Why Plastic?[kydex]

This is a discussion on Why Plastic?[kydex] within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Originally Posted by ScottM Don't confuse a Fobus holster with kydex. There is a world of difference. And +1 on the Dale Fricke designs. Fobus ...

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Thread: Why Plastic?[kydex]

  1. #16
    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottM View Post
    Don't confuse a Fobus holster with kydex. There is a world of difference.

    And +1 on the Dale Fricke designs.
    Fobus is the brand that took the finish off my sons gun. Another son has an XD compact thats holster seems to be made of the same stuff but its not an EDC for him. I guess all plastics aren't created equal.

    The noise I complained of is from hunting not EDC. Anything that touches the sheath makes noise where leather is more or less silent. DR

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  3. #17
    mkh
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    Distinguished Member Array mkh's Avatar
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    Kydex is the only kind of IWB that I can carry comfortablely

  4. #18
    Distinguished Member Array GlassWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    I have very little experience with plastic holsters so Humor me a little. I'm having a hard time seeing the attraction to Kydex, unless its just the cost. I carried 30 years ago [before Id heard of a plastic holster] and have just now reapplied for a new license. In looking at holsters and a lot of the new stuff coming out has at least part of it made of plastic.

    Now I can see that plastic will hold its shape without the added thickness of layered leather, but aren't they loud [rattle's] ? I have a kydex knife sheath that I had to add some rubber to it to keep it quiet. Are they hard on gun finishes? I live where dust and grit are a constant problem. My sons Kimber is already needing a new finish from holster wear after only two years of every day wear.

    So am I thinking too much into this or is plastic really the way to go? DR
    price
    the fact that it can be permanently formed to a specific shape
    retention through the formed shape
    ability to add additional layers of retention via things like the Serpa clips
    Isn't damaged by water or moisture or humidity
    light weight
    very thin (typically about 0.08" thickness)
    silent except during a draw or re-holster
    adjustable retention via gromets and screw tightness.
    ability to use unconventional holster types, like the MIC or TC holsters.

    I love a good leather holster, but they are typically relegated to conventional OWB and Shoulder type holsters. Kydex lends itself to things more readily like IWB, ankle, "MIC" and the like due to it's thickness and weight characteristics and moldability.

  5. #19
    Ex Member Array ScottM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lchamp View Post
    I'm happy with my cloth blackhawk IWB holster. The exterior of the holster is coated and prevents it from coming free when you draw and I can buy several of them for the price of a kydex.
    You truly do get what you pay for, though.

  6. #20
    Senior Member Array Happypuppy's Avatar
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    Why Plastic?[kydex]

    I am a fan of leather. It does not damage the finish like Kydex can do and as long as the mouth of the holster is made properly, holds it shape for a long, long time.


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  7. #21
    Distinguished Member Array GlassWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happypuppy View Post
    I am a fan of leather. It does not damage the finish like Kydex can do and as long as the mouth of the holster is made properly, holds it shape for a long, long time.


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    Don't be entirely sure about that. Anything that rubs against the finish enough will wear on it, and some chemicals used in the tanning process can accelerate that as well with some leathers.

  8. #22
    Senior Member Array yz9890's Avatar
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    Why Plastic?[kydex]

    Quote Originally Posted by Happypuppy View Post
    I am a fan of leather. It does not damage the finish like Kydex can do and as long as the mouth of the holster is made properly, holds it shape for a long, long time.
    my experience is opposite of this.

  9. #23
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Remember, if you don't regularly clean the inside of a leather holster, the accumulated grit will peel gun finish or scratch stainless like a Dremel tool.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

  10. #24
    Distinguished Member Array lchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScottM View Post
    You truly do get what you pay for, though.
    Yup. A comfortable holster that does the job well.
    yz9890 likes this.

  11. #25
    Senior Member Array WoodLark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    This "clicking" is what I'm calling a rattle, the Benchmade knife I have was loud going into the sheath and then a loud "click" as it locked in.

    While we are talking about this how well does your kydex holster fit your gun? And can you warm it to get a custom fit? Thanks for the quick answers. DR
    Yes, you can warm a kydex holster to change the fit, but you do need to be careful; if you get it to warm, it will lose all of its shape (think puddle). I have several different kydex holsters, from several different manufacturers. The fit varies. The one's I like best have one or more adjustment screws which allows for fine tuning the retention.
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  12. #26
    Member Array Switchblade906's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Happypuppy View Post
    I am a fan of leather. It does not damage the finish like Kydex can do and as long as the mouth of the holster is made properly, holds it shape for a long, long time.


