How to Make KYDEX Holsters

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When it comes to holsters, one material that has gained significant popularity in recent years is KYDEX. KYDEX is a thermoplastic material known for its durability, moldability, and versatility, making it an ideal choice for crafting custom holsters that cater to individual firearm enthusiasts’ needs. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of making KYDEX holsters step by step, from gathering materials to molding and finishing.

Getting Started: Materials and Tools Needed to Make KYDEX Holsters

Materials and Tools: Before delving into the holster-making process, it’s essential to gather all the necessary materials and tools. These include:

  1. KYDEX Sheets: Available in various thicknesses and colors, KYDEX sheets will be the primary material for crafting your holster.
  2. Firearm Model or Mold: You’ll need a mold that represents the firearm you intend to make the holster for. This can be an actual firearm (unloaded and safely handled) or a dedicated mold.
  3. Clamps or Press: To achieve proper molding, you’ll require clamps or a press to apply pressure and heat to the KYDEX.
  4. Heat Source: A heat gun or oven will be used to soften the KYDEX for molding.
  5. Eye and Ear Protection: Safety goggles and ear protection are essential when working with heat and power tools.
  6. Cutting Tools: Utility knives, scissors, or a holster-specific cutting tool will be used to cut and trim the KYDEX.
  7. Rivets, Eyelets, or Fasteners: These are necessary for securing different parts of the holster together.
  8. Eyelet/Rivet Setting Tools: Tools to properly set eyelets or rivets in place.
  9. Drill and Bits: A drill is needed to create holes for eyelets, rivets, or other fasteners.
  10. Sandpaper: Used for smoothing and finishing edges.
  11. Molding Foam: Foam helps create space for the firearm and facilitates molding.
  12. Pencil or Marker: For marking and tracing cut lines on the KYDEX.

Step-by-Step Process on How to Make KYDEX Holsters

1. Design and Preparation: Begin by choosing a design for your holster. Consider factors such as carry position, cant angle, and retention level. Once you have a design in mind, gather the firearm or mold and any additional accessories you want to accommodate.

2. Tracing and Cutting: Lay the KYDEX sheet on a flat surface and place the firearm/mold on top. Use a pencil or marker to trace an outline around the firearm, leaving space for the desired clearance and retention adjustments. Cut along the traced lines using cutting tools or a holster-specific cutting tool.

3. Heating the KYDEX: Using a heat gun or oven, warm the KYDEX until it becomes pliable. This usually happens around 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit (150-175 degrees Celsius). Ensure even heating to avoid over-softening or scorching.

4. Molding: Quickly place the heated KYDEX over the firearm/mold and press it down. If using a mold, make sure it’s properly positioned. Use clamps or a press to apply pressure, allowing the KYDEX to conform to the shape of the firearm/mold. Hold this position until the KYDEX cools and hardens, maintaining the desired shape.

5. Trimming and Finishing: Remove the molded KYDEX from the firearm/mold. Trim excess material using cutting tools. Sand the edges to achieve a smooth and polished finish. Sanding not only enhances aesthetics but also prevents discomfort during holstering and drawing the firearm.

6. Hardware Installation: If your holster design requires straps, belt loops, or other hardware, drill holes and set eyelets or rivets accordingly. These fasteners ensure the holster remains secure and comfortable during use.

7. Testing and Adjustments: Before finalizing your holster, test it with the actual firearm. Check for proper fit, retention, and ease of drawing/holstering. If adjustments are needed, carefully heat and reshape the KYDEX as required.

8. Final Touches: Once satisfied with the fit and function, make any final refinements. Edge finish any rough edges, clean the holster, and apply any desired finishing touches, such as debossing, stippling, or adding decals.

9. Maintenance Guidelines: To ensure the longevity of your KYDEX holster, clean it regularly with mild soap and water. Avoid exposing the holster to excessive heat or direct sunlight for extended periods, as this could cause warping or discoloration.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, crafting KYDEX holsters offers firearm enthusiasts a rewarding opportunity to create custom solutions tailored to their specific needs. While the process may seem intricate, with the right tools, materials, and careful attention to detail, you can produce high-quality holsters that provide both functionality and aesthetics. Remember that practice makes perfect, so don’t hesitate to experiment with different designs and techniques to find what works best for you.

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