If you’re looking for a new holster, especially a Kydex holster, you will enjoy more technology and market competition than ever before. There are a ton of great holsters on the market and the title of Kydex IWB Holster is being hotly contested by a multitude of different companies.
Here are the top 10 of the Best Kydex IWB Holsters on the market, a quick guide to what is Kydex and why you should choose it, and a few tips and tricks to getting the best concealed carry holster.
What is Kydex?
Kydex was known as a thermoplastic. Thermoplastic is a type of plastic that can be heated in shape without losing any of the structural integrity or characteristics of the material. This makes it a great holster material because Kydex can be purchased in a sheet, and molded to fit the intricate details of a gun.
This intricacy around parts like Picatinny rails and trigger guards allows the holster maker to tailor the retention around these features to make a usable holster. Kydex’s natural spring is an resistant to bending making it an excellent material to make retention holsters.
You’re probably thinking, what is Kydex? Whys should I choose Kydex? Well, a Kydexiwb holster has a few key pros & cons…
Kydex IWB Holster Pros and Cons
Kydex is simply more rugged and durable than most other holster materials. It doesn’t absorb water and resists abrasion, and in normal temperatures is subject to cracking. Over time, Kydex can develop an orange peel patina to the outside of it, but this is a problem. It won’t affect the durability of the material.
Kydex is maintenance-free, it literally needs nothing to keep it going. Most other holsters need to be at least Dry or clean, but it’s not going to make a difference to a Kydex holster. The thermoplastic that makes up a Kydex sheet isn’t going to be affected by almost any external factors other than extreme cold or extreme heat.
Kydex is substantially cheaper than other holster materials. That doesn’t mean that the holsters themselves are cheaper. On the contrary, it’s easy to find Kydex holsters that retail for much more than a comparable leather holster, but the material itself is cheaper and many Kydex manufacturers are providing holsters at cheaper prices than ever before.
Rigid & Pliable
As covered earlier, Kydex is tough! It can literally be melted and reshaped as many times you need as long as you don’t scorch the plastic. This amount of malleability is unique in holster materials.
When at a normal operating temperature Kydex is both rigid and pliable. It will bend to resist what would bend and destroy many other holsters’ shapes, and still spring back into its last thermal molded design.
A slight side note about the rigidity of Kydex, it can be uncomfortable! If you have a rounded body shape or will be carrying an appendix, think about how much extra material you need on your holster because any extra edges that aren’t deburred are going to cause blisters and painful sores. Kydex is doesn’t form or mold your body like leather or nylon.
Stretches & “Rounds Out”
Over time you might feel your holster losing retention or the edges of a Kydex holster rounding over. This is normal, Kydex is an exceptionally durable material that will last a long time if you consistently draw lots of stress on the edges of Kydex it has a tendency to stretch around over.
Brittle Under Stress
Unlike leather, which will often fold and lose its shape a Kydex holster won’t fold but will most likely fail. He treated Kydex that is been formed into a shape, even as few as one single time, and can cause a Kydex holster to splinter into shivers when exposed to stress, even more so in cold weather.
Make sure you don’t accidentally trip and fall onto a Kydex holster because you may not like what you find around the corners of your holster when you get back up.
Choosing the Best Kydex IWB Holster
1. Concealment Express: KYDEX IWB Gun Holster
Concealment Express is one of the largest retailers of premade Kydex holsters on the market. They make a ton of different Kydex inside the waistband holsters for dozens of different firearms.
The reason they are so blood by many shooters around the world is their simple construction and minimalist design. Not only does is keep costs low, but it makes it easy to carry with a smaller footprint and lighter overall weight.
This is a single piece of folded-over Kydex made from .08” material that flexes and bends with the ABS plastic belt clip as you move. There’s a single point of adjustable retention and all excess material in this holster has been removed. It is very easy to adjust the can’t and position of this holster so that you can tailor the position and retention of this gun specifically to your draw stroke and body shape.
This holster comes with a 100% unconditional lifetime warranty and is made entirely in the United States. Thousands of customer reviews have been left on these holsters and are just a simple cost-effective solution and one of the best inside-the-waistband Kydex holsters on the market.
The only downside to this holster is its simplicity and minimalist design. The very thing that sets this holster part makes it difficult to conceal large-frame guns or full-sized firearms. Stick to single-stack polymer frame guns or micro-sized steel frame guns so you don’t notice the extra weight and lack of support from this holster.
Otherwise, this is a holster that nearly everyone will love.
- Extremely tried and true design
- Very comfortable
- Very cost-effective
- Fully adjustable
- Doesn’t have as much support as larger designs
2 Best Rated: CYA Supply Co. IWB Holster
A lot to be said for simplicity. Having just a few features, in the right places, can work wonders for making equipment more effective. However, when you strip too many amenities away you may be left with equipment that doesn’t perform the way you like.
