North Texas Custom Kydex (NTCK) is a small, family-owned company manufacturing custom holsters and magazine carrier systems. The owners, Steve and Janelle Krivoruk, are based out of the small town of McKinney, Texas. In April of last year, the Krivoruk family contacted me via TTAG after reading my article on the Steyr M9. In that article, I had lamented that there weren’t many holster options available for the gun. Steve and Janelle wanted me to know that they produced a Kydex holster that would fit the M9, and offered to send me one to review. I gladly accepted, and ended up liking it so much, I had them make me another holster for my CZ 83. Here’s the scoop . . .
As the name implies, NTCK makes holsters and related products out of a material called Kydex. Kydex is a proprietary thermoplastic sheet material that offers great strength and flexibility when used for holsters. It’s a relatively tough material with a hardness of 90 on the Rockwell R scale.
Unlike leather, Kydex doesn’t retain moisture, so it’s possible to store a pistol in a Kydex holster for extended periods of time without worrying about rust. If your Kydex holster gets soaked, simply wipe it off with a towel. Also, Kydex works well in hot humid environments. I grew up in Louisiana, so I know that the high humidity and moisture from sweat can play havoc on a leather holster. Even out here in the soggy ol’ Pacific Northwest, the cold damp climate can cause leather to retain moisture and get moldy. When leather gets wet, it tends to retains water, which, in turn, puts your firearm in contact with moisture. Moisture equals rust, and rust is bad. Get the picture?
Kydex also offers a level of retention that you won’t find in a typical leather holster. With a well-made Kydex holster, your pistol will not disengage unintentionally if you fall down some stairs or trip on a vine, etc.
Kydex is very durable and requires little maintenance. If you keep your holster clean of debris and apply a light coat of your favorite gun oil to the interior, it will provide years of service.
North Texas Custom Kydex.
NTCK is truly a “mom & pop” operation. (Photo above, from Top left: mom, pop, two little rug rats!) As a business owner myself, I have a lot of respect for the entrepreneurial spirit in America: it’s what makes this Country great. Also, it makes me feel good to buy a product knowing the name of the craftsman who made it. I also feel confident that if something does go wrong with the product, Steve and Janelle will make it right. They know that their customers will give them repeat business because they have both a high-quality product and exceptional customer service.
As the name implies, NTCK’s products are manufactured in TTAG’s home state of Texas. Go Johnny Football! All of the Kydex and other materials used in NTCK products are purchased from US suppliers. They have quite a few different models ready to go, including models that will fit the M9, Sigs, Glocks, and other common pistols. Check out their website at http://www.ntckydex.com/.
NTCK typically uses .08” thick kydex sheets for their standard holsters, and will go up to .09” for any wrap around (taco style) holsters. Kydex can be ordered in a variety of different colors. NTCK has a variety of colors on hand, and can even offer color combinations (i.e. different colors on the front and back sides of the product). Like Burger King, with NTCK you can have it your way every day.
NTCK uses ¼” brass eyelet rivets, steel machine screws, and steel slotted posts. Belt loops are made using .125” thick Kydex for added strength. For IWB clips NTCK typically uses .09 Kydex because it is a bit slimmer, however, if the customers prefers the thicker loops, they are happy to make them with no additional charge.
The belt loops are bolted on with machine screws and slotted posts. Extended hard use can sometimes cause a screw to come loose. In an effort to keep the product somewhat modular, we choose to not apply Loctite. It is a good idea to regularly check to make sure that all screws are tight. If you’re not planning on changing out the loops and would like NTCK to apply Loctite, they can do so as part of a custom order.
If you don’t see your make and model listed on their website or facebook page, they will often be able to come up with a solution for your project. When working with Kydex, you will generally use a plastic mold of a pistol to mold the holster, so having that model on hand can be the only limiting factor. If you live anywhere near the shop, you can make an appointment to bring your (unloaded) gat and they will have your holster ready in a couple of days.
The M-9 T&E sample they sent me was a traditional flat black with a textured pebble surface. The inside of the holster has a shiny smooth plastic surface. The smoothness allows for the pistol to be drawn quicker and with less drag than from a leather holster.
The two photos above show the front and back of a standard NTCK Steyr M9 holster. I was impressed with both Steve’s workmanship and his design. The standard 10° cant works well, but Steve can pretty much add as much cant as you like to your custom holster. The T&E sample holster fit my M9 like a glove, and provides lock solid retention. I tested the retention by turning the holster upside down and shaking it while holding it from the belt loops, the pistol does not fall out. I have used the T&E sample holster for about six months now, and I have seen no difference in the retention qualities over time.
I took the photo above while I was exploring some canyons in Eastern Oregon during the hot July summer. This is rattlesnake country, so having a firearm is a good idea. The Kydex holster held the pistol in place despite repeated jarring from jumping from rock to rock, scrambling up and down talus slopes, etc. Abrasion resistance proved to be good as well. The fit feels “custom” around the pistol, so dirt and sand don’t easily make their way inside the holster. And if any crud does get in there, it’s super easy to clean out.
Here is a photo of the NTCK T&E sample after a half day of rock-hounding and gathering medicinal plants in the desert canyons near Leslie Gulch. I found the OTW (Outside-the-Waistband) style to be very comfortable to wear, albeit not concealable in the 100°F (+) weather. That’s ok, because I was miles away from other hikers, and so open carry was an easy option that week.
At least the Big Horn sheep didn’t mind that I was open carrying! Once those big guys moved on, I was even able to practice some quick draws as well. Kydex is easy to draw from and a snap to re-holster. However, it is not very quiet during a quick draw stroke: if you are considering getting a holster for hunting purposes, you may need to look elsewhere. Either that or remember to draw very slowly to minimize noise.
For the CZ 83 holster, I decided to go a carbon fiber look. Love it! Who says Kydex has to be ugly!?
In any event, if you need an affordable, custom holster for that hard-to-accessorize pistol in your collection, North Texas Custom Kydex may be a good option. I’m really glad they contacted me, and I can recommend their products without hesitation.
Model: Standard OWB Holster IWB Comfort Carry
Ratings (out of five stars):
Comfort: * * * *
No issues, Because NTCK will make the holster to your specifications. Having said that, I don’t think Kydex holsters are quite as comfortable than nylon or leather, but the difference is not that significant.
Value: * * * *
Hard to beat the price.
Concealability: * * * * *
No issues that are not common to any OWB holster design. NTCK will make the holster to your specifications.
Overall: * * * *
A good holster at a good price. No complaints.