Custom and Pre Made Kydex Holsters
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- Last updated: 23/07/2019
Sadly, if you want to shoot pistols in a meaningful way and you live in the UK, it’s not possible unless you are serving military, police or a Section 5 FAC holder!
I’m lucky enough to have lived in the USA and, as most of the friends that I made there are ‘shooters’, it means that any time I visit I get to shoot - A LOT! I just have to let the guys know I’m coming, PayPal them some money for ammunition in advance, then simply turn up on the day with my kit squared away ready to enjoy a fun and (hopefully!) fulfilling day on the range.
When I head over the water, I will of course take my own Blueye shooting glasses and Peltors, or ‘eyes and ears’, as my friends refer to them, along with my Direct Action two-piece belt setup. I usually, but not exclusively, shoot a Glock 17 in 9mm, although I am partial to the Glock 22 in .40 S&W and, to this end, my belt sports a Kydex holster specific to that frame.
Although we happily throw the word ‘Kydex’, around it’s basically a line of thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride (PVC) materials; it’s a composite engineered for thermoforming fabrication and combines properties of both the acrylic and the polyvinyl chloride components. From acrylic, it obtains rigidity and formability; from PVC, toughness, chemical resistance and good interior finish ratings. When it comes to making quality pistol holsters, all those properties come into play, due to their low cost and robust nature!
Kydex is actually pretty easy to work with; however, when it comes to a truly great holster, it’s important that the company or person creating it understand how it will be used and, dependant on whether I wish to use a pistol-mounted taclite, I will choose my holster accordingly. The first model I use myself is mass-produced by Warrior Assault Systems (WAS), the ARES Kydex Holster Glock -17/19 in Coyote Tan. The ARES holster is a high-quality, lowprofile holster, engineered and developed using the highest quality materials. Built specifically to hold both Glock 17 and 19 models, the ARES holster has adjustable tension, designed to accommodate the user’s own preference on retention and draw strength. It’s designed to be used with a high-quality belt (up to 45mm) and, from my experience using a two-component belt system, it works very effectively indeed. This holster has travelled to the USA with me for use with real handguns and to Crete for an airsoft game; in all instances, it has proved 100% reliable and functional.
Although WAS also make a version of their ARES designed to hold both the Streamlight TLR-1 and TLR-2 pistol lights, I was contacted by Taig at Kydex Customs last year, to see if I’d like to try out one of his bespoke models, and I’m very, very glad that I said yes! At Kydex Customs, Taig works on bringing the highest quality products to the airsoft market. He strives for the best consistency, quality and customer service on the market. Based in South Wales, all the products are manufactured here the UK, using Practical Shooting ideologies to constantly improve them.
I asked him to put together a custom Kydex holster specific to the G17/Streamlightstyle combo with 40mm loops for a narrower belt version, and he certainly delivered! The black holster is beautifully made and moulded perfectly offering stability, great levels of retention, and a smooth draw. Although it’s been designed and created with airsoft pistols in mind, I’ve also now used it overseas and it performs as well with the real thing as it does with replicas.
Taig charges about £40 for a standard, yet bespoke holster, whilst an ARES from WAS will set you back £39.95, so the price is about the same, although the equivalent pistol/light combo ARES does rise to £44.95 in fairness. I personally love both holsters and, whether you shoot 9mm or 6mm, they are both worthy of a place in your ‘gear locker’!
WAS ARES holsters are available from uktactical.com, but if you’d like something more ‘bespoke’, then please head on over to kydexcustomsuk.com.