• Red Nichols, Holstorian

Post 55: Beauty and the beast

Updated: Jun 13

It turns out that there is a sting in the tail for the consumer, in Neale Perkins' switch to his polymer SST (Safariland Sight Track), and in his choice of polymer 'pleather' for the original Kydex laminates. And that sting, was disintegration.

A friend of mine once wrote an article -- got it published, too -- that claimed that Safariland holsters would last forever. No, not when the failings of the polymers that NP chose for the SST reared their ugly heads; as well as the failures of the polymer outer layer of his Kydex holsters that was called Porvair. Which explains why Safariland dumped both features and 'moved on'! Now neither are used in Safariland products. No evidence of a recall, though, on their website.

An as-new SST holster from Safariland shows it as a handsome 'profile extrusion'. This is done by squeezing the hot polymer through a steel die, like toothpaste from a tube, into a lone water bath. Takes a bit of adjusting of the machines until the profile arrives at the other end in a profile that matches the drawing; but they get there:

But, now a disintegrated SST in a holster from Safariland; it's in my collection:

Below is a completely replaced SST, using leather inside a Safariland, post-disintegration (I have internal pics as well):

The design also added a second weakness over traditional, folded holsters by having two stitched seams fore and aft, and the company resolved that by folding at the rearward seam. Eventually. Clever:

NP then switched over to a Kydex and leather laminate. That didn't last long because the veg leather they started with simply won't tolerate being both wet and hot; to quote Sheldon Cooper, "What IS physics?". Wet veg leather shrinks terribly. But it's not a problem for the chrome tanned leather of the lining which doesn't actually absorb water and heat doesn't shrink it in such a short period. And it doesn't seem they were able to switch to a chrome tannage for the exterior; or at least I've not ever seen one. This one is a Rogers effort:

So someone there had the clever idea of switching from leather for the outside, to a poromeric (a porous synthetic) called Porvair. They fooled me, too, into following their lead on my polymer product called NichoLaminate. At first. This one's handsome until you notice the cracks in the outer layer, in various spots; such as the strap:

But this stuff simply falls apart over the years! It's not caused by uv because I had examples of Porvair in direct sunlight on my rooftop in Southern California for a period of years without degradation; but a sample in my closet came apart over several years' time. Thank goodness Porvair was discontinued altogether by the turn of the century!

So some examples of what happens to Kydex holsters from Safariland that the company clad in Porvair:

This break even has extended to the thinner layer of Kydex underneath it. Kydex does NOT like to be cold-bent and will break:

Clever chaps, though; Safariland simply stopped cladding them altogether and convinced their now-captive market, the LEO departments of America, that bare Kydex was better. Darned right it was better -- for Safariland, that is. Going 'bare' then saved it the cost of the Porvair, saved the cost of laminating that second side, saved all the sewing of the edges that was necessitated by the triple-laminate, saved all the returned goods. Almost as big an accomplishment as Rogers persuading LEO agencies to draw their pistols out of the holster BACKWARDS (the 070):

And now I've learned that Safariland-the-Subsidiary has dumped the Kydex altogether -- turns out all the stories of these holsters collapsing in hot cars were always true; the company even has a warning against doing what they have always said would not affect their holsters -- and instead is injection-molding them of a so-called 'soft' nylon. But all nylon polymers are 'soft' in terms of abrasion! They made the switch to eliminate having to attach a thin split suede to line their so-called holsters -- and to create a barrier to entry for competitors with expensive molds. Rogers' patent is long expired, why keep laying out the money? For customers?

Below, even the thin Kydex is shattered at the edges; happens when the Kydex is not hot when stitched:


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