KYDEX holsters: what you need to know

Kydex was developed by Rohm and Haas, which was an aircraft interior materials manufacturer. Later in the 1960s, industries realized that KYEDX thermoplastic sheets could be formed into a variety of shapes. To do so, heat is applied and the material is molded around forms.

KYDEX, LLC was founded right before the turn of the 21st century. KYDEX is now the catch-all generic term for plastic holsters. Some companies sell holsters labelled “KYDEX”, which aren’t made from KYDEX plastics. In addition, not all holsters made from KYDEX are created equal, even if they are genuine.

KYDEX comes in a variety of colors

Just as there are different grades of leather, there are different grades of KYDEX. KYDEX manufactures more than 40 different types of thermoplastic sheets, each with its own characteristics and cost. Many KYDEX materials come in low-cost, budget plastics made from re-grind/recycled grades of sheet. In the end, this results in lower-cost products with lower performance standards than higher-grade, more expensive thermoplastics.

KyDEX sheets are graded according to three factors: thickness, grain, and temperature resistance. KYDEX T and KYDEX 100 are the most common types of KYDEX sheets used for gun holsters and knife sheaths. It is particularly well suited for thermoforming. Incredibly tough and durable, it offers excellent formability, rigidity, break resistance, chemical resistance and high temperature resistance.

KYDEX holsters don’t all look the same

Injection-molded KYDEX holster is not genuine. Because KYDEX is made of pure polymers, their extruded sheets do not contain blended stiffeners. Kydex will last longer than cheaper plastics and will not damage your firearm no matter how many times you slide it in and out of the holster. A KYDEX holster is made by heating a piece of plastic and molding it around a form at the point where the excess material is cut off and polished. The creation of a KYDEX holster is most certainly a labor-intensive process that requires considerable expertise, careful quality control, and precise temperatures, as well as the cooling of the holster.

Gun wear and KYDEX

A holster can wear and tear the finish of your firearm. As a result, it is the main complaint from KYDEX holster owners. KYDEX holsters need to follow the precise shape and form of the weapon they hold in order to minimize this. Apply the proper amount of pressure to the specific areas of the firearm, and nothing more. Kydex holsters will rarely show finish wear if the weapon is matched and shaped correctly to the holster.

Last but not least…

KYDEX holsters aren’t cheap, so you should ask some basic questions, such as what kind of thermoplastic is used. The performance and price point of a quality KYDEX holster are both similar to that of a leather holster.

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