If you’re in the holster making business, you understand the relationship between the holster you make and the production mold used to form that holster. In the digital world, it’s called WYSIWYG—what you see is that you get. If the Kydex is heated to the right temperature and you have a good vacuum system, the resulting thermoplastic holster will be the same shape as the mold.
In the beginning, most of us ordered replicas of real guns and modified them to make those molds. When we realized that the epoxy plastic material used to make the replicas shrank slightly, we learned to build out the surfaces with tape, sometimes a single layer, sometimes several layers. We attached pieces of wood or plastic, whatever was around our shops, to create channels for the things that were proud of the surface. We came up with clever ideas for making retention plates. We filled the trigger guards and created shapes in that area that would provide detents. We are craftsmen, makers who work with our hands and find solutions.
“We’re an opinionated bunch, us entrepreneurs.”
We do not, however, all agree on how a holster should look and function. Neither do our customers. Each craftsman who builds holsters has a vision of how that holster will perform and how it will look. Like all craftsmen, we are constantly tinkering with the formula we use to make a holster, looking for ways to solve problems we’ve encountered, trying to accommodate a customer’s needs, or just to bring our own ideas to fruition.
We’re an opinionated bunch, us entrepreneurs. We like to debate the merits of everything, and it’s why we, as an industry, offer so many unique products. In the end, it’s also why there’s room for so many in the holster making business. No one holster type will serve all people who need a holster. Competition is a good thing for all of us.
Like everyone else, we had a vision, not better or worse, just a vision that was as unique to us as your vision is to you. The wall we’d hit and couldn’t get by was the molds we were using. We came up with the idea of making our own molds, and then threw ourselves headlong down that long, winding, expensive, and frustrating trail.
“We protected those early molds like gold bullion.”
We solved it. After many attempts, much cursing, and breathtakingly expensive forays into research and development, we developed a complex system for making our own molds, and it set our creative minds free. We started nitpicking holster details, trying to find solutions for things that would have been impossible to address by modifying the replicas we started with. We were able to manage dozens of details and standardize those solutions so they could be used across many platforms. We liked the holster styles we created using the new molds, and so did our holster customers. We protected those early molds like gold bullion.
But like half-mad scientists, not content with the win, we decided to make matching trim jigs. Hand trimming Kydex and then having to sand it endlessly was time-consuming and unprofitable. It wasn’t so bad when my business partner did all the sanding, but when I was recruited to help, I quickly saw the genius in the idea to develop trim jigs that matched the Kydex Forming Production Molds. Lots of acquired skill sets later and many more dollars donated to the R & D gremlins, we had our matching Trim Jigs.
“Why not sell those molds?”
Then folks asked, “Why are you selling holsters? Why not sell those molds?” Simple question, and we instantly got our protective hackles up as anyone protecting a secret ingredient would. But we starting thinking. What would that look like? Were we willing to share what we felt was our edge?
If you’re reading this, you know we did start selling our molds, and much to our surprise, they were, and are, very popular. With popularity, however, comes struggle. No mold, whether ours or someone else’s, can be all things to all holster makers.
” …Production Molds were specifically created to reflect our unique vision…”
It is important to understand that our Production Molds were specifically created to reflect our unique vision of functionality. Having an idea, and then trying to bring that idea to life, can be a cruelly frustrating process. During the R & D phase of prototyping, it’s not uncommon for a seemingly simple change to cause downstream failures that don’t rear their ugly heads until the milling is done, the mold inspected, a holster formed, and a tiny flaw identified that makes the mold unusable. The cost of R&D is staggering. Did we say that already? It bears repeating. The time commitment is beyond anything you might imagine going in. Ignorance of how hard it will be allows you to start down that road, and once started, it’s tough to turn back.
We endured, and the reward was having the capacity to design and mill our own molds. Despite the long, expensive road to get here, that ability has been freeing. When we decided to sell the molds, the designs had long ago gone through R & D, been field tested, and the holster patterns standardized. The resulting holsters formed on those molds were being used by satisfied customers for carry and for competition.
As mentioned, the design of the holsters made from our molds was our personal vision of a holster that reflected the features we thought important. We empathized when potential mold customers asked us to make ‘little changes’ to molds to reflect their own unique style or function. Too often, variations that seemed small and inconsequential were, in fact, expensive and time consuming to design and test. What we’ve discovered, the hard way (is there any other way?), is that some requests can be accommodated inexpensively, others cannot. Too often, we’ve tried to fulfill seemingly small customization requests for free to the peril of our sanity and bottom line.
“… we want the mold you purchase to be a dream-come-true money-making tool for you.”
If you are considering honoring our efforts with a mold purchase, we want the mold you purchase to be a dream-come-true money-making tool for you. Please take the time to read the information provided on this site, the pages referenced here and in the header and footers of every page on the website, and email or call us with your questions. Take time to understand completely the difference between the Universal Molds and the Production Molds with their matching Trim Jigs. Understand the options. Know what you are buying ahead of time, and what can and cannot be changed. If you have any questions about whether a mold can serve your particular holster needs, please call us before ordering.