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Gun Belts? Are they really needed?

Discussion in 'Self Defense and Handgun Carry' started by druryj, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. druryj

    druryj Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The short answer is yes. The long answer is it depends on what particular gun you’re carrying and how you carry it. A gun belt is purposely built to be rigid, in order to be able to hold and support the weight of your pistol , spare magazine(s), perhaps a knife and/or a hand held light. Of particular importance is that the belt be sturdy enough to allow the butt of the pistol to be tucked in close to the body. That’s the part that is most likely to print.

    A stiff, rigid belt is most important if you carry a large heavy pistol, such as a Govt Model 1911 or a Sig P 226, OWB. If your belt is a piece of crap, all floppy and flimsy, the butt of that pistol is gonna be floppin’ around against your body as you move. You’ll find yourself tugging at your waistband trying to keep the darn big old heavy pistol concealed, but it’s an uncomfortable and losing battle.

    Now if your carry gun is a little LCP, an Airweight, J -Frame ,or similar sized mini-pistol, and you are going to carry IWB, then your belt is not as critical. Any old belt will be okay IWB with a small, Lightweight little gun. Not perfect, not ideal, but okay.

    Ride height also figures into the belt equation. The higher you carry a pistol, the more rigid your belt needs to be. Conversely, a low riding holster doesn’t need the same level of stiffness and rigidity. In general, stiffness is a good thing, but some of ya’ll either forgot that, or don’t care anymore anyway...

    Back to belts: what kind do you need? I say you need at least two. I like a Velcro fastening/attaching nylon one and a sturdy leather belt from a quality maker. The Wilderness 5-Stitch is my choice in good nylon belts that use a Velcro style fastening thingee, and a double thick leather belt from Kramer leather is my heavy duty gun belt. The Wilderness is a no-BS quality nylon belt. I like the infinite adjustments I can make with it. I can easily carry most any pistol quite comfortably with it, either IWB or OWB. But if I’m going to be carrying a metal, double stack, big heavy pistol for an extended period of time, like my Sig, I’ll use the Kramer leather belt.

    Many people have no problem spending big money on a nice, quality, expensive carry gun (or 2 or. Or 15), then strap it on in a cheap Walmart holster riding on their cheap Dept store belt. They blame the holster most often, and while it may be a piece of excrement, it’s the flimsy belt at the root of their problems.

    Carry both confidently and comfortably, invest in a good belt, preferably a couple if you can, and realize the pleasant ease with which you now tote your gat.

    I know that there are many experts here in OSA who will scoff at my premises, but I know of what I speak. Scoff away then, ye befouled Scofflaws. I await.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    dlmcm, Tanis143, xseler and 2 others like this.
  2. p238shooter

    p238shooter Sharpshooter

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    High quality heavy leather belt for my IWB 1911 for me daily. I purchased at Wanenmacher's several years ago, think it was about $40, thought it was expensive back then, nope. Still looks new after wearing daily. Holds my 1911 and my pants where I want them. My old regular everyday belts are hanging in the closet, do not even get close. Works for me.
     
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  3. Glock 'em down

    Glock 'em down Sharpshooter

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    I'm a Wilderness guy 99% of the time. I own two; a black one for duty wear and a coyote tan one for off duty. They both are 1.75 inch wide and feature the C.S.M. insert. Stiff as a board. When you're a fatboy like myself, you need all the help you can get. Because as was mentioned about the butt of the pistol flopping around, it's even worse if'n you got a big ol' spare tire around your middle.

    The 1% that I mentioned earlier is the very rare occasion that I hafta dress up. You know, in case somebody kicks or gets hitched, but even then I usually wear jeans and a Wilderness belt. The "dress" belt is my good ol' Looper leather kydex belt that I've owned for about 10 years. It still looks great and performs as good as it did when I bought it new.

