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Not All Kydex Holsters are Created Equal

Why Guerrilla Holsters custom Kydex Holsters? We asked Jay NormanOwner and Master Bender at Guerrilla Holsters what makes his the very best Kydex holsters available? Here is what he shared with us:

There are a lot of things that make a holster average, bad, or great. Here’s some key things you need to look for in a good and proper functioning one. (I too build Kydex holsters and am pretty damn good at it. Feel free to verify.) Proper materials. Look for Kydex, Holstex or Boltaron. I’m not putting down any leather holsters out there, nor the super talented dudes that make them(Michael Kole), but leather is a porous material that has natural oils. When dirt gets stuck to those oils in the holes of the surface, you just made sand paper. Kydex style holsters are way cleaner and nicer to your finish. Retention of the trigger guard and slide. Your weapon needs to make a click sound when it goes in and gets properly seated. It shouldn’t wobble or have any wiggle room at all. It should fit like a glove. When you draw the weapon back out it should not be too hard to pull nor so light that it just comes out with no effort. Properly formed channels for all of the controls on the side of your weapon along with any high, raised, or low points allow the weapon to travel in and out un-obstructed. Smooth sailing with no hang ups of any kind. NONE! If there are any kydex shavings on any of your controls, then this is a sign of in-proper channeling. Especially the ejection port and sights (kydex only on the EP. Leather and hybrids are a different ball game) although any holster will wear your firearm, there’s only a VERY MINIMAL amount that is acceptable. Your weapon should slide in smoothly with next to no drag. Unless you’d like to get one with adjustable retention. With this feature you should be able to find a happy medium between MINIMAL drag and a proper click of the trigger guard. After it clicks in and gets seated, you should be able to flip it upside down and shake it around. (be realistic, its not a shake weight) It should remain seated and again, feel no wobble or moving around. For belt attachments. Soft loops should fit snugly around the belt and be properly anchored to the holster. Belt clips should remain fully seated and hold on FIRMLY. It should not slide off when drawing your weapon, not even a little bit. It should be pulling on your pants to remain in place. The trigger should be undercut. The top inside our your first knuckle area should be seated against the bottom of your trigger guard. You should not feel ANY Kydex at all! Magazine release button. This is an ongoing debate.. I make my holsters with the mag release uncovered. If i do have to cover them i make a little shaped channel for it. As a Kydex bender myself, this is how i feel it should be done every time.
Jay Norman – Master Bender Guerrilla Holsters

My response to another, “NEVER use Kydex, it will rape your finish!”

This is a common misconception that has sprung up over time due to novice holster makers bending Kydex. “Noobs” if you will, have soiled the good name of Kydex by flooding the market with quick, cheap and poorly made gear that is readily available. An uninformed customer purchases said P.O.S. holster and it rapes the finish on their weapon because of how it was improperly made. If it was made correctly, then the Kydex would basically be a shell of the weapon shape. If the cavity inside of the Kydex is the exact same size as the weapon (down to thousandths of an inch) then it will fit perfectly. When the cavity inside the holster matches the weapons shape perfectly, then how can it ruin your finish? It’s essentially a protective cover. Every Holster I make has only a couple points of contact with the weapon itself. GLOCK 23 for example: The front of the Trigger Guard, the polymer frame section that bulges out where the bottom of the slide meets the frame and the EVER so slightest touch on the highest point of the rounded edges on the top of the slide. If you look down in the holster as you slide the weapon in, you can see a gap of daylight between the Kydex and the flat portion of the slide. It intentionally has room to move UNTOUCHED. This allows me to localize exactly where the contact “Holster wear” is going to be. Doing FAR LESS to your finish than regular leather holsters will.

I am NOT a leather guy nor do I claim to know anything about using it for proper holster making. This is just information from research and from personally carrying IWB leather before I got into Kydex.

“Technically leather is harder on a weapons finish than a properly formed Kydex Holster.” Let me explain before you guys jump on me..

I know there are some high end materials such as vegetable tanned pig skin help mitigate what I’m about to say, and some incredibly skilled leather guys that disagree, but I speak more about the leather holsters at most gun shops, than something from a good maker, such as Michael Kole.

Leather is an organic porous material, that naturally has oils in it. When dust particles/debris get into a leather holster, some of it clings to the oils even after wiping it out. If dust/dirt is getting stuck onto something that rubs your weapon, then you’ve effectively make sand paper on a really small level. Even a really well formed leather holster will spread diff directions as it flexes open an rubs your weapon up and down until seated. Often times, leather holsters utilizes their retention from the ejection ports. There’s a lil “sunk in” portion where the e port goes to help grab onto the weapon as to where kydex “clicks” onto the front of the TG. When you slide your barrel inside then you have to push the front portion of your slide past the dimple for the E port. Essentially, squeezing your wider weapon through a smaller opening from that sunk in area. In turn, this forcefully rubs yours finish from muzzle to port. Do this for a while and notice the slight color change on the slide. Kydex DOES NOT do anything even remotely close to this and ONLY grabs the trigger guard. (When properly formed of course.) As you walk/move around, the leather holster is moving in your waistline flexing back and forth with your hips motion. Further rubbing that dusty “sandpaper” interior into your finish. Only it’s worse now because of the extra added pressure from your belt squeezing the holster into your body. Leather DOES NOT have the rigidity that kydex does which further aids in protecting your weapon.

Again, no offense to anyone who works leather, nor the products they make. I’m just putting this info out there to help inform shooters of the true potential of kydex holsters rather than just the horror stories that were brought to life by the noobs.

You can google fact check what I just said and feel free to ask me anything you’d like to know about Kydex.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and letting me dispel the whole Kydex Holster myth~

Jay Norman– Master Bender Guerrilla Holsters

Guerrilla Holsters are sold at Westminster Arms our exclusive storefront retail partner, or online at www.guerrillaholsters.com

Westminster Arms also is a proud supplier of Michael Kole Custom Leather Holsters.

*** No animals were harmed in this post ***