What Are The Disadvantages of a Kydex Holster (And How To Manage Them)?

You can never have too much Kydex in your life (or on your holster) from our perspective.  There are people who disagree with us on this point but instead of just mocking them outright, we are feeling magnanimous so here is a quick refutation of the so-called disadvantages of Kydex holsters.  Before we do that please note that at the end of this article, you will want to be Kydex maxing like this FDO Industries +1 Kydex holster: The +1 Kydex Holster.

I could stare at that all day (and I often do in the shop, to be honest).  There is a lot of polarization in the world right now so instead of feeding the division let’s try to find some common ground with our wrong-headed friends who disagree with us.  We will start with finding something to like about California to bridge the gap.

One Thing We Like About California

California is one of the most restrictive states for gun ownership, making its residents jump through all sorts of unnecessary hoops when they want to purchase a firearm.  This is why the Golden State is the butt of many jokes in the 2A community (People’s Republic of etc. etc.).  It is a beautiful place geographically and some good things have come out of there.  One thing I think is pretty cool is that there is a long history of what is called pit barbecuing.

You may have been to a barbeque joint that has “Pit” in the title.  This refers to the modern version which is an above-ground oven that is used to cook meat very slowly and hardwoods are used to flavor the meat.  Done right it is delicious but this is not the OG method I am talking about.  Back in the day Native Americans used to make earth ovens where they would dig a pit, layer it with charcoal, throw some meat with vegetables, cover it, and let it sit for a day.  You will never eat a more tender piece of beef or pork done this way (there is a long history of Hawaiians doing this for pig feasts for Luaus as well but we are trying to find something positive to say about California.  This was the best I could do).

You don’t see a lot of normal people doing this type of cooking because it takes a while to get used to it and is a pain in the neck until you do.  You need a place to be able to dig a pretty solid hole, it is labor-intensive, and you need to be able to make it look like this:

When you eat meat that has been sitting in a pit barbeque overnight, you will be counting the days until you can do it again.  It is that good.  What was once a minor inconvenience (i.e. all the prep) suddenly becomes something you enjoy.  You even look forward to it.  The true craftsman understands that nothing is perfect.  For him, contending with challenges is part of the process.

I try to keep this in mind when overcoming obstacles on the manufacturing side.  We just keep figuring out how to do things better and faster.  It is why we have one of the fastest fulfillment times in the industry.  It is also why when someone asks me if there are disadvantages to Kydex holsters I don’t hem and haw about it.  

I am upfront that there are always trade-offs when choosing different construction materials.  We have determined that Kydex is the best for what we need and any disadvantages are either extremely minor or easily handled with some planning.  Before we talk about some “disadvantages” of a Kydex Holster you might want to check out why we think it is so great for holsters generally and point you to an entire post we made on the topic here:  What You Should Look For In A Kydex Holster).

Alright, let’s see what the haters can come up with about the best material for a holster ever.

Solvable Challenges

A lot of people will point to the stiffness of a Kydex Holster as a possible drawback.  This usually generates two main complaints.  First, since the thermoplastic that we use from Index Thermoplastics does not change shape, it will not bend to your body’s unique contours.  This means that if you don’t get the fit right it will be poking and prodding you as you go about your day.  This can cause you to be fidgeting with your holster which is annoying and draws unwanted attention to the fact that you are carrying concealed.

If this was not a solvable problem then I can see why this would go in the negative column of your Ben Franklin decision-making piece of paper you keep with you at all times.  Good for us that this is a simple fix.  FDO Industries offers holsters with adjustable retention and/or adjustable cant so you can get everything just how you want it (this is one of the reasons we have yet to experience a “fidgeting” sit-in protest at our office).

The second stiffness issue that others point to is more force is required to draw your firearm versus a spongy leather holster.  All I can say is that this is a weird complaint.  Find the right retention that works for you and then practice drawing until you get good at it.  If it is still a problem for you, eat some spinach, go to the gym, and work on those noodle arms.

Another way to look at it is when the adrenaline is pumping you aren't going to have a problem drawing your weapon.  It does, however, need to always be there.  If you are knocked down, or thrown to the ground, the extra retention could save your life.  Your smooth-as-silk draw from the leather holster someone made from hand works great for Doc Holiday impersonations but you need the real-world dependability of Kydex to defend yourself.

The next big bucket of complaints revolves around skin issues.  Because Kydex holsters are very hard and durable they can cause chafing if there is a lot of rubbing.  Most of the time this comes back to the fit issue.  You should not be pinched, prodded, or rubbed the wrong way by your Kydex holster.  Try adjusting where you carry on your belt.  Just because you saw some Gucci SOF guy appendix carry does not mean that is what you need to do. 

For holsters, comfort usually cures all ills.  If you have found the perfect fit and position for your firearm but still have chafing, wear an undershirt.  This will solve the issue.  If it doesn't, maybe Kydex is not for you and you should rock an old-timey leather holster.  We won’t judge you too badly.

Because I don’t want this article to be 3,000 words about solvable problems, let's do some quick fire.

Easily Refuted Disadvantages of a Kydex Holster Quick Fire Questions

Is it bad that Kydex Holsters make a click sound when holstered or drawn?

No.  Once more for the cheap seats, you are not a ninja.

The Kydex against my skin makes me sweat.

It is not the Kydex that is making you sweat.  It is because you are adding a layer of “something” next to your skin on a hot day which increases sweating no matter what it is.  Just add a sweat shield when custom-building your holster here:  “Forge Your Own Holster Webpage

Will Kydex wear the finish off my firearm?

Wear and tear on things you use every day is normal.  Have you looked at your wallet lately?  Don’t EDC your grandpappies 1911 that is an heirloom all the time if you don’t want it to look like you use it.  From our perspective, the best guns are broken in guns.

Are the screws the weak link!?!

The thermoplastic part of the holster will last for a very, very long time (this is why we have a 100-year warranty policy on all of our holsters).  You do need to check the screws from time to time, you know, just like checking the oil on your car.  Everything needs maintenance once in a while.

If you want to make your screw game elite we do offer Vibra-TITE which helps lock your screws in for the long term.  You can find it here: Vibra-TITE

I am sure we will get some more complaints to address in future articles but for now, I hope this answers most of your questions.

Have a good one,


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