Why Plastic?[kydex]

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; 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 ...

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Thread: Why Plastic?[kydex]

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Why Plastic?[kydex]

    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


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Brad426's Avatar
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    I am relatively new to Kydex, but I am a big fan now. They are cheaper than the leather ones, generally speaking, and in my experience do hold their shape better. I have 3 hybrids and 1 pure Kydex and I have had exactly zero rattling issues.

    I do think they may be harder on the finish, but I will defer to others with more experience on that. I have no guns that aren't straight up tools, so I am not as concerned about the finish as some might be.
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    Senior Member Array WoodLark's Avatar
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    A lot of people prefer leather to kydex, and I have to admit that, compared to leather, kydex is just plain ugly! But, if we are talking concealed carry, who cares?

    Kydex does hold its shape better than leather. Over time, leather holsters tend to loosen up; kydex not so much.

    Some people claim kydex is harder on a gun's finish, but there are just as many people who feel the other way. Personally, I think they are about the same.

    I have never had a kydex holster that "rattles", although they do "click" when you draw and re-holster. Leather holsters (some) creak.

    Delivery times as well as prices tend to be better on kydex holsters. In my opinion it takes a lot more work and craftsmanship to make a QUALITY leather holster than a kydex one.

    I have both, and like both. For what might be the best of both worlds, check out Garrett Industries leather lined kydex holsters.
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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodLark View Post

    I have never had a kydex holster that "rattles", although they do "click" when you draw and re-holster. Leather holsters (some) crea

    I have both, and like both. For what might be the best of both worlds, check out Garrett Industries leather lined kydex holsters.
    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

  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array BurgerBoy's Avatar
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    I carry in a Fobus Paddle Holster and never have any problems with it. It's real easy to take on and off.
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    VIP Member Array 1MoreGoodGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WoodLark View Post
    ...kydex is just plain ugly! ...
    Not always...

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    Distinguished Member Array matthew03's Avatar
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    I use both leather and Kydex rigs for CC, my favorite Kydex rig is my Dale Fricke Archangel. Cheaper? No, not really, but it is very comfortable and conceals like a dream.

  8. #8
    Member Array MoparNut's Avatar
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    Kydex is very tough. I finally destroyed a Kydex backplate (DSS) that I used for doubles diving that only used a thin center strip of stainless to anchor the 98lb alum doubles to the kydex. The plate which was 1/8th" or so thick lasted for four years and almost 1800 dives with daily use in the sun and salt of the South Pacific. Amazing stuff! With the tanks, sidemounts, reels, gps array etc I was anchoring almost 160 pounds through the kydex material.

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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    I build kydex hybrid holsters on the side. It's thinner and lighter, as well as easier to work with than leather. That "click" is where the retention comes from. It is clicking into place either in the chamber area or trigger guard. Without the click it's just a plastic case, not a holster. If it rattles someone did a poor job of building that holster. I've heard differing view points on holster wear with kydex vs leather. If you have an open bottom kydex then you can just wipe it or wash it out. Closed holsters you are not able to clean them as well, but that applies to both leather and kydex. A holster that is not cleaned will wear on any gun finish.

    Is it the way to go? Well, that's entirely personal. I carry in both leather and hybrid rigs. Each one has a use that suits my needs.
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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dangerranger View Post
    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
    Done right, it looks like your gun was wrapped in black plastic. Some manufacturers use wood forms that don't mimic the gun. Some use guns or blue guns that mimic the real thing. It should fit your gun like a glove if it's done right. And yes you can warm it to customize retention and so forth. There is some room to play with. Some of the more adventurous guys will re form the holster to fit an entirely different gun. However, you are limited to the amount of kydex that is available. Don't expect to fit a laser in one that was not made for a laser. Probably not enough kydex or room between the gun and rivets.

    Here is one of my favorite holsters. Those lines are from the initial mold, not extra work. The kydex takes the shape of whatever it's molded too. Sometimes too well. I had one today that molded into the rail on the bottom and I had to relieve it to make it easier to draw.

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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.
    Where are you holstering and unholstering where this would even matter?
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    Member Array msc8127's Avatar
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    Re: Why Plastic?[kydex]

    I use both and can't say that I actually prefer one over the other. For every pro I can list about leather, I can match it with a pro about kydex. The only clear cut place where leather wins is in looks, but for concealment purposes I couldn't care less about looks.

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    Ex Member Array ScottM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BurgerBoy View Post
    I carry in a Fobus Paddle Holster and never have any problems with it. It's real easy to take on and off.
    Don't confuse a Fobus holster with kydex. There is a world of difference.

    And +1 on the Dale Fricke designs.

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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker'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.
    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.
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    Distinguished Member Array lchamp's Avatar
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    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.

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