Homemade Hybrid Holster V.2 (lots of pics)


September 17, 2010, 01:55 AM
The following posts were made over several days. I took it easy and had several interuptions, so this holster took me about 4-5 days to complete. I hope you enjoy the pics!

Saturday, 9/11:
Well, I got my latest order of Kydex and started on my next hybrid holster today. Since I wanted this one to look a little nicer than the first, I started with dying the leather. I went with a all-in-one stain and finish from Eco-Flo called "fudge brown." It's a gel that you just wipe on with a cloth. The more you use, the darker it gets. After the stain drys, you can buff it and get a really nice sheen.
Next was to start forming the "chocolate brown" Kydex. I think these colors are going to look really nice together.
In order to get the gun and mag as close together as possible, I built a little jig out of some aluminum flat stock. This holds the Kydex flat against the bench while I form the pockets for the pistol and the mag on either side. I did the gun side first.

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September 17, 2010, 01:57 AM
While I was waiting for the Kydex to cool down completely from forming it around the gun, I decided to make a couple of J clips. I have lots of remnants of black .093" Kydex from making motorcycle handguards. Most of these are just the right size to make two clips.
I went with J clips this time, but I'll probably make some other variations to see what I like best. These clips just need holes punched and the corners rounded over.
After the clips, I went back to the brown Kydex and formed the mag carrier. I think the forming went pretty well.
I just need to trim the extra from the top, bottom and sides, and then I'll start stitching the leather and Kydex together. Right now, I'ts just too hot to play around in the garage any more tonight. I'll finish up tomorrow.

September 17, 2010, 01:58 AM
Sunday, 9/12:
I didn't get a whole lot done today. Sundays are always really busy for me with church, music practice, etc... I did finish molding the Kydex. I wanted to get the angles where the Kydex transitions to the leather really sharp. Just pressing it wasn't getting the results I wanted, so I tried something else. I heated the Kydex JUST enough to work it, and then I applied pressure with some various tools (the base plate to my Kahr's mag worked well), moving along the angles as the Kydex cooled. Basically, I used the same technique as hand boning wet leather. Using this method, I was able to get almost 90 degree transition angles. After getting the Kydex formed to my satisfaction, I trimmed the edges with my band saw and cleaned them up with a sanding sponge. I accidentally trimmed the edge along the mag holder a little closer than I wanted to, but I think it's still workable. Anyway, on to the pics!

How it looks on the inside:

One of my major goals for this holster was to make it narrower than the first. I was hoping to narrow it by about an inch, but I ended up doing a hair better. Measured at the widest point, from side to side, V.1 is 5.89" wide and V.2 is 4.79" wide. Here's a comparison pic of V.1 (green) and V.2 (brown):

Hopefully, tomorrow night, I'll be able to drill the stitching holes and stitch everything together. Then I just have to bevel, slick and dye the edges, and install the clips.

September 17, 2010, 01:59 AM
Tuesday, 9/14:
I've had a busy couple of days, so I haven't made much progess. Tonight I got the stitching holes drilled in the Kydex. First, I used a frehhand groover to scribe out the lines I wanted the stiching to follow. It's actually a leather working tool, but it worked quite well on the Kydex. Then, I used a 3/32" diamond hole punch to lay out the holes. I bought a 4 pronged punch, but it wouldn't make tight enough corners so I snapped one of the prongs off. at times, I had to lean it way over and only use 2 prongs to keep the stitch line smooth.
Then I went back and drilled the holes with a 1/16" drill bit. I'm pretty happy with how the lines came out and very relieved that there was plenty of space beside the mag carrier after all. After I drilled the holes, I cleaned up the drill-out on the back with a sanding sponge and did some final sanding on the edges to make the edges match up with the drilled holes better.

September 17, 2010, 02:00 AM
Wednesday, 09/15:
I got quite a bit done tonight. I laid out the finishied Kydex on the leather to determine my cant. I just eyeballed it at forst, then I measuered the angle and it turns out thet my guess came out right at 15 degrees. That was what I was looking for, so I marked the positiion. Next, I used an awl to mark the position for the holes in the leather, using the Kydex as a template.
I drilled out the leather, making the holse for the first row of stiching.
Then I flippped the leather over and followed the dots with my groover to make the inset groove that the stitching would snug down inside. This gives you a flush surface when you're done, rather than having the stiching raised up above the surface of the leather.
Next, I temporarily stiched the leather and Kydex together. This held everything in the proper alignment while I drilled the holes for the other two lines of stitching.
After drilling all the holes, I again flipped the leather over and grooved the stitch lines on the back.
There you go... ready to start sewing.

