Dara Holsters & Gear, Not All Kydex is Created Equal

Here at Rangehot, we collectively own a lot of handguns. For any of them that we actually use on a regular basis, it has always been an ongoing process to find a good holster to go with it. We all know there are a lot of options out there; drop leg, inside the waistband, outside the waistband, cross draw, small of the back, shoulder rigs and more. Once the decision is made how you plan to wear the holster, there is the decision of what material to use; leather, ballistic nylon, molded plastics and of course combinations thereof. In case none of you have figured out by now, we’re going to be talking about holsters. More specifically, Kydex holsters.

A few months ago, Jon Dara of Dara Holsters & Gear and I met at the local gun shop where I work. Through all the shop talk, the subject of holsters came up and he mentioned that he happened to own a locally based holster manufacturing company. After further conversation the fact that I am a gun writer came out and we decided we should get a few of his holsters for us to test. Once we had set up an account on the Dara Holster website, we went through the simple process of creating the array of custom holsters we wanted for testing. Within a few weeks, the holsters arrived exactly as ordered.

Upon opening the packages, the first thing that stood out was the high quality. The 0.093″ thick Kydex, the melonite coated hardened steel hardware, the perfect retention and the custom fit of each holster specific to the weapon of choice. We chose a wide assortment to test out the most common options offered; two different OWB holsters (Glock 20 Gen 3 & S&W M&P 9 full size), a left handed IWB holster (Glock 23 Gen 4), and a Level II duty holster (Colt Government Model).


First we’ll talk about the two different OWB holsters we chose. For both holsters we went with a 2″ belt loop, mid ride height, covered ejection port, flush muzzle coverage and no holster mouth flare. The primary difference between the two was that the Glock 20 was a 7.5 degree half cant where as on the M&P we went with a more pronounced 15 degree FBI cant. Both holsters fit quite well on a leather belt as well as a heavy webbing riggers belt.


Next we have the IWB holster. For this, we most noticeably had to go with a left hand option as one of our fellow reviewers can’t ever seem to stay in his right mind. Ok, ok, we can’t lie, we love our lefty shooters just the same. Other than the left hand option, we went with a 2″ belt loop, mid ride height, covered ejection port, flush muzzle coverage, no holster mouth flare and a 7.5 degree half cant. As was true with both of the OWB holsters, this option fit equally well on both a riggers belt as well as leather.


Finally, we have the Level II duty holster. All of the options were consistent with both the Glock 20 OWB and the Glock 23 IWB. As is true with most Level II holsters, this one came with a thumb-activated pivot guard. The pivoting guard combined with a Colt 1911 allows for much more secure carry in condition 1 (magazine inserted, chamber hot, hammer back and safety engaged).

Overall, these Dara Kydex holsters are an excellent option for a high-quality, durable, and lightweight holster.  They ride comfortably, close to the body, and with the adjustable hold tension are great for anything from every day carry to competition shooting. We will certainly enjoy continuing to use ours.


Hunter Elliott of rangehot.com  photography/editing

Jon Dara of Dara Holster & Gear

John Carter


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