Hybrid vs. Kydex Holsters

Hybrid vs. Kydex Holsters

When choosing the best handgun holsters for concealed carry, the holster material matters more than you might think. Especially when it comes to wearing an IWB holster, the construction of your holster can affect your drawing and reholstering proficiency, concealment, carry positions, and even comfort. All of which, should be balanced to create an effective and functional concealed carry holster. I mean, why else would you concealed carry if you can’t use the firearm properly?

Today, we will discuss two different types of carry holsters: hybrid and Kydex. These two types of holsters present both advantages and challenges; both offer many characteristics that can satisfy every gun owner. Whether you’re looking for an OWB holster, an appendix carry holster, or even ankle holsters, Kydex or hybrid holsters will give you options for all. So, let’s talk about these two materials and what sets them apart.

What is Kydex?

What is Kydex?

Essentially, Kydex is just an advanced form of plastic. It’s very lightweight and durable. This material came around in the 60’s where it was used for aircraft applications, and since then has become a go-to material for gun holsters, knife sheaths, and many other uses. This material has quickly risen in popularity to rival traditional holsters like a leather holster or a nylon holster.

Kydex holsters are shaped using heat, essentially allowing you to purchase a custom kydex holster that’s made specifically for your weapon.

While this material gives a good retention and will hold its shape, it’s also very abrasive. Concealed carry with a Kydex holster can be uncomfortable because the material is hard and will not mold to you like a leather holster would. It will also hold its shape and won’t collapse when you’re trying to reholster your weapon. It’s very easy to hook up to your gun belt; most Kydex holsters attach by a single clip (although a single clip hybrid does exist!). Although convenient, it might prove to be uncomfortable to have an uneven holster attached to your belt.

What is Hybrid?

what is Kydex

A hybrid holster is pretty self-explanatory. The holster itself will be made of Kydex but the backing and where it attaches to the belt will be a softer material, like leather or synthetic material. The most common type in modern ages is a leather backing. This means you’re still getting the benefits of the Kydex, like retention and durability, but also balancing it with more comfort for an easier carry.

Hybrid holsters typically attach by two clips, one belt clip on each side of the holster. This gives a more even weight distribution, which is another comfort feature of the hybrid holster. The even weight won’t bear so much on you and will make concealed carry easier for longer.

Now, that also means that they’re typically larger. Larger holsters mean that it will be harder to conceal them. So, achieving the hidden hybrid holster might be a bit more of a challenge than a full Kydex one.

Still, the holster is pretty much fully made of Kydex, which means that the comfort level still won’t be able to match that of a leather holster. However, the added material on the back of the holster will give a good balance for the benefits of the Kydex that you can’t get with leather. This can eliminate a good amount of the stress that can cause discomfort from carrying for long periods of time or from the abrasive material.

Kydex Features

Let’s talk about what makes a Kydex holster so special.

Advantages Drawbacks
– It is durable. – It takes more effort to attach them to your belt.
– It still has the shape retention of the Kydex. – They are typically larger in size.
– It has a leather backing that provides extra comfort. – The leather backing will wear faster than the Kydex.
– It attaches with two clips to give an even weight balance.

All of these are things to consider when it comes to what is right for you. Most of the time, it will come down to personal preference, shooting style, and the type of shooting or carrying that you’ll be doing. There’s also some other things you should keep in mind when it comes to Kydex holsters.

First, a lot of Kydex holsters come fitted with a tall sweat guard. While these might be a great feature, they won’t offer much protection for your firearm and can be extremely uncomfortable for a waistband holster or an IWB Kydex holster. Depending on what you value more, you might want to stay away from the bigger sweat guards if you’re trying to conceal a gun holster comfortably.

Another thing to keep in mind is the amount of belt clips. Typically, a Kydex holster will have one large belt clip and another sort of claw attachment that will stick to your gun belt. This will give you the two points of attachment like the hybrid holster usually has, which is good for balance and less weight on your body in an uneven distribution.

Of course, the claw will cost a few extra bucks, but it’s definitely something worth considering. Not having that second point of contact on your gun belt can prove to be a lot more wearing than you might think. So, just think before you buy. It could save you some real pain.

Hybrid Features

Now, let’s discuss what a hybrid holster has to offer.

Advantages Drawbacks
– It is durable. – It takes more effort to attach them to your belt.
– It still has the shape retention of the Kydex. – They are typically larger in size.
– It has a leather backing that provides extra comfort. – The leather backing will wear faster than the Kydex.
– It attaches with two clips to give an even weight balance.

Just remember, the leather part of your hybrid holster will still require some breaking in time, just like any other leather product. A good way to break this in quickly is to just wear it while you’re doing a manual job. This way, you’ll get your leather backing broken in and molded to your body quicker. Since it’s not fully leather, the holster will be much quicker and easier to break in. You also won’t have to worry about stretching the leather to fit your weapon since the holster part is made of Kydex.

It’s still good practice to clean and condition the leather every once and a while. You’ll want to keep this holster backer in the best shape possible since it’s keeping you comfortable and is constantly rubbing against your skin and absorbing sweat and other grime.

