​What’s the difference between Kydex Holsters and Hybrid Holsters?

You may have wondered, what is the difference between a Kydex holster and a hybrid holster. Well, at a high level, the differences are pretty simple. With a Kydex holster, you have a molded scabbard that is attached to your gun belt with a clip. This makes for a very low profile and is easy to remove and replace when needed. With a Hybrid IWB holster, you take that same Kydex holster and attach it to a larger backing material. The materials can vary but are usually leather or some kind of synthetic material. Hybrids tend to be a little larger in profile and help spread the weight of your firearm over a larger surface area. Hybrids can take a little more time to secure to your gunbelt than the Kydex holster and is something to keep in mind.

We get into more details below, but as an aside, you might also remember that along with your holster, you want to make sure you have a good quality gun belt as the foundational support of your carrying system. Now, on to your holster and the question at hand. Kydex or Hybrid?

So what is Kydex anyway?

Kydex is a lightweight, durable and semi-flexible thermo-plastic that has been used in a variety of applications from aircraft manufacturing, auto-parts and thanks to a crafty FBI field agent, for gun holsters since the early 1970’s.

In the decades since Kydex was discovered to be a great material for holsters, they have grown in popularity to rival other materials such as leather. While it was a great material to use, recent developments made by our team here at Vedder Holsters have made the trusted use of Kydex even better. Additional features such as ride height and cant adjustments have made great strides in the comfort level of carrying with a Kydex IWB holster. A great example of this is the Vedder LightTuck™ IWB Holster.

For some folks though, Kydex alone might not work for them. While Kydex makes for a very safe CCW option, the holster itself against the skin might create some discomfort. Like we’ve said before, everything about your carry system is a personal choice. A different option is the hybrid approach.

What is a Hybrid IWB holster?

Hybrid holsters are made by attaching the Kydex holster to a larger backing material. Most versions today use leather or a synthetic material with padding for the backing. On each side of the holster, there is a sturdy belt clip to attach the holster to your gun belt securely and safely.

With this design approach, the same level of safety is achieved from a draw and holstering perspective while also creating a larger ‘footprint’ that spreads the weight of your weapon across a larger area.

The added material also provides some space between your weapon and your skin. This helps eliminate pressure points that can become irritating in some cases.

Is a Hybrid ready to carry ‘out-of-the-box’ like a Kydex holster?

As you may already know, one of the great things about a Kydex holster is that it comes ready to use straight from the factory, custom-formed to your firearm. You might need to make some adjustments to ride height and cant to ensure it’s just right but it’s pretty much ready to go as soon as you unwrap it.

With a hybrid IWB holster, there a couple of additional considerations to keep in mind. Yes, you can start wearing your new hybrid holster right away, but remember that much like a good pair of boots that fit great, your new holster will need a bit of time to break in. This is especially true if the backing is made of leather.

You will also need to make sure of your preferred carry position. Hybrid IWB holsters are ideal for a 3-5 o’clock carry position.

Is there a difference in level of concealment between a Kydex or Hybrid IWB?

Depending on the type of Hybrid holster and the way it is attached to your gun belt can have an effect on your level of concealment. We recommend using a Hybrid holster made with sturdy steel spring clips like the clips used on the Vedder ComfortTuck™ IWB. In addition to the steel spring clips which provide an optimum secure attachment to your gun belt, they are also adjustable, allowing you to customize your ride height and cant.

Besides, the possibility of ‘printing’ when you carry, there is another consideration when deciding between Kydex and Hybrid. If you are required to remove your holster from time to time throughout the day, you may prefer sticking with a Kydex holster.

The Hybrid holster can take a little more time to secure to your gun belt while a Kydex holster is easier to remove and replace throughout the day. This might be relevant for times where you are forbidden to carry concealed in certain establishments and need to leave your firearm securely in your vehicle or if you prefer being able to remove your firearm for easier access when driving.

What’s best for me?

Like many other choices in the CCW world, we hope you’ve found this information helpful. If you have heard the phrase ‘fashion vs. function’, we would definitely lean toward the side of function here. In summary, there are some differences between Kydex IWB and Hybrid IWB holsters. At the end of the day, it boils down to your comfort level and your day to day concealed carry needs.

You could think of it this way, there is the Kydex IWB holster – proven for decades to be durable, reliable and safe and there is the Hybrid IWB holster which is, in the case of Vedder Holsters, a strong alternative, allowing for more comfort albeit slightly more of time commitment to secure to your gun belt but at the end of the day, both are very good options when choosing to conceal carry your firearm. We highly recommend you check out all of the options on our Vedder Holsters product page, where you can get more information and choose the CCW holster that works best for you and your needs.