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Kydex vs. leather holster?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by oboe, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. oboe

    oboe New Member

    Jul 1, 2010
    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.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2010
  2. basicblur

    basicblur Senior Member

    Apr 2, 2003
    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?
  3. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Elder

    Jul 30, 2006
    Johnson City, TN
    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.
  4. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

    Dec 27, 2002
    northern california
    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
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Sep 17, 2007
    Eastern KS
    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.

  6. ichiban

    ichiban Member

    May 2, 2009
    Colorado Springs, CO
  7. Deaf Smith

    Deaf Smith Senior Member

    Feb 7, 2004
    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.

  8. JTQ

    JTQ Mentor

    Apr 6, 2009
    NW Florida
  9. oboe

    oboe New Member

    Jul 1, 2010
    JTQ . . . is this gonna be like wives???? I hope not as expensive:eek:
  10. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Mentor

    Jan 29, 2005
    Ava, Missouri
    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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