Injection-molded holsters haven't replaced classic leather materials.
However, injection-molding has improved specific shortcomings in typical holster designs, despite misconceptions about the process.
Curious about what injection-molded holster materials offer?
Let's take a broad look at the process.
What Is An Injection Molded Holster?
An injection-molded holster shell and its respective pieces start as a blend of polymer pellets in a hopper, which are then melted and subsequently placed under heat and pressure into a mold of the end product.
That mold is skillfully built by tool and die makers either internally or externally, and it is a singular component in a system of technologically advanced machinery.
In the case of the ShapeShift Modular Holster System, there are molds of nearly every part except textile-based straps, backers and fasteners.
That means a handgun is scanned and a digital file is built to replicate every line, detail and dimension. It is one of the most accurate methods of creating a shell to retain a handgun on the body for everyday carry.
The production process differs a bit from KYDEX, boltaron, leather, synthetic textile and other types of holsters shells.
They are all valid and useful, but generally speaking they start with a flat sheet that is then fashioned with heat, chemicals or sewing techniques to clamp onto a handgun.
Whereas injection-molding is carried out by precise machinery, trimmed thermoplastic sheets are often pressed by hand or with a vacuum, and molded into the designs of popular off-brand kydex holsters.
Beyond the shell that secures the trigger guard and slide, the clips and components on the holster may also be injection-molded with a blend of polymers that may or may not include blended stiffeners.
These "proprietary blends" will differ in form factor and composition from facility to facility.
They are subject to strict scrutiny, as the filings, shavings or pellets are not always created equal.
Some consumers are rightfully concerned that they're the cheap leftovers swept up from the floors of higher quality companies.
That is not, and will never be, the case with any polymer used at the Alien Gear Holsters manufacturing facility in North Idaho.
Once formed, the high-grade, engineered polymer pieces for ShapeShift holsters are then collected by American men and women, and added to handcrafted and meticulously sewn pieces to create a product that is technologically and physically more precise than other similar carry styles across the industry.
A lot of the technical aspects of the process are omitted in this, but to review, an injection-molded polymer holster uses advanced machinery to inject a molten blend of plastics into a mold that, cooled and under pressure, creates a highly durable component that is then built into the end product.
How Injection Molding Has Improved Polymer Holsters
Big whoop, an injection molded-polymer holster uses fancy machinery.
What's the point?
Precision and accuracy, which the gun industry relies on for multiple reasons.
There is between a 99.93 and 99.98 percent quality assurance rating with Alien Gear ShapeShift Holsters.
Errors and flaws in the firearms industry are fatal. Removing them is not just a sound business decision, it's a matter of putting more power into the gun owner's hands.
Let's be honest. It takes longer to prepare new molds with this method.
The company is well aware of the time it takes to release holsters for more compatible handgun models.
Although the methodical process takes longer to prepare equipment than more widespread thermoforming techniques, what results is a process that reduces error, improves precision and reduces costs after initial investment.
What does that mean for the gun owner?
A lower-cost holster that is technically advanced. It is the best of both worlds.
If value is an interplay between the worth of something relative to what was given up for it, an injection-molded holster is one of the most valuable options available in the firearms accessory marketplace.
Curious to try one out? Alien Gear offers a 30-day test drive.