Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fobus Paddle Holsters

A while back I got an email from DoubleTapper asking me if I'd like to do some reviews of Fobus holsters, and if so, which holsters would I like to review.  I suggested something for a GLOCK 17, or perhaps a concealed carry holster for a Ruger SR9C. A week or so later I got a package from Israel with two holsters, one for each gun. The holsters they sent aren't exactly concealed carry models. They sent the basic plain vanilla paddle holsters. I had requested left handed versions, and that's what they sent.
Must not be a lot of Lefties at Fobus?

There are a lot of ways to make holsters. Of the plastic paddle holster variety, there are two fairly common methods. One method involves heating a sheet of plastic such as Kydex until it's pliable, then wrapping and forming it around a pattern that's the shape of the gun you want to holster to fit. When it's wrapped all the way around the pattern, you let it cool, and it retains it's shape. A few screws or rivets are put in along the side, a paddle or belt loop arrangement is attached, and after a bit of trimming to remove the excess plastic, your holster is ready to go. The tooling cost is fairly low, and making models to fit different guns primarily requires just a different pattern.

A much more expensive method is injection molding. With injection molding a large die must be machined from metal, with an inside cavity exactly the shape of the holster you want to produce. The cost of these dies can be very expensive. With injection molding, a lot more fine detail can be incorporated into the design. Once the die is made, liquid plastic under high pressure is injected into the die. A high capacity injection molding machine is also a very expensive piece of equipment. Even though it is a much more expensive process to buy the injection molding machine and make the die, you can produce much more complicated and very accurate parts, and do it fairly quickly. For injection molding to make sense, you must produce a lot of parts to make it pay, or in this case, a lot of holsters. Fobus does just that, build a lot of holsters!

Fobus uses injection molding to manufacture their holsters, and the accuracy and detail when compared to a Kydex holster is easily seen when you look at them side by side. Even though they are using a much more expensive process to get set up, with high production volumes, Fobus is able to keep their prices very reasonable.

I went to their website and had a look around. Sure, they make a ton of different models. However, they also make a lot of different lines and versions for the same guns. Want a plain Jane inexpensive but durable holster? They've got it. Want something a little more deluxe with some adjustments? Yep, they've got that too. They also have a lifetime "No Questions Asked" warranty.

Here's what Fobus says about their basic holsters:
Developed in Israel for the world's military and special security services, the combat-proven Fobus Standard Holster series is a revolutionary step forward in holster design and technology. State of the art design, injection molding and space age high-density plastics are combined to create a holster which cannot be duplicated in leather or any other material. Fobus holsters are high riding, and low profile with unbelievable retention, comfort and lightweight construction. Holsters weigh a mere 2 ounces, and are maintenance free.
Sure, there are a lot of different holsters out there, and even a lot of different paddle holsters, but I would sure put Fobus up near the top of the list if I was looking for a well made and well backed plastic holster. 


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