​7 Things You Need to Know if You’re New to Kydex

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Kydex has been the rising star in the holster-making world for quite a few years now, but it wasn’t until fairly recently that the market became totally oversaturated with options.

It’s safe to say that we’re in the age of Kydex, but if you’re new to it, the material can come with a few surprises.

In this blog post, we’re breaking down a few things to help you get to know Kydex as a holster material, to help you better understand if it’s the right choice for you.

1. It’s a superior material to leather and nylon

If you’re new to the Kydex world, you may not know the it’s currently the most popular material for holster makers.

Why? It’s incredibly durable, easy to work with and can be molded to virtually any shape. Click here to read more about the material itself.

When you opt for a Kydex holster, you’re choosing a holster that was specifically made to fit your firearm – it’s not a one-size-fits-all option. That increases the safety and security of the holster, and allows it to perform better.

And because Kydex isn’t porous like leather or nylon, it doesn’t absorb sweat, dirt or grime, thus keeping you drier and more comfortable over time.

Imagine carrying around a soggy holster all day…not fun.

With Kydex, simply wipe the sweat off the backside of the holster, and you’re dry. This also helps keep your firearm protected over time, since the material is impervious to the elements – i.e. it doesn’t matter if you get caught in the rain or snow while carrying.

But, if you expose a leather holster to water (or sweat), you’ll need to take it off and set it aside to dry slowly – otherwise, the chemical composition of the material is compromised, and that causes deterioration over time.

Nylon will dry a lot faster than leather, but not while it’s sitting in your waistline.

Not to mention, Kydex is much easier to maintain over time, providing the customer with a quality piece of gear that’s meant to last.

But there are multiple other ways that Kydex outperforms leather and nylon in terms of holsters. Click here to read a full comparison of the three materials.

2. The retention is going to be very different from what you’re used to

A common complaint when a customer is using a Kydex holster for the first time is: “It’s so darn tight I can’t even pull the gun out!”

You’re used to a looser, less defined holster that simply holds the gun in place. Now you’re dealing with a holster that was formed to replicate the intricate details of your individual firearm, so it conforms to the gun and holds it in place with a bit of resistance.

It’s perfectly normal to feel like the holster is too tight. We promise you, you’ll ease into it.

It’s simply a matter of practicing your draws, so that you begin to understand what the material feels like; it’s pretty different from what you’ve been using.

A cool feature that comes on a lot of our holsters is adjustable retention. This allows you to tighten or loosen the retention ever-so-slightly, giving you just a bit more comfort and/or security.

Not all companies offer this feature, and not every holster comes standard with it. It’s important to always read the product description of an item thoroughly before ordering.

3. It may be uncomfortable at first

Of course, when you’re used to a soft material, like leather or nylon, a hard plastic like Kydex can feel uncomfortable, and even foreign. It’s very strange at first, and then one day, you don’t even notice it. 

4. It’s entirely customizable

Is red your favorite color? Lucky for you, you can have your Kydex holster made specifically in that shade.

Kydex comes in a variety of different colors, textures, and finishes, allowing the customer to showcase their style and personality. From neon green or black carbon fiber, to hot pink or Realtree camo, there’s a Kydex color/pattern for everyone.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a Kydex holster company that offers every single option under the sun. But most companies offer at least 10 options, and some companies even specialize in rare, unique colors/patterns.

At Alpha Concealment Systems, we currently offer 34 different choices. Click here to explore them.

5. It can take a beating, but it’s not indestructible

As we mentioned earlier, Kydex is a very durable material. It’s hard and non-porous, and the shape remains constant, even when the firearm isn’t in it.

The material doesn’t stretch, fray or wear down with time (like leather or nylon will), and if you simply rinse it with soap and water after a long day at the range, it looks basically brand new again.

But, it’s not indestructible. Every material has a breaking point.

Can you bang it around and have faith that it’s going to be OK in the long run? Sure thing.

Can you run it over with your car and expect it to stay intact? No can do.

6. It can be compromised by extreme temperatures

Going off of the last point, extreme temperatures can be the Kryptonite of Kydex.

Don’t leave the holster in your car on a hot summer day. It won’t melt, but it will definitely lose its shape, structure and definition, and you’ll be left with a compromised piece of gear that simply isn’t safe to use any longer.

Don’t leave the holster outside in the middle of winter. Extreme cold causes the material to become weak, and increases the chances of a crack. Cracks can’t be fixed, so you’ll be left with an unusable holster in this case.

7. Not all Kydex holsters are created equal

Since the material is so easy to work with, there has been a major uptick in DIY holster making in recent years.

While we’re all for the spreading of useful information, the availability of DIY tutorials on the Internet has had a negative consequence on the industry: everyone and their brother is opening a Kydex holster company.

Don’t get us wrong: competition is a great thing. And we’re definitely not afraid of it.

But, a lot of these one-man-shops use very primitive forms of manufacturing, the designs aren’t carefully thought out, and the holsters really aren’t the greatest. In fact, they are usually far from it, which can really leave a bad taste in people’s mouths. Even some bigger operations focus more on the quantity of orders they're pushing out the door, rather than the quality.

If you’ve tried a Kydex holster before, and you felt that it wasn’t up to par, don’t write Kydex off altogether; there are so many options and so many companies out there, you’re bound to find another Kydex holster that’s better quality than that.

Now, we’re certainly not trying to bash anyone. We’re just uncomfortable with people comparing us to those guys, when our operation, and our products, are entirely different. And that’s a pretty important factor when it comes to the buying decision.

No, we don’t use a toaster oven to make our holsters.

No, it doesn’t take an hour or less for us to make your holster.

No, we don’t just slap some Kydex around a mold and call it a day.

And on the other end of the spectrum are the companies that lean on advanced technology to craft their holsters, churning out holster after holster on an endless conveyer belt of products. We’re not like those guys either.

No, we don’t use computer-aided design to craft our products.

No, we don’t simply push a button on a CNC machine that does all the work for us.

No, we don’t use a vacuum former to mold a holster in mere seconds.

Our holsters are 100% handcrafted, from scratch, by real people, not machines. We use several different styles of manual presses to mold our holsters, and that creates a very different product from either of the types of companies mentioned above. And we like to think it’s a superior product because of that (and so do our customers!).

Our manufacturing and finishing techniques produce different results, and therefore the features on our holsters may not be the same as the features on a holster from another company.

And the amount of time, energy and effort that goes into creating a single holster is not comparable to most other companies – just because one company can turn a holster around in 1-2 days, doesn’t mean it’s better. Every company has its own processes, and its own workload, and what takes a day to complete at one company, may take a week at another company.

The quality, consistency, design, appearance, function and fit of a holster are all factors that may vary from company to company – you should never assume that a holster made by Company A will be similar to a holster made by Company B.

All in all, do your research, and find the company that fits your needs best. We guarantee there’s a Kydex company out there that fits everyone – it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you.

If you’d like to learn more about our company, click here.

If you’d like to learn more about our processes, click here.

If you'd like to learn more about our products, click here.

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