Thursday, May 27, 2010

Modern Marvels


Cool, I'ma watch.

Kydex Part II

Fobus Holster and Mag Holder

(part of my Kydex-type review series)
My first foray into kydex, er plastic, just like many out there I'd expect.  Fobus pretty much defined the plastic gun holder genre.  Made of injection molded plastic, their stuff is affordable ($20 neighborhood) and is very durable.  The standard setup comes in either paddle or belt loop variety, and uses simple passive retention.  The holster is molded to the contours of the gun, and has primarily grips the front of the trigger guard.  It has a slight forward cant, which I like (some may not).  There is an adjustable roto version available for a bit more.  Overall it has an even matte finish, and only comes in black as far as I know.

The paddle is pretty comfortable, and is secure, although it could be a little shorter.  It's textured on the front, and has a thin rubber coating on the inside to keep it from moving around.

The holster snuggles up to your body pretty well, and carries the gun pretty well.

The draw is smooth, the inside is mostly slick(more on that in a second) and has a nice wide sight track, and reholstering is not much of a problem, the inside half of the holster is slightly flared at the top helping to funnel the gun into the holster.  The holster grips the gun pretty well when it's inside, it's difficult to actually pull the gun out if the holster's not on your belt, and it tends to bind up if the gun is not pulled straight out, aiding in retention.  The mag holder could be a little tighter for my tastes for the single stacks though (no experience with their double stack holders.)

The downsides of it are of course the lack of any active retention (may or may not be a big deal for you) and, at least on the 1911 holster, due to the "one size fits as much as possible" way they're made, the front end of the gun, including the front sight, is exposed on a full size 5" barreled 1911 since the holster's made for 4" or 5" guns.  Fobus holsters are also known to mar the finish on some guns, like my Kimber for example:

It turns out the model number is molded on the inside of both halves of the holster.  I don't know if Fobus has gotten around to doing anything about it, seeing as it's a pretty well known problem in the gun community, but I picked mine up three or four years ago.  I also have one for my Walther P22, but the finish on that gun is holding up just fine.

Overall, I'm not disappointed with the Fobus goods.  They're fantastic for their price, and make great range holsters if nothing else, let alone as a spare just incase your primary holster goes down for whatever reason.

Part III - Blackhawk! Serpa
Part IV - Raven Concealment Systems
Part V - Conclussions

Kydex Comparisons and Reviews!

Part I
Well, Kydex like... equal parts plastic, carbon fiber, and kydex to be specific.  Anyway, They are just around the corner.  I just shot a bunch of picks, and will be shortly putting up some reviews and comparisons of the three big name kydex holsters and pouches I've used over the last few years.

I'm gonna cover the standard Fobus, Blackhawk! Serpa, and Raven Concealment options, as well as mag holders from the same.

I'm not going to get much into the concealment aspects of them however, since I live in the great state of Wisconsin and that sort of thing is forbidden and I don't have any experience dealing with it.  However I have used all three for open carry as well as range time.

You'll possibly notice that all the options are sporting the paddle option available for each maker, something also due to my location, since I am frequently removing the holster to go to class or other places I can't carry. I'll be going over the ups and downs of each makers paddle design.

Kydex vs. Leather
Of course one of the biggest thing that comes up when looking at a kydex rig is why should I go with kydex and not leather?
It's a pretty good question.  Leather has traditionally been the top holster material, being very rugged, yet good looking.  A properly fitted leather holster will snuggly support and protect your gun wonderfully.  Plus they look great.
What's the downside? Well made leather holsters are expensive.  There's a lot of work involved in making a nice leather rig, soaking and forming, shaping and tooling, gluing and sewing... a good leather holster that fits your gun nicely is going to be essentially a custom job.
Leather also needs to be cared for.  It can get dried out and crack, or being an organic material, can start to rot.  It needs to be moisturized and cleaned, and it's not suggested you leave anything steel in it for any extended period of time, as that moisture can lead to rust.

Kydex(and it's similar synthetic brethren), on the other hand, is much easier to work with, and generally cheaper in it's raw form than leather.
Kydex is also incredibly durable.  I've scrapped mine along stuff that would have put quite an  ugly scratch in some leather, and only lead to some paint transfer on the plastic.  It also holds it's form, regardless of weather there's a gun in it.  His can aid in reholstering, especially in an inside the waistband setup.
Kydex is also much more stable than leather.  It's not going to dry out and crack, or get too wet and start to rot and degrade.  If you leave it out in the sun too long the UV radiation can start to break it down, but same goes for leather (see earlier mention of cracking...)
The downside of course, is that leather just looks so much better, and some kydex has a tendency to mar the finish on some guns, something leather is much less likely to do.
I kind of think of Kydex as the working man of the holster world, it's tough, and great at it's job, but lacking in the style department.

I wouldn't say one is necessarily better than the other, they both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Part II - Fobus Holster and Mag Holder
Part III - Blackhawk! Serpa Holster and Mag Holder
Part IV - Raven Concealment Systems Phantom Holster and Mag Holder
Part V - Conclussions

Looking for a Chest Rig

Looking for a very simple chest rig to hold 4 AR mags and 2 double stack pistol mags, not really much else.  I've got a full out tactical load bearing vest with all sorts of crap on it, but I want something more streamlined for range use and whatnot, and of course within the means of a generally broke-ish college student.

Any suggestions?  Oh, and Multi-cam would be teh cool these days.  Most of my stuff is tan of some sort, and that's so last year.