Ever want to learn how to make your own custom kydex products? Here’s how…
For you Kydex newbies, Kydex is basically an acrylic/PVC thermoplastic sheet that is frequently used as an alternative to leather in the production of firearm holsters and sheaths for knives.
The benefits of Kydex are that it is lightweight, thin, durable, and provides excellent retention for whatever application you use it for — be it sheaths, mag pouches, flashlights, or holsters.
Although Kydex holsters and mag pouches have been around for some time now, only recently in the last decade do we see the competitive-shooting and military communities embracing them.
Given its many benefits, I figured I’d pass onto you how you can make your own custom Kydex gear.
Materials you’ll need
The list below contains all the basics you need to make some great Kydex mag pouches. Items with the * can be found at KnifeKits.com
- Box cutter
- Some type of measuring device
- *Sheath foam
- *Rivets (eyelits)
- *Rivet flaring die
- Some wood boards to sandwich the foam
- Wood clamps
- Marking tool (pencil)
- Gun, magazine, knife etc (in this case we’ll be using the magazine)
How to make a Kydex mag pouch
|Step 1: Measure out the height of your mag pouch (an avg. being ~4 inches) and score a line with the box cutters:
|Step 3: Score and break the two halves of the magazine pouch.
|Step 4: Turn on your oven to about 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
|Step 7:Finally, place the other warm piece of foam on the magazine and Kydex, followed by the other wood board.
|Step 9: Repeat the process with the other piece of Kydex. Here’s what one of the halves will look like when taken out of the press:
|Step 10:Draw a sketch of your mag pouch design on one of the halves and cut out the sections not part of the sketch.
|Step 11: After cutting out the design on the first half, place both halves together (with the magazine in the middle) and trace an outline of the design onto the second half.
|Step 12: Now that both halves are cut out, draw holes where you want the rivets to be.
|Step 13: Now begin drilling out the holes that you drew in the previous step. Be sure to keep the magazine in-between the two halves to ensure proper alignment.
|Step 14: Using the rivet die, begin installing the rivets (eyelits).
|Step 15: After installing all of the rivets, you’ll probably notice that there are slight alignment issues between the two halves. This is ok, since you’ll be taking care of this in the next step.
|Step 16: Using a belt sander, file, or heavy sand paper, start sanding the edges so they even out and become aligned.
|Step 17: The previous step will leave a rough finish on the edges. Now it’s time to clean them up using a fine grit sand paper.
|Step 18: Viola! You now have an effective and beutiful Kydex mag pouch! What I also did (as you can see in the pics below) is took a heat gun to the edges of the mag pouch to bend them slightly in. This helps to mold it to the body better. In addition, don’t forget the belt loops. These are simply made by cutting strips of Kydex, heating them up and bending them into the shape you desire.
Some final thoughts
Making a Kydex mag pouch is an excellent first step in the world of Kydex forming. Once you’re comfortable with that, making a holster will not be much more difficult. There are a few design issues you’ll need to address but otherwise you shouldn’t have any issues.
In upcoming articles I’ll be guiding you step-by-step through the process of making your own custom Kydex holster so be sure to come back!
Not enough?! Here are some great resources for Kydex materials and how-tos:
- KnifeKits.com: This is where I get all my Kydex supplies.
- PhillyEDC’s YouTube channel: This is a great YouTube resource on all things Kydex. Much of what I’ve learned I owe to PhillyEDC. Thanks brother if you see this!
- GunFightersInc’s YouTube channel: Another great YouTube resource that features some innovative ideas and concepts around Kydex forming.