As a senior citizen slowly approaching decrepitude, I must confess that I have always had a warm spot in my heart for using handgun holsters, slings, and scabbards handcrafted from traditional tanned leather. Aesthetically, there’s something wholesome, natural, and comforting about using firearm accessories fashioned from this age-old organic material. But as a life-long science teacher and modernist, I readily concede the practical real-world advantages of using petrochemical thermoplastics for these same applications.
Since its development in 1965, the polymer of choice with plastic holster manufacturers, both here and abroad, has been and remains the synthetic wonder plastic, Kydex. Even if you’ve never seen or handled a Kydex holster before or have never heard the term brought up in conversion, you may nevertheless be familiar with the material in some of its many alternative applications that include durable, lightweight airplane bulkheads, truck fenders, safety helmets, aircraft pulldown trays, telescope tubes, clean rooms, air exhaust systems, knives, knife sheaths, and combat armor.
When used as a replacement for holster leather, the thermoplastic boosts a number of distinct advantages over its biotic counterpart. Unlike holster leather, which is the product of an expensive, labor-intensive specialty industry, thermoplastics can be inexpensively formulated and rolled out in modern, high-efficiency factories.
As a thermoplastic material, Kydex holsters and magazine pouches are given their part-specific shapes when sheet Kydex is fed into heated molding presses. As you might imagine, once a particular product line has been standardized, Kydex parts can be efficiently and inexpensively cranked out in large numbers cheaply and quickly.
As a holster material, Kydex handily trumps animal hide in a number of specific areas: Kydex holds its shape much better than leather and is less prone to shrinkage or stretching under normal conditions. Additionally, the polymer is lighter (given equal thicknesses), naturally waterproof, scratch resistant, and slicker than doctored animal hide.
If you’ve been in the handgun game for some time, I’d be willing to bet that somewhere in your basement there’s a cardboard box or desk drawer crammed full of used and discarded leather and Kydex holsters. I own a box or two of them myself, and there’s very little chance they’ll see the light of day again.
Why? Well, it’s simple. I recently found the set of inside-the-waistband (IWB) and outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters that fit my own unique open and concealed carry needs. And they’re both manufactured right here in the U.S. by the fine folks of Bravo Concealment way down south in Alamo, Texas.
There’s plenty to like about Bravo Concealment.
First, it’s obvious that the engineers at Bravo follow the tried and true “keep it simple stupid” philosophy. Their holster designs could best be described as Spartan: all the essential elements needed to create a simple, rigid, functional holster are there and that’s it. There is no fluff — no extraneous, non-essential parts or hardware in these rigs, period.
The holsters themselves consist of two sheets of .060” thick Kydex thermo-molded with the precise impressions of each side of your specific handgun. Each half is cut to minimal dimensions to reduce the holster’s signature, leaving just enough material to prevent unintentional contact with the trigger and to allow easy access to the gun grip for a smooth draw cycle and quick and easy holstering.
Holster cuts also permit a fair degree of customization for the end user. Check out the column photo and notice that the muzzle end of the holster is opened up to allow the use of custom threaded/lengthened barrels and material is cleared from the slide region to allow the use of custom luminous and red dot ready optical-type sights. There’s even an OWB model: the BCA light-bearing holster that accommodates a variety of today’s most popular rail-mounted lights.
The Kydex itself demonstrates a high degree of care in its finish. The inner surfaces are slick and smooth to aid the excellent draw and holstering characteristics that I mentioned above. The exterior is smoothly finished with a fingerprint-type texture on its matte black surface. This mild texture adds a bit of friction to help secure the holster in its carry position.
Gun retention is pre-set at the factory by sizing and fitting the holster halves together to produce the ideal amount of tension on the weapon’s trigger guard to securely sandwich your gun in place. Tension is maintained with two pairs of unobtrusive round headed screws that also secure the J-hook clips/belt loops or optional pancake loops to the holster edges.
The Bravo holster’s simple, ingenious curving allows the rig to ride right up against your torso, positioning the gun’s slide and particularly the grip up close and personal. The Torsion curve works perfectly for appendix carry or placement elsewhere around your body; personally, favor the 4 o’clock positioning.
Check out www.bravoconcealment.com to learn more about handgun model availability, mag pouch combo deals and more. With free shipping, a 30 day money back guarantee, and lifetime warranty, you can’t lose.