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All Kydex Holsters Are Not Created Equal

Whenever I have a couple minutes to kill, I like to cruise Instagram hashtags and see what cool new stuff is relevant to my interests. Hashtags like #USPSA, #IDPA, and #3gun are a few of my favorites, but recently I’ve come across another hashtag that brings more talent, and absolute derp at the same time that it’s quickly become my favorite one to follow: #kydex

If you’re not familiar with Instagram it’s basically an easily searchable place where people can post pictures and video clips up to 15 seconds in length of whatever they want. There’s a ton of awesome shooting content, everything from gun porn of the coolest newest gear to match videos from shooters of all different skill levels.

In the past couple years there’s been an explosion of people getting into the kydex holster business, because it’s relatively easy to do, and the markup on a kydex holster is pretty massive. (Heck, before I started blogging, I even had a small business making kydex holsters.)

Anyways, while browsing Instagram I was reminded that just because someone can buy some kydex sheets, rivets, and a belt sander that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the first clue about what makes a quality holster, but that’s okay.

There’s a ton of people innovating with kydex and because the low cost to get started playing with the stuff means that there are a LOT of people out there innovating, trying different things, and learning from each other about what can be done with holsters.

The low cost of entry has an unfortunate downside as well, and that is inexperienced people without the ability to scale up trying to make a business out of bending kydex, and there are a lot of them out there.

One of the biggest things I’ve noticed while browsing the #kydex hashtag is that there is a lot of folks that make holsters that look really cool, but probably don’t function all that well.

  • Inside the waistband holsters that have double layers of kydex in order to make cool color combinations, but at the same time these double thick holsters are adding extra bulk and thickness inside the waistband of the person carrying.

  • Inside the waistband holsters that have sharp corners which look really neat, but I’ve found over the years that any holster that is going in my pants needs to have all the edges rounded off nice and smooth to keep it from digging into me when carrying it all day long.

  • Outside the waistband holsters that have huge cutouts to show off more of the pistol. Most of these are probably okay for range use, but I have concerns about the ability to keep the pistol in the holster in any sort of struggle.

  • Holster/Magazine pouch combinations. On the surface it seems like a great idea to make a holster that also carries a spare magazine, since it means you’ll always have a spare mag, and it’s only one thing to strap onto your belt. Unfortunately this all goes out the window when you actually have to reload the pistol, and you find that the magazine is on the wrong side of your body to grab with your weak hand to reload.

Innovation is awesome, so keep playing with kydex folks, but make sure your gear actually works before selling it. Also, if you’re not on Instagram (you should be) you can follow the #kydex feed here. Check it out.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.

5 comments

  1. Check out our holsters, we’re local in Raleigh.

  2. Hmm. The Instagrams. I’m just on the tweets. This could be a good marketing tool.

  3. waistband holster

    Instagram and Twitter are very useful. And yes, they both are great marketing tools.

    “Innovation is awesome,… but make sure your gear actually works before selling it”

    Spot on! We don’t want our holsters to just look awesome, they must be something that gives us comfort and does its job well. Thanks for sharing!

  4. As a defensive pistol instructor who also makes custom kydex holsters your thinking is right-on!

    Not all are equal! When you draw your gun a few thousand times and teach and watch others do it… well you learn a few things.

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