September 17, 2010, 02:01 AM
I decided to single-needle stich the parts together. I started in the middle, went to the frist and and doubled back, wnet to the seconde and and then doubled back, ending in the middle. I overlapped the start and finish by about 2 stitches to keep theings locked together. Here'es the first row of stitching. I dirlled one or two holles off a little, so this one isn't as straight as I would have liked, but it's not too bad.
Done with the all three rwos of stiching. I broke the heads off of 3 needles doing this. The Kydex has no give, and when you hit a hole for the second time with the needle and thread, things get really tight. It took pulling the needle through with a pair of pliers, and some of the holes were a real effort. Make sure you really do a good job drilling the holes in the Kydex. I could defintely tell whcih holes had been drilled cleaner than the others. Also, I opted to use braided nylon thread rather than twisted thread. The braided thread is thicker and looks much better (IMHO) when stictched on the rather large holes of the Kydex. When you pull it tight, it flattens and fills in the hols more. However, the twisted thread is thinner and MUCH easier to sew with, especially on the second pass. Overall, I pretty happy with the look so far.
Here I have the homemade Kydex J-clips mounted. I remade the clips as my first version just looked too unrefined. I think these turned out much better. I like my holster to ride pretty high, so they are set pretty far up. I wnet ahead and added some extra holes for adjustment, but I think I'm going to like it pretty much where I have it set. The clips are spaced out from the leather using leather washers that I cut from the same material. They are mounted using Chicago screws. Once I'm positive of their placement, I'll hit the screws with a little bit of Loctite to make sure they stay secure. (you can see the leather spacing washers in this pic, too.)
Here, you can also see that I've started trimming the extra leather away. I like to do this slowly and in increments, since I can always cut more off, but I can't add it back on.
This is more or less the final shape. I may trim more off after wearing the holster, but that's it for now. I like to have a full sweat shield, rather than the "combat cut."

September 17, 2010, 02:02 AM
The last thing for the night was to bevel and slick the edges.
First I used a sanding block to smoth up the contours of the edge. Then, I ran my #3 edge beveler all the way around the holster on both the front and the back. Finally, I light wet the edges with water and ran my slicking wheel over them by hand. It really takes very little work to burninsh the edges to a nice, smooth contour.
I let the edges dry overnight before applying the edge dressing.

September 17, 2010, 02:03 AM
Thursday, 9/16:
Alright, I applied the edge coat to day and did some final fidgeting. The Edge coat goes on really easily. You just wipe it on the edges with a sponge and let it dry. I did two coats to get a really nice black edge. A finished edge really does a lot to make a holster look good. This stuff also waterproof and protects the edges of the leather. It's probably overkill, but I went ahead and burnished the edges of the leather washers and edge coated them, too.
I heated up the Kydex to do some final fitting. I adjusted the retention of the pistol and added some pre-curve to the Kydex to make the holster fit my body better. The leather will form iteself over the next few days of wear.
I reainstalled the clips, and we're done!
Once I make a final decision on ride height, I'm definitely going to trim the excess off the bottom of the j-clips. I can already feel thet part digging into my hip.

September 17, 2010, 02:06 AM
Here is my homemade holster next to a professionally produced Kholster. (I daresay mine is prettier!)

And here are few pics of the holster in use. It's already quite comfortable, but it'll be even better after a few days of breaking in.

September 19, 2010, 06:52 PM
Thanks for the post.

I feel a little more educated.

September 19, 2010, 09:44 PM
More and more the idea of doing one of these myself appeals to me.

Thanks for sharing and nice work.

So how much heat does the heat gun put out (and would it harm a polymer pistol frame)?

Also, when shaping the Kydex does the heat alone shape it or do you have to bone it like leather?

September 19, 2010, 10:45 PM
The heat gun gets REALLY hot! You have to keep it moving and apply the heat sparingly until you've got the Kydex warm enough to get flexible. If you overheat the Kydex, you can melt it. leaving a shiney spot and losing some of the texture in that spot. I definitely wouldn't heat it while it was on a poly gun. Heat the Kydex away from the gun. When it gets really floppy, lay it over the gun and press down with a piece of foam to form it around the gun. (You can also heat the Kydex in a toaster oven at 250 for about 3-4 minutes.) You can make a press pretty easily from plywood and foam (plans are all over the 'net), but I've just been doing these by hand. If I was planning on making 5 or 6 holsters in a short time, I'd probably make a press.

