Over at desantisholster.com they’re having The Great Holster Smackdown: Nylon vs. Leather. Nylon — named for shared credit between Dupont labs in New York and London — isn’t KYDEX. Which is the savvy gun guy and gals’ preferred holster formulation. So I’m pitting leather against KYDEX. And this corner . . .
For many, the tactile aspect of a natural material like animal hide is preferable to something cooked up in a glass beaker. On the other hand, because leather is a natural material, it needs time to “break-in” and tends to wear in an idiosyncratic way.
On the other hand it is the very pliability of leather that makes it so comfortable – a critical factor for Every Day Carry. Especially when a holster is worn inside the waistband, a natural, more forgiving material in contact with your body is a distinct advantage over stiffer synthetic alternatives . . .
And in spite of being a natural material, leather is incredibly tough and durable. If well cared-for and maintained, a good leather holster can last until the cows come home (!). And there is also an aesthetic factor: crafted leather is actually quite beautiful, even in something as utilitarian as a holster.
[NOTE: DeSantis’ post pits leather holsters against Nylon holsters. So here’s a quote from Westin D. Floeter, Communications Manager for K Rounds holsters from our article The Truth About Kydex Holsters]
Leather holsters are sensitive to temperature, moisture and humidity. Leather doesn’t dry easily; if you leave a reholstered gun in a wet leather holster it can cause pitting. [The same holds true for Nylon holsters. Manufacturers generally use “scuba webbing” or “ballistic fabric” which also hold moisture.] Leather holsters require a break-in period and diligent maintenance. Re-holstering can be difficult. They wear out. They can be dangerous.
KYDEX holsters are virtually maintenance-free. If a KYDEX holster gets dirty or dusty, you wash it off and wipe it down. KYDEX holsters are ready to use right away; they don’t have a “break in”period. They will maintain the desired shape over a lifetime of use. What you see is what you get and what you get is what you’l see even after years of hard use.
While un-holstering and re-holstering a gun in a KYDEX holster is louder than clearing and returning a gun to a leather holster, KYDEX owners get a more reliable and secure re-holstering experience (some models emit an audible “click” when the handgun is replaced properly). They are not temperature or moisture sensitive. KYDEX holsters take a beating and still perform well.
It’s Kydex for me, all the way. You?