CYA supply company has created this holster that blends minimalist designs, with just enough extra features to make one of the best-rated Kydex IWB holsters on the market.
This is a single piece of fold-over Kydex that includes two adjustable retention screws, an ABS plastic belt clip, and adjustable cant crews. This holster was designed to compete with very similar competitors but adds slightly more body to the holster along with more color options and a more comfortable holster in general.
The thicker cross-section combined with more adjustability allows you more freedom of movement when concealed carrying this holster. The fully stainless steel, black oxidized hardware blends in well with all the holster materials and colors offered and is a great maintenance-free feature of this holster.
Made 100% in the USA this holster includes a no questions asked return policy and an unlimited lifetime warranty. As far as minimalist holsters go, this model has a few extra features than very similar options on the market, but less than a full-sized holster.
It will do great with medium to large-frame guns because you can tailor the can’t and weight distribution to your liking better than other models.
- Thinner than other designs
- More comfortable competitors
- Dual adjustable retention
- Bulkier than competitors
3 For the Money:Inside the WaistBand DOS Gun Holster by Bravo Concealment
If you’re looking for one of the best Kydex inside-the-waistband holsters for the money, look no further than Bravo concealment. Along with a few other competition-oriented brands, Bravo concealment makes some of the highest-quality Kydex holsters on the market.
The main selling point of this holster is its nice functionality. Many other holsters on the market can be the exact same thing for far less money. However, Bravo Concealment puts out a luxury-grade product with exceptional materials and craftsmanship.
When you look at a holster made by Bravo concealment you’ll notice the immense amount of detail that has gone into making sure everything on this holster screen’s quality. Deburring along the edges, chamfering along the holster’s mouth, and even specialized modular clips that allow you to dial in the right height of your holster.
Few other companies can touch the quality of Bravo concealment. For the money, they are the best on the market and will serve you forever. Their customer service is among the best in the firearms industry and their unconditional warranty can’t be beaten.
- Extremely well made
- Highest Quality Materials
- Modular Clips
- Unlimited Lifetime warranty
- More expensive than other models
- Bulkier others
Appendix carry has become more common in recent years. Shooters are drawn to a more concealable position and have the ability to draw their guns slightly faster. While appendix carry is more dangerous than other methods, it can safely be done with the correct holster and training.
One of the major problems with appendix carry, other than safety, is making sure it is comfortable. More so than other inside waistband designs appendix carry depends highly on your body shape and the amount of body fat you have on you.
A minimalist design combined with breathability is a clear winner when it comes to appendix carry in this holster from Stealth Gear has it made. 100% made in the USA this holster combined proprietary materials similar to Kydex with laser-cut ventilation holes for the ultimate comfortable concealed carry holster.
The proprietary fabric is breathable and retains zero moisture, from sweat, rain or otherwise and the ventilation ports allow for cool and dry carry. The soft suede backing of the proprietary polymer material is comfortable against your skin right out of the box.
There is no break-in period required and the adjustable retention and belt loops allow you to tailor this holster to your body shape and draw stroke. There are few holsters that can compete with this one for comfort, making it one of the best Kydex appendix IWB holsters on the market.
- Requires no maintenance
- Proprietary Materials
5 Minimalist KydexIwb Holster: Tech MIC Holster
Mexican carry is when a person talks their gun into the waistband of their pants with no holster. This was common when single-action revolvers were carried with a hammer placed on an empty chamber, eliminating any possibility of a negligent discharge.
Modern guns need to be carried with a holster that, at a minimum, covers the trigger guard and prevents negligent discharges. If your holster has this quality, it can be safely and successfully carried. That is where is the next holster, the tech holster from MIC Holsters comes from.
The exact design of this holster has been copied many times. In an attempt to shave down as much weight in bulk as possible, every extra amenity has been removed until you wind up with a safer form of Mexican carry.
Consisting of little more than a strip of Kydex that conforms to the shape of your trigger guard and allows you to safely carry your gun, this is as minimalistic as it can get. It doesn’t even have a belt clip or loop, it is secured to your belt with a length a para cord tied larks had around your belt loop.
This certainly isn’t a holster for everyone, but if you have an ultra-lightweight gun and are willing to wear an undershirt this is an excellent design for anyone looking for a minimal-weight in bulk holster.
Because of the way this holster is designed they can be worn anywhere inside the waistband but must be worn with pants that have belt loops. Remember, this holster is very difficult to re-holster, and never try to do it with one hand. Always make sure you know where your gun is and that it is still tucked in your waistband when carrying this gun.
