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Do Gun Belts Actually Make a Difference?

It might be tempting to use a "regular" belt to carry a handgun as long as it holds everything in place. However, due to the gun and holster's weight, normal belts often than not tend to sag, leaving you uncomfortable and at risk of revealing your concealed weapon. So, do gun belts actually make a difference?

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Gun belts can actually make a huge difference as they’re designed to support the holster in a fixed position, thus allowing you to draw and reposition the handgun with relative ease while aiding in retention. Gun belts have great vertical strength, which helps distribute weight evenly, ensuring the belt doesn’t sag.

Are you looking to learn more about gun belts? Read on as we discuss the importance of gun belts while also examining some of the best products around.

Gun Belt vs. Normal Belt: Which One Should I Use?

The main difference between normal belts and gun belts is usually strength and stability. Regular belts are meant to hold your pants in place, allowing you to move around comfortably without having to lift your pants regularly.

Although gun belts also hold your pants in place, their primary purpose is to maintain your holster and gun in their respective positions. As a result, gun belts tend to be stiffer, stronger, and more versatile compared to normal belts.

While you can use a regular belt for outside the waistband (OWB) carry, doing so isn’t advisable even when carrying the lightest handgun. Regular belts will give in to the combined weight of your gun and holster by sagging, consequently revealing your concealed weapon.

Using a gun belt for EDC not only enhances your comfort but also increases your ability to respond when needed. This is because a gun belt will hold your gun in a single position throughout the day, allowing you to have confidence your firearm will be where it is supposed to be when needed.  

What to Look for in a Gun Belt

Stiffness

The whole idea of using a gun belt for EDC is to distribute your gear in a way that is comfortable and easy to access. But without the stiffness of a quality gun belt, it will be impossible to move around without lifting your holster and belt every now and then. There’s no need for a holster to sag.

The best gun belts are designed to be stiff, keeping everything in place and preventing the unsightly (and annoying) sag. 

You’ll find that most gun belts are made from quality and adequately stiffened material to accommodate the weight of the handgun, holster, and other EDC items.

Material

Most gun belts are made from nylon or leather material. While leather gun belts are often adequate, they don’t seem to be quite as popular as highly rigid nylon belts. However, traditional leather belts work well for concealed EDC, especially in office setups.

Nylon gun belts are usually more rigid, which allows you to distribute even more weight/gear, but you do so while giving up the look of traditional leather.

Width

Width is something that is subjective and varies from user to user. Sizes in the 1.5″ to 2.0″ range are the most popular by far. One thing to keep in mind is that the width of your belt and your holster needs to match up.

In other words, holsters are typically made to accommodate certain sizes of belts, so be aware of that when making your purchases.

Size

Of course, you’ll need to be extra careful when buying gun belts online. This is because you won’t be able to try out different sizes from online stores. A good return policy always helps.

However, the trick is to take your waist measurements and add around 3-4 inches to accommodate your gun (and other weapons) holsters. This is especially true if you carry inside the waistband.

Hardware

A gun belt made from quality material but with low-quality hardware won’t do you much good. Try your best to steer clear of soft metal buckles as they tend to break easily after repeated use. Instead, go for reinforced buckles that can stand up to additional stress.

The type of buckle you choose should depend on personal preference. Most nylon belts tend to come with quick-release buckles. Leather gun belts, on the other hand, mostly make use of the standard style buckle. Whichever option(s) you prefer, be sure to check the strength and quality of the materials used.  

Stitching

Although a belt with limited stitching might work just fine, selecting a double stitched gun belt is preferred. This is because strong stitches usually make for tough, long-lasting belts. So check on the stitching to confirm whether it’s uniform and with any loose frays.

Internal Belt Stiffener

The most durable gun belts usually contain internal stiffeners (especially leather), which help to reinforce the belt’s vertical and horizontal strength. This feature is crucial since vertical strength ensures the holster and handgun are well supported and kept in place regardless of the physical activity you find yourself in.

