How to Make a Kydex Holster
Ever want to learn how to make your own custom kydex holster? 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 in the recent decade do we see the competitive-shooting and military communities embracing them — and if you haven’t yet, I’d recommend you do too.
Given its many benefits, I figured I’d pass onto you how you can make your own custom Kydex gear.
Since making a Kydex holster is one of the more complicated of Kydex crafts, if you haven’t yet I’d highly recommend you first trying to make a Kydex mag pouch to better understand how to work with Kydex (you can see instructions by visiting the following link: how to make your own Kydex mag pouch. Once you’re comfortable with that, making a holster will not be much more difficult.
Materials you’ll need
The list below contains all the basics you need to make some great Kydex holsters. Items with the * can be found at KnifeKits.com
- *Kydex (I like to use .08 thickness)
- Box cutters
- Some type of measuring device
- *Sheath foam (I purchased two 12×11.5×1 sheets)
- *Rivets/Eyelits (I purchased a bunch of #8-8 1/4 inch size)
- *Rivet flaring die and guide (I purchased the #8 die)
- Some wood boards to sandwich the foam
- Wood clamps
- Marking tool (pencil)
- Your pistol
- A heat gun or good hair drier
- Gloves to protect your hands from the heat
- A drill with a 1/4″ bit
- Optional: It helps to have a craft-board for easy measurements
How to make a Kydex holster
|Step 2: Score the Kydex with some box cutters and split it by hand along the score line
|Step 6:Prepare to form the Kydex by turning on your oven to about 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
|Step 11: 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 12:Draw a sketch of your holster design on both of the halves as follows and cut out the sections not part of the sketch.
|Step 13: After cutting out the designs, place both halves together (with the pistol in the middle) ensuring that both sides are flush. Don’t worry if there are any overlapping sections, since these can be fixed later.
|Step 14: Now that both halves are cut out, draw holes where you want the rivets to be.
|Step 15: 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 16: Using the rivet die, begin installing the rivets (eyelits) where the holes are.
|Step 17: After installing all of the rivets, you’ll probably notice that there are slight alignment issues between the two halves. To fix this, use a belt sander, file, or heavy sand paper and start sanding the edges so they even out and become aligned.
|Step 18: 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 19: Viola! You now have an effective and beutiful Kydex holster! What I also did (as you can see in the pics below) is took a heat gun to the edges of the holster 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.
Still need more Kydex?! 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.