Why does holster wear happen?
I have been to many shows, and have heard so many times that Kydex wears on firearms. I would have to disagree with this statement, because it is a blanket statement. All holsters are NOT created equal, and lesser quality holsters will wear the finish on your firearm. Let's start off with the most common reason a holster will wear a firearm.
Kydex is a field that is done at home by people in their garage, as well as by the bigger companies. The same thing could be said for leather holsters, or even Nylon. At the end f the day, a poorly made holster will cause excessive wear.
Kydex - Is a thermoplastic, it must be headed to become malleable,at which point the molding process is carried out. The plastic is then cooled again, the plastic becomes rigid and will maintain this shape until heated again. Because this is plastic, if certain portions of the firearm are not "tooled" out, the plastic will rub on the firearm, wearing down the finish. Kydex is not a rough material, although it may be hard, it will only wear on the portions that are rubbing on the firearm more than necessary.
Leather - When leather is molded, the same thing can happen. Poor molding of a firearm will cause the leather to rub the firearm, and while it may be "soft", leather is considered an abrasive. Remember those old westerns where the barber is sharpens his blade on the long piece of leather that hangs off the back of the chair? This is because leather is an abrasive.
Grit and Dirt
Kydex - Kydex is great because it can be easily cleaned off with a wash clothe or some water. Grit and dirt is easy to see against the kydex and takes a minimal amount of work to remove from the holster. Leaving the grit and dirt within the holster will cause unnecessary wear if left.
Leather - Leather is harder to clean because it cannot get wet, and some of the fibers will catch the dirt and make it hard to remove. Dirt and grit will then make the leather more abrasive against the firearm.
Kydex - Kydex is waterproof and will maintain its shape even after being submerged in water, no matter the length of time. If water is left in the holster, movement, and air will also help dry out the holster, but it is best to wipe it off with a clothe to minimize wear.
Leather - Leather CANNOT be submerged in water. Water or Liquids on a leather holster are a big No-No. The leather will begin to swell, this can change the molding of the leather, which will lead to the same problems we covered in "Poor Tooling". Leather can be left to dry, but the leather may shrink, causing the leather to "grip" the firearm everywhere and cause excessive wear.
Low Quality Materials
Kydex - As with everything in life, you gt what you paid for. Sometimes, you do get lucky and find a needle in a hay stack and find something awesome for a deal! With Kydex, there are several different tiers of Kydex. From a virgin plastic with no recycled material, so plastic with ONLY recycled material. Manufacturers think their consumers do not notice, but if you put two holsters together with a high quality plastic vs. a recycled plastic, you would see the difference plain as day. To start, Kydex is used on the interior of air crafts, vehicles, and is generally in an area with both plastic and metals. The Kydex that is cut and sent back to be recycled can get some metals in it, which will raise the rock well hardness of the holster, causing unnecessary wear.
K Rounds uses virgin plastic in order to give our customers a plastic that has a lower rockwell hardness than their firearm. This means less wear, and a better material. We use the same thickness as most other manufacturers, but our plastic is more rigid because it does not have the recycled material in it. This means the holster will start to wear before the firearm does.
Leather - I have ever personally worked with leather, but I know there are several different grades of leather, and the grade could have a lot to do with the wear you may receive.
So what can I do?
Ask questions, if you call up your holster dealer and ask them what kind of material they use and you get a response along the lines of a "proprietary material", or "kydex" but no further information into the type used, then take a step back and re-evaluate the holster. Look into reviews, and do your homework. It is very hard to find a good holster that wont hurt your firearm, and that is why we are a strong advocate of the correct materials for the job.
Thank you everyone for stopping by! Hope you have a great week, and I will be back next week with some more stuff for you guys. - Ashley@krounds.com