Kydex Holster Showdown

Kydex HolsterKydex is one of the most popular materials for holster design. Kydex is a polymer material capable of being molded into a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Kydex holsters have become the pre dominant holster material within the U.S. and has been widely adopted by both the police and military.

Kydex holsters offer numerous advantages over leather including durability, strength, adaptability and resistance to the elements.

Kydex gun holsters have proven themselves capable and reliable in environments across the world, and is not affected by sea water, dirt, and extreme temperatures.

The ability to mold kydex easily on a large production scale has resulted in cheaper holsters that are still custom molded for weapons.

Kydex holsters also tend to be much more adaptable than leather holsters and can often be adapted to change the cant, or in some case be mounted to multiple platforms for different methods of carry.

Because Kydex is so durable, adaptable, and affordable, a large number of big name holster designers have released numerous different holsters with their take on the design.

We are going to take a look at three of the most prominent, favored, and best kydex holsters on the market today.

The holster industry is growing every day, but these big three still manage to hold positions at the top of the food chain.

Blackhawk SERPA Holster

Blackhawk SERPA Holster


The SERPA is the grand daddy of Kydex holsters. The Serpa was far from the first kydex holster, similar to how Glock wasn’t the first polymer framed pistol, but Serpa took kydex and made it mainstream.

Adopted by the United States Marine Corps to replace their aging Bianchi M12 holsters, the Serpa served in the war on terror well before an official adoption. Many Marines and Soldiers found themselves dissatisfied with the Bianchi M12 and paid out of their own pocket for the Serpa holster system.

The Serpa at its base is a form molded holster for specific weapons. A few weapons are capable of interchanging holsters like the M-9 and CZ 75 though. The Serpa system has two models – the CQB and the Sportster.

The CQB is designed for duty carry and has an active retention device that is defeated by pressing a button where the trigger finger lays when the shooter is following the safety rules and keeping his finger straight and off the trigger. The Sportster is identical but lacks the active retentions and is designed for range and recreational use.

This Blackhawk Serpa Kydex holster is extremely adaptable and capable of being mounted to a wide variety of different platforms. The platform adopted by the Marine Corps was the leg rig platform. The leg rig features two semi elastic straps that wrap around the leg and a single thick strap that goes to the belt.

An additional mount used by the Marines is a MOLLE mount, this allows the shooter to mount the holster on a flak jacket with chest carry being popular.

The Serpa also has a belt and paddle mount for those who prefer OWB carry and now they even have a shoulder system design to mount the Serpa holsters.

The shoulder rig features thick nylon straps and is capable of mounting a weapon on either left or right side. The empty extra side has room for mounting Serpa magazine pouches as well.

5.11 Thumbdrive Holster

5.11 Thumbdrive Holster

5.11 Thumbdrive Holster

The 5.11 Thumbdrive was 5.11’s hat in the ring for producing a top knotch kydex holster. The 5.11 Thumbdrives don not plug into a computer and the only thing they hold is a gun. The kydex is custom molded for different guns which aid in holstering and retention. Speaking of retention the Thumbdrive does feature an active retention device.

5.11 touts this device as the safest and most secure retention device for level 2 duty holsters. How you defeat the device and how the holster got its name is all in one.

When the user draws there weapon their thumb naturally finds a button and instantly defeats the device, releasing the pistol. The release device is protected by a curving piece of kydex that remains out of your way, but protects the button from being released accidentally.

5.11 Thumbdrive holsters are also adaptable for multiple uses. The ThumbDrive can be mounted to a thigh rig for ease of duty carry or for the military. This thing rig is primarily kydex as well and forms a natural curve to fit around the leg to insure comfort.

Unique to the Thumbdrive is the drop and offset kit. This is designed to lower the holster to near thigh level but remains mounted on the belt. This is extremely handy when wearing full body armor, which tends to impeded draw.

The Thumbdrive is isn’t exactly a new player in the field, but it hasn’t established itself like the SERPA and you may be hard pressed to find certain weapons with a matching Thumbdrive holster, so do your research thoroughly.

Bladetech Revolution Kydex Holster

Bladetech Revolution Kydex Holster

Blade Tech Revolution Holsters

Blade Tech has been designing and making some of the best examples of kydex holsters out there. They are a relatively new company in terms of holster manufacturers, but have a proven track record. The Blade Tech revolution is extremely nice in both form and function. The Revolution is slim and streamlined giving a professional and unintimidating look to it.

The Bladetech Revolution Holster is design with a mixture of Bladetech proprietary polymer that is capable of resisting up to 300 degrees F.

The Revolution is also modular and customizable, allowing the shooter to easily switch from paddle to belt configuration. The Holster can be also be mounted on a MOLLE of PALS system via molle lok from Blade Tech. They also feature a drop and offset device to make the best use of the holster with body armor possible.

These three examples all exemplify the greatest traits of Kydex, tough, modular, and affordable. Kydex is the future of holsters, at this point it cannot be denied.

As kydex becomes more and more popular we will begin to see even more improvements in adaptability and the inclusion of more holsters for different guns. Kydex isn’t stopping anytime soon.

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Art R. has written 160 post in this blog.

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