The finish of Kydex holsters, like those of other types, tends to wear away over time. Kydex is a rigid polymer thermoplastic which is due to its rigidity. The wear and abrasion of the gun only affect its aesthetics. Holsters made from Kydex do not in any way harm the pistol.
In that regard, I think Kydex makes an excellent holster material and would highly recommend it. This article is for anyone who owns or plans to purchase a Kydex holster. How Kydex can damage a gun’s finish is explained in this article. Also included are ways you can minimize the damage.
Kydex: An Introduction
After 4 years of heavy use of Kydex, there is only minimal wear (most can be cleaned off)
Understanding Kydex’s properties will help you understand why some gun owners complain that Kydex holsters wear and scratch the finish of their guns.
Thermoplastic Kydex is a type of plastic. Ype of plastic. It is very easy to shape when it is thermoformed, using heat to mold plastic. any form required. It is, however, very rigid once it is molded. This is one reason why holsters are commonly made from this material. Holsters made from this material are light, durable, and affordable compared to those made from other materials.
Kydex, however, wears because of its rigidity over repeated draws and holstering. Kydex is reported to have a Rockwell R hardness rating of 90.
Because of its density and rigidity, it resists abrasion and scratches to a great extent, but makes other surfaces it comes into contact with prone to scratches and wear.
Kydex Holsters Have a Real Problem
It is important to distinguish fact from myth when discussing the wearing effect that Kydex holster have on gun finishes. It is not entirely fair to attribute all of Kayden’s negative reputation to the holsters. Kydex-related complaints have been caused by factors not related to the product.
Kydex Holsters Aren’t the Only Plastic Holsters
On the market, you can find many holsters made of plastic. They are not all made from genuine Kydex, however.
Due to Kydex’s success and popularity, the term “Kydex” has become a colloquial term for plastic gun holsters in general. Essentially, this lexicon misnomer is equivalent to calling facial tissues “Kleenex” in general. Kleenex tissues and Kydex holsters are not the same things.
Gun owners sometimes mistakenly believe that holsters made from Kydex are actually made from real Kydex when they are not.
Plastic holsters made of lower-grade plastic will scratch and wear a gun’s finish more frequently. Kydex holsters are known as abrasive to some extent because of holsters that are not even made of Kydex.
Kydex Comes in Many Variations
Kydex holsters affect your gun’s finish for another reason: there are over 40 types of Kydex available on the market, even if you purchase a holster made from actual Kydex.
Kydex variants may differ depending on the manufacturer of the holster. Gun finishes may be scratched or worn more easily with Kydex than with alternatives.
The best gun holsters are made with Kydex100 or Kydex-T because they are easier on the finish of your gun. The gold standard of thermoforming is considered to be this technique.
When it comes to gun holsters, recycled Kydex is the worst type of material to use. During the recycling process, Kydex is often contaminated with other plastics or even glass, which will scratch a gun’s finish more easily. A holster made with inferior Kydex sheets will be cheaper but also inferior.
The best way to prevent gun finish wear when wearing Kydex holsters
The rigidity of Kydex makes it inevitable that a gun’s finish will wear and scratch due to friction. Nevertheless, you can still minimize this to some extent.
Make sure your holster is made of high-quality Kydex
Because of the reasons described above, Kydex holsters should be made from the highest grade of the material. One of the most important steps you can take to minimize wear on your firearm is to clean it regularly. Simply relying on the term “kydex” in the product description is not enough.
If you are building a holster, you need to make sure the Kydex sheet is the specific type or grade.
Gun holsters made from Kydex are the best
If your Kydex holster is customized just for your gun, then friction points will be reduced. Consequently, wear and scratches will be reduced.
If possible, you should invest in a Kydex holster thermoformed specifically for your weapon, not just the model. Every contour can be accounted for and points of friction can be reduced due to this level of customization. It is possible to accommodate external controls with extended lengths, threaded barrels, suppressor height sights, and more.
For those who are unwilling to afford a custom Kydex holster, you should at the very least consider a Kydex holster customized to fit your gun. Generic Kydex holsters will otherwise cause your gun’s finish to wear and scratch more easily over time.
Holsters should always be kept clean
Keep Kydex clean with ease. Being a polymer because it’s a polymer, water doesn’t affect it. A damp cloth and a dry cloth can be used to wipe down Kydex for fast and effective cleaning.
Dust and dirt particles will have an intensified abrasive effect when rubbed between the rigid surface of the Kydex and the finish of your gun. Your Kydex holster will last longer if you keep it clean, especially if you carry your firearm in dusty environments.
It is simple to minimize this type of wear by keeping the holster clean.
How does Cerakote reduce scratching and wear?
If repeatedly holstered in a Kydex holster, cerakote-finished guns display signs of wear and scratches. A cerakote finish, on the other hand, minimizes the problem thanks to its resilience. Cerakote finishes are reported to completely solve the problem for some gun owners.
Kydex holsters themselves can also be “cerakote-coated.” Cerakote is typically applied by heating, but air-cured cerakote can be used on thermoplastics such as Kydex. I would never recommend heating ceramic on Kydex. As a result of heat curing, Kydex holsters would be deformed.
In short, a cerakote finish will likely extend the time between wear and scratches on your gun and the Kydex holster. Even though cerakote is present, it will not solve the problem for very long if the other best practices mentioned above for mitigating wear caused by Kydex are not followed.
A lot of people use Kydex holsters. The gun is not damaged mechanically or operationally, but the gun’s finish is worn and may produce scratches under certain conditions. It may be enough for some people to steer clear of Kydex holsters because of this aesthetic flaw.
It is possible to minimize gun-finish wear, however, by selecting a Kydex holster made from high-grade material rather than recycled Kydex or cheaper generic plastics. You can further mitigate wear by going with Kydex holsters that are custom built.
Ultimately, if you’re concerned about your gun’s wear, you’re probably better off not carrying it. Your gun will wear out from the simple act of carrying it, from everyday wear and tear, and from training (which you should do a lot of).
At the beginning of my career, I always carried a leather holster with me. The holster on my duty weapon began to wear after two years of use. As a result, I’ve been carrying Kydex since then and have noticed similar wear to my leather holster. It doesn’t matter. I prefer Kydex to leather.