Monday, April 21, 2014

Cookin' with Kydex

Shortly after the invention of the handgun the early shooters must have asked the question “Where the heck do I put this thing when it’s not in my hand?”

Some of the early answers were to tuck it in your belt or pants.  Whatever problems arose from that carry mode led to the idea of a holster.  This question continues to plague us today.  We’re still asking how do I carry this thing when I’m not using it? 

The word holster seems to have some connection to the Norse hulstr or sheath.  Early holsters were little more than leather funnels.  Other materials were tried.  Witness the classic wooden holster for the broomhandle Mauser.  I can’t find the reference, but I remember reading about J.D. O’Meara who carried two triggerless slip guns in specially tailored leather lined pant pockets during the late 1890s and early 1900s.

An excellent, but limited reference is John Bianchi’s “Blue Steel and Gun Leather” for a mid-20th century history of holsters.  I have to wonder what he would have thought of Kydex if it had been available when he first started making holsters.

I like leather, but when push comes to shove, I go for Kydex.  Lightweight, strong, laughs at salt, sweat and rain, cleans up with soap and water and dries with a quick wipe off.  Yes, if you store it in your car on a hot Texas summer day it can soften.  Try that with a leather holster a couple times and see what happens.  Besides, what are you storing it for?  You should be wearing it.

I recently acquired a Glock model 42 for concealed carry so I went to Armiger Solutions for a holster.  They were already fabricating IWB holsters for the newly released .380 ACP Glock. 

I’m impressed.  They use dot fasteners and fiber reinforced belt loops adjustable for belts 1.75, 1.5 and 1.25 inches. 

My glock 42 in Armiger solutions IWB holster
Glock 42 in Armiger Solutions IWB holster

I got the holster with the so-called FBI cant because it’s easier to draw and I believe it conceals better.

Is it comfortable? 

No.  I have yet to find an in-the-waistband holster that’s as comfortable as an external waistband holster.  It’s not supposed to be comfortable.   You’re pulling unyielding steel into tender parts of your body for more concealment.  The minor discomfort is trivial compared to the concealable factor.  I just wore mine for two days of sitting in the car, walking and going about my business, and I was very comforted by my awareness of it.

With this good experience under my belt or in my waistband, I asked Jake at Armiger to make me a custom IWB holster for my Para CCO in .45 ACP.  I bought that Para several years ago as a concealed carry gun for colder weather.  But I never found a good concealable holster for it.

“Sure,” Jake said.  “What color do you want it.”
“Purple,” I said.

Purple Kydex holster for Para CCO
My purple Kydex holster.  Thanks, Jake!

I elected to go with his holster modification that would let me choose between a straight drop, FBI cant or forward cant.  The belt loops are separated from the holster by small o-rings to provide a little bit of space to accommodate the 

Holster shows duel attachment points
The four attachment points provide a wide range of angles to choose from.

fabric of your waistband.  The snaps are dot fasteners and the loops accommodate the three typical belt widths.

One of the problems I had with the Para was the frame mounted safety.  This safety clicks off in some IWB holsters I’ve tried.  Yes, I know it has a grip safety and no, I don’t have this problem with Colt and Springfield 1911 style pistols.  Still, I didn’t want a CCW gun that allowed me to accidentally snick a safety off.

The little channel ensures the safety stays in the safe position until I decide to change its status.

Jake took care of that. He brought the left side of the holster up and molded a little channel that prevents my activities from accidently snicking the safety off.  Very cool!

I really like and recommend Armiger Solutions.  Their holsters have all the features you look for, wide front sight channel, good fit, well placed tension screw, adjustable belt loops and just enough retention so the gun doesn’t pop out during normal use.

The holster does touch the rear sight, important if you have an adjustable rear sight and the wide channel for the front sights make your draw and holstering easy.  

I own two of Armiger Solutions holsters and I like both of them a lot.  Give Armiger a try, I think you’ll like them.

In the interest of complete candor, I shoot with Jake but I have received nothing in compensation.  I just like his holsters.


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