Wear a Gun Belt for improved comfort and security
A good gun belt can really improve your ability to conceal carry. One thing that I see over and over at the shows, is people trying to find a holster (especially an OWB or “Outside the Waistband” holster) that they can just “clip on” and use, because they don’t like to wear a belt. I have to tell them that I don’t have a good concealment holster that does that, and the IWB’s (or “Inside the Waistband”) that are clipped work better with a belt on, preferably a strong one.
Guns have Mass
Why is this? Well, it’s not too hard to figure out. Guns have a good amount of mass and weight, even the smaller ones. The more mass and weight you hang on your pants, the more problematic they are going to be to control. A good belt such as a reinforced gun belt or a thick leather belt not only helps to distribute that mass and weight around a bit more, but it helps to prevent unwanted movement, both of the holster and weapon, and of of the pants.
Types of Gun Belts
Belts that are suitable for holster work tend to fit into one of three broad categories. Duty Belts such as what you see police working with. “Reinforced belts” that are multiple layers of thin leather with materials inserted into them such as kydex or steel. Thick leather belts that rely on their overall thickness of material to provide the necessary support.
Duty Belts are usually not something that the average person will be getting. They tend to be wider than usual (up to 2″ or more, and a lot of them are expensive. And, of course, their appearance can be a bit obvious even to an untrained observer.
Many people end up with various types of reinforced belts. For this example, a reinforced belt typically is two pieces of thin leather with a metal or kydex “stiffener” between them. There are many examples of various reinforced belts out there. Most tend to be on the pricier side of the market.
Thick Leather Belts
I sell this type of gun belt at the gun shows. With a well constructed thick leather belt, you have one solid piece of leather. Any sewing on them is strictly for show.
The Pinch Test
Take a belt in your hand. Place your thumb and index finger on the top edge and bottom edge of the belt, and try to push them together. If you can do this easily, this probably won’t make a good holster belt for you. If you can’t push them together easily, you probably will do OK.
Be sure to apply the “squeeze test” liberally. My experience has been that most belts are more about fashion appeal than practical use. Many of them are just not strong enough to actually help out in this situation.
All three of the belt types discussed should pass the pinch test with flying colors. The thick leather belts that I sell at the gun shows pass this test with ease.
Modern Dress Belts
I’ve had the opportunity to dissect a good number of “trashed belts” left behind after people bought one of my belts. The shoddy construction of some of these is hard to believe. My least-favorite so far was a Levi Strauss belt. It was cardboard at the core, wrapped in what appeared to be cheesecloth, and then some sort of “leather-like” substance was sprayed on it to give the appearance of leather. When it had failed, I could literally rub the material off of it.
Bear in mind, that these tips at most helpful when you are carrying waistline or below. IWB (Inside the waist), OWB (outside the waist), pocket holster (Yeah, it helps a little), and even ankle holster (keeps your pants in the right place). If you are carrying above the waist, such as a belly band, Packin’ Tee t-shirt, or a shoulder holster, then a strong belt system isn’t important for your carry ability, although it’s still not a bad idea in general.