Importance of Wearing a Quality Gun Belt

  • Gun belts allow for a fast draw: Gun belts help to keep guns stable and secure. These belts are usually thicker than everyday belts, which prevents sagging due to gun weight. Having the gun positioned firmly and in a constant position allows for fast drawing, especially in emergencies.
  • Gun belts are durable: Gun belts are designed with hard-use in mind. To last long enough and accommodate gun and holster weight, these belts are usually made from high-quality nylon and leather materials.
  • Gun belts are versatile and allow for comfortable carry: Carrying a gun all day can prove to be very uncomfortable, especially when using a “regular” belt. But with a quality gun belt, you can comfortably carry your gun without having to lift your belt, pants, or holster all day long.
  • Gun belts don’t stretch: Gun belts are designed to be firm and stiff and typically aren’t designed in a way that allows the materials to stretch. This gives you consistency and durability over the long haul.

Top EDC Gun Belts

The Ultimate Steel Core Gun Belt

This belt is made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty, a true indication of its unquestionable durability. The Ultimate Steel Core Gun Belt is perfect for OWB and IWB holsters, flashlights, mag pouches, and other gear.  

This belt is made from genuine, high-quality leather and stylish enough for everyday use, especially for concealed carry. It measures 1.5 inches and is strong enough to keep your gun in place all day, every day.

Pros

  • Comes in eight different sizes
  • Made from genuine leather
  • Firmly stitched for enhanced durability
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • Ideal for both IWB and OWB carry

Cons

  • Costly compared to most leather gun belts

5.11 Men’s Tactical Ultra Durable Operator

This durable gun belt is meant for nylon lovers. The 5.11 Men’s Tactical Ultra Durable Operator features one of the toughest buckles in the market. The reinforced stainless steel buckle, together with the ultra-strong and durable nylon mesh, allow your belt to hold the weight of your gun, holster, and other accessories.

Another great feature that makes this nylon belt stand out is its versatility. Depending on the situation you’re dealing with, this belt can easily convert to a carry strap, emergency harness, or a tie-down. For a perfect fit, the manufacturing company advises ordering one size up from your normal pant size. But the good news is that this belt is available in seven different sizes.

Pros

  • Versatile as it can be used as an emergency harness, carry strap or tie-down
  • Made from ultra-strong nylon material that’s heavily stitched
  • Strong stainless steel buckle that comes in a matte finish
  • Fade, rip, and stretch resistant, making it very durable

Cons

  • Not at all ideal for dress wear, but can work well with casual clothing.

Saddleback Leather Old Bull Leather Belt

This heavy-duty belt is 1/4″ thick, 1.5″ wide, and made from “Heavy Steer” hides. The leather was vegetable-tanned and allowed to soak up the tannins for 6 to 8 weeks which makes it stronger and last longer. The hardware is made of 316 Stainless Steel and is rated well over 750 lbs.

While not a traditional “gun belt”, I can personally say that this belt can handle the task. The quality of leather and the 1/4″ thickness gives it the vertical and horizontal rigidity to perform. It is easily strong enough for OWB and AIWB tasks.

According to Saddleback, all belts on the market only have 5 holes that are 1″ apart and start 4″ from the tip so it looks cleaner to people looking at your groin area. But they shouldn’t do that.

They designed this belt with 9 holes that are 3/4″ apart so it can adjust comfortably. It’ll never be slightly too loose or too tight before or after meals. And the holes start 2″ from the tip just in case you need to use your leather belt to strap down something to the roof rack of your rig. 

Pros

  • Thick and comfortable
  • Made from high-quality 100% vegetable tanned leather
  • Ideal various carry duties
  • Comes with a satisfaction guarantee
  • Fitted with a long-lasting, heavy-duty buckle

Cons

  • Might prove a bit uncomfortable at first, but breaks in quickly

Wolf Tactical Nylon Heavy Duty for Concealed Carry

Manufactured by Wolf Tactical, this gun belt is a bargain for the price. The stiffened 2-ply high-quality nylon webbing supports both OWB and IWB holsters without sagging or rolling over.

Another feature that makes the Wolf Tactical Nylon Heavy Duty for Concealed Carry stand out is its quick-release buckle. The buckle design allows for instant detach and attach capability, making it possible to put on or remove the belt with ease.

The use of heavy-duty materials in manufacture ensures the gun belt lasts long enough. The double-layer, high-quality nylon webbing guarantees comfort and rigidity during use. This belt doesn’t contain holes as the buckle is designed to clip in and custom fit to suit the accessories you are carrying.

I may get flamed for this one, but again, if you are on a budget you won’t go wrong. I own American Made belts very similar to this one from a variety of well-known companies.

