The featured photo shows a Blade-Tech Nylon Ultimate Carry Belt with a GLOCK 19 in a Blade-Tech Klipt Holster and a GL 9/40 in a Blade-Tech Total Eclipse Mag Pouch.
One of the most overlooked parts of gearing up for concealed carry is your belt choice. Far too often I see people using low quality belts that they picked up off the clearance rack. Rarely is a department store belt sufficient for supporting your firearm and it will lead to your gun sagging and your belt drooping. Grabbing a proper belt that is meant for carrying a firearm is important for a host of reasons, but most importantly it’s going to keep that firearm exactly where you want it.
Choosing the Right Gun Belt
Full stop – if you’re thinking you can get away with a "heavy-duty" work belt, think again. Work belts aren’t meant to carry a gun. Belts for carrying a firearm need to be reinforced with steel or some sort of polymer. While a work belt may be thick they often lack the internal support that keeps the belt completely straight. When it comes to concealed carry, belt thickness is something to consider however it doesn’t have to be the only consideration. Many belts designed for concealed carry can have polymer liners that allow the belts to look like a normal belt which can be much easier to work into your wardrobe.
When you begin your journey of finding the right belt you’ll find two common options. Leather and nylon. You’ll find people comparing the two, often claiming that one is better than the other. In the end the craftsmanship of the belt is going to make a bigger difference than whether the belt is made of leather or nylon. Additionally, you'll have to consider what your wardrobe will allow for or if your job has certain requirements for dress. For someone who has to wear business attire, a nylon belt is a non-starter. If you work on a construction site a leather belt might get scratched and worn more easily than a nylon belt.
There’s no way around in. Leather is always classic and it goes well with most outfits. If leather is the way you want to go you will want to find a belt that has a steel or polymer lining and pay close attention to the thickness of the belt. You’ll see double-layer belts as well as single layer belts. What kind of firearm you're carrying can help you decide how thick of a belt you need. If you’re carrying something like a GLOCK 43, you can certainly get away with a thinner leather belt that is reinforced. If you’re the type who likes to carry a big hunk of steel like a Colt 1911, you’re going to want to find a double layer leather belt. As with nylon belts, stitching is going to be important as well. Check the stitching of your belt every once in awhile to make sure it isn’t fraying. Lastly, with leather belts you’re going to want to be a bit more careful with the kind of conditions you expose the belt to. Leather can crack more easily if not properly maintained.
Nylon belts usually come in two different variations. You’ll find belts made of two pieces of nylon webbing that are sewn together or you’ll see nylon belts with polymer lining. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The layered nylon web offer some strong rigidity and as long as they are sewn correctly they will offer some bomb proof reliability. Flipside of that is you’re now dealing with a belt that sort of feels like two belts sewn together. That may or may not bother you– however you can run with a single layer nylon belt that has a structural core made of polymer or steel. When running a nylon belt make sure you inspect it every once in awhile and watch for the stitching busting loose or fraying.
Yes– hardware is going to make a big difference when selecting a belt. Leather belts should have at least half a dozen holes to accommodate for the days you carry a larger or smaller firearm. You may also find yourself in a situation where you need to remove your firearm and you can’t change belts. The same can be said for nylon belts, which usually adjust without holes and use velcro instead. You’ll want your nylon belt to have a significant length of velcro in order for you to adjust the length.
This is the heavy-duty ratcheting system of a Blade-Tech Ultimate Carry Belt, which adjusts in quarter inch increments, boasts ultra-strong reinforced polymer teeth and yields an amazing 1,300 lb. tensile strength rating.
A newer trend that is worth mentioning is ratcheting style belts. Usually these belts are ordered in a one size fits all length and then you cut them down to the appropriate length. These belts usually have teeth and the buckle has a small prong that engages those teeth. The advantage here is having nearly infinite adjustments in ¼ inch increments. This guarantees proper fitment regardless of what you’re wearing or the firearm you’re carrying.
Lastly, make sure to pick a belt that has a buckle that works for you. Usually a solid metal buckle is going to be your best bet for longevity.
Don’t cheap out on a belt. It’s your responsibility to keep your firearm on your person and the belt is going to be integral in assuring that it stays in place. Belts can make or break your experience concealed carrying a firearm, and if you aren’t comfortable then you may be less inclined to carry your firearm.