4 Best Kydex Holsters For Handguns & Pistols in 2017

LAST UPDATED: August 2nd 2017
GUIDE: Chris Browning

After reading hundreds of reviews, talking to loads of experts on Kydex and how you make holsters from it, and trawling through seemingly endless forums full of people discussing the pros and cons of various holsters, I think I finally know which Kydex holster you should buy.

It’s the Everyday Holsters’ Concealed Carry Holster. Whilst this is not the most feature-packed Kydex holster on the market, it represents the best value.

Ideally, when looking for a Kydex holster, you want a product that does all the basics right, and this is that holster. It’s got adjustable cant, fits inside your waistband for a good level of concealment, and the audible retention system means that it is one of the safest Kydex holsters around at the moment.

Everyday Holsters have recently built up a reputation which belies a name more suited to budget items. Whilst their Kydex holsters are certainly affordable, and simple enough to be suitable for even a casual gun carrier, they also incorporate some of the latest features, such as adjustable cant and retention pressue.

This means that whether you prefer an FBI cant or a more traditional carrying angle, these holsters are great.

In addition, the Kydex that this holster is composed of is the perfect thickness for most purposes. Thin enough to offer a slim profile and a good level of concealment, whilst also begin thick enough to last a lifetime, the people we spoke to for this review reported that these holsters will last for years.

However, this holster offers far more than just a low-profile carrier that will hide your weapon. It also includes many safety features typically only found on huge holsters much larger and more expensive than this one.

In terms of disadvantages, we can find very little negative to say about this holster. It’s true that for a bit more money you can get a holster with more adaptability or safety features.

It’s equally the case that there are cheaper Kydex holsters available, at the cost of the advanced features of the Everyday Holsters model we have chosen. However, we think this holster represents the best compromise between features and price.


Our Review Process

But why should you trust our verdict of the ‘best’ Kydex holster?

Well, here at Gun News Daily we have an expert on every possible accessory for your handgun, know plenty of people who are crazy about guns, and also know plenty of people in the industry. Many of us have worked with guns for many years, and when we are not writing about them we are out using them.

For my own part, I’ve been reviewing holsters, scopes, and other accessories for longer than I care to remember. I humbly consider myself an expert on what features should be included on these items, and what not.

I see reviews like this as a way of cutting through the marketing hype around a new product – what a holster manufacturer, for instance, regards as the next big thing is often just an extra annoyance for many users. I’ve come to believe that simplicity in design is the thing to aim for, and it’s this philosophy that guides this review.

For this review in particular, I spent days reading through every other review I could find online and in magazines, and contacted the people who had written them to get more information. I also talked to some experts on holster design, and especially on the materials used to make them – I possibly now know more about Kydex than any one else alive!

Then, we ordered a set of holsters and tested them. Obviously, we could not test every holster with every gun, because despite our best efforts we don’t yet own every single handgun produced in the US. We gave it a good shot, though.

Obviously, everybody has different preferences when it comes to their holster. Different people like different carrying angles, for instance, and some simply love the feel of leather and hate any kind of synthetic material. I’ve tried to take a range of views into account, but my recommendations and opinions remain mine.


The Everyday Holsters IWB Kydex Holster: Is It For You?

This is my favorite Kydex holster at the moment. However, it goes without saying that it will not be the best holster for everyone.

First of all, note that it’s an Inside-Waist-Band holster. One of the perks of this job is hearing the OWB vs. IWB argument every time I review holsters, and hearing the passion that some people can put into their choice. I’ve chosen an IWB holster because I think that’s what the majority of people prefer, in truth, though I know that are others who swear by OWB items.

Secondly, whilst this holster is pretty good at concealment, it is not the kind of minimal pouch favored by those who want to conceal their weapon under the lightest shirt. That said, there are many ways you can conceal your firearm, with or without IWB holsters.

This is always a difficult thing to discuss, but whilst tiny holsters often offer the best concealment, the lack of safety features on these tiny items can often come at a high price – your health!

Put simply, in my opinion it is dangerous to carry a powerful handgun in a minimal holster. If you are looking for the smallest Kydex holster available, look elsewhere.

Also note that not every Kydex holster fits every gun well. Whilst this holster is available for a wide variety of handguns, if you have an unusual weapon, or have some unusual additions attached, it might be difficult to find any Kydex holster that will fit. If you’re feeling particularly handy, however, you can always make your own.