- Extremely light and compact
- Doesn’t support any weight
- Requires external support
- The cord can catch on objects around you
6 For Big Glocks: Blade-Tech Nano IWB Holster – Glock 19/23/32
If there’s a single most beloved gun in the world, it’s the Glock 19. No other gun history has had quite the same impact that the Glock 19 has on the sheer number of people willing to conceal carry. More people have been introduced to shooting with the Glock 19 than any other single firearm in history.
Holsters litter the market for this sized Glock and the best Kydex IWB holster for Glock 19 is hard to nail down. However, this model from blade tech industries takes the cake as one of the most balanced and cost-effective solutions.
The two main problems with concealed carrying a Glock are managing the weight of the gun and making sure the trigger of the gun is protected. Because it is striker-fired, it is always half-cocked, ready to shoot. This holster combines excellent Kydex, with two belt loops and adjustable retention that fully engulfs the trigger guard.
This is certainly a legacy design when it comes to holster making. It’s a simple sleeve of exceptionally high-quality Kydex with an open barrel design that allows length and debris to escape. The double belt loops prevent the holster from coming off when you draw your gun in the adjustable retention allowing you to tailor everything to your draw stroke.
The design of this holster allows it to be used in any position inside the waistband making it one of the most versatile and best Kydex IWB holsters for a Glock 23 or 19-sized gun.
Small refinements that Blade Tech is known for like using a thinner grade of Kydex for more comfortable concealment, being able to accommodate several different belt sizes, and a contoured designed to reduce hotspots make this an exceptionally well thought-out and versatile design.
- Exceptionally high quality
- Made from thinner Kydex
- Less support than other holsters
7 For Small Glocks: NT Hybrid Black Carbon Fiber Kydex and Leather – Glock 26/43
The Baby Glocks are some of the most used concealed carry guns by first-time concealed carriers. The best thing you can do to set yourself up for success with a concealed carry rig is to have the right holster, and these baby Glocks are harder to carry than you think.
The Glock 26 and Glock 43 are both excellent conceal carry guns because they have minimal weight in bulk, however, they are still chunky pieces of plastic. The best thing you can do is get your hands on a holster designed around a paddle or larger footprint that distributes the weight of these guns evenly and prevents any hotspots on your hip, and that is exactly what this holster is designed to do.
Especially considering inside the waistband holster is going to be rubbing up against underwear or bare skin a holster like this one from Outlaw Holsters is going to be even more effective and comfortable than an outside the waistband or any other holster.
This holster is designed with a large footprint that distributes the weight of your gun through a leather and Kydex hybrid. The leather contacts your skin, and the Kydex adds rigidity and retention to the holster. This is a tried-and-true method but this outlaw holster is designed to complement the size and shape of a small gun and makes it one of the best iwb holsters for a Glock 26 or 43 size gun.
The only downside to this holster is that the leather will need to be conditioned and cared for from time to time to keep it supple and comfortable.
Make sure it’s dry and clean and it’ll serve you for years. Slowly conforming to your body shape and becoming your favorite holster and one of the best Kydex holsters for a Glock 43 or 26 size gun.
- Heavy duty
- Leather requires maintenance
- Large rivets
- Plastic clip
8 For 1911: Alien Gear Holsters Cloak Tuck 3.0 IWB Holster
When it comes to firearms and firearms accessories, there are a few companies that stand out as innovative leaders that you can trust, Alien Gear Holsters one of them. Not only do they make some of the most innovative and purpose-built holsters on the market, but they also use Kydex along with other materials better than any other holster maker.
The great thing about their holsters is the laminate construction that they use. Genuine leather gives the holster stiffness, while Kydex gives rigidity and retention and neoprene backs the holster to make sure that it is comfortable against your skin, right out of the box.
The only downside to this holster from alien gear is that the leather portion requires maintenance and the holster is more expensive and bulkier than other designs. Not a huge deal if you are willing to wear a light jacket or slightly bag your T-shirt and you are used to it, and will certainly not be a problem with anyone willing to conceal carry a full-size 1911.
The trade-off is a larger footprint on your hip that distributes the weight of a heavy gun better and the laminate construction that is comfortable. The higher price of these holsters is reflected in the quality and workmanship of the design and the manufacturer has a lifetime warranty on all their products in a money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your purchase.
This holster is comfortable right out of the box, requires no break-in period, and is exceptional for the inside-the-waistband carry of any full-size or heavy gun like 1911.
- Exceptionally high quality
- Lifetime warranty
- Most comfortable
- Bulkier than other holsters
- The leather portion of the holster requires maintenance
The Springfield Armory XDS is a great carry pistol for someone wanting extra safety but enjoys a lightweight polymer-framed pistol for concealed carry. However, with the sharp stippling and exposed fiber-optic sites these pistols are known for, you are going to need a purpose-made holster for the job.
