Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Custom Kydex Projects

Rock Island 1911, Taurus 24/7 and Magazine Carriers
UPDATE: Tons of progress on my Kydex projects. Turns out this Kydex stuff is as easy to get hooked on as everyone says. The beauty of it for DIY types like myself is that you basically can't waste *much* of it. What I am saying is that as long as you don't just hack it up or over heat it, then you can just heat it back up and have another shot at it - which I did multiple times. Something that may plague all DIY types, or just perfectionist control freaks like myself, is that every time you build something you learn something new so even though you get lots of re-dos with Kydex, I don't think (unless you are super cool) that you'll have a perfect product the first time you do it. I am pretty sure that what I've built so far is all workable enough that I can live with it, but the desire to make the next one better looms. Money savings probably comes into play with DIYers and I know it does for me. So far I've only spent about the cost of a single holster for everything you'll see in the images below. So yeah, there is massive savings in this process. However, I choose to skip on the eyelets. I have set lots of various rivets and snaps with hand tools and had relatively good success, but everyone does the eyelets (and they make a lot of sense) and these rapid rivets that I've used are fast and easy, and I already had everything I needed. I felt that perhaps I wouldn't have terrific success with the eyelets hand setting them, I wanted something different, and the cost of getting better equipment for setting eliminates any cost savings. Like any kind of hobby that is fun and rewarding, the cost savings will eventually vanish. However, I have to say that they are very high with this particular project. Given the commercial cost of everything I have, and given that I've had very little waste, I would say that at the very least I have ended up with more stuff than I ever would have bought at one time. I have much less that $100 in the whole project so far and I still have material (and plans) for another holster that will be dedicated to the war belt. If you consider that a single holster comes in somewhere between $50 and $80 and I've build 2, plus 6 magazine carriers and 4 AR magazine carriers, then yeah, I've saved money. Not everything I've made is pictured and I'll probably make something for a flash light, Leatherman, and who knows what else. For another 25 bucks worth of material I can crank out a couple more holsters and mag carriers. A single sheet of 12x12 .125 heavy weight material makes a TON of belt loops too. Anyway, let's get to the show and tell.

custom kydex in coyote tan
My Rock Island 9mm 1911 with magazine carrier. With single stack magazines (or any) I like the idea of the flare to help with getting that magazine back into the carrier. I enjoy some IDPA action each month and this makes reloads with retention very smooth.

You can see the curvature I put in the holsters. This is done in the press, not after and this makes a very form fitting design that as far as I know, no one else is doing.

Playing with magazine seating depths. I think I got it right the first time with the more shallow depth because the retention was already perfect and is just slightly higher with the deeper design to the point that getting the magazine BACK into the carrier is a little more difficult. By molding to the traditional style mags I can use Troy and P Mags in the same carrier.

The MOLLE attachment system. Note that the carriers are flat on the back which draws the magazine closer to the body. I think I am going to tighten up the spacing which will take out the slight amount of up and down play that you can see here. The white stuff is the pencil I layout with. It cleans off easily.

This is my third attempt at holster making. I think it is almost perfect as far as function and mold detail. Because of the way I curve my holsters the open port is functional.

This is actually a very difficult gun to mold to. It has certain features that aren't especially obvious and it took a couple tries to get it right. The trigger guard is huge and can create too much retention.

A look at the flat back mag carrier. I mold in a track for the Chicago screw which creates a little standoff from the body. Deeper belt loops can push it out even further and for games or tactical use, this makes indexing that magazine very easy. I can then mount the loops in a traditional way and make them shallow which sucks the carrier to the body much better than other designs for maximum concealment in OWB carry. You can barely see the cap of a double cap rivet on the holster which prevents undue wear on your belt.