Which holster material generates the least wear?


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tiamat
April 10, 2013, 11:23 AM
All I've ever used are leather holsters, and we all know what a gun's finish looks like after living most of its live in a leather holster (perhaps glock's excluded).

I'd like to get a holster for my S&W 5904 (round trigger guard) just so I can carry it when I'm at the range, or around the house, or if I just decide to carry it out that day. Since this pistol won't be my EDC, I'm thinking a paddle holster would work best for me.

I'm looking for something that will keep finish wear to a minimum and wondering what material would be best for that - leather? kydex? plastic?

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Sam1911
April 10, 2013, 11:55 AM
A leather holster tends to gently buff the whole surface of the gun, wearing the whole gun evenly.

A plastic or kydex holster touches the gun in a few spots only, and wears them down to shiny metal relatively quickly.

Meaning, they both wear about the same amount, but in different ways. Both will do some unpleasant things quickly if they have dirt/grit inside and aren't cleaned out.

mousegun380
April 10, 2013, 01:46 PM
I have had great luck with the combination holsters. They have both leather and kydex. The Crossbreed Supertuck and Snapslide are good examples. As the previous poster said the kydex contacts the gun only in some places, but I think the leather backing gives the holster more flexibility than a 100% kydex one. It's like kydex with a cushion and also without the 100% contact of a completely leather holster.

bill3424
April 11, 2013, 01:08 AM
Tough question to answer as any holster will create wear. I'll go out on a limb and say that my kydex holsters wear less, but I'm really splitting hairs.

beatledog7
April 11, 2013, 07:58 AM
The best way to minimize holster wear is to minimize the number of entries and exits to and from the holster. A gun that's constantly drawn and re-holstered will suffer finish wear; there's no way around it. The way a holster will wear the gun's finish is way under the radar in my selection criteria. Holster wear on a gun just means the things gets practiced with properly.

TAKtical
April 11, 2013, 08:40 AM
I get this question 5-6 times a month. Leather wears more evenly, kydex wears quickly at the contact points. I honestly dont understand why people are so concerned with wear on their guns finish. Its a tool. Ive never been concerned with the finish of a hammer or screwdriver. The best way to keep a gun looking brand new is to never touch it.

Mobuck
April 11, 2013, 05:45 PM
A snug fitting leather holster is less likely to cause spot wear on the handgun as long as the inside of the holster stays clean. Kydex will cause finish wear quickly which is why I carry a polymer/stainless pistol. Even this combination is showing surface wear after 10-12 years. I've noticed the front of the trigger guard has some actual material wear from the retention area of the holster. This pistol gets holstered and drawn usually once a day so I'm sure a gun/holster that's drawn constantly would show even more.
Regarding the comment about the carry gun being a tool, that's quite correct but I have and sometimes carry handguns that are less of a tool and more visually appealing than my common carry piece. Finding a wear spot on my Browning Hi-power after 2 hours of packing in a kydex holster was NOT what I expected.

tiamat
April 12, 2013, 03:22 PM
wow, 2 hours and already shows holster wear?! yikes. Guess I'll stick with the good old leather. Would a lining help at all? Does anyone even make holsters with a lining?

And yeah, about treating a gun as a tool. You may call it that, but I guarantee no one's just chucking their pistol into the back of their pickup truck like they would a hammer, come on. Would you do that to a precision set of calipers? of course not. And just because it's a 'tool' doesn't mean it has to look like <deleted>. I prefer to keep my tools in good shape.

JTQ
April 12, 2013, 03:33 PM
Garrett Industries lines their kydex holsters with leather.

http://garrettindustries.mybigcommerce.com

Most leather holster makers offer some kind of lining for their holsters, either smooth leather, suede (not usually recommended to prevent holster wear), and some offer a synthetic lining. Sometimes it is advertised to reduce holster wear, but I think most linings are designed to provide a more durable holster.

mljdeckard
April 12, 2013, 04:23 PM
If I were concerned about wear on my guns....I wouldn't use them.

Drail
April 12, 2013, 04:29 PM
The holster material is not what wears the finish off. The dust and grit trapped in the holster is the problem. We live in a gritty world.

FourTeeFive
April 14, 2013, 10:21 AM
Garrett Industries lines their kydex holsters with leather.

http://garrettindustries.mybigcommerce.com

After seeing a friend's Garrett I just ordered one of these for my stainless CZ75B:

http://garrettindustries.mybigcommerce.com/silent-thunder-owb/

I should have it pretty soon and will post a review after trying it out.

TAKtical
April 14, 2013, 12:58 PM
I dont see the point. You now have a leather holster wrapped in kydex. What is the benefit?

Sam1911
April 14, 2013, 01:06 PM
I dont see the point. You now have a leather holster wrapped in kydex. What is the benefit?Rigidness and speed of a kydex holster with the softness on the finish of a leather padding. It isn't a big enough perceived benefit for most users to bother with that but the idea has been mildly popular. I believe Safariland has made a few like that as well.

JTQ
April 14, 2013, 04:27 PM
And as the name implies, Silent Thunder, the draw and reholster is quiet. It does not snap in or out of the holster like an unlined kydex holster. Drawing from kydex can make some noise at a time when you may not want noise. It is important for some.

