If you’re new to concealed carry and hitting up the internet to find out more about equipment and training, you’ve likely run across quite a few discussions about gun belts. It’s true, there are definitely some advantages to wearing a gun belt versus a regular belt of thinner material. A gun and holster can put an additional 2 to 3 pounds on your waistline when worn in either an inside the waistband or outside the waistband holster configuration. This puts a lot of strain on belts that are not really designed to do anything else but keep your pants up.
But is it really worth spending some extra money to get a gun belt? We’ll discuss the pros and cons of precisely that.
The first step to finding a gun belt that will work for you is knowing how you wear your gun.
If you wear a chest or ankle holster, a gun belt won’t provide you with any better degree of preparedness or comfort. However, if you wear your gun on your waistline, there are several options that may support your lower back, keep your gun aligned straight to your waist and keep your waistline symmetrical.
Here’s the main issue with non-CCW gun belts:
- Gun sag
When there’s an additional 2-3 pounds on one side of your waistline, it tends to drag that side down. This can result in getting spotted more easily and added discomfort when wearing the gun for extended periods of time.
Belts that aren’t designed to be load bearing will warp and stretch when a gun and holster are attached to them. It may not happen immediately, but gradually you’ll notice that the side of your belt that holds your gun begins to stretch. This inevitably destroys the integrity of the belt and makes it less comfortable to wear.
If you’ve ever put on a few pounds or subsequently dropped a few, you’ll likely notice your belt has lines on it from where you had to either extend or contract your belt in its buckle. Non-CCW gun belts already warp and deteriorate quickly over time but many of them have buckles that only round up or down to the nearest inch. Adding a gun with a gun belt into the mix, you may find your traditional belt doesn’t fasten properly.
Here Are Some Things To Look For In A Gun Belt
When shopping around for a gun belt, you will run into some extremely thick, ornate, and durable products. Leather is definitely good but even the thickest leather will deform and warp with time. Check out a gun belt that has a reinforcing strap between two layers of leather. This will help keep the belt aligned and reduce warping inward or outward.
Another thing to pay attention to is the buckle. Buckles that have notches for half inch or quarter inch marks allow you to selectively tighten and loosen to a more comfortable, snug fit. This means you’ll spend less time pulling up your pants and more time walking around comfortably.
Lastly, always make sure your gun belt is able to hold its own weight. You can test this by holding it by the buckle and lifting it up in front of you so it is parallel to the ground. If the belt stays roughly straight and doesn’t sag under its own weight, that’s a pretty good indicator that the belt will do just fine when it’s on your waistline.