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    Wrong. Leather will do the same thing.
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  13. #27
    Ex Member Array Armey's Avatar
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    Kydex maintains its form unlike leather. In cc wear the leather collapses and makes re-holstering difficult. I have a Galco IWB that does this as apposed to my Clevelands Ugly which is simular to a crossbred kydex with leather support backing. By the way...very confortable.

  14. #28
    Member Array G26Raven's Avatar
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    I had a leather holster, excellent quality, that squeaked when I walked.

    Kydex needs little or no break-in. You can wash a kydex holster when dust or body oil accumulates on it. If you draw from a Kydex holster slowly, it will be very quiet.

    I have several Raven Concealment and they are excellent. Can be worn both IWB or OWB (requires different straps).

  15. #29
    Senior Member Array rednichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    Agreed! Cheap holster makers often use less expensive plastics in hopes that buyers don't know the difference. Fobus does NOT use Kydex. Kydex is an acrylic-polyvinyl chloride thermoplastic. Is was originally compounded AS a high-performance, proprietary compound, industrial-use plastic with a Rockwell R Scale rating ~90. It is always molded into sheets. It is solvent, UV & repetitive-flex failure resistance. A well-designed Kydex holster is anvil tough & supremely tolerant of almost complete neglect. Fobus is injected-molded plastic.
    Which misses the point that Kydex was originally developed as a wall cladding and is desirable for its flame resistance. You'll find it on hospital walls and in aircraft. It first found its way into holsters in 1970, as a joke -- to show how the new SWPL holster rule could be met with a toy holster. It's used today because it's an amorphous plastic -- that is, it softens with heat, rather than staying hard until the melt temperature is reached, as with, say, nylon. There would be no good reason that an injection moulded holster (such as the Fobus) would be made from this material; more likely they'd use a high impact ABS, though the high impact nylons would be attractive for them, too.

    It's also used today because, like becoming a house painter or a wallpaper hanger, there's no skill or investment required that can't be made up on the fly, and it's easy to buy in sheet form, unlike most plastics; and is black rather than the colour of a milk bottle.

    Rogers and then Perkins at Safariland perfected it as a mass-production method by cladding the Kydex with suede leather for the inside and synthetic leather for the outside (once they worked out that veg leather on the outside was unworkable because it was incompatible with the heat required to shape the Kydex). I doubt ANY of the little makers are lining/facing their Kydex holsters with leather; it's actually quite difficult to do well; assuming they even thought of doing it.

    Kydex breaks, and the thinner it is, the shorter its lifespan. I've used it in 1/8" at a minimum when clad, and unclad in 3/16" and 1/4" at a maximum, to good effect. Thinner than that -- for example 1/16" thick -- is foolhardy.

  16. #30
    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rednichols View Post
    Which misses the point that Kydex was originally developed as a wall cladding and is desirable for its flame resistance. You'll find it on hospital walls and in aircraft. It first found its way into holsters in 1970, as a joke -- to show how the new SWPL holster rule could be met with a toy holster. It's used today because it's an amorphous plastic -- that is, it softens with heat, rather than staying hard until the melt temperature is reached, as with, say, nylon. There would be no good reason that an injection moulded holster (such as the Fobus) would be made from this material; more likely they'd use a high impact ABS, though the high impact nylons would be attractive for them, too.

    It's also used today because, like becoming a house painter or a wallpaper hanger, there's no skill or investment required that can't be made up on the fly, and it's easy to buy in sheet form, unlike most plastics; and is black rather than the colour of a milk bottle.

    Rogers and then Perkins at Safariland perfected it as a mass-production method by cladding the Kydex with suede leather for the inside and synthetic leather for the outside (once they worked out that veg leather on the outside was unworkable because it was incompatible with the heat required to shape the Kydex). I doubt ANY of the little makers are lining/facing their Kydex holsters with leather; it's actually quite difficult to do well; assuming they even thought of doing it.

    Kydex breaks, and the thinner it is, the shorter its lifespan. I've used it in 1/8" at a minimum when clad, and unclad in 3/16" and 1/4" at a maximum, to good effect. Thinner than that -- for example 1/16" thick -- is foolhardy.
    I had never before paid any attn, I wasn't aware that I could get a lined Kydex holster! sounds like the best of both worlds. DR

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