Kydex is an amazing material. Since being invented in 1965, it has been used for an extremely wide range of applications, finding use in everything from aircraft bulkheads to sheaths for knives.
It is also a great material for paddle holsters. This type of holster has become very popular in recent years, and it is not hard to see why. They combine the concealment of an OWB holster, whilst also holding your weapon securely and at a good angle for drawing it.
If you’ve not yet had the chance to try out a paddle holster, it is worth checking out the differences between this type of holster and the competition.
But with so many Kydex Paddle holsters available, choosing the perfect one can be difficult. That’s where we come in.
After reading hundreds of reviews and talking to some real Kydex paddle holster enthusiasts, we can recommend the Uncle Mike’s Tactical Kydex range of paddle holsters. These great holsters are available for a variety of weapons, and fit each very well, giving you superior weapon retention whilst also allowing for a lightning-quick draw due to some innovative features. If you are looking for the best kydex paddle holster around, you’ve just found it.
How to Choose A Kydex Paddle Holster
Paddle holsters are becoming more and more popular. In contrast to standard IWB or OWB holsters, this type of holster uses a paddle, typically rubberized, that sits against your leg and holds your gun in place.
They are especially useful if you are carrying a large, heavy weapon, because they remove the strain that would otherwise be put on your belt. Many people also find that they hold their weapon more securely, ensuring that their pistol is always exactly where they think it is.
Kydex is the perfect material for paddle holsters, because it can be molded to almost any shape. This is great when making holsters, because the precise weapon the holster is made for can be used as a template for molding a holster which fits the pistol like a glove.
In fact, Kydex is so easy to work with that you can even make your own holster. This is great if you own an unusual weapon for which finding a good fitting holster can be a problem.
Today, we’ll take you through our favorite Kydex paddle holsters. Note, however, that not all the holsters we review today will fit every weapon, and that you should check that your weapon will fit these holsters before investing in one.
Beyond this, when choosing any holster, you should keep in mind the following:
The primary thing you should look for in choosing any holster, and not least a Kydex paddle holster, is weapon security. The consequences of accidental discharge, or of dropping your gun, can be severe.
Most high-end Kydex paddle holsters now come with fully adjustable retention screws. These mean that it is possible to adjust the tightness with which the holster grips your weapon. It is also very useful if you are setting up a holster for competition, because you can adjust the level of weapon retention to your purpose.
Another thing to look for is the trigger guard mechanism. The guard on your holster should ideally cover the entire trigger mechanism, to avoid accidental discharge.
Type of Holster
Today we are looking at paddle holsters, which typically sit OWB, and are held in place by a rubberized paddle that sits against your body. In most cases, paddle holsters like this can be positioned on your hip or waistband.
Typically, OWB paddle holsters offer a faster draw than IWB items, at the cost of decreased concealment. This is one the reasons OWB holsters are preferred by many people, though there are others. And if you are worried that an OWB holster is hard to conceal, you needn’t – there are many ways you can conceal your firearm with these holsters.
Ease of Access
The other side of weapon security is ease of access. In a perfect world, a holster should be able to hold your weapon securely, whilst also allowing you to draw it quickly. In practice, however, there is always a trade off to be made between these two factors.
In general, though, draw speed is more dependent on practice than on the type of holster you use. Hours spent practicing your draw are more productive in this regard than hours spent looking for holsters which promise a quick draw.
Another feature to look for is variable cant – the angle at which your weapon sits when in the holster. Different people prefer different cants, and you can even adjust this angle depending on the situation. Some paddle holsters now offer this feature, so if you are used to an OWB holster with variable cant, look for this in a paddle holster.
If you carry your pistol concealed, it goes without saying that you want a holster that hides your weapon well. Some people say that Kydex paddle holsters, being quite bulky, will not allow you to hide your weapon. However, it is possible, and if you read up on how to conceal your weapon and this should not be a problem.
If you live in a hot climate where light clothes are standard, printing can be a problem, where the shape of your weapon shows through your clothes. Though some people worry unduly about this, it can be a problem with any type of concealed carry.
Last, but of course not least, look for a holster that will provide years of reliable service. With Kydex paddle holsters, of course, this should not be a problem. Kydex is an incredibly tough material, and will last for years as long as you treat it correctly.
