What’s Holding Your Pants Up? A Tale of 3 Gun Belts
“Nothing’s as good as it used to be”. While this might not be entirely true, it seems that way with leather belts. As a youngster growing up, leather was the only way to go for most things, and anything else got the side eye. The leather belts then seemed a half inch thick and buckles had their own sort of cult status. Your belt was also an excellent strop to keep a razor edge on your knife, using the inside of the belt.
Maybe you don’t know this secret, so here we go- with your leather belt, you need to take your shoes and socks off. Use the big toe of your strong foot and push the buckle to the floor, while simultaneously taking up the slack with your support hand. This tension gives you an ideal stropping surface for the knife in the strong hand. Keep the strokes even on either side of the blade, and there you have it.T he important part is to not slice/cut through your belt.
Anyway, I grew up learning this type of stuff out of a need to keep my knives sharp. No one showed me this- it just made sense. Eventually I grew up and wound up in a uniform, and a big part of it was a liner belt and a gun belt, carrying a revolver far older than myself.
Be that as it may, I’ve got no love for leather gun belts, or much of anything leather anymore. In this era stepping “up” to Uncle Mikes nylon was cutting edge. Everything fit better, and a lot of the sagginess went away. It was also in this time frame that a new device was added to the “Bat Belt” on what seemed like a monthly basis.
Fast forward a few years and I got my initial certification as a law enforcement firearms instructor. This experience showed me wonderful things like 5.11 pants and The Wilderness Tactical belts. This kind of stuff changed my world view. If you didn’t know, both of these products were for climbers originally, but someone had a good idea and started shifting the products over to the shooting world. Here’s the important take away so far- Wilderness Tactical belts are amazing, and everybody toting a pistol needs at least one.
For me, the Wilderness Tactical belt is the gold standard. You can get them in 1.5 inch, or 1.75 inch. The smaller is what you want in soft clothes and the wider one for when you’re in uniform. These belts will change the pistol carrying experience.
The Wilderness people have put together video that you need to watch, lest you order incorrectly. If you’re a grown adult that legally carries a firearm, this shouldn’t be difficult. If there’s a video, it means that your fellow cohorts were NOT responsible enough to correctly order a belt.
=I’ve still got my original belt and it will undoubtedly out live me. These belts are made here, and the price is pretty much the same now as when I got my first one, over 20 years ago. How many products can you say that about, currently? Take your time and think it through.
I’ve had the “frequent flyer” type as that used to be a pretty common thing for me, but that one didn’t make me fall in love. All of my Wilderness belts are the “Instructor” type, as that’s what I like the most. Your opinion may differ, and that’s fine, I’d just steer you that way if we knew each other.
I also get the polymer liner every single time, as it just gives a rigidity that keeps everything rock solid. Be advised that there are many copycats, and they are garbage. There’s only 1 that works, and that’s Wilderness. Let’s state right now that none of these companies mentioned give me anything. Take the time to read about the buckle- it’s amazing. They made the product so there’s no point in me echoing them.
The SOE (Special Operations Equipment) 1.5 inch EDC belt, is made in the USA. If you’re a service person you probably already know about them, if not, maybe this is new. Here’s the deal- the Wilderness buckle can really grind against the buckle on a battle belt.
A few years back the Cobra Buckle became a must have item. Yes indeed, they are handy, incredibly strong, and very small in the footprint department. By this time I had enough money to constantly purchase/tinker with stuff- so why not?
These belts are also incredibly rigid and nothing is moving around. You also have to measure correctly, and wait to get the belt. These are handmade, just like Wilderness belts and the military folks come first. They’re a very good company and you won’t be disappointed. I use this type constantly when range duty goes on for months.
They’re a little more time intensive to put on because the buckle does NOT fit through the loops of jeans(or quickly through your 5.11 belt loops). You must disassemble the buckle and feed it through the loops. If metal detectors are part of your daily life, this might not be ideal for you.
Again, if gun belts or battle belts may need to be donned quickly, the Cobra buckle doesn’t grind away nearly as much. The SOE also has a feature that I like a lot- and that’s the racing stripe of Velcro that really draws the buckle down to exactly where you want it. It will NOT come loose until you manually rip it loose at days end.
This brings us to the final belt, made by Nexbelt(green in the photo). This one is last because it’s the minimum for true carry in my opinion. It works just fine if you’re the person carrying a pistol and a spare mag. This doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just not as robust as these other 2, and that’s completely fine.
If you’re toting pistols, you obviously want a Nexbelt from the Gun Belt Series.Some gun stores will sell them, and they’re all over the internet.They’re cheaper than the other 2 mentioned, you won’t have to wait 6 weeks, and YOU get to size the belt, so don’t mess it up.
You get to cut off what you don’t need, and then screw the buckle down over where you cut. Here’s a lesson learned- don’t wear this to a serious tactical class where gear gets severely tested. I did this exactly 1 time, and it wasn’t pleasant. The belt survived and valuable lesson learned. Casual carry- sweet. Heavy duty use? Not so much.
Here’s another virtue for the Nexbelt- the inner plastic race track that allows you to “click in” your exact fit. This is really handy for those long road trips because you can loosen the belt easily and click it back to tight when you reach your destination. This is a blessing when carrying AIWB.
We could bash a lot of other brands here, but why? I’m no one special at all, just a guy who’s really wanting a refund on all of the foolish purchases of decades gone by.Here are 3 gun belts that have served me well, for decades in the case of Wilderness.There are probably a hundred different other belts out there, and maybe you have insights on those as well. If this information helps even one person make a good choice, mission accomplished.
Until Next Time,
Stay Safe, Learn Daily