They are all excellent and I will continue using them. However, if you don’t have the money to spend no a premium belt such as this, $30 will get you a long way.

Pros

  • Comes with a double layer, quality nylon webbing that enhances comfort and usability
  • Doesn’t have holes, thus allowing for a custom fit by clipping the buckle at any point
  • Quick-release buckle for ease of wearing and removal

Cons

  • Might fail to fit plus-sized people

Kore Reinforced Tactical Belt

Instead of using belt holes, this Kore gun belt makes use of a hidden track with over 40 sizing points, consequently allowing users to adjust ¼ an inch at a time. This feature ensures you get the best fit possible for EDC.

The Kore Reinforced Tactical Belt is made from nylon webbing and reinforced with a super fiber lining. This makes the belt strong and stiff enough to support medium and heavyweight holsters.

I’ve quickly grown to use this belt on a regular basis. I have no hesitation recommending it a solid option for EDC and CCW use.

 Pros

  • Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee if the product fails to meet expectations
  • Reinforced with an inner fiber lining, which enhances durability and stiffness during use
  • Can fit different waist sizes (24 inches-54 inches)
  • Made from high-quality, durable nylon

Cons

  • Costlier than other options

Nexbelt Gun Belts

Made from 100% nylon, it’s difficult to go wrong with this product if a tactical belt is what you’re after. The granite black, strong buckle is powder-coated for enhanced wear resistance.

But the standout feature with this belt is the use of steel set screws in construction as opposed to pins. The two set-screws in the clasp give the buckle a stronger grip, thus ensuring the belt doesn’t slip or loosen in grip after wear.

The nylon straps are carefully made from high-density microfiber substances, which ensures the belt is stiff enough to contain the weight of your gun, knives, and other accessories.

Pros

  • Blends perfectly with casual wear
  • Ideal for both IWB and OWB carry
  • Strong buckle that holds firmly
  • Made from high-quality material
  • Stiff and robust enough to accommodate heavy handguns

Cons

  • Some larger users have brought up issues with the fit

FAQs About Gun Belts

Do Gun Belts Make a Difference?

Yes, gun belts, if well selected, can make all the difference in the world. These belts come in handy by keeping your firearm in a constant and secure position.

Not only are gun belts comfortable, but they also help to anchor your gun, knife, or magazines in the same position, thus making it easy to access them when the need arises.

Can I Use a Regular Belt as an Alternative to a Gun Belt?

While using a regular belt as an alternative to a gun belt can get the job done, doing so isn’t advised. This is because regular belts aren’t strong enough to hold guns and holsters in position without sagging. Therefore, if you plan to conceal carry a gun, it’s best to stick to an actual gun belt.

When you choose to buy a gun belt, be sure to check on the material used. Leather is an excellent option for concealed EDC, especially since it easily blends with official clothing.

However, if that’s not as much of an issue, using nylon gun belts is ideal. Either way, both types of gun belts will work, provided you select the right size.

What Is the Ideal Thickness of a Gun Belt?

Generally, the size of your gun belt should depend on the gun you intend to carry. An extremely slim gun belt might fail to hold the holster and gun in position, therefore reducing comfort, concealability, and access. 

On the other hand, an extremely thick gun belt will increase the overall rigidity and possibly the comfort level as well. So it’s best to do a little research and find a belt that will suit you and what you carry.

What Are the Features of a Good Gun Belt?

The best gun belt should be thick enough to hold a holster and gun in a fixed and constant position. Leather gun belts are often preferred for EDC due to their compatibility with day to day clothes.

A good gun belt should also be well stitched in order to last long enough without the worry of materials breaking down.

Wrapping Up

Gun belts are important accessories for IWB, OWB, and overall EDC. These belts are usually built from high-quality leather or nylon materials to ensure they’re strong and solid enough to accommodate the weight of your gun and holsters.

Using department store belts to carry guns isn’t advisable, mainly because they aren’t strong enough to handle your gun’s weight and the holsters you might attach. 

Please remember to pick a slightly larger (3-4 inches) belt to ensure it fits snugly after attaching a holster and other relevant accessories.

Don’t forget, if you are looking for a quality belt you will be probably being looking at the rest of your wardrobe before long. Be sure to check out our article on How to Buy Pants or Jeans for Concealed Carry as a perfect follow-up.

Stay safe, be dangerous!

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