Whenever the topic of holsters comes up someone always says… “The belt is more important than the holster.”
Um… sort of. The holster is what retains the gun, it is what protects the trigger guard and its design can do a lot to help the belt, but I am getting ahead of myself.
How your belt fails
Bad belts fail in one or more of three different ways…
1) They sag. The weight of the pistol can cause the belt to bow down.
2) They list. The weight of the pistol can twist the belt.
3) They taco. The weight of the pistol actually causes the belt to fold length wise. If your belt is doing this it probably isn’t sufficient to hold up your pants… let alone a pistol.
1 & 2 often happen together and combine to have the gun pull the pants down on one side fall away from the body. This effectively makes the muzzle longer increasing the chance it to pokes out from under your coat or shirt. It makes the gun print more since it is falling away from your body. It increases the felt weight of the pistol because the center of mass is farther from your body. And the swaying increases the chance of it bumping into things and can be annoying.
How do you know when you have a bad belt?
You know you have a bad belt if you need to adjust your pistol back up onto your hip or that you need to cinch it tighter that you would if you weren’t carrying.
What should you look for in a belt?
There are a large number of good belts that are made from either leather or nylon webbing.
Leather belts should be double layered leather and designed for the purpose. Typically they will be 1.25” tall and a 0.25” thick. 1.5” belts are available, but they are often too big for normal pant belt loops. Your reversible black/brown dress belt isn’t going to cut it.
Webbing belts, often called instructor belts, are thinner but are also great choices because they don’t stretch… which is the reason for the thickness of the leather belt. Some companies market 3 or 5 stich models and for the extra $5 get the 5 stich. This serves to add a little more stiffness which is what you are after.
The other big advantage of the webbing belts is that they don’t have discrete adjustments so they can be set to the perfect tension.
How can the holster help the belt?
My favorite concealment holster is the Comp-tac MTAC and while it does benefit from a good belt, its design reduces the importance.
1) It is an inside the waistband (IWB) holster so the waistband of your pants acts as another layer keeping it from rotating away from your body. This eliminates the printing, the swinging and the increased felt weight issues.
2) It uses 2 clips separated by more than a couple of inches. This divides the weight each point on the belt is supporting reducing the chance of sagging or tacoing.
So yes, a good belt is definitely part of a well-designed CCW rig, but the right holster can minimize its importance.
We don’t stock any belts because the well known brands are all so good that there is little performance differentiation. However, I would love to know what your favorite belt is. Post it in the comments below.
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