The State Bureau of Investigation, at that time, issued the same gun and same holster.

I don't have any current photo's of my Baker holsters, but I just did an inventory and I only have 17 now. I have holsters for J, K, and N frame S&W's. Some black, some a russet color, some lined, some unlined. I even have one that was made without a thumb snap for a six inch N frame.

I have seen/bought several that were purported to be "like" Baker's holsters but I have found that they all fall short. I think its mainly due to those making holsters now using a different type, more stiff, leather.

If someone would start making holsters like Baker with the same type of leather they would make a fortune. My niece has started working with leather and I gave her a couple of them to use as patterns. She has not gotten them exactly like Baker's holsters but is getting better.

Nothing I have ever tried, and I have more holsters than the law allows, has ever worked as well as the original Baker pancake holster. I can carry a 6 inch 29-3 all day while hunting and actually forget that I am carrying it and no one will ever see it.
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Old 06-02-2017, 09:45 PM
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I have been a fan of Roy's Pancakes since the late 1970's
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Old 06-02-2017, 11:57 PM
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My only Roy Baker holster is an open top for my S&W J frames, 36/38/49, I'm keeping an eye out for the same style/model for my 2nd edition Colt Detective Special. As the other members have said it beats all the other holsters for comfort/concealability.

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Old 06-03-2017, 09:16 AM
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I've got these two made for K frames. For their age they've held up well.







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Old 06-03-2017, 09:41 AM
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The Roy Baker pancake was the first off duty holster I ever owned. I packed a Colt Satin Commander in it in the mid-70's. It was a concealable and comfortable holster. We weren't allowed semi-autos on duty, but off duty they were ok.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:42 AM
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Roy Baker's pancake design was quite an innovation at the time. Overall, a very good and useful design for the purpose, well made of good materials.

Another innovative step was in marketing the holsters. "Floor plan" set-ups including a selection of holsters for popular handguns, along with counter-top display rack, were provided to dealers all over the country with generous financing plans allowing dealers to pay for their original orders as products moved out the door at retail pricing. In my opinion, this provided the means for Roy Baker to take the marketplace by storm.

Red Nichols is correct about the relatively narrow patent description allowing others to easily jump into the market with similar products. Bianchi, Safariland, Don Hume, and just about every other major company quickly adapted their own pancake-style holsters. The first holster I made (1972) was a pancake-style, and I always made a point of referring to these as my interpretation of the original design, crediting Roy Baker as the originator of the design concept.

Unfortunately, the business did not outlast Mr. Baker by more than a few years. I have seen reports of a liquidation sale with tools and equipment auctioned off, and "clicker dies" for all the various patterns being sold for scrap. A sad ending for sure, but an enduring legacy remains.
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Old 06-03-2017, 02:07 PM
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Found an older pic of one of Roy's Masterpieces:


Sorry, at the moment no (access to a) pic from the holster-backside. Out of my head it was stamped like
Red's and Phil's ("ROY'S LEATHER GOODS...") + "36" (= S&W M 36).
And the name "LEATHER + GOODS" seems to be his programm...

Here -Thanks to mikepriwer- you can see a pic of the holstermaker (last pic of the album)
and more of Roy's 1970's offerings:
http://smith-wessonforum.com/members...-holsters.html

IMHO very very good (especially for the time !) cc-holsters. There must be a reason, why
(nearly) every holstermaker (once) offer(ed) "PANCAKES"...

P.44
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Old 06-03-2017, 08:53 PM
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Red, thank you for the write up about Roy Baker.

I have some Original Pancake Holsters, but none significantly different than the pics already posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
...Those of us who were there can attest that the pancake took the industry by storm. Unfortunately for Roy his patent was drawn so narrowly -- it is for a holster that is ambidextrous and limited to three, not two, slots that have been stitched around -- that the industry quickly rallied with its own, non-infringing versions...
It seems the term "pancake holster" is normally used to describe a two panel holster, generally having equally sized and shaped front and back panels (i.e. "50/50" construction) and having two or more belt slots, with slots being located both trailing and forward of the pocket.

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Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
...Unfortunately for Roy his patent was drawn so narrowly... ...and limited to three, not two, slots...
Let me ask, was the actual most important aspect, and utility, of Baker's design the location of a belt slot forward of the pocket? Or, was there "prior art" already demonstrating that feature?

Thanks
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:40 PM
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I can't seem to locate one of my original Roy Baker Pancakes right now, but it looks to me like Bianchi copied this design from the original Pancake, simply omitting the extra belt slot:



This is the gun (66 no dash, 2 1/2") I was issued when I was assigned to plainclothes duty, and I carried it in this holster for years. I have several of these, the others are lined, this one isn't.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 06-04-2017, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muzzleblast View Post
Red, thank you for the write up about Roy Baker.

