DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light
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Thread: DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light

  1. #1

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light

    I've just completed my first build of a IWB holster for my M&P .40. I currently own and wear a Crossbreed IWB holster on a daily basis for work. However, I have been searching for a similar option that would allow me to keep my tactical light (currently a Streamlight TLR-1) on the gun while in the holster. Failing to find a holster that fit my needs, I went about creating my own. Since I gathered a lot of information from other creative people who posted directions on various blogs, I am returning the favor. There are a lot of things I learned along the way, mistakes made and areas for improvement.

    Step 1 was to build a vacuum box. You may elect to skip this step all together and completely hand form the Kydex with a heat gun, but I tend to overdo everything. I used scrap material laying around so it cost me next to nothing to build. I built it out of 1x pine with peg board for the surface. You will see two braces along the top. These support the peg board and allow a lot of pressure to be placed on the mold during forming, preventing any shifting. I also used a drill and almost doubled the amount of holes in the pegboard. All joints were nailed or screwed and also glued. I later added foil tape (not shown) on all the seams to ensure air tightness.

    Attachment 4267

    I liberated an old extension tube for my Ridgid shop vac and cut it to about 3". I then drilled a hole using a hole saw bit into the side of the box and then glued the 3" piece of tube into place. This gave me a snug fit for my shop vac to attach to and again ensure an air tight seal.

    Attachment 4268

    I had a few ideas for the lid, but in the end, I used a 2"x12"x12" piece of foam wrapped in scrap vinyl fabric from the local fabric store (Joanne Fabrics). The vinyl was tested to ensure it would not melt from contact with the Kydex. I used my gloved hand to apply pressure down and "cup" my gun to get pressure on all sides of the mold.

    Next was modifying the mold. I used blue painters tape for no glue mess. A pencil is taped along the top of the receiver to mold a front sight channel. Tape is used to plug the trigger guard area. Normally this would be left alone, but the Kydex needs to allow the wide tactical light to pass through during holstering/drawing. This takes some trial and error to get the right shape.

    Attachment 4270

    I used a kitchen toaster oven set a 300deg F to warm the Kydex. It took about 2 mins for teh .006 Kydex to start drooping, so keep a close eye on it! In the meantime, I used a heat gun to gently warm up my gun as it sat on the vacuum table. I used tongs to remove the Kydex sheet from the oven and drop it onto the gun. Move fast, as it cools and stiffens quickly. And wear thick gloves!

    Attachment 4269

    The Kydex was then pressed down onto the gun with the wrapped piece of foam, the shop vac was switched on and I pushed down with my hands to form the Kydex. After about 15 seconds, I was left with a good impression of my gun and light.

    Off to the band saw for some trimming.

    Attachment 4271

    To be continued . . .

  2.   
  3. #2

    IWB S&W M&P Part 2

    This is the final Kydex shell, trimmed out. Small adjustments to adjust tension, ease of drawing and holstering were done later once the leather was attached using the heat gun to warm small areas at a time.

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light-img_2222.jpg


    Laying out the pieces. The marks on the blue tape are for holes for rivits to attach it to the leather.

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light-img_2229.jpg

    I took a piece of leather, trimmed it to shape, dyed it using Fiebing's USMC Black leather dye, followed by Fiebing's finisher. The edges were rolled and Fiebing's Edge coat was used to smooth them into place.

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light-img_2235.jpg

    Holes for the rivets were drilled with a drill press through both the Kydex and leather together. Rivets were then attached to join the two pieces together.

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light-img_2237.jpg


    To Be Continued . . .

  4. #3

    IWB S&W M&P Part 3

    To attach the holster to my belt, clips were purchased from Springfield Leather. I used rubber fuel line from the local hardware store, cut several washers from it, about 1/4" or less in width and fed them over Chicago Screws. These screws were given a drop of locktite and mounted to the leather. I punched a few holes in the leather to allow for some custom weapon cant adjustments later if needed.

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light-img_2246.jpg

    The finished product. I intentionally left the area below the light open to allow debris to fall through. The backing was treated with Nikwax waterproofing. It was left rough to grab onto my undershirt and it does not shift at all. It is a lot to carry under the belt, being a full-size gun with the light, but it is very concealable on my frame. Comments are welcome!

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light-img_2252.jpg

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light-img_2253.jpg

    DIY IWB Kydex / Leather Holster for S&W M&P with tactical light-img_2255.jpg

  5. #4
    thats awesome.... would you build another one, i have the same gun and same light but its the tlr 2 with a laser.... ive been looking everywhere but noone makes em at a normal price.... if u want to swap contact info for prices or whatever drop me a line on my page itsself.

    thanks!

    AJ

  6. #5
    AJ,

    Thanks for the feedback. I do intend to make more, this was just my first attempt and I learned a lot. Your TLR-2 poses an interesting problem. The laser module hangs very low and would have to be taken in to account when it passes by the trigger area on the Kydex. I have an old Streamlight M-6 which is a bit larger than the TLR-2 if I recall. Let me ponder the engineering for a bit. I'm certainly not in this to get rich, but if I can help fill a void in the market, I'll do what I can.

  7. I am pondering the idea of attempting to make one as well. Was it difficult to get the kydex to form around the light to allow it to draw properly? I am worried about it not drawing because the trigger guard is smaller than the light. How did you allow for this issue?
    Thanks,
    James

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by James Riley View Post
    I am pondering the idea of attempting to make one as well. Was it difficult to get the kydex to form around the light to allow it to draw properly? I am worried about it not drawing because the trigger guard is smaller than the light. How did you allow for this issue?
    Thanks,
    James
    James,

    Most IWB holsters of this design rely on the trigger guard as the retention. The Kydex is pressed into the trigger guard area and this creates a locking action as the guard passes by the Kydex during holstering/unholstering. This was not possible with the light, so I moved my retention area to the ejection port. The concept is similar; the kydex is presssed into the port to create the necessary friction and "locking" action. The area of the Kydex near the trigger guard on my holster is wide enought to allow the light to pass snuggly, but freely. This took some time. Using my actual gun with light attached as the mold, I blocked off the trigger guard with cardboard (I believe) taped into place with painters tape. This prevented me from pressing the warm kydex into the trigger guard and thereby blocking any chance the light has to pass by this area. The kydex in the area of the trigger guard does not actually touch the trigger guard, especially towards the front of the gun. There is no wobble or loosness as the kydex hugs the sides of the light pretty snuggly.

    There is no one-step process.... my advice is to mold the gun with light, then go back over it using an electric heat gun to warm specific, small areas until you are able to slide the gun out. It should not be easy to remove. Remember that Kydex is firm only on one side of the holster. The other is leather which is more pliable and will allow the gun to move when needed, but keeps it under pressure. The hardest part I had was forming the area around the very end of the light (near the lens).

    I'm not sure this helps you..... trial and error was my method. I found that hobbiest butane tourches were no good ( they tended to melt the plastic rather than soften it and left it shiny and greasy looking) and to use a piece of Kydex much bigger than you think you will need to compensate for the 3 dimesional aspect and shrinkage during the warming process.

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