Updated August 15, 2022 3:57 AM
Kydex holsters have taken a large share of the market in a world where leather reigned supreme for over a century. Of course, part of that is because Kydex simply didn’t exist until recently, but that’s no reason to dismiss it as the new kid in class.
While there is certainly a place for both materials in the holster market, there are some clear advantages to using a Kydex holster over more traditional leather alternatives. The best kydex holsters offer serious retention and quick access while remaining comfortable enough for long days in the field.
Things to consider before buying a Kydex holster
From how you’ll be holding your holster (hard side, cross pull, etc.) to the environment and conditions you’ll be using it in (lots of landing, wet weather, etc.), there’s a lot to consider. previously considered being placed in a Kydex holster.
Here are some things to think about before you buy:
Method of carriage
Do you prefer to carry inside the waistband (IWB) or outside the waistband (OWB)? Here are two points to think about first:
- IWB: Depending on where you place the Kydex IWB holster, it can be uncomfortable.
- OWB: A Kydex holster is perfect for OWB carry as it is very strong. It will provide great protection for your gun.
Location of Carry’s body
Positioning a holster can vary greatly whether it is being worn IWB or OWB, but there are other options as well. Have you considered shoulder holsters, pocket holsters, or even ankle holsters? The location on your body also plays a role in the type of material you choose for a holster.
- Pocket size: Pocket holsters are generally not made of Kydex. Since it is a strong plastic-like material, its edges can go through thinner pocket material.
- Shoulder support: While most shoulder holsters are traditionally made of leather, Kydex allows for a level of customization that can actually be more comfortable than leather. (And, of course, the harness material will still be leather.)
- Ankle Support: Getting hit on the ankle by something hurts a lot, and you’ll bump into your gun every now and then as you get used to wearing an ankle holster. While most ankle holsters have a fabric lining, keep the base material of the holster in mind when deciding on the comfort of wearing it in that location.
Money is always on everyone’s mind, especially when it comes to holsters. If you’re going to trust this holster with your life to keep your gun safe in any situation, then you don’t want to buy something that’s poorly made. On the other hand, you may not be able to spend a ton of money, and that’s okay. In general, Kydex holsters are more affordable than leather holsters. If you have a smaller budget, Kydex may be the best choice.
People have been customizing leather holsters for centuries with various engravings, embossed designs, and sometimes paint. However, doing this is an art form in itself, and it doesn’t come cheap. With Kydex, various custom designs can be printed directly onto the material itself. This makes it a much more affordable option for customization.
Best IWB Kydex Holster
Ruthless tactical stealth mode Ruthless tactic
Why did he make the cut?
The whole purpose of an IWB holster is to provide safe and discreet concealment of your weapon, and the Concealment Mode Holster from Relentless Tactical does just that making it our pick for the best IWB Kydex holster.
- Lifetime warranty
- Adjustable compartment and hold
- Thin but strong Kydex is easy to conceal
- Made in the USA with 100% American materials
- Very affordable
● Not compatible with light guns
Made from 0.08” thick USA sourced Kydex and entirely made in the USA, the Relentless Tactical Stealth Mode holster lives up to its name. Some Kydex holsters do not allow for irregular adjustments, locking you into positions that may not be best for your body type. You can adjust the hold level and movement of the stealth mode holster so that you have a pistol that sits perfectly on your belt. Plus, a lifetime warranty just can’t be beat.
Best OWB Kydex Holster
T.REX Ragnarok Case Ebay
Why did he make the cut?
As the best OWB Kydex holster, the T.REX Ragnarok is an incredibly strong and well-built Kydex holster. It’s not as flashy as some of the other options on the market, but it’s definitely more adaptable than many of the other options.
- Modular hole pattern
- Adjustable hold
- Heavy material
- Made from .125” thick Kydex
- Works with many different mounting options
- Very gun specific fit – read carefully before buying
The T.REX Ragnarok Kydex Holster is about as close to bombproof as you can get. Made from a heavy-duty Kydex sheet available in a dozen different colors, what sets the Ragnarok apart from others on the market is the modular hole pattern on the back. This allows you to choose from your favorite mounting options from companies like Safariland, G-Code, Blackhawk, Blade-Tech, S&S Precision and more. Can also be used for competition/range/duty use with belt loops, paddles, offset mounts, or leg rigs. The fit for different models and generations is very specific, so make sure you are absolutely sure what brand and model of gun you have before you buy.