I have some Original Pancake Holsters, but none significantly different than the pics already posted.



It seems the term "pancake holster" is normally used to describe a two panel holster, generally having equally sized and shaped front and back panels (i.e. "50/50" construction) and having two or more belt slots, with slots being located both trailing and forward of the pocket.



Let me ask, was the actual most important aspect, and utility, of Baker's design the location of a belt slot forward of the pocket? Or, was there "prior art" already demonstrating that feature?

Thanks
Patents can be a crude club against competitors because the inventors, and the attorneys, rarely known enough about the prior art and therefore what is 'novel' to write them well. Baker's is an example of the inventor and his attorney not knowing how to draft a patent that protected what Roy actually created.

Patents include the claims, the specification, and the drawings; the latter two illuminate the claims and it is the claims that are controlling. In Roy's case his first (independent) claim is limited to a reversible holster, and all the others to a three-slot holster.

That third slot was not, and is not, the selling point of his design. Some makers thought they needed to avoid stitching around the slots, which is where these came from, using a tunnel:

Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-_58-jpg

Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-j3030-jpg

I recall that Safariland did it that way, too, in the Seventies. I've no pics.

It would not be correct to say that a pancake holster is defined as having the same size panel front and back; though that is what Baker patented. I'd define it as having at least one slot on either side of the pocket, and entirely covering the frame and barrel. Less coverage is called a slide. Avengers are a different kettle of fish though they were created to compete with the pancake (the loop on the back creates the second outboard slot). One could even do a pancake with a single folded panel, with the slots either side, but gain nothing and lose cutting economy.
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Old 06-04-2017, 02:22 AM
Biggfoot44 Biggfoot44 is offline
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I learned somthing today . i had never seen an open top Roy Baker Pancake before, maybe they were a regional preference. And all of mine, and all I've seen have the Roys Leather Goods mark.

As noted above, the third slot was rarely used . And the people who did usually stuck with that. Not switching back and forth.

Not commented yet in this thread, Roy's holsters had open bottoms while most of the knockoffs have closed bottoms . By not having any extranous leather beyond the actual muzzle of the gun, it contributes to the outstanding concealability.
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:19 AM
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Simply Rugged makes pancakes that look an awful lot like Roy's. They use three slots and the stitching pattern is quite similar as well.
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
Patents can be a crude club against competitors because the inventors, and the attorneys, rarely known enough about the prior art and therefore what is 'novel' to write them well. Baker's is an example of the inventor and his attorney not knowing how to draft a patent that protected what Roy actually created.
So, in the bigger picture, by being overly prescriptive in the patent claim; Baker and his attorney missed the opportunity to patent the concept of a holster design with THE 'novel' feature of belt slots either side of the pocket, both trailing and forward. Or, am I missing something?

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Old 06-04-2017, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biggfoot44 View Post
Not commented yet in this thread, Roy's holsters had open bottoms while most of the knockoffs have closed bottoms . By not having any extranous leather beyond the actual muzzle of the gun, it contributes to the outstanding concealability.
If you look at turnerriver' post #9 above, you see that Roy's holsters sometimes had closed bottoms as well.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by les.b View Post
If you look at turnerriver' post #9 above, you see that Roy's holsters sometimes had closed bottoms as well.

Best Regards, Les
Your post caused me to go to my "stash" and look at mine. I have two that have stitching all the way around the bottom. The bottom on my two are not closed, but each of them is lined. The stitching is on the inside layer of leather and also on the outside layer but the stitching only holds the suede lining to the inside/outside layer. Neither are stitched together to close the bottom. Not sure about those in the photo in Post 9 but that's the way they are on my two lined holsters. My other fifteen do not have stitching around the bottom.

Bill
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Old 06-04-2017, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muzzleblast View Post
So, in the bigger picture, by being overly prescriptive in the patent claim; Baker and his attorney missed the opportunity to patent the concept of a holster design with THE 'novel' feature of belt slots either side of the pocket, both trailing and forward. Or, am I missing something?
Well, yes and no. It's easy to miss what is, and what isn't, what an inventor means to protect; and the attorney is no help because, well, he relies on the inventor.

Then one should realise that a patent goes through a 'prosecution' phase in which the examiner argues against it after reviewing the prior art (in my day the files for holsters class 224 were just down the hall from the examiner's office).

This creates a 'file history' or 'wrapper' that outlines what the inventor gained or lost in the process. At that point the attorney isn't very likely to know how to deal with the prior art if the inventor looks to have been 'caught out'.

