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Anyone into making Kydex holsters?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Holsters and Accessories' started by Rule3, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    I prefer leather but want to try and make some "shells" for a IWB holster. Not sure if it is worth making a press and buying the extra stuff I will need.

    I have a really nice IWB hybrid holster (ComTac) (kinda like CrossBreed) that has a leather backing and uses kydex shells for the gun. It is is very well made, The shells just screw on .

    I do not want to buy all the shells as I am not real sure what gun I want to carry (IWB) I am more of a pocket or outside the waistband with a long shirt. Here in Florida, IWB holster are not real comfortable (at least for me)

    I would like to try and make some shells for different guns (they sell them for around $26.00 each)

    I did some research, watched videos etc and seems like I can give it a try. I have a old toaster oven and can make a press.

    I have all kinds of tools for trimming, cutting, buffing etc.

    I will need a good infrared thermometer to check the kydex temp and some of the foam for the press. Heck, if I screw up I can reheat it,and try again.

    Where is a good source for the kydex and what thickness is recommended? Also, if you have any good links that would help. Some of the ones I watched well, they were kinda Bubba'ish!.[​IMG]

    Thanks
     
  2. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I'll be watching, I'm interested too. I dabble in leather for myself. I've been wanting to try some kydex,
     
  3. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    Yep. :)
    [​IMG]

    Need to get some updated pix; my stuff's gotten much better since these, to be honest.

    Just be careful-it's addictive. You'll find yourself looking at new guns to have a chance to make holsters for them...


    Larry
     
  4. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Nice!. That's my situation, I have several guns I would like to try out, but do not want to buy holsters for all of them.
    Did you make your own press?? Hinged type or just a clamp "book" press type?

    Any suggestions on where to buy Kydex and other needed "stuff"? Also can I use some kind of foam for the press found locally rather than paying the price the want on line. Seems kinda pricey.
     
  5. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    Although it's not the 'professional grade' stuff, I use 'sleeping bag pads' from Walmart for forming. Seems to work acceptably, although I'm sure a pro would want the real stuff.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I tend to buy my Kydex and small bits these days from knifekits.com, for simple convenience; they have everything you'd need, and their pricing is 'ok.' You can certainly find lower pricing if you buy in large quantity and from multiple vendors, but I do it on such a small scale it isn't really worth it.

    For a press, I've used everthing from a piece of plywood clamped over the gun on a table to this latest, low-tech hinged jobbie. Truthfully, I only made this one because I can also use it for leather holsters, which I'd doing more of these days.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    I'd suggest going over to the Kydex benders forum; lots of great folks, and lots of resources available there. You'll also see some really mind-blowing craftsmen who are doing really impressive things with Kydex.

    Larry
     
  6. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Nice work! Both the Kydex and leather.

    I was thinking about the foam. So the heat of the Kydex does not melt the Wal Mart stuff??

    Looks pretty darn nice to me. Thanks for the info:thumbup:
     
  7. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    It hasn't melted at the temps (~320f) I have used.

    Glad to help; let me know if there's anything else I can add. Not a pro, but been 'hobbying' at it for a while...


    Larry
     
  8. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    I tried the foam sleeping bag pads, they always melted and stuck to the plastic. I eventually got some of the "proper" stuff from someone on eBay or something. It really wasn't too bad for cost. A couple pieces of plywood, a 4x4, and some hinges make a press! Works great! I recommend hybrid designs for comfort of carry and ease of manufacture... At least I think they are easier. Others (who have done it more than me) probably disagree.

    I have used both .060 and .093, and .060 works just as well for anything I can think of.
     
  9. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...Not sure if it is worth..." Not for a 'one of' thing.
    "...sell them for around $26.00 each..." Ya'll need to figure out your costs including your time before deciding that. Don't go by what Brownell's re-sells anything for either. Try to not pay retail for materials too.
     
  10. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    Yes, If I do this it will be a hybrid. I have a Com Tac but their shells are like $28 which is crazy!

    I may be better off just buying a Alien Gear and their shells are $13. plus you can trade them in for a full refund.

    If I add up all the things I will need vs just buying the Alien it may be a draw. I have a toaster oven (old) and can make the press. Guess it is a matter of do I need another hobby?? But then I can can try any gun I want.
     
  11. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    I got into it because NOBODY made an IWB for the gun I had. I take that back... There was one (and only one) tuckable IWB that I could find short of waiting on a custom maker, and it was over $100. For that one, it was worth me making one. And, since I had tools already, I have done others since. It is somewhat addictive. A worthwhile hobby, and better than sitting on the couch and watching the light-box on the wall with moving pictures!

    Plus, you can finally make that sheath that makes that really nice knife actually useful!
     
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  12. Cowhide Cliff

    Cowhide Cliff Member

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    I've thought about it for some of my knives. A friend of mine has dabbled in it some. I know Midwest Knifemaker supply carries everything you need including the kydex, rivets, and even the different clips for sheaths and holsters and the foam for the press. Their online store is USAKnifemaker.com
     
  13. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    Even purchasing small quantities and doing just a few holsters occasionally, my cost for a non-clipped holster is under $6 each (or so), and the clipped holsters around $8. Considering the number of guns I've outfitted, it's saved me great amounts of money.

    Add to that the fact that you can make (after some experience and experimentation) exactly what YOU want, and it's hard to argue the economics. I tend to prefer a 4:30 carry IWB, and can build holsters specifically to work at that position on my body type. I also get to determine what type of sweatshield they have, and how much retention there is.

    I think if you're handy, and already have a dremel, you save money on about the third holster you make; the rest is just gravy.