I have leather, kydex, and leather lined kydex. The leather lined kydex is really a nice draw. It must be experienced to appreciate.

David E
April 14, 2013, 04:40 PM
Rigidness and speed of a kydex holster

Rigidity, yes. Speed of a properly crafted holster? No way.

Captains1911
April 14, 2013, 06:31 PM
It's not so much a function of the material as it is how clean it is, because its not the material itself that causes the wear but rather the dirt, sand, etc between the holster and gun. But it happens, and any gun that is carried will show some wear. It shouldn't even be a consideration when choosing a holster, in my opinion. If you don't want wear, don't carry it.

Sam1911
April 14, 2013, 06:55 PM
Rigidity, yes. Speed of a properly crafted holster? No way.
Well, ok. If you say so.

There are so many kinds of leather holster that it is hard to make a blanket statement, but I'd say that many kydex holsters are inherently faster on the draw than the very large majority of leather holster, primarily because they "snap" into place and tend to release the gun completely in the first <1/4" of upward movement, whereas most leather holsters tend to drag at least a little on the gun as it comes free.

One reason why there are so few leather holsters seen in competition these days. Of course, cost is a factor as well. It's a lot cheaper to buy a great kydex holster (with adjustable retention tension, cant, etc.) than a really great leather holster (which won't have those niceties).

But, those are just my observations. I've probably not seen all there is to see.

FuzzyBunny
April 14, 2013, 07:54 PM
Someone needs to develop a slick silicone liner that is slippery and durable yet easy to clean.

JTQ
April 14, 2013, 07:58 PM
FuzzyBunny wrote,
Someone needs to develop a slick silicone liner that is slippery and durable yet easy to clean.

Is this what you are looking for?

http://www.highnoonholsters.com/_Questions/Molding_on_front_of_holster/Foward_Cant/0-_Cant/_Lining/_lining.html

g_one
April 15, 2013, 10:47 AM
My experience (admittedly limited - I'm no gunsmith or holster maker) is that kydex, leather, and nylon each have their own pros and cons. I try to avoid nylon, but I don't really have anything strongly for or against kydex and leather that would lean me in either direction specifically. I have some leather holsters, some kydex holsters, and even some nylon holsters.

I've found that the most important factor as far as I'm concerned is whether or not the holster has an open-muzzle design. Holsters that keep the business end of the barrel sewn up more readily trap dirt, grit, lint, etc. which do much more harm than the holster itself ever will (well, unless of course you've got a REALLY crappy holster)

As is with any gun, I think upkeep is more important than maker/material/manufacturer. I use compressed air to clean out my holsters every now and then, and as long as I refrain from dropping them in dirt that has been sufficient so far.

TAKtical
April 15, 2013, 11:14 AM
^^^ Kydex holsters can be washed out in the sink with soap and water even if the holster has a closed muzzle design.

jehicks87
April 16, 2013, 08:26 AM
I prefer leather for iwb, but hae been looking at hybrids as of late... that silent thunder holster looks nice!

For owb, I prefer kydex for the rigidity.

As for the OP: basically, I can only echo what others have said. The leather holds grit and grime more and rubs throughout the firearm, but mostly around the muzzle and any sharp-ish leading edges, and buffs the flat spots more evenly. Kydex wears "quicker" but only on the relatively fewer contact areas, and is much much easier to clean out than leather could ever hope to be.

I have one of each, don't "prefer" one over the other, though. Different tools for different needs.

tiamat
April 19, 2013, 10:06 AM
At first, I thought a leather-lined kydex holster was a bit dubious as well, but those Garrett Industries holsters really look good and well made. I may just check into those. Hopefully they make them to fit the pistols I have. Thanks for the link. Not cheap though, but then good things rarely are.

Taurus 617 CCW
April 19, 2013, 10:45 AM
I have carried a Glock in a Safariland kydex holster since 2009. It shows wear in a few spots but they are by no means shiny. It has not shown any further wear since.

triage1998
April 19, 2013, 06:46 PM
The holster material is not what wears the finish off. The dust and grit trapped in the holster is the problem. We live in a gritty world.


You correct. The dirt and other debris that get into the fibers of the interior of the holster are the problem. A lined holster helps in reducing the problem but there is no way to keep dirt and dust out of a holster.

I don't mind wear on a holster it gives the pistol character.

tiamat
April 22, 2013, 04:59 PM
Taurus 617 CCW I have carried a Glock in a Safariland kydex holster since 2009. It shows wear in a few spots but they are by no means shiny. It has not shown any further wear since.

That's why I excluded glock's in my original post - they are in a league of their own when it comes to the finish they put on their pistols. I dunno how they make it so durable.

Taurus 617 CCW
April 22, 2013, 05:59 PM
They use a salt bath nitride coating (Melonite, Tennifer,etc) which penetrates the metal substrate and hardens the surface to approximately a 58 rockwell. Glock claims that you can sharpen your knife on their slide. I haven't cared to try it but if its that hard, I would believe it. Since the surface is so hard, I would guess that's why it is so wear resistant.

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