These things out of the way, I would say that the Everyday holsters IWM Kydex Holster is pretty much perfect for most gun owners. The variable cant means that whether you are using your pistol for competition, hunting, or simply personal protection, you can set it up in a way that suits you.

This holster also – strangely, perhaps – had a pretty fast draw speed. This is likely because the friction between weapon and holster is quite low, allowing you to draw out the pistol really fast.

Bear in mind, however, that draw speed is always more dependent on practice than anything else, and it might just be that we at GND are more used to this kind of holster.


The 5 Best Kydex Holsters – Our Reviews

So, without further ado, let’s look at the holsters, and why we chose the ones we did.

1. GND’s Pick: Everyday Holsters IWB Concealed Carry Holsters

product image of Everyday Holsters IWB Kydex Concealed Carry Holster in 2017Proudly made in the USA, this holster is a good choice not only for patriotic purposes, but also because it manages to combine some of the great features of more advanced, and more expensive holsters, in a package that is great value.

The positive-click audible retention lock system is just one of these features. When you holster your weapon, this holster gives audible and sensory feedback, letting you know that your pistol is securely seated in the holster.

Many people find that this gives them extra peace of mind. It also means that your pistol is essentially impossible to grab by anyone but you – a factor that means this kind of holster is greatly preffered by law enforcement officers.

Normally, this feature is only available on holsters several times the price of this one, and it is great that safety technology like this is finally within reach of the casual gun owner.

In addition, this holster is my choice for the best Kydex holster for a number of other reasons:

  • First off, let’s talk about concealment. If you are in the market for a Kydex holster, I’m going to bet that this is one of the most important features to you in a holster. This holster offers a good range of features to help you with this. The Kydex used here is quite thin, reducing your weapon profile, and the design of the holster itself breaks up the outline of your gun, reducing printing.
  • The full sweat shield on this holster is a really nice feature also, especially if you are lucky enough to live in a hot part of the country and generally carry your weapon all day. There is nothing worse, on a hot day, then having a sweaty, heavy handgun strapped to your waist, but there is no such problem with this holster.
  • The adjustable cant on this holster is another one of those features that is typically only included on high-end holsters. Here, the cant is infinitely adjustable between 0 and 15 degress, ensuring that whatever style you like to carry your handgun in, you can find it here.
  • This holster comes with a  lifetime warranty, though in the experience of the people we talked to for this review, you are unlikely to need it. They reported that this holster stood up to everyday use very well, and was likely to give you many years of service even under strenuous conditions.

Though this is my favorite Kydex holster at the moment, as with any holster it does have some drawbacks:

  • This holster is not “tuckable”, in the words of one of our experts. He meant that you cannot tuck your shirt in around the holster, leaving it a little exposed in most situations because the belt clip will still be visible.
  • Some people we talked to said that the belt clip on this holster would not fit over large or thick gun belts. This might be a little annoying for some people, but also bear in mind that the clip is also strong enough that you can do away with your belt, as the holster will grip your pants’ waistband pretty well.

Overall, in my opinion this holster is the best value Kydex holster available today.

It incorporates many features only previously found on high-end holsters, without the price tag. The positive click retention system, in particular, is a joy to use and offers that extra layer of security that could make all the difference in a dangerous situation.

If you are looking for the best allround Kydex holster on the market today, and if this one fits your gun, it comes highly recommended.

2. The Runner Up: Concealment Express Kydex IWB Holster

product image of the Concealment Express Kydex IWB HolsterThis is an amazing Kydex holster, and only beaten into the runner up spot because it is a little more expensive than the Everyday Holsters model.

Whilst some other holsters offer better concealment, or more protection for your weapon, with this holster Concealment Express have achieved a perfect mix of features that will please even the most discerning gun owner.

This holster is particularly good for carrying large, bulky guns such as larger Glocks like the G19. If you want to carry a gun that will give you a lot of stopping power, whilst also being just about small enough to carry concealed, this is a good choice of holster.

This is the reason why it is such a popular choice amongst those who carry a gun for protection.

In addition, this holster has several big advantages over the competition:

  • First off, let’s talk about the materials used here. The Kydex used here is great. The .08” Kydex used here, at the risk of sounding like a geek, is my favorite grade – thick enough to feel solid and rigid, whilst also thin enough to give the holster a slim profile.
  • Though this holster is sold as an IWB holster, and excels when carried in that configuration, it can also be used in other ways. The adaptable clip can also be put into use to carry your weapon on your appendix, or on the small of your back. This is ideal if you carry your weapon both around town and out hunting, as it will never be in the way.
  • The no-nonsense design of this holster actually has great advantages in terms of durability. Too often, manufacturers feel obliged to pack their holsters with lots of small, sticking-out pieces of plastic which supposedly help the user but in fact merely snap off in everyday use. This holster is sleek, with no parts that will become weakened over time.
  • The variable cant on this holster can be varied between 0 and 15 degrees, and is an extremely simple and durable mechanism. If you take your draw speed and accuracy extremely seriously, this is great – this holster will accommodate whatever weird shooting style you’ve built up over the years!