My method was to cite every bit of prior art I was aware of, at the outset. In contrast, Bill Rogers was to give nothing away and make the examiner find it all. Which brings us to the point: a patent is a 'negative right': the right to STOP someone else from making the invention, without it GIVING the right to make it yourself (if it infringes on someone else's patent, for example). Rogers and Safariland, and me at Bianchi, had what we needed to make a patent enforceable: knowledge and the corporation's money :-).

It would seem that Roy had neither.
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Old 06-04-2017, 06:22 PM
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I have a very old 5 slot one made for a single action revolver. Keep wanting to sell it but can't bring myself to part with it. Black basket pattern with border stamping.
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Old 06-04-2017, 08:28 PM
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Here's some pics. An unlined, basket weave stamped five slot for a 6" N-frame, and a lined, reinforced thumb break five slot for 6" MED REV. The maker's marks are different.







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Old 06-04-2017, 08:33 PM
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Well, yes and no.... Rogers and Safariland, and me at Bianchi, had what we needed to make a patent enforceable: knowledge and the corporation's money :-). It would seem that Roy had neither.
So, in other words, the individual with the most lawyers, money and hired guns has the better odds of winning. :-)
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:26 PM
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Default America has the best legal system that money can buy

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So, in other words, the individual with the most lawyers, money and hired guns has the better odds of winning. :-)
Nice holsters! If anybody has one for a 3" K frame (Model 547) and would be willing to part with it please PM me.

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Old 06-05-2017, 04:17 PM
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So, in other words, the individual with the most lawyers, money and hired guns has the better odds of winning. :-)
Again, "kinda true". I successfully enforced one of my patents against Gould & Goodrich, without a lawyer; whilst they had three different sets of lawyers who were racking up the legal bills.

I'd say, instead, the one who is most convinced they are in the right, has the best chance of winning. But only 'best' because judges are unpredictable and eventually the cost of litigation will make someone 'blink'. I don't recall that Baker's ever got to the litigation stage against anyone.
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Old 06-05-2017, 04:24 PM
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If you look at turnerriver' post #9 above, you see that Roy's holsters sometimes had closed bottoms as well.

Best Regards, Les
Nope. That stitching at the muzzle end is 'flat work' stitching to hold the suede lining in place; the two panels are held together by the circles of stitching around the slots. The muzzle ends are open :-).

In the various pics posted we can also see how the frame ahead of the trigger guard, has been formed into the leather. There being no welt to jam the frame in place, a pancake would not be properly called any sort of Threepersons, modified or otherwise; despite the so-called criteria of 'high ride' and 'exposed guard'.
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Old 06-05-2017, 04:57 PM
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1/2 inch too long for what's in it, but I can't bear to cut it. There's one for a 2" J-Frame around here somewhere, too.
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Old 06-05-2017, 09:16 PM
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No time for pictures... My favorite Baker was my first early style of the 2-3 design variations. For me, the slot locations make a big difference in how the holster rides.

I was one of those using the more vertical forward belt slot as I prefer less rake. I don't think anyone has mentioned that slot was suggested for cross draw use, but that came no where close to working for me.

Two of my 2nd style holsters had room for an added second rear slot to drop the holster lower on the belt.

From Baker, I also learned to prefer a short, thick thumb snap.

I'll add my praise to the versatility of the Baker pancake holster. I used mine in uniform, in plain clothes - even concealed under a loose polo shirt, and even once in an early IPSC match.
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:23 PM
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Default Roy Baker Holsters

Noticed in the catalog photos my plain black Anderson Speed Clip pouch for 45 mags made by Roy Baker.
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:57 AM
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I won't quite so as no such thing as too long a holster, but there is plenty of leeway to go longer. Carried 2.75 Speed Six as a duty gun in various 4in holsters. Likewise 2in J frame in holster for 4in J frame.

The shorter gun in longer holster will be carried just as securely, and drawn as easily or better as ( intended bbl length gun). The only issue is when.the extra bit of leather compromises concealment. For field use, OC, or duty-ish no problem.

Do to the sublity of Roy Baker's genius, his holsters can conceal was well at the longer length, as most knockoffs one step shorter.
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Old 06-12-2017, 08:22 PM
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Catching up ... A couple of ads

1975 first generation with partially covered trigger guard and folded thumb snap strap.



1980 2nd generation with fully covered trigger guard for autos & folded thumb snap strap.



No ad, but the 3rd generation had a conventional thumb snap strap, as seen in some of the other member photographs. This pattern was continued by Strong.

