As a concealed carrier, your handgun is your life. You live and breathe it, and you want to ensure that it stays in pristine condition, which means having the best safety measures for the storage and transportation of your defensive weapon. In this article, we are going to discuss the two popular holsters, “leather vs Kydex holster”.
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This includes choosing the right holster for each occasion – do you wear a leather holster or a Kydex holster? You’ve heard of both materials before, but what sets them apart? Is one better than the other? Which one will keep your firearm secure yet accessible at all times?
Kydex Holsters Overview
Kydex is a thermoplastic material originally used for industrial applications but was later adopted by the military and firearms manufacturers. It retains its shape even when exposed to extreme temperatures and can withstand most impacts without deforming.
As with all plastic materials, Kydex requires some finishing work to maintain its durability and flexibility. When a holster is made from Kydex, it is heated, molded around the handgun, and cooled to form a permanent bond.
- OUTSIDE THE WAISTBAND KYDEX PADDLE HOLSTER fits: Glock 19/19X/23/32/45 (Gen 1 – Gen 5) (ONLY unless Specified). Our minimalist OWB paddle holsters are designed to be worn comfortably outside the waistband with an untucked shirt for proper concealed carry. We use .08” KYDEX precision formed over our proprietary in house CAD designed & crafted Aluminum molds. This ensures unparalleled consistency, fit, quality, durability, lightness, comfort, & uniform features across all our holsters.
- EXCLUSIVE HOLSTER FEATURES: Undercut Trigger Guard keeps the KYDEX from interfering with your draw. Over-Cut Open-Face accommodates Threaded Barrels and clears Suppressor Height Sights. Full length Sweat Guard & Rear Sight Shield to protect your weapon from sweat. Fiber Reinforced Stealth Belt Clip, so no one knows you are carrying. We utilize all Black Oxide Steel (Phillips) hardware with Threadlock, so you can easily make adjustments but never lose a screw.
This process requires advanced machinery that makes custom Kydex holsters very expensive. However, they are nearly indestructible, and they provide an unparalleled fit for most firearms, which is why firearms instructors and professionals often choose them.
Leather Holsters Overview
While Kydex holsters are popular with concealed carriers because of their sleek profiles, durability, and customizable retention levels, leather holsters have been around for longer. They have a great track record in the world of open carry, military, and law enforcement, but they are not as common among concealed carriers because of the potential comfort issues. Leather holsters are made from cowhide or horsehide leather cut, molded, and sewn around the firearm to create a snug fit on most pistols.
- FITS MOST FULL SIZE & COMPACT HANDGUNS IN 9MM, .40 & .45! Glock 17 / 17L / 22 / 31 | Glock 19 / 19X / 23 / 32 | Glock 26 / 27 / 33 | Glock 43 | S&W SD9 / SD40 | H&K VP9 / VP40 | S&W M&P Shield (9mm, .40 and .45) | Sig Sauer P226 / P229 / P250 | Springfield XD, XDS, XDM | Taurus 111 / 140 Millennium G2 / G2C | Will fit too many models to list them all!!
- FITS MOST 1911 STYLE HANDGUNS WITH ANY BARREL LENGTH! Kimber, S & W, Colt, Remington, Browning, Ruger, Taurus, Sig Sauer and More! If it doesn’t fit yours you can utilize our 100% Satisfaction Guarantee to return it, no questions asked.
As you can imagine, this process requires advanced sewing techniques, which makes it very difficult for manufacturers to create a custom fit. Most leather holsters are designed with universal mounting options that allow you to remove the holster from your belt, drop it in boiling water for 20 minutes and then mold it around the firearm until it fits perfectly.
Leather Vs Kydex Holster
Both leather and Kydex are synthetic materials that are utilized in the holster-making process. They need to be tough enough to protect the gun and its trigger guard and compliant enough to draw smoothly.
The simple truth is that each material has its strengths and weaknesses, but it depends on personal preference. If you prefer a sleek look with fast access in various situations, a Kydex holster might be the right option for you. On the other hand, get your hands on a leather holster if you want better retention when lifting weights or running around.
Kydex holsters are generally more rigid than leather holsters, and they require less maintenance because of their resistance to sweat and moisture. On the flip side, Kydex doesn’t breathe or adapt to the owner’s body, making it uncomfortable when carried for extended periods. Due to their rigidity, Kydex holsters are not as comfortable as their leather counterparts.
Leather holsters are made out of natural hides typically tanned and finished with waxes and oils that provide water resistance, but they require more maintenance than Kydex. Leather is generally more comfortable to wear, but it can sag when carried frequently, and its rigidity means that the wearer needs to adjust their clothing to accommodate the holster.
