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Fun With Kydex

Discussion in 'Gear & Accessories' started by mkwerx, Jul 20, 2015.

  1. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Well-Known Member

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    I got a wild hair last week and ordered some faux suede, and attempt to do some suede backed holsters. I got a yard of black for $5 and a pink real tree camo print for the wife for $8 - 18 square feet of suede for $13 ain't bad and gives lots of practice material. $5 at Wal Mart netted me a 32 ounce can of DAP Weldwood contact cement. Fifty cents each for a couple cheap paint brushes - and I've got everything I need for some experiments.

    I ordered up 4 sheets of kydex and a couple more Raven Concealment IWB struts - I wanted to make a dedicated holster for my M&P9 Compact, rather than play musical holsters between my full size and compact.

    I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to adhere the suede to the kydex - I'd been told long ago that "you can't glue anything to kydex, it's too hard and nonpourous and nothing sticks" - well, that ain't exactly true!

    I've watched PhillyEDC's video a half dozen times about using the adhesive backed dance-shoe sole material - but I've got my doubts about the longevity of that adhesive. Some google fu returned numerous guys from amateurs to "pro" kydex guys using the Weldwood with good success. Hard to go wrong with DAP's stuff so Weldwood it was.

    I started by cutting the back piece of the holster from a sheet of .080 black kydex. Using sand paper and course steel wool I roughed up the textured (outside) side of the piece. THen, to ensure it was nice and clean, I blasted it with non-chlorine brake cleaner and let it dry. I then cut a square from the sheet of suede, which like kydex has dull (sueded) side and shiney (regular nylon fabric looking) side. I applied a coat of contact cement to the shiney side of the suede and the roughed up outside of the kydex. Let it try, then carefully laid out the suede onto the kydex. Using a piece of scrap kydex I smoothed the two materials into a single sheet, then per instructions on the Weldwood can, put as much pressure on the two as I could (the can recommends applying 75PSI of pressure to ensure a good bond)

    I let the piece sit for about ten minutes longer while the oven heated up and slowly began heating the kydex, suede side up. As it heats, the kydex wants to curl upward. Once I was at about 275 degrees on the suede side, I pulled the piece and got to pressing (I use a foam press).

    The face-side of this holster was made from a piece of scrap Coyote .080 that happened to be the perfect size.

    This holster, unlike it's predecessors of the same design, was made to have adjustable retention, so before I joined the front and back pieces, I drilled the holes out for the tension screws and riveted each hole to provide a solid fit for the hardware. I used six rivets on the leading edge because I plan on building a mag-carrier to attach and try out - as this is an appendix holster and so far I've resisted doing attached mag carriers, but why not experiment? So I gave myself some extra holes to bolt onto and give ride height adjustment for the impending mag carrier. I also cut down the Raven struts on the bottom edge. I have dialed in where I want the holster to ride from previous iterations, and saw no need to have extra crap hanging below the holster.

    I also decided to try forgoing finish washers, which have been pretty standard equipment for me until now. I only had round headed screws in the length needed for the retention screws, and flat headed for everything else. I like the look of the round headed, so might order more in different lengths when I finally run out of flat headed screws (I only have about 100 of those left...)

    I've been carrying this holster for about a week now and the suede backing is more comfortable than the plain kydex, and thus far my sweat doesn't seem to effect the suede.





    Tonight I decided to try another suede wrap - this time making more for a traditional non tuckable IWB "taco" type holster, this time for my full size. I wanted to see if the extra bulge from the manual safety on the full size gun would give the suede any problems. It didn't. I did, however, make one error on this build - I made it a high ride holster. I hate high ride holsters - I should've moved the attachment points 3/4 of an inch or so higher up the holster body. I wanted to ensure I could get a full firing grip - but wound up with way more space than I need. The new holster actually rides at the same depth in my pants as the compact holster above. With the Compact in this one, it's not so bad. The full size gun, with the extra weight, just feels a bit more "wobbly" than I like when worn appendix. When worn on my side it's not bad. I'm going to wear this holster to the beach with the family this week to see how it'll hold up to some abuse, and see how comfortable it is for all day wear.





    After we pick up a shield for my wife - I'm going to make her an OWB holster wrapped with her pretty pink camo :eek: - it will match her Cabela's pink camo hoodie perfectly...
  2. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Very informative.
    Thanks for taking the time to post this