I’m not much of a Kydex guy, but after trying dozens of different manufacturers’ Kydex rigs, I’ve finally found one. It’s the KMFJ LLC DA series of holsters, and it’s sold me on what a quality Kydex holster can be.
The reason I haven’t been a Kydex fan has nothing to do with the material itself, but the quality and design of the holsters I’ve tried. Most of them dig into me when I’m driving. Or have way too much material for the purpose. Or they generally fit the body poorly after a lot of use. Part of it may also be were I live and that I’m fairly active. Even OWB, part of the holster is likely to be directly against my skin, and during the summer it’s going to be against my sweaty skin.
I’ve had people tell me they’ve worn a Kydex holster for years and enjoyed them. I heard glowing reviews about a particular brand and tried them. After one day of driving in the truck and then digging post holes, that one was a gone. That’s been my experience with every Kydex holster I’ve worn and I’d generally given up on them. Until now.
I wore two KMFJ DA holsters for a week while driving and performing manual labor in 100-degree-plus weather all over Texas. I also spent a couple of long nights hunting with it and a few range days. The verdict: this is my new OWB holster.
I tried out both the regular DA model and the Berserker cut versions and I don’t find much functional difference between the two. I’ve since bought the Berserker model from Rogue American Apparel here in Austin.
KMFJ is owned and their products are designed by an active Special Forces Weapons Sergeant. I’ve often found that the result of end user design is a product that not only works well, but is only what it needs to be, and nothing more. These holsters are no different.
First, the the gun (my Lone Wolf Distributors version of the G19) goes into and draws from the rig securely. The retention is solid. If I put the gun in the holster and hold it upside down, the gun doesn’t fall out. If I shake it a little, the gun doesn’t fall out. If I hold it upside and and shake it hard, the gun falls out.
That’s probably won’t happen to you, but if you’re on the back of a Polaris hunting pigs at night and your idiot friend decides to turn off his night vision goggles and just wing it, driving into a ditch and throwing you off, you’ll find your gun still firmly inside the holster.
On the other side of the retention equation, the gun comes out of the holster with a gentle tug, but not so much that it interrupts my draw in any way. Unlike so many others I’ve tried, it doesn’t jerk my pants six inches into my groin before the holster lets go of my weapon. The G19 draws quickly and easily. There’s no retention adjustment screw and there shouldn’t be one.
The angle of all of the DA line holsters is the classic FBI cant and they’re all designed to ride high on the waist at the 3 o’clock or 4 o’clock position. Back when I started making my own leather holsters, I drew inspiration from the men who rode on horses to work and needed ready access to their sidearm regardless of what they were wearing or whether they were walking or riding.
A trip to the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas, showed me that, despite what I saw in the old westerns, these men wore their revolvers high on their waist near the 3 o’clock position, with a forward cant of the grip. More than a hundred years later, human bodies are still the same. That forward cant and position is still the best way for most to carry a full-sized pistol. That position also means that it tucks tightly against the body. With a loose T-Shirt on, that G19 hides well. With a light button down shirt untucked, it disappears entirely.
One of the slogans of the company is “angles with a purpose” and I can see why. More importantly, I can feel it. In the vehicle, the angled cut at the bottom front of both the standard DA model, or the Berserker DA model, prevents the holster from digging into my thigh. It also means that the holster doesn’t ride up and drive into my ribs, or get under my side plate if I’m wearing armor when I’m kneeling.
That last part is particularly important if you are wearing kit. If my holster forces the gun to ride up into my kit when I kneel, that drives the the whole rig up, and can screw up the stock placement of my rife when I shoulder it from the kneel.
The KMFJ rigs also have well thought out sweat guard. Some companies put massive sweat guards on their holsters. That’s unnecessary material that puts more of a vapor barrier against your skin. The sweat guard does protect the gun from you and vice versa, but it also serves as a visual and tactile index for reholstering.
On the KMFJ, the sweat guard helps to funnel the muzzle down into the holster, but doesn’t put any more material against my skin than is necessary. It also allows me to get a full grip on the gun without any interference when I draw. Many other holsters get in the way of my thumb, but this one allows me a solid grip all around the gun right from the start.
Finally, the angle and distance of the belt loops is perfect. They will hold a 1¾” belt with zero room to spare and it’s the placement of those loops that keeps the gun where it belongs. Have you ever seen a picture of one of the old time lawmen with a giant leather holster spanning eight inches along their waist? No. But you see Kydex manufacturers doing that all the time. That’s because they don’t get how to use the angles of the belt loops to keep the weapon tight against the body without all that extra material. These guys get it.
All of KMFJ’s holsters are RMR and optic ready, as well as threaded barrel capable. Every holster can also be attached at multiple angles to a plate carrier or other MOLLE gear or a battle belt. Gun light options and colors are also offered.
The KMFJ holster is a great design, well executed, that was conceived, manufactured and is currently used by actual operators operating operationally. The current load out of these guys, especially on the SF side, is extremely light. They want one holster for full on combat as well as well as for “low visibility” missions. In short, they load out a lot more like you and I do in our daily lives than they used to. This is a holster designed and made by one of those guys and the simplicity and elegance shows it.
Speicifications: KMFJ Kydex Holster
Price: $85, $90 for the Berserker cut
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style and finish * * *
That’s two stars more than I would give most other Kydex holsters, only because they worked with Rogue American Apparel and put their Boogie Man artwork on it, which I dig. Otherwise, I have no love for the appearance of Kydex.
Comfort * * * * *
I’ve never had a Kydex holster wear this well. Frankly, I’ve had only a few leather holsters wear this well. Walking, working, or driving…it was a great fit.
Retention * * * * *
When I pull on the gun it doesn’t pull back. When I put it back in, the sweat guard guides the muzzle right to where it needs to be.
Overall * * * * *
I actually like this holster more than most of my OWB leather holsters, and that’s saying a lot. An exceptional buy for kit that is actually being used by SOCOM personnel right now.