The most versatile Kydex holster
Intersection calculation Cross breed support
Why did he make the cut?
The Crossbreed Reckoning holster is a blend of leather and Kydex available with three different backing materials, four different gun pocket colors, five different hardware colors, and can be switched from IWB to OWB with ease. This means you can hold the Reckoning in a variety of positions to suit different situations, making it very versatile.
- Adjustable hold
- Comfortable material against the skin
- Kydex and leather combination
- Very customizable
- Multiple holding positions
- Switch between IWB and OWB
- It may have more features than some people want
- More expensive than other options
Crossbreed is known for combining a Kydex shell with a leather holster, and their Reckoning holster is a very thin version of their SuperTuck with a ton more versatility added to it. It ships in IWB configuration, but you can easily adapt it to OWB carry as well, meaning you can wear this holster in any number of positions along the centerline. There are a number of customization options for this model, the most important of which is the ability to tailor the hold to your personal preferences.
Best budget Kydex holster
Rounded up by Hide Express Amazon
Why did he make the cut?
Just because something is classified as “budget” doesn’t mean it has to be cheap. Instead, the Rounded by Concealment Express IWB Kydex holsters deliver a lot of bang for your buck.
- Can not adjustable
- Works with threaded barrel
- Accommodates views with suppressive height
- Too easy
- Works well in multiple carry positions
- Undercut trigger guard
- Not compatible with light guns
A good concealment holster is one that disappears from sight Since Rounded by Concealment Express holsters weigh only three ounces on average, they will also disappear from the wearer’s mind. If a holster adds too much bulk or weight, then it’s not something you’ll want to wear often. That’s not a problem here. The cutout trigger guard provides a positive grip when you draw your gun, and you can adjust the recoil to get the exact right fit for maximum concealment and comfort. Plus, most models are available for just $39.95 — proof that a budget classification doesn’t have to mean cheap.
I have carried a firearm for 12 years and have gone through more than my share of holsters in that time. I’ve done a lot of personal experimentation with different materials, carry positions, ride heights, binding methods and more. Finding “The One” is a nearly impossible task, but there are a few things I look for in choosing a Kydex holster. When searching for the best Kydex holsters, I evaluate products using the following criteria:
- Weight: You don’t need your holster to add even more weight than your gun, ammo, and spare magazine.
- Eligibility: While the fit of the gun should be pretty uniform across the board, how it carries on different people will vary, so having a degree of fit is a big plus.
- Comfort: If a holster is uncomfortable, you won’t wear it – and that’s even more applicable when you’re dealing with Kydex.
- Cost: Does the holster provide good value? Kydex holsters are already more affordable than most leather products, but some represent better value than others. I looked for more reasonably priced models that still checked all the boxes.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Do Kydex holsters scratch your gun?
No, as a general rule, Kydex holsters will not scratch your gun. Kydex is a type of plastic, which is, of course, a softer material than the metal components of your gun.
Some guns are built with multiple polymer parts, like Glocks, the two materials are relatively soft and shouldn’t harm each other. So as long as you’re not intentionally jamming your gun into the holster, you shouldn’t see any scratches from the Kydex. Like all holsters, however, after repeated holstering and removal, your gun will show signs of wear and tear from use – but that’s different from Kydex gun scratching.
Q: Are Kydex IWB holsters comfortable?
Yes, Kydex IWB holsters are comfortable, but there is a caveat. You need to find the right style, size and location for you so that it is comfortable. What is comfortable for a friend may not be comfortable for you.
Q: Is a leather or Kydex holster better?
Deciding whether a leather or Kydex holster is better is purely a personal thing. Leather has been a mainstay for over a hundred years for a reason, but there’s also a good reason why Kydex is gaining popularity. Of course, there is also the hybrid leather and Kydex holster option, which offers the best of both worlds.
Final thoughts on the best Kydex holster
Choosing the best holster is a very personal decision. How I judge the performance of a holster and what is important to me may be different to you. If your favorite case isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Likewise, just because a holster is on this list doesn’t mean it will work for everyone.
Most gun owners have a lot of holsters floating around in boxes and bags. We’re always looking for the perfect holster, and sadly, such a thing probably doesn’t exist. Alas, following the methodology listed above has allowed me to get pretty close.
After choosing your next Kydex holster, be sure to check out our list of gifts for gun enthusiasts for more useful accessories.