To carry this gun every day you’re going to need a holster that is flexible enough to fit in different wardrobes and is comfortable enough that you will forget you’re wearing it. That is exactly the design goal with this fully adjustable inside-the-waistband holster from Stealth Gear USA.
This holster is a hybrid construction design that uses a proprietary polymer material along with Kydex to give you the perfect blend of comfort and retention in your concealed carry holster.
This single flexible layer of proprietary material acts as a backing with a soft suede feeling on your skin. The heavy-duty Kydex-like material that comprises the body of the holster secures your gun with an audible click that is adjustable for retention strength.
The best part is that this holster has been designed from the ground up to be used against your skin. The breathable material has been laser cut with ventilation holes and no part of the holster will absorb any sweat or humidity. You could literally run through the rain with this holster on and not have to worry about any residual maintenance afterward.
Double adjustable belt clips are designed to support the weight of a carry gun like a Springfield XDS and the entire holster is extremely comfortable right out of the box. The proprietary materials, minimalist design, and laser-cut breathability holes all come together to make a really comfortable holster.
This holster would excel in the summer heat and underneath lightweight clothing but will work for just about any situation you can wear an inside waistband holster.
- Very comfortable
- Proprietary materials very similar to Kydex
- Fully adjustable
- Made in the USA
- Lacks an audible retention “click,”
- The ventilation holes can chafe belly fat
10 For S&W Shield: De-Santis Slim-Tuk
DeSantis Holsters is legendary for cowboy action shooting and high-quality leather concealed carry goods. However, they made their way into the Kydex inside the waistband holster market and are putting out exceptionally high-quality products that you can use day in and day out with confidence.
The Smith & Wesson shield has become one of the most ubiquitous carry handguns on the market in recent years and DeSantis holsters make this Slim-Tuk for all models of the Smith & Wesson shield, including the new .45 ACP.
Made from 100% Kydex and trim to eliminate all the extra weight and bulk you don’t need; the open barrel design allows lint and debris to get out of the holster. It includes a heavy-duty all-metal belt clip that does a tremendous job holding the holster to your belt.
Made from black Kydex, this is an imported holster that is designed to be fully ambidextrous and swappable and allows it to be carried in any position inside the waistband. The nearly symmetrical shape allows it to excel in cross-draw or appendix carry as well.
Many Kydex holsters on the market look the exact same, but once you get them in hand you can evaluate the quality and see how the seams are put together, the quality of the deburring of the material, and how closely the Kydex matches the contours of your firearm.
This holster shares many of the exceptional quality characteristics of leather DeSantis holsters and will not disappoint you, and for the price is one of the best Kydex holsters for the money, on the market. While it is available for many different firearms, this holster lacks the ability to distribute the weight of larger firearms like a full-size clock.
For a small gun like a Smith & Wesson shield, it excels and will serve you a lifetime without any problems.
- Exceptionally cost-effective
- Lacks adjustable retention
- The belt clip can wear out over time
Kydex IWB Holster vs. Leather
Leather is the most traditional holster-making material. Overall, leather is a great material if you have a quality holster made by someone who knew what they were doing. However, a leather holster is never going to match Kydex in any of these categories:
There’s just no getting around it, Kydex is always going to be thinner than leather. Leather may be more comfortable because it bends and molds to the shape of a gun and its owner, but Kydex is dinner. As well as being stiffer for a given thickness, you’ll never find a leather holster is thin as a Kydex holster.
Kydex is cheaper. Both in terms of the acquisition cost of materials and the market value of people who work with it. Leather is more difficult and less forgiving than Kydex and a high-quality leather holster will often cost much more than a comparable Kydex design. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t overly expensive Kydex holsters on the market, but for equality Kydex holster it will likely cost the same amount as a tank of gas.
Leather requires a ton of maintenance. It has to be kept clean to prevent scuffs and scratches. It has to be kept dry to keep from molding and mildewing, and above all, it has to be kept conditions that it doesn’t wear out and lose its retention.
The Kydex inside the waistband holster is a great solution for anybody in the market for concealed carry holster. The most amount of favorable attributes of any holster material. It is rugged, maintenance-free, and expensive and there are a ton of people putting out excellent products.
If you’re looking for the Best Kydex IWB Holster make sure you take your time and read online reviews and talk to people that you know conceal carry. Having the right holster is going to make or break your conceal carry set up and there’s no rush to getting the right holster.
You can’t go wrong with any of the holsters listed here and when you found one, make sure you train like your life depends on it. It just might!