For fine tuning the fit, you can heat the Kydex just to the point that it gets flexible (but not floppy) and then bone it like you would leather. You just have to keep running your boning tool back and forth over the area you're working as the Kydex cools. If you stop before it cools, you'll loose some of your detail.

September 22, 2010, 12:05 AM
Can you post where you buy your leather and kydex and the thickness's of both?
I too have a Kholster and i like it alot once i trimmed it down to about as small as it could possibly get.
But id like to make one for my 1911 and im not sure on what leather weight is best for the back on this style of holster.
I really need to invest in a heat gun as using the oven or holding the kydex over the stove is very hard to almost impossible to do it with.

September 22, 2010, 02:25 AM
DasFriek, you can do adjustments with a cheap hair-dryer, although that might not cut it for initial forming of blank Kydex.

Get a cheapo dryer from goodwill or something, quit trying to burn your house down with the stove!

September 22, 2010, 07:58 AM
Can you post where you buy your leather and kydex and the thickness's of both?
I too have a Kholster and i like it alot once i trimmed it down to about as small as it could possibly get.
But id like to make one for my 1911 and im not sure on what leather weight is best for the back on this style of holster.
I really need to invest in a heat gun as using the oven or holding the kydex over the stove is very hard to almost impossible to do it with.

I buy my Kydex from Knifekits.com. I use the .080" thick Kydex.

The leather and everything else I bought from Tandy Leather. The leather is shoulder leather, which is 4-5 oz. (They don't sell it by thickness, but by weight.) I pawed through the stack in the store and got leather on the thicker end of the spectrum. You're better off to go to the Tandy store if there's one in your area, as they will have in-store specials and the employees area very helpful to first-timers.

As for the heat gun, you don't need anything fancy. I use a Harbor Freight dual temp heat gun that costs $7.99.

September 22, 2010, 09:15 AM
That is a fine looking holster... let me guess, it cost you all of $20?

September 22, 2010, 11:52 AM
I estimate the total cost to be around $12. Of course, I have enough leftover material to make 4-5 more, so the total cost of the project was more than that. But even so, I saved enough on the two I've already made to more than make up the difference. Also, it's really fun to make your own holsters!

September 24, 2010, 07:28 PM
I did a little bit of trimming to the leather on the front end and raised the location of the front clip. This makes it a more comfortable when sitting.

October 15, 2010, 04:15 PM
I have an idea for a variation on your tuckable clips ... basically J shaped clips that come up and hook over the pants behind the belt with velcro on the face between the clip and the belt instead of the little J hooks (Fist makes something sort of like this).

Look something like this:


October 15, 2010, 04:18 PM
Wery cool... nice work. Just curious... this type of mag carrier with the spare on the holster of the gun... how would it work in practical use? Would you switch hands and retrieve the mag with your strong hand?

October 15, 2010, 06:12 PM
Well I'll be darned ... the Crossbreed folk done beat me to it. (http://www.crossbreedholsters.com/Holsters/IWBInsideWaistBand/tabid/56/List/0/ProductID/8/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName%2cProductName)


October 15, 2010, 11:25 PM
Geez ... the CompTac folk have one too (http://www.comp-tac.com/product_info.php?products_id=78) ... and here I thought I was all clever. :p

October 16, 2010, 12:08 AM
Wery cool... nice work. Just curious... this type of mag carrier with the spare on the holster of the gun... how would it work in practical use? Would you switch hands and retrieve the mag with your strong hand?

I just reach accross with my left hand. It's no more of a stretch than carrying the pistol crossdraw. I figure that if I ever needed to reload during a gunfight (God forbid!!!) I'd already have sought out cover and the miniscule amount of extra time compared to carrying the spare on my weak side wouldn't matter. It's certainly no slower than carrying the spare in a front pocket, especially if your seated or in a car.

December 31, 2011, 10:50 AM
I know this is an old post, but wondering if the OP has any more thoughts on this holster design after using it for a year now? I've been thinking I'd like to have something similar but it seems like most of the current holster makers look at it as a foolish idea.

thanks for the info, I may go ahead and make my own.

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