How do you spot a high quality Kydex holster? There are many quality Kydex holsters on the market today. There are just as many, if not more, poor quality Kydex holsters out there. You have guys making holsters in their kitchens and you have others that have built their holster operation into an industrial juggernaut. So which holster is the right holster for you? Is there a quality difference between the Kydex holsters built by hand and the ones produced by machine? The answer is, “It depends”. My first impulse is to say a handmade holster is better than a machine made holster. Once I think more on it, I add in that handmade Kydex holsters are only as good as the guy making them. The skill level of the guy forming, machining and fitting the holster determines whether the holster will be good or bad. There are some out there that build holsters because they love it while others build them because they see dollar signs. Between those two, choose a Kydex holster built by a guy that loves it.
The main issue with machine made holsters is they are usually built by companies that see dollar signs. The desire to churn out more holsters while investing less per holster is a recipe for a mediocre holster if it is done in the wrong way. Yes, many of them work fine. Many others show their poor quality in their performance. There is a company (no, I’m not going to name names) that used to build their Kydex holsters by hand. They had a very good holster that was very high quality. I would put one of those holsters against any in the industry. Today they have grown to the point where they no longer make holsters by hand. They now mass produce their Kydex holsters and almost every stage of their production is run by machines. I own one of their older handmade holsters and I love it. I recently bought one of their newer holsters and it was disappointing. Their new holsters aren’t half the holster the old ones were. They built their name on quality custom Kydex holsters and ended up making something that isn’t even close. In this particular instance, this machine made holster was not worth the money I paid for it. This example is only a single personal experience. There are companies out there that machine make their Kydex holsters and they’re very good. I have some of the good ones. I build holsters but I also buy holsters. I build most of my Kydex Holsters but you may see me at the range one day wearing a holster I didn’t build. Im not a hater. Im an appreciater. I appreciate quality gear.
When thinking of Kydex Holsters, I automatically jump to “Custom” Kydex Holsters. There are some very, very good Kydex benders out there.
This next part may make me come across as a jerk but it needs to be said. One recommendation I can make is to choose a holster that is not lawyer and idiot proof. When the retention is so tight on your holster that it gives you a wedgie when you draw your pistol, you have what we call a lawyer proofed holster. Companies that make holsters with ridiculously stiff retention like that are not doing it because holsters should be that way. They’re doing it to reduce the possibility of a lawsuit. Additionally, somewhere along the way, someone came up with a way to test retention. They turned the holstered pistol upside down and gave it a shake. If the pistol fell out, it didn’t have enough retention. This is one of the most misguided and uneducated tests of retention Ive personally ever seen. The only time this test is valid is if the person carrying the holster is an acrobat or a door kicker. Drawing your pistol should be a fluid movement. Ultra tight retention requires you jerk the pistol free from the holster. That jerk immediately puts your draw at a disadvantage. Smooth, fluid and controlled is what you want. The entire draw should be controlled. Freeing the pistol from the holster is part of the draw and therefore should be fluid and controlled. If you’re not doing daily cartwheels or chasing bad guys, super tight retention is a liability. Do not take this as me saying you don’t need retention. You most certainly do need retention. You just don’t need retention that requires the strength of the Hulk for you to draw your pistol.