All that said, as with any holster, this one has some cons also:

  • At the risk of repeating myself, let’s just say that having a large gun tucked inside your waistband doesn’t leave much space for your … other equipment.
  • If you’ve added after market accessories to your gun, such as sights, they will not fit in this holster.

All in all, in my opinion this holster offers the best compromise between all the features you should expect in a premium holster. I think most people will be pleasantly surprised by how easy this holster is to set up and use.

And that is the reason why, if you are looking for one of the best Kydex holsters around at the moment, this is the one to get.

3. The Budget Option: Blackhawk Ambidextrous Appendix IWB Holster

image of the Blackhawk Ambidextrous Appendix IWB kydex Holster with holstered glock in 2017Considering the price, this holster offers amazing value. It’s a pretty minimal holster, in truth, but for people with a lost of experience in weapons carrying and handling this should not be a huge problem.

When I’m looking at cheaper holsters, the first thing I always look for are the safety features – cutting these down tends to make holsters cheaper, but at the expense of safety. It goes without saying that a holster that allows you to accidentally shoot yourself is not going to get any recommendations from me.

I’m pleased to say that with this holster there are no such worries. The whole package feels secure, and the fact that this holster completely covers the trigger mechanism on most guns means that the risk of accidental discharge whilst drawing is limited.

In addition, this holster has a number of advantages:

  • Amazingly for a budget holster, this holster offers adjustable retention screws. This is not just unusual for a budget holster, but is a feature that is also found only rarely on Appendix Reversible Carry holsters. Whilst I know that ARC holsters are not the most popular in the world, those who carry their gun in this way deserve the same features as the rest of us.
  • Because of its minimal design, this holster is also a good choice if you have rear mounted red dots on your weapon. The fact that the rear of your weapon is left exposed when carrying it in this holster means that a lot of aftermarket accessories will fit without any problem.
  • The holster is also quite comfortable, especially considering its price point. The Kydex used here has a good level of roughness, ensuring that the holster stays put inside your waistband, and feels quite solid also.
  • Adjustments on this holster are achieved by using differently sized and angled clips – swap these around to change between 15 degree and straight down cant, and to change the ride height of your weapon. Whilst this holster therefore doesn’t offer the infinite adjustment of some other holsters, for such a cheap item this level of adjustability is great.

All that said, as with any holster, this one has some cons also:

  • Well, it’s an ARC holster, and I know that many people hate carrying a weapon in that position, despite some of the advantages.
  • The draw is not the smoothest. The holster seems to hold on to your pistol for just a little too long, and even after a bit of practice I was not able to get used to this.

For the price, very good. If you are looking for a Kydex holster that won’t break the bank, don’t mind a slightly unusual carrying style, and want a holster that will accommodate a wide range of after market accessories, this is a great choice.

4. The Luxury Option: Outlaw Holsters Black Carbon Fiber Kydex OWB Holster

image of the Outlaw Holsters Black Carbon Fiber Kydex OWB Holstered with sig in 2017This holster looks amazing.

I know that a lot of people claim to not care about that, saying that it is feel and features of a holster that should be prioritized, but it’s also really nice to have a holster that really looks the part. If you’ve spent a tidy sum on your gun, you don’t want to cover it with a holster that looks cheap.

In addition, this is perhaps the most comfortable Kydex holster we test for this review. The assembly is flexible without feeling fragile, meaning that when you wear the holster it fits nicely to the shape of your body, and that you can wear it for hours without it getting annoying.

This is true for all the people who tried it here at GND, both thin people and those a little more solidly built.

