3 Reasons I Prefer a Full Kydex Over a Hybrid Holster

People have a wide range of holster choices for their every day carry (EDC) concealed handgun. Over the years, I have used holsters of various styles and materials. In the end, I prefer a full Kydex holster. I'll tell you why I believe a holster made completely of Kydex has performance and safety advantages over hybrid holsters made with a Kydex shell and a backer of leather or some other synthetic material.

hybrid holster


Backing Material Breaks Down —

No matter the material, and even it's reinforced with a hard core insert, over time the baker wears out. When this happens, the backer inevitably bends or folds over the mouth of the holster. The user needs to move the flap out of the way before he can holster the gun.

What this means is that safe holstering requires two hands. One to hold the flap back, and the other to holster the gun. In order to holster with one hand, people resort to the very unsafe practice of using the gun's muzzle to move the backer material out of the way. This process nearly always results in the person muzzling themselves as they holster.

Photo courtesy of: Student Of The Gun – notice how the backing folds over the opening of the holster.

To make things worse, people mostly use hybrid holsters to carry in the traditional inside the waistband (IWB), around 3-4 o'clock, or small of back (SOB), 6 o'clock positions. It is quite difficult to hold the flap of your holster open the further behind our strong side hip we carry the gun. A well used hybrid holster worn in these carry positions increases the likelihood that the user will end up using the muzzle to open the holster.

I've used a thick, custom, all leather hybrid holster that held its shape much longer than the ones I've tried with a thin leather, or synthetic material backing. I like an all Kydex holster because it stays open, and I don't need to replace it every few years.

Adjustable Retention —

An overlooked quality of many, all Kydex holsters like my Lexington from KSG Armory, is that the retention is adjustable with a single screw. Adjustable retention allows you to determine for yourself how tight you want the gun to fit inside the holster.

Because the backing material has some give, you can't typically adjust the retention of a hybrid holster. Because of the soft backing material, much of the retention comes from the pressure of being wedged between your body and belt. The retention created this way is typically pretty tight, and also contributes to the holster closing when the gun isn't in the holster.

Again, some manufacturers may use thicker, sturdier leather that makes this less of an issue, but over time, you're likely going to experience this issue to some degree.


Once you get the retention dialed in, you won't likely need to mess with it, but people prefer different amounts of retention, so it's nice to have the option.

Less Sweat —

A hybrid holster's wide-spread backing material feels great at first, because it spreads the pressure of the gun out across a larger area. But after some time, things change. It could just be me, but when I wore a hybrid holster with a backer of any material, I found it collected sweat in that area. Depending on the temperatures where you live, or your propensity to sweat, this might not be an issue for you. It was for me.

A full Kydex holster doesn't need a big backing, and so it's less likely you'll feel exceptionally sweaty around the holster. As a side note, this is one reason people dislike bellyband type holster systems. Generally, the more material you have against your skin, the more hot and sweaty you feel.

This hybrid holster from hidden hybrid holster uses a leather backing material that seems stiffer and thicker than some others I've used.


Finally —

If you have a hybrid holster that you like, fantastic. You certainly shouldn't ditch your current holster just because I prefer something different. However, consider some drawbacks to the hybrid holster design, and if it isn't worth it to try a different method of carry.

If you're looking to weigh all the pros and cons of different carry positions and holster designs, please consider this course called Holsters Concealment and Carry Positions. The course runs over 5 and 1/2 hours long and goes in depth on the principles of concealment from clothing, belts holsters and everything in between.

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Alan on October 28, 2022 at 3:09 pm

    To each his own. I’ve use Crossbreed Supertuck holsters for years and I love them. No issues at all and they are the best tuckable holsters I know of.

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