Boltaron vs Kydex: 2022 Best Holster Material Reviewed

| Last Updated: May 14, 2021

This post contains all the information you need if you're struggling to decide between a Boltaron or Kydex holster. We list some of the advantages and disadvantages of each and give detailed information to make deciding easier. 

A holster is an essential accessory if you own a gun. You need a product that's long-lasting, comfortable to wear, and doesn't damage your firearm. This article will reveal a clear winner according to these criteria.

Let's begin with a side-by-side analysis of the two options.

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TL;DR: Boltaron vs Kydex Holsters

Below are the pros and cons of each material. 

Boltaron

Kydex

Pros

Pros

Quality

Affordable

Durability

It’s lighter than other plastics

Flame resistant

A long proven track record of reliability

Impact-resistant

Cell

Chemical resistant

Cell

Temperature resistant

Cell

Cons

Cons

It takes a while to loosen up to your gun’s form

Gets brittle if exposed to extreme cold

Best For

Best For

Use in extreme heat and cold

For concealed carry and everyday use

For concealed carry and everyday use

Cell

Relevant Characteristics Between Boltaron and Kydex Holsters

Sometimes it’s easier to decide which holster suits your needs by seeing how they hold up against essential elements. The table below demonstrates how the Boltaron and Kydex holsters fare.

Boltaron

Characteristics

Kydex

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Better

Impact Resistance

Good

Excellent

Extreme Temperature Resistance

Poor

Excellent

Chemical Resistance

Good

Convenient

Maintenance

Convenient

Expensive

Cost

Cost-effective

Similarities and Differences 

In recent years, various types of plastic gained popularity in the gun industry. Polymer firearms and Kydex or Boltaron holsters are examples of this phenomenon. 

Regarding holsters, the two materials have certain factors in common, but several differences render one superior. Let's check out some of the similarities and differences between them.

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Boltaron and Kydex Holster Differences 

By viewing the table, we can already notice specific contrasts. The Boltaron shells' designs come in matte or haircell finishes, depending on which manufacturer you choose, while Most Kydex holsters have a matte finish. 

In terms of resistance to various variables, Boltaron is up to 10 times more impact-resistant than other plastic types. This makes it the most durable option of the two. 

It's also flame-resistant to a certain degree, making it a better option for law enforcement or other officials that might be exposed to dangerous conditions. Kydex also offers low flammability, even though it isn't as heat resistant. This makes it easier to work with when you're trying to get your holster to take shape.  

However, this temperature vulnerability of Kydex is detrimental in icy conditions, as it's more likely to crack or become brittle after exposure. Kydex is lighter than Boltaron, as the material is slightly thinner. It's also more affordable for those looking for a plastic-type holster on a budget.

The overall quality of Boltaron is also superior as it covers more of the firearm than Kydex options. Depending on the manufacturer, Boltaron holsters are generally easier to clean than the Kydex competitor.  

Boltaron and Kydex Holster Similarities

Both materials are plastics, making them resistant to wet weather and easier to maintain. They are both light and durable, and regardless of the manufacturer, these options are affordable to most. 

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Kydex has a long track record, but Boltaron makes up for this with its improved resistance to the elements. This makes the two options reliable. The designs are ideal for concealed carry, and the options for handguns are versatile.

Some other common benefits that the two plastics share include rigidity and chemical resistance. The plastic is also waterproof, scratch-resistant, and won't shrink in ordinary conditions.

Holsters made from molded plastics are gun-specific. This means that they fit your guns perfectly; it can also be a drawback because it means that you'll need a holster for each firearm you own. One size doesn't fit all, as is the case with leather ones.

Your drawing angle is improved thanks to the adjustable cant and retention. These products also reduce the chance of accidental discharge as the trigger guard coverage has zero gaps. Your drawing is consistent, and you have complete access to a full firing grip.

The consistency of your draw facilitates muscle memory. This is a vital aspect if you're in law enforcement or situations that require immediate access to your handgun. Most are modwing capable and cause less printing through your clothes.

Personalizing your holster is also much easier with these products. Another disadvantage that the two options share is that if you've got a rare gun, you won't be able to find a holster that fits. Similarly, if your firearm is fitted with a light, you'll have to find a manufacturer that designs holsters with the exact light and gun specifications.

Pros and Cons of Boltaron Holsters

Boltaron holsters are newer to the market and still have to establish a fan-base. It won't take long as the resistance capabilities and quality of these products are impeccable. 

