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How ShapeShift Holsters Are Different From Kydex

How is the ShapeShift holster shell different from Kydex? The latter material is something of an obsession in the carry community; some people insist that no other material shall ever carry their pistol.

So how does the ShapeShift set itself apart?

ShapeShift Holster Shell Is Injection Molded

A principle difference in the ShapeShift holster shell is how we make it compared to how kydex holster makers manufacture their product.

The ShapeShift shell is injection molded. Kydex, however, is press-molded. The reason why there are so many Kydex holster makers is the relative ease in getting started. This isn't to say that anyone can do it - though practically anyone actually can - and there are some quality producers out there with fastidious attention to detail.

How it works is that a sheet of Kydex - a hard plastic - is heated, then inserted into a mold press. The material has been heated to the point where it begins to flow (meaning it can be shaped) so it takes the shape of the mold when pressure is applied. As it cools, it hardens and retains the shape of the object it's molded on.

Excess material is trimmed away, the remaining material usually gets polished and presto! You have a holster shell.

The ShapeShift holster shell, however, is injection molded. Molten polymer is poured into an ultra-precise mold, and any air removed via industrial vacuum. After the material cools, product is ready to assemble, with no need for polishing or trimming away any excess.

Again, this isn't to say that kydex holster makers make an inferior product. (Well…) ShapeShift Holster System products take a long time to develop due to the need for precise molds, which take time to perfect. "Good enough" is not acceptable at Alien Gear Holsters; it needs to be perfect or else we won't put it out there.

It's more that our injection molding creates a much more precise product.

ShapeShift Holster Material Vs Kydex

Another difference between Kydex and the ShapeShift holster shell is the material itself.

Kydex, in and of itself, is a thermoplastic acrylic, or in other words an acrylic plastic (plastics based on acrylic acid) that becomes soft when heat is applied and hardens when cooled. (Almost all plastics are, since plasticity - ability to flow and harden upon cooling - is the defining characteristic of a plastic material.) The base material is a particular formula of polyvinyl chloride - good old PVC, the same stuff you find in the plumbing aisle of your local hardware store.

The name "Kydex" was actually devised in the 1960s, as the material was invented by Rohm and Haas, a chemical company that was eventually absorbed into Dow Chemical. Kydex is a proprietary formula of plastic, much like how Styrofoam is a proprietary type of polystyrene foam made by DuPont. The formula was purchased by a company that branded itself Kydex LLC, which was absorbed into Sekisui SPI, which makes and sells Kydex and other polymers and materials around the globe.

In other words, it's a brand name plastic. In and of itself, it's a decent material, being relatively hardy (about on par with a golf ball in hardness) but is susceptible to deforming if subjected to sufficient heat.

The proprietary polymer blend of the ShapeShift holster shell, however, is tougher stuff. Our proprietary polymer used for manufacturing ShapeShift holster shells and components is similar to a hard molded nylon, almost indistinguishable from the polymer used to make the frames of many popular pistols.

The high heat of injection molded is needed to make the material flow. Subjecting it to temperatures in excess of 100 degrees won't even smudge the finish. However, plastics with a lower glass-transition temperature (when the material softens and can be molded) can even deform if left in a car on a hot day!

Greater Precision And Durability: The ShapeShift Difference

What sets the ShapeShift holster shell - and indeed the ShapeShift Modular Holster System - apart is the greater degree of precision that's required of the molding process, as well as a much more durable material that's used to create the holster.

This gives you a holster shell for your concealed carry holster that fits perfectly. Notice the click that seems so satisfying when the gun fully seats in the holster? That's due to the fitment. Some people find they don't even need the passive retention to get a satisfactory hold when carrying. You get the perfect fit and a secure carry.

You also get a holster shell that you can depend on to last through years of service.

Add to that a 30 Day Test Drive trial period, lifetime warranty and the unparalleled versatility of the full ShapeShift system...and that's a significant difference from most other holsters out there.

About The Author

Writer sam hoober