Having said that, I’m a huge fan of Kydex and would recommend it for holsters. You should read this article if you own a Kydex holster or intend to buy one. How Kydex can wear on the finish of a gun will be discussed in this article. You will also be provided with ways to mitigate this problem.
Getting to know Kydex
It is important to understand Kydex’s properties to fully appreciate why some gun owners complain of their Kydex holsters wearing and scratching the finish of their firearms.
Thermoplastics such as Kydex are known as thermoplastics. When a plastic is thermoformed, or when heat is used to mold it into whatever shape is required, it is very easy to shape. Once the plastic is shaped, however, it becomes very rigid. As a result, it is used largely in the manufacture of holsters, which is why it is so common. The material provides for a holster that has the benefit of being lightweight, durable, and inexpensive when compared to other materials.
Kydex’s rigidity, however, causes wear over repeated actions of drawing and reholstering. Kydex has a Rockwell R hardness rating of 90.
Its density and rigidity make it very resistant to abrasions and scratches, but makes it more likely to scratch and wear other surfaces it comes into contact with, such as your gun.
Kydex Holsters: The Real Issue
I think it is critical to separate fact from myth when it comes to the effects Kydex holsters have on gun finishes. Kydex holsters do not necessarily have a bad reputation. Many of the complaints about wearing Kydex are due to factors unrelated to this material.
Kydex Isn’t Used in All Plastic Holsters
On the market, there are many holsters made of plastic. There are, however, a few manufactured from real Kydex, but not all.
It is because of Kydex’s success and popularity that the term “Kydex” has become interchangeable when describing plastic gun holsters in general. The term “Kleenex” is being misused as a lexicon misnomer in the same way that the word “Kleenex” is used to refer to facial tissues in general. There is no such thing as a Kleenex tissue, and there is not such a thing as a Kydex holster either.
As a result of this misuse of the term “Kydex” gun owners sometimes purchase holsters which they believe to be made from real Kydex when, in fact, they are not.
It is important to note that holsters made from lower-grade plastics will be more likely to scratch and wear away the finish of your gun. There is a degree to which the negative reputation associated with Kydex holsters is attributable to holsters that are not even made of Kydex.
Kydex Is a Material With Many Varieties
A fact that adds confusion to how Kydex holsters affect the finish of your gun is that even if you purchase a holster made from real Kydex, there are over 40 different types of Kydex available on the market today.
You may find that different Kydex variants are used depending on the manufacturer of the holster. Certain Kydex variants may be more prone to scratching or wearing guns than others.
For gun holsters, Kydex100 and Kydex-T are considered to be the best choices because they are less likely to hurt the finish of your gun. This is often referred to as “the gold standard” when it comes to thermoforming.
When it comes to the manufacture of gun holsters, the worst grades of Kydex are those made with recycled Kydex. The recycled Kydex often contains other plastic contaminants or pieces of glass, which are more likely to scratch the gun’s finish when recycled. Despite the fact that Kydex sheets are much cheaper, inferior Kydex sheets will produce inferior holsters.
Tips and Tricks for Minimizing Wear on Kydex Holsters
As a result of Kydex’s rigidity, the finish on a gun will wear and scratch over time. Despite this, there are a number of things you can do to minimize this.
Be sure your holster is made from high-quality Kydex
For the reasons described above, make sure your Kydex holster is made from Kydex’s highest grade. Taking this step is one of the most effective ways to limit gun wear. The mere mention of the term “kydex” in a product description is not enough.
When constructing your holster, ensure that you use a particular grade or variant of Kydex sheet.
Custom Kydex Holsters For Your Gun
Kydex holsters that are made specifically for your gun will minimize friction points. As a result, wear and scratches will be minimized.
I believe that a custom-made Kydex holster that is thermoformed specifically for your gun, not only the model type, is the best choice. As a result of this level of customization, every curve can be accounted for and friction points can be minimized. The use of extended external controls, threaded barrels, suppressor height sights, etc., can all be accommodated.
In the event that a custom-made Kydex holster is not cost-effective for you, at the very least you should get a Kydex holster that is specially designed to match the model of your gun. As a result, generic and cookie-cutter Kydex holsters can create more friction, which will lead to more wear and scratches on your gun’s finish.
Make sure you keep your holster clean
KYDEX is a pretty simple material to maintain. It is a polymer, so it doesn’t suffer from the effects of water. If you want to get Kydex clean quickly and effectively, you can use a damp cloth followed by a dry cloth to wipe it down.
When rubbing between the rigid surface of the Kydex against your gun’s finish, the presence of small and micro dust particles and dirt particles will have a stronger abrasive effect. When your Kydex holster is kept clean, especially if your gun is carried in environments that are prone to dust and dirt, you will reduce the amount of wear your gun will sustain.
Does Cerakote reduce wear and scratching?
When repeatedly holstered in a Kydex holster, guns with a cerakote finish can show signs of wear and scratches. Cerakote finishes do minimize the problem, however, because of the resiliency they provide. Cerakote finishes are reported to completely prevent the problem by some gun owners.
Kydex holsters themselves can also be “cerakote-coated.” Even though cerakote finishes require heat curing, an air-cured variant can be used on thermoplastics such as Kydex. Kydex should never be heated to cure cerakote. In heat curing, Kydex holsters would be deformed due to the temperature involved.
Cerakoting your gun or Kydex holster will, in all likelihood, extend the amount of time before wear and scratches become evident. The mere fact that cerakote is present will not solve the problem for very long, however, if the other best practices for preventing wear caused by Kydex are not carried out.
The Kydex holster is very popular. They do not damage a gun mechanically or operationally, but they can wear out the gun’s finish and cause scratches in some cases. It may be enough for some people to steer away from Kydex holsters due to this aesthetic flaw.
You can minimize gun finish wear, however, by selecting a Kydex holster made from high-grade Kydex rather than recycled Kydex or cheaper generic plastic. By choosing Kydex holsters that are custom-made, you can further reduce the instances of wear.
As a result, if you are worried about wear on your gun, you probably shouldn’t carry it. The simple act of carrying your gun, everyday wear and tear, and training (which you should be doing a lot of) all cause wear.
I carried a leather holster every single day for the first few years of my career. The holster on my duty weapon had worn out after two years of usage. As a result, I have been carrying Kydex since then and have noticed comparable wear to what my leather holster caused. It is nothing to worry about. In my opinion, the pros outweigh the cons.