    Larry
     
  14. Telekinesis

    Telekinesis Member

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    I'm not a professional by any means, but I use foam and kydex from KnifeKits. I think the biggest difference between the KK foam and the Walmart stuff is its longevity and how many holsters you can press before you have to replace the foam. My preferred kydex is 0.08" but you may want to go with a slightly thicker kydex if you end up doing OWB type holsters.

    I find my best holsters are made using a mold gun that already has most of the blocking built in. That gives me a pretty high starting expense for each gun I want to make a holster for ($40-50 per mold gun) but I personally think it's worth it as it gets the best fit possible. The difference in feel when holstering/drawing is MUCH nicer/smoother when I use a mold gun to make the holster.

    Also be prepared for your first couple of holsters to be screwed up to the point that you can't use them. A lot of times you can reheat the kydex and start over, but if you've already started making cuts, it's harder to save the material. I probably made 3-4 before I settled on a holster that I actually wanted to use. Also be prepared to screw up rivets or make the wrong type of cut.

    Also look into what type of molding you would need to do for a hybrid holster. Most of the general all kydex holsters will be 50/50 designs where half of the opening for the gun will be on the outside piece of kydex, half will be on the inside. A hybrid will need something more like 80% outside, 20% inside. I don't make hybrids, but I believe you would accomplish this by using stiffer foam on the inside and only mold one piece of kydex. I'd also recommend a standard 2 piece type of press as opposed to a book type press (those are best for taco type holsters).

    I'm not sure what Brownells charges for kydex, but most of the places I've found are pretty similar to the prices at Knife Kits. There's really not much room in the price unless you start ordering lots of material. Take a look around though, you never know what you can find.

    I'd say that if you're only looking to do one, I'd just spend the $25 or so for the pre-built shell. If you want to do more and turn it into a hobby go ahead and get the stuff. Once you figure it out you can make some nice stuff that you otherwise would be paying crazy amounts of money for.
     
  15. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    I have this holster with a shell for a HK USP Compact. I want to make some shells for single stack guns as down here with shorts and T shirts it kinda hard to conceal a larger gun. I have boxes of OTW paddle type holsters which I like but need to wear baggy shirts untucked to conceal them. I do prefer outside the waistband as it gets hot and uncomfortable. So this venture was to try and make some inexpensive shells to fit this holster (which is very nice)

    I have tools so that's not an issue.

    http://www.comp-tac.com/inside-the-waistband/mtac-holster-10225
     
  16. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    That should be relatively straightforward to do. I'd start by putting a couple pieces of foam over the kydex (on top of the gun) on a flat surface and clamping it all down. Might want to do a 'perimeter' piece of 1/4" or 3/8" masonite, depending on how the holster is constructed, to leave room for tension screws to work.

    Larry
     
  17. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    I am confused on the highlighted part??

    Lost on the extra hardboard.masonite part?


    Wouldn't I just lay the gun on the press, cover with warm kydex and foam and clamp it? or by tension screws you are referring to the clamps so there is room for those??
     
  18. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    Sorry, that wasn't very clear.

    When you want to leave a 'space' in a Kydex holster (either for hardware, or around the perimeter of a gun, or wherever, you have to 'block' that area out. Think of it this way:

    If you folded a warm piece of Kydex over a pistol and clamped it, as it, under foam, the resulting molded Kydex would follow the countours of the firearm pretty exactly-including at the edges, where the Kydex would meet itself, front-to-back, leaving no room for tensioning hardware. To gain this space, holster makers create a 'block' or spacer to place around the outside edges of the trigger guard and down the recoil spring tunnel to the muzzle. The width of this spacer determines how far apart the two sides of the Kydex will be apart when they're removed from the mold. It's how you get this space, in other words:


    [​IMG]
    As an example, this holster was molded with a 1/4" piece of Masonite, cut roughly as shown, taped in this position to the gun; it's what gave me that 'space' to add the tensioning screw:

    [​IMG]


    On a hybrid holster, if you placed a piece of Kydex over the gun, placed foam on top of it and clamped it, the Kydex would mold all the way down to whatever the gun was placed on, and there would be no space to mount hardward and tension it against the leather backer. The space, or gap, the blocking leaves is what allows for adjusting tension and retentention on the holster.


    If it would be easier, shoot me a PM and I'll send you my phone number; this stuff is easy to explain, just hard to explain in writing. :)

    Larry
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  19. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    OH, OK. I get it now now (I think:)) Essentially you are saying make and leave a spacer for that gap.

    All the videos I have been looking at are all "taco" style one piece Kydex which is just folded over and have not seen a flat one laid down on a piece of leather,(hybrid type) Then then have a gap which can be spread open to put in screws and such,

    I was checking prices and it's crazy the Kydex is cheap and the foam is twice as much.??

    Just regular 1" thick is good enough? I will only need foam for the top? The other side of the gun will be on the flat of the press as it is will just be attached to the leather. correct?

    http://www.knifekits.com/vcom/product_info.php?products_id=278

    So for a single one sided holster it seems a a 12" x12" piece (kydex) would be more than enough. Yes? (I will get more for prototypes (errors) :rofl:
     
  20. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    I haven't used the knifekits foam, so I can't say; I use about 3" of the sleeping bag mat on each side of the press, though.

    You'll likely need 8"x8" of Kydex or less for a hybrid shell, I'm guessing.


    Larry
     
  21. Rule3

    Rule3 Member

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    No problem, but am I correct about the spacer/gap part??

    Thanks for the help!
     
  22. DT Guy

    DT Guy Member

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    Yep.
     

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