Diving Deep into Kydex Holsters
Leather holsters can look fancy, but they frankly aren’t always the best when it comes to functionality and firearm retention. Well, if you’ve been dissatisfied with your old holster, then maybe a Kydex holster will be a better option.
We’ve done the research for you and picked 5 models which we think are the best Kydex holsters out there. Not only that, but we’ve also prepared a handy buyer’s guide to help you with making a choice.
What is a Kydex Holster Exactly?
Kydex is a unique type of plastic designed for thermoforming fabrication. Since heat allows for easy reshaping, Kydex is used in many applications like the manufacture of truck fenders, safety helmets, air exhaust systems, and, of course, gun holsters.
Kydex is an acrylic-polyvinyl chloride composite material. It derives its rigidity and formability from acrylic, while toughness, good finish ratings, and chemical resistance come from polyvinyl chloride.
Overall, the composition of Kydex provides numerous benefits, including:
- Rigid yet a little bit flexible.
- Low-friction (which allows guns to be drawn out safely).
Formed with heat, Kydex can acquire virtually any shape – thanks to this, you can find Kydex holsters for a wide variety of firearms. Not only that, Kydex maintains its shape under normal conditions, which allows it to ensure good retention for a long time.
Kydex may fall slightly short as holster material aesthetically, but it is arguably makes for the best material when it comes tofunctionally. If you do value functionality more than design, then a Kydex holster may be the best option for you.
What Makes a Great Kydex Gun Holster
Before moving on to our top 5 of the best Kydex holsters, we want to briefly overview the features that you should look for in the desired holster. The info below should help you with picking the right holster easier.
First and foremost, do make sure to get a holster made specifically for your gun model. Kydex can have many shapes, and you should take advantage of it by picking a proper holster. Also, ensure that the holster is going to accept all the attachments that your pistol has.
Choose a right- or left-hand draw holster depending on your dominant hand. This is crucial since it’s much easier to draw a pistol quickly and precisely with your dominant hand.
IWB vs OWB
There are two main styles of gun holsters – IWB (inside waistband) and OWB (outside waistband).
IWB holsters are designed to be less visible on the wearer, albeit not completely invisible. An IWB holster is typically worn inside the pants, which allows for better concealment, especially if you are wearing a short shirt or if it is tucked inside the pants.
On the other hand, wearing a holster inside the pants has its inconveniences – the holster will be pressed tightly against your leg, somewhat limiting movement and comfort of seating. Well, this is the price of the increased concealment.
OWB holsters are more comfortable to wear, but they will be clearly visible to others, especially if not covered by a shirt or jacket. An OWB holster is a more suitable choice if the surprise factor isn’t important for you.
OWB holsters can be mounted to a belt or, alternatively, to the inside of the pants via the so-called paddle. What a holster paddle allows is easier mounting and dismounting of the holster. However, a paddle holster won’t sit as securely on the pants as a belt-mounted holster no matter how good the paddle is.
Make sure that the holster covers the trigger of your pistol at all times while it is inside. Accidental discharging could harm you or others, as well as compromise your concealment if you are wearing an IWB holster.
The trigger cover needs to be rigid. Avoid holsters with flimsy or open trigger areas. Fortunately, Kydex holsters tend to be excellent in regard to trigger safety thanks to their rigidity.
Easiness of drawing
Your Kydex holster needs to allow you to quickly draw your firearm. You should be able to quickly disengage its safety mechanism and fire with one hand.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to determine how good a holster is in this regard. It all comes down to personal preference and practice, which is why it’s difficult to pick a comfortable holster.
A good holster will also keep the weapon inside securely. This is important because the pistol needs to stay in a combat-ready position, and you also want to prevent thieves from snatching the firearm out.
Fortunately, since Kydex holsters can be shaped to a pistol, retention tends to be very good in them. Aside from that, many Kydex holsters have sweat guards designed to keep the slide clean and sweat-free, as well as maintain the holster’s grip on the firearm.
Kydex holsters allow a wide range of adjustability for owners. Among the things that you could adjust are:
- The firearm retention, which is adjusted by one-two screws.
- The carry angle.
- The carry height.
Perhaps the best thing about adjustability is that it allows a single holster to satisfy the needs of many gun owners. A Kydex holster with a wide degree of adjustability is very likely to suit your preferences.
However, some Kydex holsters may not allow you a full range of adjustment, so make sure to pay attention to what exactly can be adjusted.
Five Best Kydex Holsters - Reviews Updated to 2021
We The People IWB Kydex Holster
Up first on our list is this IWB holster by We The People. This holster combines all the good features that Kydex allows for.
The body of this holster is not only rigid but waterproof but also allows for full adjustment of the gun position. You can adjust the retention in this holster, as well as change the carry angle and height of the holster to allow for quicker and more comfortable drawing.
Speaking of drawing, this holster features an undercut trigger guard allowing for an easier grip on the firearm when pulling the gun out. Plus, it has a sweat shield to keep the slide clean and grippy. And when putting the gun back, you will hear an audible click signaling that the weapon is in its place.
