How Tight Should a KYDEX Holster Be?


How tight should a KYDEX holster be?, is a really difficult question to answer.

Holster tightness is a personal preference based on application and type of holster. We are going to walk through a couple different holster Styles and models, elaborating on my personal preference of holster tightness. My personal holster tightness is my preference and may not be yours. It will give you an idea on how tight a KYDEX holster should be.

How Tight Should an IWB KYDEX Holster Be?

Inside the waistband holsters can skirt either tighter, or more loose depending on the holster and light model combination. If the holster does not support a weapon light, the retention is coming from the trigger guard of the pistol. Typically trigger guard retention has a lot more positive retention than a light bearing holster that is designed for carrying a concealed pistol with a weapon light. There is a lot less area for the holster to grab retention on a light, than there is in the void of a trigger guard. You also have to consider that the person’s belt is pressing the KYDEX holster against the trigger guard, increasing the retention on the pistol, in comparison to how the holster retains the pistol when handled outside of your pants. The belt and pants can also put pressure on a light bearing inside the waistband KYDEX holster, increasing tightness of the holster. Setting retention on the holster when it is outside of your pants is not an accurate representation of how tight the holster will be when it is in your pants. I typically tension my holsters to be slightly more loose when outside of my pants, so that when they are in my pants, it sits at perfect retention for me.

Now that appendix carry, or inside the waistband carry holsters are permitted in USPSA, as well as, other shooting sports; some competitors are choosing to use inside the waistband holsters. Competitors may desire a more loose KYDEX holster rather than a tight KYDEX holster on the draw. In USPSA, the gun is typically drawn at the buzzer, so moving around the stage with a loose or more loose holster will not result in losing a gun.

How Tight Should a Drop Leg KYDEX Holster be?

Our Nidhogg, outside-the-waistband holster can either considered be a duty holster or a race gun holster. Depending on the application and use, the end user may want it more loose or more tight. This also depends if the person is competing in something like USPSA or other shooting sports. In USPSA, the gun is typically drawn at the buzzer, so the holster can be very loose. When tactical training, running and gunning, and groundwork; the end user might want a much tighter set retention on their holster to prevent the gun from falling out of the holster during extreme movement.

How Tight Should an OWB KYDEX Holster Be?

Classic pancake outside-the-waistband holsters are typically used for low visibility concealment with larger garments to conceal. Typically an OWB KYDEX pancake holster should be fairly tight. Low visibility is mostly used by military and law enforcement carried with this style holster. If the officer or operator has to become physical with a target, he or she will want to have adequate holster tightness to prevent a loose gun. We have actually had three different customers carrying strong side, outside the waistband, classic pancake holster, during the event of a motorcycle accident. All three customers survived their crashes, and the pancake outside the waistband holster we made for them retained the firearm during the crash in all three cases. One Survivor even slid on his KYDEX holster many feet before sliding off the road. The firearm was still safely retained and protected. Typically, motorcycle riders like to carry tight outside the waistband KYDEX holsters because they are slouched forward riding the motorcycle, and appendix holsters are uncomfortable.

How tight should a KYDEX holster be? It is personal preference and we hope that this article has helped answer some of the unknowns on how tight should a Kydex holster be.

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