Key Advantages Of Kydex Holsters Over Leather Holsters
- Kydex is more lightweight than leather, which makes it easy to conceal. This benefit is particularly useful for an undercover cop who needs to draw the handgun smoothly during the act of apprehending a suspect.
- The smooth surface of the Kydex makes it easier to draw and re-holster, which can be essential when you need to get your gun ready in a hurry.
- The cost of production is substantially lower for Kydex than leather, which means that manufacturers can offer quality products at better prices.
- Kydex has shown itself to be far more resistant to the everyday wear and tear that it might encounter when worn daily. This means that you can expect your holster to remain functional for years, whereas leather tends to require replacement every five years or so.
Key Advantages of Leather Holsters Over Kydex Holsters
- Leather has a more organic feel than Kydex and maybe better-suited to those who want an authentic firearm owner experience.
- Leather holsters can help absorb some of the weight of the gun and holster, which reduces fatigue and discomfort when carrying for long periods.
- Leather holsters tend to last for a very long time, which may make them ideal for someone who doesn’t want to be bothered with buying another holster shortly.
- Leather is more comfortable than Kydex, and many people like the way it feels against their skin. Leather also wears better over time and can provide a greater degree of protection from the elements.
- Leather is more versatile than Kydex and can function as a traditional holster or an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster. Kydex holsters are primarily IWB, so if you need both types of holsters, you’ll probably have to buy two different products.
Tips on Cleaning, Caring For, and Storing Your Holster
- For both the leather and Kydex holster, proper storage is important. Try to keep your holsters out of direct sunlight because the ultraviolet rays can wear away at the material.
- It’s also a good idea to keep the leather holster out of humid or wet conditions, which can cause rotting. You should also avoid leaving your holster in your car over an extended period because the heat may damage it.
- Make sure you clean your leather holster regularly, removing it from your belt before doing so. Leather products generally come with cleaning instructions that should be carefully followed.
- For leather holsters, be sure not to get any of the oils or waxes on the gun, which can cause damage and malfunctioning. Leather conditioners and leather wipes can be used to clean and protect your leather holster.
- If you have a leather holster, it’s also a good idea to occasionally apply some leather preservative around the firearms trigger area, as this part takes a lot of abuse from pulling the gun in and out. This will help prevent corrosion from forming on any exposed metal parts that may be harboring moisture.
- For both leather and Kydex holsters, oil lightly with a gun-specific lubricant before wearing the holster to prevent the formation of any rust or cracks.
- For Kydex holsters, you need to be careful about what solvents and lubricants you use. Not all solvents and lubricants will work for kydex, so you should consult the manufacturer to determine what works best with your holster.
- Kydex holsters are easier to clean because you can wipe them down with a rag, but leather holsters will require more thorough cleaning regimes that might not be easy to follow.
- When you don’t have it in the holster, ensure your firearm is unloaded before stowing it away. You should also keep your firearm in a locked safe or some other secure storage container to prevent children from getting access to your weapon.
Kydex holsters can scratch your gun if the Kydex isn’t treated with a plastic coating before it’s put on. Some companies will rub their Kydex holster down with liquid plastic to prevent scratching, but not all manufacturers do this.
For leather, you want to wear it around the house for a few days to ensure that it will be comfortable when you’re carrying your firearm. You can also apply a leather conditioner to break in your leather holster and provide a comfortable fit.
For many leather products, you need to mold them around your gun to get a proper fit. You can use a heat source such as an oven or hair-dryer to accomplish this.
Leather holsters are not bad for your gun. They protect the gun and can delay or prevent rusting and corrosion by absorbing moisture before it has a chance to get into places that would damage the firearm.
In many cases, Kydex holsters are less expensive than leather holsters, and they’re more lightweight. Leather tends to be around 50 percent heavier than Kydex holsters. However, the majority of people will prefer leather over Kydex because it’s more comfortable and versatile.
Kydex holsters are more affordable and easier to maintain, but many still prefer leather because it’s more versatile. It all comes down to personal preference. Just with anything else, do your research before buying a holster to make sure you get something worth the investment.
Keep your gun protected from dirt, moisture, scratches with Kydex or leather holsters. They’re also more comfortable than clothing. The holster should fit well; it should be tight to your body, and the trigger guard needs to fit securely inside of it so that your firearm doesn’t hit anything other than your holster when you move around. Some leather holsters are designed to prevent printing, which is when the shape of your gun can be seen through your clothing.