Kydex Paddle Holsters Reviews
1. Editor’s Choice: Uncle Mike’s Tactical Kydex Paddle Holster
This is because the Kydex surround is very well molded to your weapon, which fits very neatly into this holster. In addition, the lead edge of the surround is cut down, meaning that you can draw your weapon just that little bit quicker. In situations where milliseconds will make all the difference, it is nice to know that you will be able to draw your pistol this fast.
The Kydex on this holster is some of the toughest we have seen. Slightly thicker than the average holster, an unfortunately therefore slightly more bulky than the average, we are sure that this holster will provide many years of reliable service.
In addition, this holster comes with a great range of additional features:
- First and foremost, the comfort on these holster is second to none, even when carrying a bulky weapon. The paddle feels very secure, and doesn’t move about even when you are running.
- The ultra adjustable features on this holster are also great. The rake and height can be adjusted, meaning that you can set up your holster precisely how you want it. If you are used to an adjustable OWB holster, or like to carry your weapon at an unusual angle, this is the holster for you.
- The air vents cut into the paddle of this holster are a feature that we wish more paddle holsters had. They keep you cool even in the hottest climates, which is especially useful if you are from the South.
- As for disadvantages, in truth we can find very few. This is not the most minimal holster on the market, and the concealment available here suffers from this, but this is a small price to pay for the other features of this holster.
The primary advantage of this holster is that the paddle is a little larger than on your average Kydex paddle holster, and as a result the holster is held very securely against your body. This improves the safety of the holster, of course, but also makes sure that your gun is always precisely where you think it is.
Of course, this holster also offers a range of additional features:
- The holster has an infinitely variable cant, which is used by undoing the central bolt with the supplied allen key. For an otherwise quite basic holster, this feature is great, and the no-nonsense way in which it is implemented means that at whatever angle you hold your weapon it is securely held.
- The draw on this holster is also surprisingly good. You are able to get your gun moving forward almost immediately, because the leading edge of the Kydex molding here is slightly cut down.
- The fit on most weapons is good. Whilst it is clear that the holster is not molded specifically for each weapon offered, it fits the pistols we tested pretty well.
- As for disadvantages, there are a few. This is quite a basic holster in many respects, and experts may find the lack of extra safety features a little annoying. However, for most casual uses this is a great holster.
The focus here is on build quality, and this really shows. This holster feels very secure in comparison to some other holsters we have tested, and is one of the most rugged available. If you often take your gun into quite difficult environments, this is a holster that will be able to keep up with you.
It also offers some good extra features:
- The steel reinforced attachment system is a feature we wish was included on more paddle holsters. It makes the connection between the various parts of this holster feel incredibly secure.
- The paddle, whilst slightly smaller than some of the other Kydex paddle holsters we tested, is rubberized, and grips against your body really well. This means that the holster doesn’t move around, even when you are running.
- This kydex paddle holster is available for a range of guns, but really excels with .45 pistols. If you are looking for a kydex paddle holster for a larger gun, this is a great option.
The disadvantage here is that this holster is not specially molded to a particular weapon, and so does not hold some pistols as well as it should. On the other hand, if you own an unusual firearm that it is difficult to find a holster for, this kydex paddle holster is a good option.
In addition, this holster has some great features:
- The minimal design allows for a quick draw, even from the deepest concealment. With a lot of paddle holsters, this is a concern, but here the removal of any additional obstacles around the top of the holster diminishes these worries.
- The fit, on the handguns we tested this holster on, is pretty solid. If anything, these holsters fit a little too tightly around your pistol. Whilst this may make your draw a little slower, the positive side is that you can be damn sure that your pistol will not fall out of the holster.
- As for disadvantages – we found that the paddle on this kydex paddle holster is actually quite slippery, and has a tendency to move around a little too much.
What you should look for in a Kydex paddle holster depends, to a great extent, on how you use it. All of the holsters we have reviewed today offer a good compromise between safety features, comfort, and concealment.
That said, we can recommend the Uncle Mike’s Tactical Kydex range of paddle holsters. These great holsters are available for a variety of weapons, and fit each very well, giving you superior weapon retention whilst also allowing for a lightning-quick draw due to some innovative features. If you are looking for the best kydex paddle holster around, you’ve just found it.
If you’re interested in more holster reviews, find them here.