Plastic Pros

It shares several pros with Kydex holsters but takes each benefit a bit further. Multiple manufacturers only supply Boltaron options because of the level of durability and the elements it can withstand. 

Durability 

Because it's made from plastic, it's not as susceptible to damage as nylon or leather holsters. If properly maintained, your Boltaron product can last a lifetime. 

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Resistance Capabilities 

Boltaron holsters are built to withstand heat, cold, flame, and impact. Where other forms of plastics crack or curl, Boltaron retains its shape, and your weapon remains securely protected.

Cons

The biggest negative is that working it for smooth drawing takes a little more effort than with a Kydex. It's also a little bit more expensive but completely worth it when you look at its features.

In general, Boltaron holsters offer gun enthusiasts everything they could need aside from versatility. This is because each holster is gun-specific. 

Pros and Cons of Kydex Holsters

The plastic used in Kydex holsters is molded precisely to the dimensions of your gun. This not only means a perfect fit but a safe one as well since you’re assured that the gun can't wiggle around while you're carrying it.

Adjustability

Each shooter has a different preference in terms of draw angle. Kydex holsters generally come with adjustable cant, and fine-tuning your draw is easy, thanks to adjustable retention options.

Because the dimensions are exact, there's no extra material to abstract your draw, which offers you full firing grip access.

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Resistance Capabilities

Like its competitor, Kydex is resistant to most harsh chemicals, water, and flames. It's also impact-resistant, although not as much as the Boltaron. Extreme heat and cold compromise a Kydex holster's quality, but there shouldn't be a problem in everyday situations.

Design

Kydex has a minimalist design, and because it's slightly thinner, it weighs less. The difference in weight may seem minuscule, but when carrying your weapon over an extended period, every ounce matters. 

Price

For some gun enthusiasts, the most critical criterion is affordability. Kydex holsters offer you the perfect balance of cost and quality. It may lack some of the features that the Boltaron has, but it makes up for this by being financially accessible. 

Cons

The biggest negative of Kydex is that it can't withstand elements that are too harsh. If you forget your Kydex holster in extreme temperatures, it may lose shape or even crack, rendering it unusable.

What About Hybrid Holsters?

Some consider Hybrid holsters the best of both worlds. Typically, these consist of a large leather slab with a molded plastic front shell. These are considered beneficial because they reduce the problem of molded plastic, creating pressure points in the waistband and discomfort.

The Kydex, Boltaron, or other plastic used in front assists with gun retention and can be swapped out to fit other firearm models. This versatility is what makes Hybrid holsters popular.

Some gun enthusiasts believe that Hybrid holsters support the weapon better than other options and offer improved comfort. Most Hybrid manufacturers utilize a passive retention system with no thumb break. 

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Bottom Line

Both Boltaron and Kydex holsters offer benefits that leather options don't. They share multiple advantages and disadvantages, but Boltaron products display clear superiority in every regard aside from price. 

Like most gun accessories, you get what you pay for. If you opt for the cheaper product, in this case, you're still getting a reliable one. It's a choice between excellent resistance capabilities for the price.

People Also Ask

We've tried to explain most of the features, pros, and cons of the two holster options, but some questions may still be unanswered. Below we discuss three of the most common questions regarding this topic.

Will a Kydex Holster Scratch My Gun?

Because plastic is complex, many gun enthusiasts are concerned about scratches on their guns. To answer this question fully, we must understand that scratch marks and rub marks are different. 

Most Kydex holsters have a cerakote finish that doesn't scratch, but if a gun is drawn and re-holstered frequently, rub marks are inevitable on the weapon. This occurs regardless of the material of the holster.

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What is the Best Thickness for a Kydex Holster?

Kydex holsters have a minimalist design and are generally relatively thin. The thinnest Kydex used is 0.06 inches and offers the best concealment. They are flexible. Civilians use them as inside waistband holsters for single magazine guns.

The most common is 0.08 inches and has more rugged retention suitable for outside waistband carry. Many consider this to be the best option as it offers a middle ground between robust ability and flexibility. 

Kydex is also available in 0.093 inches and 0.125 inches. These are thicker but not commonly found.

Will Hot Kydex Hurt My Gun?

Many gun enthusiasts use metal guns in the molding process as the holster cools quickly, and there's no real damage to the gun. You must take precautions such as unloading the magazine and making sure it's safe before inserting it into the hot holster.

If you have a polymer weapon, ensure that you leave the empty magazine inside the gun during the process.



Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!