Whether you need a holster for duty use, every day carry (EDC), competition, or range practice, Kydex may be just the thing you’re looking for. Although leather dominated the holster market for decades, Kydex has quickly taken its place in popularity. Functional, low-maintenance, sturdy, and lightweight, the best Kydex holster provides plenty of perks for modern shooters.
Unfortunately, not all Kydex is created equal. Some Kydex, and the holsters made out of it, are better than others. How do you know when you’ve found a solid option for your handgun instead of a dud? That’s where we come in. We’ve scoured the internet and put in hours of carry time to bring you this list of the best Kydex holsters currently on the market.
- What is Kydex?
- Advantages of Kydex Holsters
- Best Kydex Holsters on the Market Reviews
- 1. Concealment Express IWB Holster
- 2. Tulster Profile IWB Holster
- 3. Safariland Level 3 Retention Duty Holster
- 4. G-Code Phenom Speed Holster
- 5. T.Rex Arms Ragnarok
- 6. Outlaw Holsters OWB Holster
- 6. We The People IWB Holster
- 7. CYA Supply Co. Base IWB Holster
- 8. R&R Holsters OWB Paddle Holster
- 9. Bravo Concealment Concealed Carry Holsters
- Final Thoughts
What is Kydex?
Kydex is a line of thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride materials. The materials come in sheets and are easily molded using heat to create a variety of detailed shapes.
The substance is particularly useful to holster manufacturers, because it allows them to mold a custom holster that fits the unique contours of specific handgun models. This allows for better weapon retention and security. Kydex is also waterproof, scratch-resistant, and requires little to no maintenance. It simply wipes clean with plain old soap and water.
Kydex is available in a variety of thicknesses and textures. It can also be imprinted with colorful designs.
Beyond the world of holsters, Kydex is used for airplane bulkheads, truck fenders, safety helmets, and medical devices.
Advantages of Kydex Holsters
There are plenty of advantages to choosing a Kydex holster for your EDC or duty weapon. Here are just a few of the reasons these holsters are totally awesome.
Kydex Protects Your Gun From Moisture
Sweat, rain, and condensation can wreak havoc on a firearm. Kydex is waterproof, providing a layer of moisture protection a leather holster just can’t deliver.
Kydex Can Improve Your Draw Speed
Because Kydex protects your firearm from moisture, it can also improve your draw speed. Other holster materials (especially leather) can collect moisture, causing your gun to stick to the inside of your holster.
Also, small scratches and other imperfections on the holster interior can create friction, which can slow down your draw. Kydex is also scratch-resistant, so there is less friction to hinder your draw. Although only practice can significantly improve draw speed, even a fraction of a second could save your life in a dangerous encounter.
Kydex Doesn’t Wear Out
Even holsters made from thinner Kydex (.060 inches) will maintain their shape after being dropped, stomped on, or left out in the hot summer sun. Unlike other materials that may stretch or wear out over time, Kydex holds true to its shape through repeated use and heavy abuse.
Because Kydex maintains its shape and rigidity, the mouth of the holster remains open, even when the weapon isn’t holstered. This prevents the entry point from pinching or collapsing after you’ve drawn your sidearm. The design allows you to easily replace your weapon without taking your eyes off of a potentially dangerous threat.
Most Kydex holsters feature some type of adjustable retention. Retention in a Kydex holster is usually generated by friction that is isolated to a small part of the firearm, often on the edges of the trigger guard. With the addition of a screw to the retention area, weapon retention can be increased or decreased by tightening or loosening the screw.
Holsters made of other materials usually rely on snaps and straps to keep the firearm in place. However, these types of retention devices insert an extra step into the draw process. Drawing your weapon smoothly and quickly can take more training to achieve proficiency when using holsters with this type of retention.
Best Kydex Holsters on the Market Reviews
Here are what we consider the cream of the crop in Kydex holsters. If you don’t want to gamble on the quality of your holster, or the safety and security of your firearm, the models on this list will not disappoint.
1. Concealment Express IWB Holster
Concealment Express is one of the most popular names in Kydex holsters, and it’s easy to understand why. Each holster has a consistent fit. Plus, they are lightweight and comfortable, no matter which handgun model they are made for.
Kydex holsters aren’t always the most comfortable options for appendix carry, but Concealment Express covered all the details in their IWB version. Comfortable enough for EDC, Concealment Express IWB holsters feature a full-length sweat guard. This not only feels softer against your skin, but also provides an extra layer of protection against corrosive sweat and body oils for your firearm.
Other things we love about the Concealment Express IWB include its undercut trigger guard and adjustable Posi-Click retention, which both allow for a smooth draw cycle.
The holster is also compatible with the company’s Claw Kit. The Claw pushes the butt of your handgun into your body to reduce printing.
2. Tulster Profile IWB Holster
Tulster designed their Profile holsters to be comfortable while minimizing wear on your handgun. This ultra-concealable, low-profile holster produces little drag until the retention point, which reduces scuffing and exterior wear. The holster also delivers an inherent positive retention “snap” that lets you know when your weapon is securely holstered.
Tulster has designed a minimalist holster by removing extra material between the muzzle and the retention screw to prevent the Kydex from digging into the soft tissue of your midsection. The holster also features an undercut trigger guard that promotes a higher, more natural grip on your weapon. The design also allows you to release your magazine without removing your sidearm from the holster.
