Kydex by GDS

Posted by Unknown On Saturday, May 24, 2014

Leo Köhler LogoGuardian Defence Systems
KYDEX Holsters
- Reviewed by Oli Prentice

GDS Kydex Holster & pistol
Holsters come in all shapes, sizes, styles and materials. They range from simple Cordura styles which are adjustable and will take the majority of pistols, to moulded ones such as Blackhawk Serpa’s or the IMI style. Not forgetting the classic Wild West leather belt and shoulder mounted holsters, to your backup ankle holsters. Whatever the make or style, they all serve a common need: weapon retention. A holster is designed to hold your pistol so that it cannot move or be discharged, whilst still allowing you quick access to the weapon if needed. A holster that doesn't hold your pistol securely is no good, not to mention annoying and dangerous.

In more recent times, running a weapon light on pistols has become more popular with both real steel shooters and airsofters alike. Running a weapon light does offer a fair few desirable advantages, but also causes some problems when it comes to holstering your pistol. The majority of moulded holsters, such as the Blackhawk Serpa’s or IMIs are not designed to accommodate a pistol and a light. This means you either have to keep removing and attaching your light (not really ideal in a game scenario), or look to one of the material style holsters. These will certainly accommodate your pistol, but retention can be poor due to the large amounts of space around the pistol, and draw times can be somewhat slower.

GDS Kydex Holster
The potential problems don't stop there, due to the sheer number of weapon lights available for pistols and the number of pistols out there which can accommodate them, the number of combinations of light and weapon are incredibly high. Manufacturers of these moulded holsters cannot produce a holster for every combination, although they have started to produce holsters for the more popular pistol and light combinations, such as the Glock line up with a SureFire X300 torch.

But what happens if you own a pistol and a light combination which none of the manufacturers currently cater for, or you don’t wish to use a material style holster? Fortunately, there is a solution...Kydex.

Kydex is a thermoplastic acrylic-polyvinyl chloride line of materials made by Kydex LLC, based in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. There are similar thermoplastics made by other companies, but they include some other layers and chemicals for other applications.

Kydex is a strong yet flexible composite material which can be heated and then moulded into, or around, any shape. When it cools, it retains the shape. The composite is waterproof, scratch resistant, excellent at retaining the shape under normal conditions and offers very low friction, thus reducing draw times. The fact it can be moulded into any shape is perfect for firearm holsters. Any pistol with any weapon light or laser combination can be accommodated for, as well as other user defined features such as the kant angle, height of the holster and material colour.

Excellent I hear you say, where can I get such a thing? Well, fortunately these kind of holsters are becoming increasingly popular, and popular pistol models such as the Glocks and 1911’s are easy to come by in ‘pre-made’ holsters. There are a number of Ebay stores, and they are even starting to show up in larger retailers such as Ehobby Asia.

If, however like myself, your after something a little more unique, then you may need to get one custom made. Guardian Defence Systems offer just such a service.

I contacted GDS, and asked them if they could make a second Kydex holster (previously he made one for a TM 1911 MEU with a light) for my WE Salient Arms International M&P with a SureFire X300 on the front. I requested a slight forward kant, with a tan coloured outer layer, and also requested that it could be mounted to a MOLLE battle belt. Sean replied swiftly and stated this wouldn’t be an issue at all. Given he didn’t currently have a mould for such a weapon he requested I sent mine down to enable him to mould the holster exactly to the pistol to ensure the retention was tight and there would be no fitting issues.

GDS Kydex Holster Upside DownGDS Kydex Rear of holster showing C shaped connection loopsGDS Kydex holster molle attached
A few weeks later, the superb finished product was returned. Just as requested, the item was made to my exact specifications and the retention is spot on. The holster will still retain the loaded pistol even upside down, but I wouldn’t want to leave it in that position for extended periods of time. For normal applications and gameplay, there is zero chance this will wobble free.

My personal holster is mounted via either Malice clips or by C shaped kydex loops. These thread through the MOLLE, and then curve back onto themselves. The eyelets on the holster line up with the screw holes, and simple screw into place (threadlock advisable!). These C shaped loops will also fit onto a normal belt, should you so wish to belt mount your holster.

The fit and finish of these products is top class. There is excellent definition of the pistol and light, which translates to a thorough job and good retention. Poor definition means the Kydex hasn't been heated enough, or there has not been enough pressure applied during the moulding stage, which can lead to a loose holster. The eyelets are placed where they are needed, but as close to a uniform pattern as possible to ensure a professional look to the finished product. The edges have been sanded and polished smooth, ensuring they cannot snag or catch on any loose items of clothing or scratch the user. Both the finished holster and my pistol were returned by recorded delivery in numerous layers of bubble wrap to prevent any damage.

All communications were polite and highly informative, GDS is run by a small team of true professionals who are striving to make some quality products. GDS are able to, from what I know, made a range of Kydex products, including holsters for both pistols and magazines. I know both black and tan Kydex is available which should cover the majority of customers needs. Every aspect of the work can be customized to a users desire, from the mounting platform, the the kant angle, the height of the back sweatshield and so on.

For my piece, the price was £65.00 GBP, which is, granted, more expensive than either a Codura or IMI style holster, however remember, my specific pistol wouldn’t fit into those. As each item can be customized for a users needs, prices will range depending on the requirements. But given you could be storing a pistol worth several hundred pounds in there, is it not worth the piece of mind knowing your side arm will be safe?

I’d highly recommend having a look at their work, check them out here:

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This review is copyright 2014 by Yosser's Airsoft Odyssey © and Ollie Prentice - it may not be copied or reproduced without permission. Pictures copyright 2014 by author. You may link to this page
GDS Kydex Holster Review| Airsoft Odyssey


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