So we get asked a lot by customers if we could make Kydex pouches for plate carriers, chest rigs, and war belts. We turn many requests down just because many of them aren’t that practical. And here are some reasons why:
The biggest concern is how much real-estate Kydex systems take up when applied to MOLLE. A regular Kydex .223 AR/M4 mag pouch like our MARS carrier takes up three rows of MOLLE. A regular nylon mag pouch usually takes up just two. Many common plate carriers today have only six rows of MOLLE on the front flap, which means only two Kydex mag pouches can be employed. A regular nylon pouch system will allow you to mount three. Kydex takes up a lot of real estate, that’s just how it is.
Another problem is durability. While Kydex has been proven to be very strong, it can become brittle in extremely cold temperatures. And if you deploy Kydex on the front of a plate carrier and then take a dive to go prone quickly, especially in cold conditions, problems could occur.
Noise is something many people don’t think about, but having loud gear can be problematic for a number of reasons. When Kydex makes contact with something hard like gravel, wood, concrete, or asphalt, it makes a lot of noise. A soft nylon pouch won’t do that. It’s something to consider before covering yourself in Kydex mag carriers.
Unless Kydex mag carriers have good drainage holes, they can fill up with sand, dirt, rocks, even brass which can impede the proper seating of magazines. Most Kydex mag carriers require a perfect mag fit to ensure good retention, and the smallest rock or piece of 9mm caught in the bottom can prevent it. While nylon pouches can also fill up with debris, they’re a little more forgiving with the retention.
Kydex magazine pouches generally feature good retention, but they’re not necessarily the best choice if you’re riding around on helicopters, rock climbing, or HALO jumping. Obviously, many of us civilians don’t operate this close to the edge, so Kydex usually is good enough for us. But some nylon magazine pouches feature bungee cords or flaps that can retain magazines in even the most brutal of conditions.
The big thing Kydex has over nylon is speed. Grabbing a magazine out of a Kydex magazine pouch is usually much faster than popping a flap or bungee on a nylon mag pouch before reloading. That’s why most competition shooters are running Kydex magazine systems on their belt setups. They need speed over durability, retention, or noise, so they go with Kydex.
There are a number of nylon magazine pouches that have risen to the top of the list of generic mag pouches with flaps, or mag shingles with bungee retainers.
I personally love running Kydex on warbelt systems. They make for fast reloads, and I’m not too concerned about real-estate because I try not to overload my belt systems. Only the essentials and emergency reloads come from the belt. Additional magazines, medical supplies, and communications equipment are worn on a chest rig or plate carrier. Below is a minimalist belt setup I built for some shoot house training.
Thanks for reading. -Lucas