3. Safariland Level 3 Retention Duty Holster
The Safariland Duty Holster is designed to meet the retention needs of on-duty law enforcement personnel. This rugged OWB holster features an ALS (Automatic Locking System) that secures your weapon in the holster. Simply deactivate the release for a quick, simple, straight-up draw. The holster also has an SLS (Self Locking System) rotating hood for Level III retention.
Safariland understands that your pistol will spend most of its life inside its holster. That’s why they built raised stand-off surfaces inside the holster. These raised surfaces create air space around your weapon, allowing dirt and moisture to quickly clear the weapon’s surface to prevent corrosion and wear.
4. G-Code Phenom Speed Holster
G-Code holsters are designed for “real world use by genuine operators.” Their top-notch models provide a crisp clean break on the draw, while dampening rattle when you carry.
With a slim profile and lightweight build, the G-Code Phenom Speed is engineered for concealment. It features a cutting-edge mounting system that holds the holster securely in your desired position. It also provides a secure weapon fit, while also facilitating a smooth, seamless draw.
The holster is fully adjustable to accommodate strong-side, appendix, and cross draw carry positions.
5. T.Rex Arms Ragnarok
If you have a few extra bucks in your holster budget, the Ragnarok holster from T.Rex Arms provides serious quality and performance for the money. Although this model is one of the pricier options on our list, it is well worth the investment.
T.Rex Arms uses heavy-duty .125 precision-formed Kydex. This is a beast of a holster and does more than expected to protect your weapon. Honestly, this will probably be the last holster you ever purchase. It is just that sturdy and dependable.
The Ragnarok offers adjustable retention and features a modular hole system on the rear of the holster. This hole system works perfectly with a range of popular mounting options from big names in the industry like Safariland, G-Code, and Blackhawk.
6. Outlaw Holsters OWB Holster
Outlaw Holsters specializes in top-notch OWB Kydex holsters. Sturdy, lightweight, and backed by a one-year replacement warranty, these holsters are perfect for open carry, range training, and competition.
These quality holsters also allow you to carry your sidearm with some personal flair. Their OWB holsters are sold in a wide variety of designs, so you’re bound to find something to fit your personality. Options include the Gadsden flag, Kryptek, hunting camo, thin blue line, American bald eagle, and grim reaper designs. They even offer a holster stamped with Van Gogh’s famous “Starry Night”. And if you can’t find a design that tickles your fancy, Outlaw Holsters can apply a custom design to most of their holster models.
6. We The People IWB Holster
Comfortable, affordable, and discreet, this IWB model from We the People Holsters is perfect for concealed carry. It is designed to be worn inside the waistband of your pants with a jacket or untucked shirt.
Shooters can easily adjust the retention, ride height, and weapon cant to achieve a personalized fit. The holster also comes with an adjustable clip that facilitates eight different positions. Carriers will also appreciate the incorporated sweat guard, which minimizes contact between your sidearm and your skin.
7. CYA Supply Co. Base IWB Holster
CYA Supply Co. is veteran-owned and operated. They also employ veterans from every branch of the US military. If supporting American businesses is high on your priority list, this is a great company to keep on your radar.
Their holsters aren’t technically made from Kydex (which is a branded thermoplastic). Instead, CYA Supply Co. uses Boltaron, another moldable thermoplastic. Boltaron is tough, sturdy, and less susceptible to temperature and impact than Kydex.
CYA holsters come in a variety of colors, including teal, dark earth, olive green, and classic black. Their IWB holsters also include an adjustable belt clip, which allows you to fine-tune weapon cant to suit your personal preferences.
8. R&R Holsters OWB Paddle Holster
This OWB paddle holster from R&R is perfect for open carry, and since it features a sturdy paddle design, wearing a belt is optional. Rugged and well-built, this holster is crafted in the USA from .080 Kydex. The cant is fully adjustable (from zero to 15 degrees), helping you get the perfect tilt for a smooth, easy draw. The holster is also covered by a one-year replacement warranty.
9. Bravo Concealment Concealed Carry Holsters
Whether you’re a casual shooter, serious competitor, or a dedicated concealed carrier, Bravo Concealment holsters just plain work. These practical holsters are lightweight, rugged, and surprisingly comfortable.
Their IWB holster features a unique design that twists your handgun in toward the body. This inward, five-degree cant helps conceal the weapon grip no matter what you’re wearing.
The included clip allows you to easily adjust your weapon’s ride height to accommodate any carry position on your waist. Whether you prefer to position your sidearm on the hip, appendix, or small of the back, this holster works like magic.
Highly durable, versatile, and water-resistant, Kydex is an awesome holster material. It provides solid (and often adjustable) retention and plenty of protection for your firearm. With minimal maintenance the best Kydex holster could last you a lifetime.
Alice Jones Webb is a writer, life-long hunter, experienced shooter, and mother of 4 up-and-coming shooting and outdoor enthusiasts. She grew up flinging arrows and bullets at Virginia whitetails, turkey, and game birds, but her favorite hunting experience is chasing bull elk in the Colorado backcountry.
Never one to sit still and look pretty, Alice is also a self-defense instructor and competitive archer. She currently resides in rural North Carolina with her children, non-hunting husband, and a well-stocked chest freezer.