Kydex Paddle Holster: What Is It and How Does It Work?

So you have entered the world of guns and are now looking at holsters. With so many types and the various carry positions, how do you choose? We are here to help. Let’s get into it!

What is a Kydex paddle holster? A paddle holster is a type of OWB (outside the waistband) holster that utilizes a bill or paddle-style clip to secure your holster to your belt or the waistband of your pants. The clip is what makes this holster popular, since it allows it to be relatively easy to take on and off.

Kydex is the type of material the holster is made of, other paddle holsters may be made of leather. Kydex is a lightweight thermoplastic material used in aircraft manufacturing, auto-parts, gun holsters, and more. It became an increasingly popular choice for gun holster manufacturers due to its durable and semi-flexible properties. A Kydex holster holds its shape allowing for easy re-holstering.

Now that you know what a Kydex paddle holster is, we’ve answered some questions you may have to help you decide if a paddle holster is right for you. First, what positions can I use a Kydex paddle holster in?

What positions can I use a Kydex paddle holster in?

Like most holsters, the position you carry your paddle holster in is based on personal preference. Most people find it is best on your strong side, so the 3 o’clock position for a right-handed draw and the 9 o’clock position for a left-handed draw. The paddle style clip allows you to easily reposition your holster to whatever position works best for you.

Many Kydex paddle holster designs feature an adjustable ride height and cant to suit your needs and correlate with the position you decide to carry in. These adjustments allow you to easily draw your weapon from its holster.

Can I conceal carry with a Kydex paddle holster?

Perhaps you’ve tried an IWB (inside the waistband) holster for concealed carry and just found it didn’t quite work for you. So now you are searching for an OWB holster to see if it suits your needs. While you CAN conceal carry with a Kydex paddle holster, it is not ideal.

Paddle holsters tend to sit lower on your waistband than other OWB holsters. In order to conceal carry, you would need to wear loose clothing or a jacket to cover the entire holster and gun with minimal printing. The ride height is adjustable on most paddle holsters, therefore, you may find that you are able to cover your carry system and it suits your concealed carry needs.

If you are looking for a concealed carry holster we suggest our Vedder LightTuck™ IWB Holster. While it also features an adjustable ride height and cant, the inside-the-waistband design allows for easy concealment. It is oftentimes able to be concealed with a simple t-shirt because the holster sits between your waistband and your body.

Can I open carry with a Kydex paddle holster?

We’ve talked about concealed carry but what about open carry? You may be wondering, can I open carry with a Kydex paddle holster?

The answer is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no. If your state allows open carry you may be able to use a paddle holster. We suggest checking your state’s carry laws for more information. The retention level of your holster is important to consider based on where you are open carrying. But, what does that mean?

Our ProDraw™ Paddle Holster is a level one retention meaning it only has one thing keeping the gun in the holster. Normally, level one retention is going to be the natural shape of the holster around the gun holding it in place to a degree. In most holsters, this is adjustable to your preference. This holster is a great option for open carrying at your home, on your property, hunting, or at the range if they allow it.

If you are looking to open carry in public we suggest a level two or three retention holster. This means you have two or three things keeping the gun in place. You can also think of it as the number of steps you have to take to remove your gun from its holster.

Is a Kydex paddle holster comfortable?

Some people find that IWB holsters can be uncomfortable, but what about an OWB Kydex paddle holster?

The paddle clip portion of your holster sits flush with your body and you may worry that it is uncomfortable. While some people find it uncomfortable, many find they do not notice it is there and it can actually be quite comfortable. You may discover that wearing an undershirt between the holster and your body or tucking in your shirt helps make the paddle more comfortable.

While physically it might be comfortable, mentally you may worry about it falling off if you are doing rigorous physical activity. If you are wearing the paddle holster for long periods and will be sitting down you may find it is not the right holster for you. Some sitting positions can be more uncomfortable with an OWB holster than an IWB holster. Other people have reported they don’t have issues with sitting comfortably because of the ease with which they are able to move the holster on their waistband to accommodate for the change in position.

Utilizing a proper belt with a paddle holster can increase your comfort level. A regular belt may not be able to support the weight of your gun and holster. A gun belt, like our Cobra®Quick Release Gun Belt, is made to withstand the weight of your carry system and in turn, can make you feel more comfortable while carrying.

Do I need a Kydex paddle holster?

By this point, you probably know a lot more about Kydex paddle holsters than you did at that start of this article. Now for the question you really want answered, do you need a Kydex paddle holster?

Technically, no you do not NEED a Kydex paddle holster but we highly recommend it as the second holster you get. The first being an IWB holster like our Vedder LightTuck™ IWB Holster.

Kydex paddle holsters are great for using at home, on your property, hunting, or at the range if they allow drawing from a holster. Our ProDraw™ Paddle Holster is perfect for all of those activities and its unique design is found to be quite comfortable among our customers.

If your state allows open carry and you are looking for a paddle holster to use in public, we recommend a level two or three retention paddle holster. For every day use a level one retention holster will not be as secure as a multi-level retention holster.


Ultimately, it comes down to what you find comfortable and meets your needs in a carry system. We recommend visiting our Vedder Holsters product page for all of our holster options and for more information to help you choose the holster that works best for you.