All weapons such as knives and guns need some kind of concealment as a legal and personal preference. One material used for concealing weapons is Kydex.
Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride. This combination makes it rigid, durable, resistant to chemicals, and moldable. A sheath is a close-fitting cover for a knife or a gun.
Is It Any Good?
Kydex is not the only material used for gun holsters. So what makes it different and better? Kydex is a modern innovation and has properties that you will not see in other materials used for sheaths, such as leather.
The properties we have mentioned above make Kydex a suitable material for a number of applications, including the interior of buses, houses, airplanes, medical equipment, and more. Among the many benefits of using Kydex sheaths and holsters are the following:
Plastic is the go-to cheap alternative for many things. Using modern technology, things that were out of range for many people decades ago have been made common. Kydex Sheaths are an example of that. Instead of looking for high-quality leather, you can easily buy Kydex alternatives at a budget-friendly price without losing functionality or quality.
Artificially-made products often have the advantage of a long life. You can mold them and change their composition according to needs. This can cause a great change in their properties as well. Kydex has good scratch resistance, and it does not lose its shape over time. One of its appealing features is that it is close-fitting, and that will not be lost.
The material also maintains its quality when in contact with water or chemicals. There is no fear of it getting scratched or breaking. Kydex has high breakage resistance, making it quite durable.
The material is very easy to mold. If you custom design it, you can make it fit your firearm or knife like a glove. This also helps in keeping the gun tightly secure in its sheath or holster.
Another advantage of Kydex is that it requires very little maintenance. It does not need polishing, and it is also very easy to clean. Given the moisture resistance, chemicals, saltwater, and scratches have little effect on it, so you don’t have to worry about repairs or cleaning.
Even though we have seen the many advantages of using a Kydex sheath, some people prefer not to use it for personal preference. Some reasons for that could be:
Discomfort is one major drawback of Kydex holsters. They are very rigid and hard, which is a good thing in some aspects, but when you have to wear them for long periods of time, it can get annoying. The area of contact can get sore.
Bad for Firearm Finishing
If you care about the appearance of your firearm or your knife, then this is a point that might deter you from buying Kydex sheaths. The fitness of this material causes scratches on the weapon as you pull it out or put it in. When the metal comes in contact with Kydex, it loses its finishing look overtime.
Kydex vs. Leather
Other than Kydex, leather is the most used sheath for both knives and firearms. Although one might argue that leather is used only because of its aesthetic appeal now, it does have some practical advantages over Kydex.
Leather holsters are much more comfortable than rigid Kydex. They also give a more classy look. No one can deny that leather wins when it comes to appearance. Although leather is durable, over time, it loses its shape and firmness. So time is not a friend to leather, and neither is moisture. Contact with moisture can cause damage to the leather.
Another area in which Kydex wins over leather is accessibility to the firearm or speed or draw. Since Kydex is plastic, it is smooth and does not offer much resistance when you try to take the weapon out. In contrast, leather’s interior is somewhat rough. Although the difference is not too much, if you are trying to choose between the two, then Kydex wins.
When it comes to comfort, leather holsters win over all others. The material is soft and can be worn for long periods without it causing soreness or hindering movement.
Is It Worth the Money?
Keeping your firearm in a holster or your knife in a knife sheath is not just for storage but it is also important for safety. Therefore, spending money on it is a necessity and an investment.
As we have established before, Kydex is a cheap alternative that comes in the range of $200 to $300. It is highly reasonable, considering its durability and resistance to elements such as saltwater, chemicals, and scratches. The few compromises that you make in comfort due to its rigid finish are worth it over the positive features and affordability it brings with it.
Kydex and “Kydex”
Kydex is a broad term. Saying a knife sheath is Kydex gives you little information about its properties because just as there are different types of stainless steel, there are also different types or grades of Kydex.
The different grades depend on Kydex’s composition and thickness, and not all of them are suited for making gun holsters. There are currently 40 grades being manufactured, out of which KYDEX-T and KYDEX-100 are most commonly used for gun holsters.
This grade of Kydex has a high breakage resistance and is one of the most rigid thermoforming materials. The thickness of Kydex sheet starts from 0.71mm, and it has eight different textures. It has a higher resistance to chemicals and cleaning solutions than other grades.
Kydex-100 is known for its toughness, rigidness, durability, and high chemical resistance from among the different thermoplastic materials.
It is another known Kydex grade. It is used when you need a cost-effective solution. It is made from recycled material and is not the best-quality material. It also does not have color variabilities. Its thickness starts from 1mm. Another recycled Kydex type is the Kydex V Sheet for O & P, which is used in the orthotics industry.
Among other Kydex grades are Kydex-110 (Metallic Kydex sheet), Kydex XD MB (3D laminate), Kydex XD03 (building interiors), and more.
Kydex is the most popular modern material used in the making of holsters and knife sheaths. Its properties make it suitable for this function. They can maintain their shape, stand up to environmental effects (dust, moisture, chemicals, etc.), and they have good retention ability. Your firearm will stay in place and not fall out while you are running or doing some other physical activity.