Comparing Hybrid and Kydex Holsters

A. Side-by-Side Comparison

Let’s compare hybrid and Kydex holsters in different aspects:

  1. Comfort: Hybrid holsters excel in comfort due to their leather backing that conforms to the body. Kydex holsters, although lightweight, may feel less comfortable due to their rigid material.
  2. Retention: Both hybrid and Kydex holsters offer excellent retention, ensuring that the firearm stays securely in place.
  3. Concealability: Hybrid holsters can be bulkier, which may affect concealability compared to the slim profile of Kydex holsters.
  4. Durability: Kydex holsters are highly durable and resistant to wear and tear, while hybrid holsters may require occasional maintenance due to the leather component.

B. Performance in Different Scenarios

  1. Everyday Carry: Hybrid holsters provide a balance of comfort and functionality, making them suitable for everyday carry. Kydex holsters’ lightweight and durable nature also make them a popular choice for daily use.
  2. Tactical Use: Kydex holsters are favored in tactical scenarios due to their rigid construction, quick draw capability, and excellent retention.
  3. Training and Competition: Kydex holsters are often preferred for training and competition purposes due to their consistent performance and secure fit.

Comparison Table

Features Hybrid Holsters Kydex Holsters
Material Combination of leather and synthetic materials High-quality thermoplastic called Kydex
Retention Typically adjustable retention for a customized fit Fixed retention, often molded specifically for the firearm
Comfort Offers good comfort due to the leather backing Provides a snug fit and excellent retention for secure carry
Durability Leather backing may wear over time, but overall durability is good Highly durable and resistant to impact and wear
Concealment Offers good concealment with the leather backing Provides excellent concealment due to its slim and compact design
Maintenance Requires occasional cleaning and conditioning of the leather Easy to clean and maintain, can be wiped down with a damp cloth
Adjustability Allows for adjustable ride height and cant angles Generally limited in terms of adjustability
Cost Generally more expensive than Kydex holsters Typically more affordable than hybrid holsters
Holster Types Available in various styles including IWB and OWB Available in a wide range of styles including IWB and OWB
Draw Speed May offer a slightly slower draw due to the leather backing Enables a fast and smooth draw due to the smooth Kydex surface
Customization Offers options for customization such as color and patterns Limited customization options, mainly offered in standard colors

Choosing What’s Best for You

Choosing what holster best for you

Each material has its pros and cons. There’s a lot to think about here, as well as some other basic features you should look for when exploring both sides of the market.

A good example is an adjustable retention. What good is your firearm if it falls out of the holster? A lot of holsters, typically a Kydex or even hybrid, will come equipped with a retention screw, that you can adjust to make sure your weapon is secured in place.

Also consider what type of accessories you have to go along with your pistol. Do you have any sort of optics or a flashlight? If so, you might want to lean towards the Kydex. Kydex will be easier to find a holster that will match your firearm and all that comes with it.

If you’re carrying more when you’re active and moving around, then a Kydex holster is also the better bet. A Kydex is typically smaller, more lightweight, and easier for concealment. But, since you’ll be active and not sitting for a long period of time, you’ll be less affected by the discomfort that might come with the material.

If you’re concealed carry comes with you to work or other places where you’re not active and sitting or driving, then a hybrid is a good choice. A hybrid holster is made better for everyday life, and will give a great balance of retention and comfort for whatever you’re doing.

Every good holster should have a good, safe trigger guard. This is an essential item for when you are concealed carry; misfires can be dangerous and catastrophic. So, make sure that yours comes equipped with a good quality trigger guard, no matter which type you end up buying.

Holster Maker Recommendations

It might be hard to find your way in today’s gun market, so let’s go over some good brands and holster makers to get you started on your search.

Holster Maker Recommendations

Sig Sauer

Sig Sauer is not just a weapons manufacturer, they also make tons of other products, including holsters. Sig Sauer is a very reputable firearm brand and will provide you with great quality holsters for your every carry need.

Concealment Express

This company is another great one for holsters. They offer a wide range of holsters from leather to hybrid, and many carry positions.

Alien Gear

Alien Gear is probably one of the most well known holster companies. They sell plenty of different options to appeal to every gun owner’s needs and preferences.

Springfield Armory

Last but certainly not least, is Springfield Armory. This is just another great company with great products and services. Check here too when you’re searching for the perfect holster.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Which holster is better for concealed carry: hybrid or Kydex?
    • The choice between a hybrid and Kydex holster for concealed carry depends on factors such as comfort, concealability, and personal preference. It’s recommended to try both options and choose the one that suits you best.
  2. Do hybrid holsters require special care?
    • Hybrid holsters made with a leather component may require occasional maintenance, such as conditioning and cleaning, to keep the leather in good condition.
  3. Are Kydex holsters suitable for rigorous use?
    • Yes, Kydex holsters are known for their durability and can withstand rigorous use without losing their shape or performance.
  4. Can I adjust the position of my hybrid holster?
    • Yes, most hybrid holsters offer adjustable cant and ride height, allowing you to personalize the positioning for optimal comfort and draw.
  5. Are Kydex holsters more expensive than hybrid holsters?
    • The cost of holsters can vary depending on the brand and features. Generally, Kydex holsters may be slightly more expensive due to their manufacturing process and durable materials.





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