How to Make a Kydex Mag Pouch

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.

In this article, I’ll be taking you step by step through the process of making your own Kydex mag pouch. In future articles you’ll learn how to create your own holsters — both inside-the-waistband (IWB) and outside-the-waistband (OWB) models so stay tuned!

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

  • *Kydex
  • 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 2:
  1. Draw an outline of the portion of your magazine that will be covered by the pouch (if you compete in IDPA, be sure to cover at least 2 inches).
  2. Since Kydex comes with a shiny side and a dull side, if you want the non-reflective dull side to be on the outside, be sure to draw the outline on the shiny side.
  3. Be sure that each drawing is a mirror image of the other since they represent separate halves of the magazine
  4. Finally, you want to have at least a magazine’s thickness on each side of the mags outline.

Step 3: Score and break the two halves of the magazine pouch.
Step 4: Turn on your oven to about 220 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 5:
  1. Place both halves on a cookie sheet and place in the oven with the door partially open.
  2. I like to also lay the sheath foam between the oven door and the stove top to warm up the foam. Warming up the foam will help to create a more defined Kydex mold. If you keep the foam at room temperature, it will draw out the heat from the Kydex causing it to cool too fast which will prevent a nicely defined mold.

Step 6:
  1. With gloves on, every few minutes pick up the Kydex to determine if it’s soft and floppy.
  2. Once it is very flexible, remove one of the pieces of foam from the oven door and place it on one of the wood boards
  3. Remove one half of the Kydex from the oven and place it on the foam and then place the magazine on the hot Kydex (being sure to match up the mag with the outline you did in step 2)

Step 7:Finally, place the other warm piece of foam on the magazine and Kydex, followed by the other wood board.
Step 8:
  1. Clamp down the two halves of the boards over the foam like a sandwich. Be sure to securely clamp it down — the more pressure the more defined your final product will be.
  2. Let it sit in the foam press for around 15 min

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!

Resources

Not enough?! Here are some great resources for Kydex materials and how-tos:

Copyright © 2014 Tactical Intelligence. All Rights Reserved

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22 Comments»

Comment by BillyBob
2012-04-02 20:07:44

Sweet article man! I love Kydex holsters and sheaths and have always wanted to know how to make them. I’m looking forward to your upcoming articles on the holsters. Keep it up!

2012-04-02 20:44:19

Glad to hear it! I’ll be doing that holster article soon so check back soon…

 
 
Comment by Matt in Oklahoma
2012-04-03 20:07:04

This is awesome and something i’ve been looking into

2012-04-03 23:25:23

Thanks Matt. If you make one, let me know how it turns out.

 
 
Comment by Cal
2012-04-05 20:29:23

Nice tutorial! Although I was a tad disappointed by the Steelers gloves though (Kidding….I grew up on the Eagles side of PA lol). I have no need for this yet (I live on an air force base…if disaster struck we’d be armed and sent to the front lines in a jiffy lol) but it’s something I’ll bookmark for when I get out of my contract in 2015.

 
Comment by Ron
2012-04-19 18:07:54

I love the Steelers gloves. Thank for the tutorial.

 
Comment by John
2012-04-22 09:52:37

Excellent article. I’m left handed and finding holsters/sheaths/etc is all but impossible at times. I tried leather but found it to hard to work with and the results a bit on the flimsy side. This looks like it might work for me.

 
Comment by Shanghai Jack
2012-06-06 14:18:49

Where can I purchase used (cheap) mags? “Dirt Cheap” wanted about $70 each.

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-06-06 14:23:17

Jack,

Which mags are you looking for specifically?

 
 
Comment by Custom Tactical of New England
2012-08-01 19:03:50

One of the better DYI’s I’ve seen thus far. I would recommend snap caps in place. Your mag will not fit properly loaded. I share a lot of my practices on my facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/CustomTacticalNE. Great job!

 
Comment by Larry
2012-08-01 22:16:43

Great tutorial. What thickness of kydex sheets did you use?

Comment by TI
2012-08-02 08:08:33

Larry,

I use .08 thickness Kydex for all my kydex projects.

 
 
Comment by nick
2012-08-02 10:12:16

great step by step. two questions: 1) how would one go about make the kydex mag holder with a single sheet (wrap around style) instead of rivets on both sides? 2) do you have any suggestions for utilizing only one belt loop?

Comment by TI
2012-08-03 08:43:31

Hey Nick,

To do the wrap around style is made in a similar manner, except your sheet of Kydex will be one wide piece as opposed to two narrower peices that you put together with rivets.

Basically the process would be as follows:

1. measure out a wide peice of kydex that when folded will cover the mag
2. put it in the oven as above.
3. when it becomes floppy, pull it out of the oven and fold the Kydex over the mag (placing the folded combination in the foam press for 15 min)
4. take the Kydex out of the press and trim and shape as needed (You’ll also need to rivet the open side)

As for one belt loop, sure you can just make it a bit wider and put it in the middle (similar to how Kydex knife sheaths are made).

 
 
Comment by Don
2012-08-29 06:39:08

If you want a inside the pants mag holder when you put on the belt loops don’t put a rivet in the bottom of the belt loop can slide over your belt without removing your belt can be placed inside or outside the pants

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-08-29 09:30:03

Great tip Don, thanks!

 
 
Comment by Vernon
2012-09-25 11:03:19

I would like to put the mag pouches on my plate carrier. What would you recommend for that. Also I want to hook the holster on the to the SERPA strike plate. Please advise on how to do that. Thanks

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-09-26 11:30:05

Vernon,

You can do something like PatriotConcealment has done: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45HsR25UUAE

Let me know how it works out for you. Good luck!

– Erich

 
 
Comment by Joe
2012-11-12 00:31:26

What belt loops do you use? Also what rivets do you use?

Comment by Tactical Intelligence
2012-11-12 22:01:57

Hey Joe,

I maid my own loops using strips of Kydex molded to a loop chape. Also, I use the #8-8 (1/4 inch) rivets from knifekits.com.

Hope that helps,

– Erich

 
 
Comment by scboolitcaster
2013-01-26 14:50:21

Pretty cool –

but that mag carrier won’t be worth a dang if you plan to carry it with ammo in it.

 
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