Kydex vs. leather holster?


August 7, 2010, 11:57 AM
In an effort to reduce the number of rejected holsters by getting a few good ones first time out:

What are the pros and cons of Kydex for holsters? What are the pros and cons of leather for holsters? Let's assume that the owner has only one very precious pistol used for everything including concealed carry.

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August 7, 2010, 12:58 PM
In an effort to reduce the number of rejected holsters by getting a few good ones first time out
Let us know how that works out for ya! :D
Aw hell...might as well go ahead and buy yourself a box for 'em!

I own only ballistic nylon (Bagmaster) and various leather holsters-don't own a Kydex, BUT I remember one strike against it in your PRO/CON column would be should you have to pull it, guns against Kydex make a distinctive sound that many might recognize?

Folks like to rag on nylon, but I've been pleased with my Bagmasters-'course, being one size fits many, all of mine have a retention strap on 'em.
I've recently bought a few leather-Galco, DeSantis, High Noon Holsters-pretty impressed with DeSantis stuff for the price/quality/availability. High Noon also nice, but pricier, and I had to wait 3 months!

BTW-for what type of gun?

The Lone Haranguer
August 7, 2010, 03:12 PM
For Kydex:

Can be made very thin while still remaining rigid, an important consideration for a IWB holster and/or a wide/thick handgun. The less thickness and bulk added, the better. And it is much easier to reholster the gun as it does not collapse when the gun is out of it and your belt is putting pressure on it.
Impervious to moisture. It is possible, in very hot/humid weather, to sweat through a leather IWB holster.
Often lower cost than many leather holsters, although there is considerable overlap.
Will not lose its shape - hence its retention - over time.

Against Kydex:

Can cause rather rapid holster wear on finishes. However, this is generally limited to edges and corners and gets to a certain point then stops. Be sure to get it with a smooth inner surface.
Can be noisy - making a "snick" or "zing" - when drawing the gun. This could cause problems if you have to draw surreptitiously. (I don't know of any documented cases where it did, though.)
Can be uncomfortable, especially when carried IWB, being nearly as rigid as the gun itself, with no "give" to accommodate your bodily contours.

For leather:

Appearance and resulting pride of ownership. While Kydex is practical, utilitarian and functional, leather work can be beautiful.
As referred to above, it will form itself to the contours of your body over time, increasing comfort.

Against leather:
As referred to above, can be sweated through, unless it is made with a moisture barrier of some sort. (Some Milt Sparks holsters have this feature.)
To maintain rigidity for reholstering, it has to be made thicker, with a reinforced mouth adding still more thickness.
Being a natural material, it can degrade over time.

August 7, 2010, 03:33 PM
while i love leather for the look and feel...and the workmanship needed to make a great holster in leather, a well designed kydex holster will do everything a leather one will besides look good.

the kydex will stand up better to battering and moisture, will hold it's shape for ever, will not collapse if you roll on it and will clean up with water. it is just a matter of function over appearance, they just generally look blocky to me. they also allow a faster draw...we used to try to get this in leather by linning them with steel.

i use Kydex when teaching and for range duty, but i prefer leather for carry. if i could only pick one holster for everything, including CCW, i'd go with a Comp-Tac Settable Cant Paddle holster

August 7, 2010, 03:42 PM
About the two worst things I can say about Kydex is.
1. It is noisy on the draw.
I do some handgun hunting and getting a gun out of kydex without spooking game is hard.

2. It also seems to me it is harder on bluing then leather unless you keep to a strict holster cleaning program to keep dust and grit out of them.


August 7, 2010, 04:55 PM
Leather lined kydex - the best of both worlds. The Silent Thunder by Tucker Gun Leather. I've got three and like them so much that I'll pimp them in just about any holster thread. :- )

Deaf Smith
August 7, 2010, 08:43 PM
Get a Kydex IWB holster if CCW is primary. Several good makes like FIST, Blade-tech, Sidearmor, etc....

If CCW is part and trekking the wilds also a big part, Kydex belt slides and pancake styles work very well.

If Indiana Jones in the wilds is the primary reason, a good leather flap holster to protect it would do well.


August 7, 2010, 09:00 PM
I think you'll end up owning a bunch of holsters no matter what, as you try and find the mythical perfect holster.

A couple of good options are holsters that can be worn both inside the waistband (IWB) and outside the waistband (OWB) such as the

Raven Concealment Phantom

and the Simply Rugged Cuda

August 7, 2010, 11:15 PM
JTQ . . . is this gonna be like wives???? I hope not as expensive:eek:

The Bushmaster
August 8, 2010, 09:16 AM
Strictly leather, wood and steel here. Have no idea if kydex is better. I'm a bit old fashioned? Yes I know, but leather, wood and steel have worked for many years and I see no reason to change. The wheel isn't broken yet.

As far as not having to keep a special drawer for your holster collection is concerned. GOOD LUCK. I'm up to two drawers and counting.:p

You collect wives? I do feel for you...Just can't reach ya. In fact. I'm staying a long way from ya.:D

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