Kydex vs Holstex: Comprehensive Comparison for the Perfect Holster Material

Stepping into the world of weapon accessories can seem overwhelming at first with its wide range of products and materials. Amidst this dizzying array, two products stand out owing to their excellent quality and effectiveness – Kydex and Holstex. A common dilemma amongst new and even experienced users is choosing between Kydex and Holstex. While both are high-quality holster materials used in several industries, they have distinct characteristics that make them idiosyncratic in their own rights. This blog post is going to delve deep into the intricacies of Kydex and Holstex, their similarities and differences, culminating in a comprehensive comparison to help you make an informed decision.

Kydex Holstex
Material Acrylic/PVC Bi-axially extruded TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin)
Variety Available in a good variety of colors Available in a limited number of colors compared to Kydex
Thermal Resistance Has high heat resilience Lower heat resilience as compared to Kydex
Texture & Appearance Smooth and Glossy Rougher texture and less glossy than Kydex


Manufactured by Sekisui SPI, Kydex is a line of thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride materials. I’ve personally used Kydex extensively and found it beneficial for its excellent formability, rigidity, break and impact resistance, and aesthetic qualities. However, it is not without its challenges.

The Positives:

  • Kydex has high dimensional stability, creating a perfect fit for any object.
  • It retains its shape even under high temperatures, suitable for those living in hotter areas.
  • Kydex has a glossy look to it which often enhances the overall appearance of the product.

The Challenges:

  • While its rigidity is a plus, it can make it less flexible, causing discomfort on the body for extended wear.
  • The smooth surface can at times reduce the grip on the weapon.


Holstex is another robust player in the market that has gained a reputation for being a formidable alternative to the likes of Kydex. Holstex is a thermoplastic product manufactured by Index Fasteners Thermoplastics Division, known for its scratch resistance and texture. Much like my experience with Kydex, my journey with Holstex has had its share of ups and downs.

The Upsides:

  1. Holstex exhibits a unique carbon-fiber print lending a textured and industrial appearance to the product.
  2. This holster material offers decent resistance to scratches and daily wear and tear.
  3. I’ve found that Holstex can offer a snugger fit on certain body types due to its overall flexibility.

The Downside:

  1. As compared to Kydex, Holstex holster material has lower thermal resistance. This could be an area of concern for users in warmer climates.
  2. The limited color options may be restrictive for those looking for customizable aesthetics.

Detail Comparison between Kydex and Holstex

In a bid to shed light on the Kydex vs Holstex debate, let’s delve deeper into a detailed comparison, understanding these great thermoplastic materials from various data points like durability, finish, variety, heat resilience, and more.


I’ve used both Kydex and Holstex gizmos and can vouch that both are highly durable. They can withstand regular wear and tear without any significant degradation in performance over time. While Kydex exhibits a slightly higher break and impact resistance, Holstex is in no way less resilient when it comes to durability.


Ascetically, both materials differ. While Kydex has a glossy, sleek appearance, Holstex has a textured, more industrial look. I believe this largely boils down to user preference; some might prefer the smooth veneer of Kydex, others might be more inclined towards the textured, rough-and-ready look of Holstex.

Thermal Resistance

If you are living in hotter parts of the world, Kydex might be a better option due to its superior thermal resilience. I live in the Midwest, and the Kydex held up well during intensive summer months. Holstex, on the other hand, showed signs of losing its shape under direct sunlight.


Kydex offers a larger variety of colors and patterns compared to Holstex, which I found quite appealing. However, Holstex brought a uniqueness to its products with its carbon fiber finish, an aspect you might like if you prefer an industrial aesthetic.

The Kydex vs Holstex debate does not have a definitive victor – each of them has its unique strengths and shortcomings, making them suitable for different individuals and scenarios. Understanding the nuances, as outlined in this article, will enable you to choose the best material that aligns with your preferences, lifestyle, and usage. Your choice, ultimately, boils down to personal preferences and needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is better for a holster: leather or Kydex?

Both leather and Kydex have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to holsters. Leather holsters are known for their elegant appearance, comfort against the skin, and ability to conform to the shape of the gun over time. On the other hand, Kydex holsters offer excellent durability, retention, and the ability to draw and reholster the firearm easily. The choice between leather and Kydex ultimately depends on individual preferences and priorities.

Is Kydex a good holster material?

Yes, Kydex is a popular holster material for several reasons. It is lightweight, resistant to impact and moisture, and allows for easy cleaning. Additionally, Kydex holsters offer adjustable retention, ensuring a secure fit for the firearm. They also maintain their shape over time, making Kydex a reliable choice for a holster material.

What’s the difference between Kydex and carbon fiber?

Kydex and carbon fiber are both materials commonly used in the production of holsters. However, they have different properties and characteristics. Kydex is a thermoplastic material known for its rigidity, impact resistance, and durability. Carbon fiber, on the other hand, is a composite material made of carbon fibers embedded in a resin matrix, offering exceptional strength and lightness. While both materials are excellent choices, Kydex tends to be more affordable and widely available compared to carbon fiber holsters.

What are the cons of a Kydex holster?

While Kydex holsters have numerous advantages, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. One common complaint is that Kydex holsters can be noisy, especially when handling or reholstering the firearm. Additionally, some users find Kydex to be less comfortable against the skin compared to leather holsters, especially during prolonged periods of wear. However, these drawbacks are subjective and may vary depending on personal preferences and individual needs.

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