    The reason I'm not a huge fan of leather belts is because of holster creak. If you wear a leather OWB holster, such as a pancake or Avenger style, with a leather belt, the two leathers will rub together and make a creaking sound like a saddle. They say this will go away over time as the belt and the holster's loops break in and mesh together as one, but obviously, I don't keep a holster long enough for this to happen. :rolleyes2

    But yeah, I'm a big supporter of gun belts. They are just as important and vital as a good quality holster and mag pouch. Uhh...you DO carry a spare magazine, don't you? :ugh2:
     
  4. Tanis143

    Tanis143 Sharpshooter

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    As someone new to carrying, I made the mistake of using my old belt for the first two weeks. I carry a mid sized gun, but I was really feeling the dig when I would OWB carry. I bought an inexpensive double nylon reinforced belt and it has made a world of difference. Not only that, but drawing from the holster actually happens instead of the holster moving up 6 inches before my firearm comes out.
     
  5. druryj

    druryj Super Moderator Staff Member

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    @Glock 'em down, sometimes, a little baby powder or cornstarch applied to the leather on the holster's attachment points (loops or slots), and on the belt where the holster rides and then rubbed in with your fingers will stop that holster creak. Of course you know not to ever use anything to soften the leather, right? Liker saddle soap or mink oil...a little Renaissance Wax will also help stop that creaking sound. You could probably use plain old Johnson's Paste Wax too but the RW works well and will help preserve the leather. I use it on all my leather goods.

    And yes, of course I carry a spare magazine.
     
  6. OKNewshawk

    OKNewshawk Sharpshooter

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    I haven't carried a pistol out in public yet, but I carry a radio that's about the same weight as a subcompact 9mm pistol as part of my EDC at Walmart. I decided after about a year of doing that with a store brand belt that I needed to upgrade to something better. I didn't want to spend over $100 for a bet, though. I found a great compromise with Kore Essentials' Trakline Gun Belts. They use a plastic insert instead of a steel one but that means the belt can be easily sized with a good pair of scissors. The original belt I bought was rated for a four pound weight. I can't find a weight rating for the replacement belt I just received but it should be about the same if not a bit more as it seems sturdier than the original--so much so that they redesigned the buckle to ensure secure attachment. The best part is that they cost only about $60, with replacement belts at about $30 and additional/replacement buckles costing the same.

    The best part of the Trakline belts for me is the ratchet adjustment system. It gives a 1/4 in. adjustment vice the usual 1 in. adjustment for belts that use traditional buckles and avoids the slippage that comes with infinitely-adjustable web belts with the tension slide. BTW, Kore makes webbed gun belts with the Trakline system. They have five styles of buckles and at least two of them look similar to the traditional military style web belt buckles. I have a leather belt now but plan to buy a web belt soon.
     
  7. Oklahomabassin

    Oklahomabassin Sharpshooter

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    I shot a belt fed gun a couple weeks ago. I think that is necessary at least once a year.
     
  8. AKguy1985

    AKguy1985 Sharpshooter

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    I bought a magpul "El Burro" gun belt recently and am in the process of trying it out.
     
  9. LBnM

    LBnM Sharpshooter

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    Agree on almost anything above but one of the things I dislike about gun belts is the fact they advertise you are carrying whether the gun prints or not. For a big heavy gun my old Looper kydex reinforced is still my favorite, although it is beginning to wear out. It's a dressy black basket weave but with a coat and slacks it just looks like a gun belt. I have been using a Hank's deputy which is not quite as bad but for normal daily jeans or shorts wear I still prefer my old GI fatigue belt. It certainly won't handle a heavy gun but for my normal carry subcompact 9mm IWB it works just fine. The only thing heavy about that gun is the 13rds of ammo it carries. With a heavier metal gun I still need suspenders much of the time with my Looper due to a butt deficiency. Many times I'll wear them under my shirt to keep my pants up.
     
  10. Glock 'em down

    Glock 'em down Sharpshooter

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    Hey, don't feel bad. I wear a pair of Perry suspenders every day.

    There are two kinds of fat boys out there. One's that wear suspenders...and one's that should. :thumb:
     

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