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Kydex Holsters vs. Injection Molded Polymer Holsters

Many people ask us what is the best material for holsters. We know there are tons of holsters types out there with different types of materials.
There are many materials used for gun holsters such as leather, polymers, and neoprene.

All are great for concealed carry holsters. Many people though are turning their attention to the new and improved options available for gun holsters. Many feel that leather holsters are of an antiquated notion. So they're turning to the plastic holsters such as Kydex and Injection Molded Polymer.

 

WHAT IS KYDEX?

Before we go on any further let's get a crash course in Kydex. Here is what Kydex is in layman terms. Kydex is a form of thermoforming plastic. It's an acrylic- polyvinyl chloride material, kind of like what you find inside an aircraft interior or fuselage. It is lightweight and strong.

IWB Kydex Holster

WHAT IS INJECTION MOLDED POLYMER?

Injection Molded Polymer plastic is a process where the plastic pellets are heated. The molted polymer is injected into a mold and the polymer is now molded to its new form.

IWB Injection Mold Polymer Holster

KYDEX HOLSTER PROCESS

What makes Kydex super popular is its ease-of-use when it comes to holster making. Your start-up cost isn't much either. You can practically buy sheets of Kydex anywhere now and all you need is a small oven, a homemade press, and a workbench. Now, let me be clear, not anyone can get these things together and make a custom Kydex gun holster, BUT, it doesn't take "Rocket Science" talent either. This has allowed the Kydex holster to take over the gun community like a firestorm. Especially with Social Media applications like Facebook and Instagram where you can showcase your product instantly.

Kydex Holster Process

INJECTION MOLDED HOLSTER PROCESS

Injection Molded Polymer holsters, on the other hand, do take way more effort, time, skills and resources. 3-D scanning, CAD designing, and 3-D printing are essential for the initial stages. These tools are very expensive and can only be handled by skilled workers. Then there is the need to cut the mold with intricate CNC machines and run them in large injection mold machines. This also takes talent and extensive training and skills.


IS LEATHER AND SOFTER MATERIALS LIKE NEOPRENE AND NYLON MORE COMFORTABLE?

They may be but this is becoming more irrelevant due to redesigns of IWB holsters especially with Injection Molded Polymer holsters which allow super intricate designs and customizations to the holster helping in comfort and ease of use.

 

WHAT'S STRONGER, KYDEX OR POLYMER?

Both are strong and durable. You can get Kydex sheets with different thicknesses. Injection Molded Polymer allows the manufacturer to customize the thickness and print to specific and different measurements within the holster. This is something that Kydex is limited to.

Because Kydex can be formed in temperatures of around 200 degrees, it is prone to heat that can be found in car trunks in the dead heat of summer. This can cause slight deformation and loose retention. This is NOT an issue with all Kydex holsters. The process in which it is molded can make a HUGE difference in how your Kydex holster will react in extreme heat. It is important that you buy your holster from a reputable holster company such as Bravo Concealment to ensure a good, long-lasting product. Extreme heat is not an issue with a good Polymer holster.

WHAT'S BETTER THOUGH, KYDEX OR POLYMER?

They are both great holsters. Whether you go with an OWB or an IWB holster, plastic materials like Kydex and Injection Molded Polymer holsters are superior to leathers and nylon holsters. They are waterproof and can easily be wiped and dried with a rag or towel.

IWB holsters don't collapse like leather and neoprene holsters once you draw your gun making it easier to re-holster your weapon as well. Leather and webbed nylon holsters are very abrasive and can wear the finish on your gun. Now, let's be clear here once again, you running your EDC will cause some form of wear on your gun, period. There is no holster out there that creates NO wear on your gun.

Kydex holsters and Polymer holsters that are made with tight tolerances like a Bravo Holster, which is made specifically for that certain gun model, will protect your guns finish way more than a holster that has a one-size-fits-most design. This allows your gun to move around when you are wearing it creating friction and ultimately wears the finish on your gun.

High-quality holsters such as one with adjustable ride height can be found in either Kydex or I.M. Polymer holsters. Most Kydex holster companies use Injection Molded polymer accessories for their gun holsters such as belt loops and belt clips.

 

 

 

 

Rene Aguirre

Rene Aguirre is the founder and owner of Bravo Concealment. Rene has been carrying concealed on a daily basis for over 8 years and has been a CHL (concealed handgun license) holder for more than 20 years. Finding a high interest in firearms for many years, Rene started Bravo because of the “lack of” a good concealed carry holster. He is the leader of the church security team at his church.


2 comments

  • Hello Rene,

    In your article you state:

    “Because Kydex can be formed in temperatures of around 200 degrees, it is prone to heat that can be found in car trunks in the dead heat of summer. This can cause slight deformation and loose retention. This is NOT an issue with all Kydex holsters.”

    This seems like a contradiction. Did you mean:

    “Because Injection Molded Plastics can be formed in temperatures of around 200 degrees, it is prone to heat that can be found in car trunks in the dead heat of summer.”?

    If not, please clarify what you are intending to say as, in reading, it appears to be a contradiction.

    Thank you for your article and in advance for your clarification.

    Alex V

    Alex V
  • Very informative article concerning the various materials used in the construction of Kydex and I.M Polymer holsters.

    Gary Morrow

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