This Kydex holster also has an IWB design, which will be great if you want a more concealed Kydex holster. The holster is securely held in place inside the pants by a strong clip.
With that being said, keep in mind that IWB holsters are uncomfortable to wear, and go for this Kydex holster only if its benefits are more important for you than the downsides.
The We the People IWB Kydex Holster offers, as its name implies suggests, an IWB design which is great if you want a more concealed Kydex holster. The holster is securely held in place inside the pants by a strong clip.
With that being said, keep in mind that IWB holsters are known to be less comfortable to wear compare to some alternatives, so go for this Kydex holster only if its benefits are more important for you than the downsides.
Tru-Fit Tactical OWB Kydex Gun Holster
This Kydex holster by Tru-Fit Tactical is a simpler holster model when compared to the previously reviewed We The People, but it does stand out in its own right, at a much more affordable budget with available sizing options of over 50 gun models.
This holster has an OWB design, so it’s a good option if you are more worried about the comfort of wearing than concealment. And since this holster is designed to be mounted on a belt, it should sit in place more securely than holsters that are held in place by just a clip.
On the other hand, the retention in this holster is going to be a little bit weaker than in the We The People holster. While the Tru-Fit holster is available for many pistol models, it doesn’t have retention adjustment, so you are getting as much retention as provided by the holster shape.
You can still adjust the position of the belt mounts for some variety though, which is a big plus. This should noticeably add to this holster’s already good comfort of wearing.
The Tru-Fit Tactical OWB Kydex Gun Holster is an incredibly balanced, and relatively inexpensive choice compared to some of the other items on the list, offering the majority of the benefits and comfort we look for in OWB Klydex Holsters. However, one noticeable drawback, like lacking retention adjustment which some of its pricier competitors do offer.
Vedder Holsters LightTuck IWB Kydex Glock 43 Holster
If you are looking for a Kydex holster for your Glock 43 pistol, then this may be an excellent option. Aside from being designed specifically for the Glock 43, this Kydex holster has a few other benefits to boast. If you happen to own a Glock 17 check out our overview of recommended holster models for it here
Perhaps the first thing to catch the eye is that this holster can be worn either on a belt or inside the pants. Thus, the LightTuck is a hybrid of an IWB and OWB holster. Not necessarily a must-have feature, such a design may allow for more comfort for gun owners who want versatile wearing options from a single holster.
This Kydex holster is also adjustable – it allows for carry height & angle (up to 30 degrees in both directions), as well as retention adjustment, just like in the We The People holster we overviewed at the beginning. Likewise, this holster has a sweat shield. .
All things considered, while the Vedder Holsters LightTuck IWB Kydex Holster holster is relatively expensive, given its versatility and adjustment range, it’s certainly worth the money for those that desire high quality and performance.
We The People OWB Kydex Holster
If you want an easy to use OWB Kydex holster, then this holster by We The People may be an excellent option for you. This holster is very similar to the other We The People holster we overviewed at the beginning, with the main difference being the OWB design.
In fact, this isn’t a simple OWB holster – instead of belt mounts, it has a paddle mount which allows for much quicker mounting on the belt. Such convenience comes at a cost though – this holster won’t sit on the belt as securely as traditional belt-mounted holsters, though its paddle does have angled edges to improve the mounting a little.
A thing that we like about this holster is its carbon fiber-like texture – it may make the holster a little bit easier to grip, but what’s more important is that it makes this holster look much better than all the holsters reviewed previously. For some people, this may be a big advantage.
In terms of adjustability, this paddle holster is very similar to the IWB We The People holster – it allows you to adjust the retention and the cant & ride. And yeah, the overall design is similar in the two We The People paddles, aside from the differences mentioned above.
The We The People OWB Kydex Holster is a great choice when it comes to its ease of use, and unlike the majority of klydex holsters, it actually looks kick ass. While it’s overall quality is satisfying, it could be improved upon when it comes to feeling secure when attached to the belt.
Concealment Express OWB Kydex Gun Holster
Finally, we have this OWB Kydex holster by Concealment Express. This holster is very similar to the We The People OWB paddle holster we’ve just reviewed. However, there is one crucial difference that may make this holster more appealing to you.
This Kydex holster has two retention adjustment screws, which allows for a wider range of adjustment of how tightly the gun sits inside. Not that the other Kydex holsters on the roundup are bad in this regard, but the Concealment Express holster may be just a tad better.
The Concealment Express gun holster also has the very attractive carbon fiber-like texture which you may absolutely love.
Aside from the retention, this Kydex holster also allows the adjustment of the carry angle, albeit in a relatively limited range – from -5 to 20 degrees. The height adjustment also seems to be a bit limited, but if you don’t really need it, this won’t be a problem for you.
In the end, if you do want strong retention, then this may be that best Kydex holster for your needs!
The Concealment Express OWB Kydex Gun Holster is one of the most balanced choices of kydex holsters from this list, with the added benefit of two adjustment screws for controlling how tight or how loose it is. If it wasn’t for its limited range of movement height wise, it would be near perfect, but if that’s not a concern for you, this may be the one for you.