In addition, this holster has several huge advantages over the competition:

  • Though this holster is available for a staggeringly wide array of weapons, each retention shell is custom made for your weapon. This is perfect for people who own unusual guns, because the unusual dimensions of certain weapon can sometimes make finding a perfectly-fitting holster difficult. No such problems here.
  • This is an OWB holster, and despite seeming quite large, conceals really well. Though it looks big, the flexible materials are actually quite slim, and when worn fit themselves very well to the shape of your body, meaning that even in hot climates you should be able to hide your gun pretty well.
  • The one year replacement warranty, whilst not as generous as that offered on some other holsters, is pretty good. In any case, the people we spoke to for this review reported that this holster stands up really well to the rigors of everyday use, and therefore should last for quite some years.
  • I know I’m repeating myself, but just look at it! The carbon fiber cover is fitted over a Kydex shell, and the combination of materials both looks and feels great. The carbon fiber outer in this holster also protects your gun a little better than a standard Kydex sheath, ensuring that even if you take your weapon out hunting it will keep your pistol protected.

All that said, as with any holster, this one has some cons also:

  • Well, the price. This is one of the most expensive Kydex holsters we came across, but that said you get what you pay for with this kind of item.
  • That’s it. I tried to find something else bad to say about this holster, but I can’t!

If money is no object to you, get this Kydex holster. It will conceal your gun really well, whilst also holding it securely in place and improving your draw speed. It’s comfortable to wear even in the hottest climates or the longest hikes, and will last essentially forever.

Whilst the Everyday Holsters holster above is the best value Kydex holster, this is the best.


Frequently Asked Questions

My gun has a sight fitted. Will it fit in these holsters?

It depends. In general, it’s pretty hard to find a Kydex holster that will allow you to holster a weapon with an attached sight, because the major advantage of Kydex is that it is molded to precisely the dimensions of the intended gun.

That said, the Blackhawk holster above, because it does not completely encase your weapon, can be used with a rear-mounted sight.

How are these holsters in terms of concealment?

All of the holsters above offer fairly good concealment. Keep in mind that it is not only the holster that is a factor in concealing your weapon – the clothes you where and even how you wear them can also play into this.

If you are really into concealed carry, or are lucky enough to live in a hot part of the country, there are of course more minimal holsters available, but these are typically less safe than those holsters above, and only recommended for expert weapon handlers.

Will these holsters work without a belt?

Not very well, in truth. It might just about be possible to have the waistband of your pants holding up your weapon, but we wouldn’t recommend it.

Ultimately, the point of a holster is to hold your weapon in precisely the same place all day, and if your pants are slipping down that is not going to happen no matter what holster you buy.


Conclusion

Which Kydex holster you need for your gun depends, to a huge extent, on how you use it. No review can tell you the absolute best holster for your needs.

If you only carry your weapon sometimes, it could be worth going for a slightly cheaper holster, though in my opinion this is something of a false economy – if you’ve already spent the money to get a serious weapon, get something serious to carry it in.

I’m guessing that a lot of you like to carry concealed. For this reason, I’ve largely chosen holsters that will allow you to do this.

However, bear in mind that no matter what holster you get, you will give away the fact that you are packing unless you are clever about hiding your gun.

Beyond this, I know that many people care about their draw speed, and the holsters above generally allow a quick draw once you get used to the locking mechanisms in use.

The first time you use a new locking mechanism, of course, you are likely to draw pretty slowly, but practice and you will soon improve. This is the case with all the holsters we tried above.

All this said, in my opinion, get the Everyday Holsters’ Concealed Carry Holster. Whilst this is not the most feature-packed Kydex holster on the market, it represents the best value.

Ideally, when looking for a Kydex holster, you want a product that does all the basics right, and this is that holster. It’s got adjustable cant, fits inside your waistband for a good level of concealment, and the audible retention system means that it is one of the safest Kydex holsters around at the moment.

Everyday Holsters have recently built up a reputation which belies a name more suited to budget items. Whilst their Kydex holsters are certainly affordable, and simple enough to be suitable for even a casual gun carrier, they also incorporate some of the latest features, such as adjustable cant and retention pressure.

This means that whether you prefer an FBI cant or a more traditional carrying angle, these holsters are great.

In addition, the Kydex that this holster is composed of is the perfect thickness for most purposes. Thin enough to offer a slim profile and a good level of concealment, whilst also begin thick enough to last a lifetime, the people we spoke to for this review reported that these holsters will last for years.

However, this holster offers far more than just a low-profile carrier that will hide your weapon. It also includes many safety features typically only found on huge holsters much larger and more expensive than this one.

In terms of disadvantages, we can find very little negative to say about this holster. It’s true that for a bit more money you can get a holster with more adaptability or safety features.

It’s equally the case that there are cheaper Kydex holsters available, at the cost of the advanced features of the Everyday Holsters model we have chosen. However, we think this holster represents the best compromise between features and price.

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