Mine for Government model, Commander and M39 open top, trimmed of some excess leather. Two of my 2nd gens have my patented (just kidding) 4th belt slot. The upper right Commander holster is a 3rd generation. My personal favorite is the first generation.
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Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-baker-roy-ad-pancake-holster-1975-jpg   Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-baker-roy-ad-pancake-1980-jpg   Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-baker-roy-ad-pancake-1980-excpt-jpg   Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-baker-roy-pancake-3-generations-cs-jpg  

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Old 06-12-2017, 08:27 PM
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My old pancake used as a chest rig for hunting with a 29-2:

Ignore the old coot in the image.
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Old 06-13-2017, 02:15 AM
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I only have a Roy Baker "Hidden Thunder" shoulder rig for my 6" 29-3.
When I bought my 6.5" 29-2 in the late 70's, the shop had a shoulder rig that somebody had payed for 2/3s o and sold it to me for what was owed.
It was a helluva a deal for a young married Marine Sgt. LOL.
That rig has carried both of those 29s for a lot of miles. Including pig-huntin' in the Hawaiian bush.
Extremely comfortable.
I have never seen or even heard of another.
Great to see that he invented the Pancake.
Sorry to get a bit off-topic...
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Old 06-13-2017, 06:12 AM
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I have this one for 6.5" N-frames and what is probably an unlined black clone....



As said...if one is carrying a big gun this one works well... Simply Rugged is probably the closest thing today and I actually like them a little more because they don't have a thumb-break....

Bob
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Old 07-02-2017, 10:40 PM
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Patents can be a crude club against competitors because the inventors, and the attorneys, rarely known enough about the prior art and therefore what is 'novel' to write them well. Baker's is an example of the inventor and his attorney not knowing how to draft a patent that protected what Roy actually created.

Patents include the claims, the specification, and the drawings; the latter two illuminate the claims and it is the claims that are controlling. In Roy's case his first (independent) claim is limited to a reversible holster, and all the others to a three-slot holster.

That third slot was not, and is not, the selling point of his design. Some makers thought they needed to avoid stitching around the slots, which is where these came from, using a tunnel:

Attachment 287026

Attachment 287027

I recall that Safariland did it that way, too, in the Seventies. I've no pics.
Did recently stumble across images of the Safariland:

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Casting call:  Roy Baker Pancake holsters-s-l1600-1-jpg
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Old 05-28-2018, 02:58 PM
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What handgun would fit a Roy's pancake, basket weave thumb break marked on the back with "LMA"? Thanks
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Old 05-28-2018, 03:06 PM
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What handgun would fit a Roy's pancake, basket weave thumb break marked on the back with "LMA"? Thanks
Most likely a Llama pistol.
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Old 05-28-2018, 03:44 PM
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Most likely a Llama pistol.
Thanks, that's the only "LMA" I could put together, too.

There's one on Ebay currently for $30.

Found it searching for a pancake for my 2" J frame.
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Old 06-17-2018, 10:14 PM
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Hey, even the Germans got in on the Baker copies!! Sometime ago, I was looking for a hokster for my Walther P5, and I found an original German holster on eBay for I think less than $20.00!!! Made in Germany, marked for a P5, and fits like a glove. I think I got it and another from the same German company for less than $40.00, not sure where the other one is right now.








Best Regards, Les
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:03 AM
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I have had others but am down to 2 both are lined and Basket Weave stamped. Have model number 001 and 003 Roy's Original PANCAKE HOLSTERS Magnolia, ARK pat#3,731858 S&W SMALL 2 (001) And S&W MED 4 (003)




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Old 06-18-2018, 11:04 AM
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Good to see all the enthusiasm and info for Roy's holsters! Used em a lot in the old days but somehow I did not retain any for my old age. Imagine my delight a few years ago whilst rooting around in a used leather box there was two unlined black basket weaved absolutely like new Roy Baker holsters! One for a 6 1/2" N frame and one for a four inch K-frame, held em up and asked the counter guy, how much, ten bucks each, ding-ding a no brainer there. The only thing that could have made it better if they were russet brown rather than black.
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Old 06-18-2018, 10:33 PM
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I bought one for my only handgun back in 1976-77, a Ruger Service-Six. It would hide well under a T-shirt. Later, around 1987 or so, I sold it to a friend (what was I thinking???). Missed it ever since. Of course the number of handguns increased over the years, but I kept my Service-Six. A little over a year ago, I found the same model on sale on eBay, it had some of the stitching coming loose in one place. Got it cheap. Took a few minutes of work with some stout thread and a needle to fix it as good as new. It ain't going anywhere unless it's on my belt with a pistol or revolver in it. My kids will find it in the holster drawer when I leave this world.
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