USA Carry Gun Belt Review

USA Carry Gun Belt Review

When it comes to carrying a handgun, without a doubt a strong, high quality belt makes a major difference. Some even suggest that it is even more important than the holster. I believe that both are certainly important for effectively and safely carrying a handgun, especially concealed. So my goal is to use a high-quality gun belt that provides strong support and security for my handgun and which is comfortable to wear for a long time throughout the day. Also, I prefer the qualities of full grain and top grain leathers and do not want to pay over $80 for the gun belt.

Recently, I had a “leather experience” I want to share with you so you can learn from my mistake. About 3 years ago I purchased a very nice looking “leather” chair for my office from a reputable, national chain store at a very low steal of a price deal. (I forgot you usually get what you pay for and appearance is just one factor to consider.) The first year it looked great and worked well for my routine use and did not have any problems with wear and performance. The second year I started noticing a few slight imperfections began to appear. Well now three years later as I sit in it, the leather on one chair arm and the leather on the seat is deteriorating very badly with small rips. There is a noticeable sag in the seat and support has lessened. I should mention I do not practice cliff diving off the arms of my chair, nor do I stack 50 gallon drums on the seat. Really, below average use. Some parts of the chair were vinyl and not leather at all. This week I will replace it with a full grain or top grain leather chair, but it is going to cost me. Once a rip gets started, you cannot prevent it and the space grows larger, looks bad, and does not give you the required support. I mention this experience because it directly relates to selecting leather for your gun belt. I learned some lessons and have refined my criteria about leather. I want to share them to help you with your gun belt selection.

Basically, there are 4 types of leather. Full Grain is top-quality and one of the best leathers money can buy, comes from the top layer of the hide, lasts a long time, and costs more. It is tanned with high-grade oils and preservatives to keep it from being destroyed by dryness and moisture. Top Grain leather is very good, strong and durable, is usually split from the top layer, then sanded and refinished, and has many strong qualities and features with some of the grain left on the top after grain was sanded off to get rid of the scars and character. It is more reasonably priced for the features, but MAY not age as nicely with use as Full Grain. Genuine Leather comes from the bottom half of the hide, does not have any grain or very minimal, and while it generally looks good and the name sounds great, usually performs at an average (or sometimes below) acceptable level, but it is lower priced and absent certain qualities. Suede is an example of Genuine Leather. Bonded Leather (e.g. my office chair) is pressed or bonded together bits, pieces, shavings, and dust particles of leather glued and pressed together flat. A very low-quality pressed leather with not many durable and natural features. Genuine and Bonded leather is usually spray-painted to look good like Full or Top Grain Leather. The difference between high and low grade leather is like the difference between a Porsche 911 and a Dodge La Femme. Be careful and choose wisely.

So here are my criteria and then my evaluation of the USA Carry gun belt.

MY 10 CRITERIA, worth 10 maximum points each on my scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest value for each criterion. The total possible for all 10 criteria then is 100 points: 

  1. Minimizes Movement of my weapon; enhances stability and gun security;
  2. Quality Workmanship– Excellent Fit and Finish. Looks great and sturdy. Design and construction assists with keeping my handgun close to my body; Double-Stitching (and thick stitches) of two layers of better leather;
  3. Offers superior Support & Stiffness (less sag) of my handgun & Distributes its Weight effectively;
  4. Comfortable– feels good over several hours of wear with just a little “give” flexibility;
  5. Durability– Full Grain or Top Grain leather with strong and resilient leather showing some grain. All Full Grain leather will likely have some minor natural noticeable imperfections with much higher costs. Top Grain leather usually has higher resistance to marks and blemishes than Full Grain leather;
  6. Density & Type of Leather– Cowhide, Bullhide, or Horsehide. The basic difference among cow, bull, and horse hides is their individual density or thickness. I want a thick gun belt for extra support. Cow hide being the least dense, requires that the belt be considerably thicker than the other two for effectiveness, about 1/4″ thick. Cowhide is very durable. Bull hide will closely resemble cow hide when dyed, and GENERALLY does not require as much thickness for the intended purpose and strength. Horse hide is slightly denser than bull hide and is much oilier than either cow or bull hides, and tends to be very shiny when dyed;
  7. Price. A quality gun belt averages in price from $60 to $200 or more. A big spread and many factors above to consider.Generally, I want to pay between $60 and $80 for my gun belt.
  8. Availability– Production & Delivery Time; USA Made; Belt Sizes. Make certain that a 1.5″ belt width is available for more hostler and pants loop options. Will it be custom made and ready for you to use in 1 week or one month or longer? I do not want to wait longer than one week or so to receive my gun belt.
  9. Quality of Buckles, Types, Sizes, and Colors– available screws, hardware, etc. Are brass and chrome, round and square, and big and small buckle options readily available, without extra cost. Are Chicago Screws available for ease of replacement and interchangeable buckles? Is there a  quality appearance of the buckle that adds to the belt?  
  10. Personal Preference. My ideas about appearance, quality, overall effectiveness for my purposes, and will I wear it regularly. Probably, the major criterion & subjective. I must live with it and wear it daily.

These criteria are very personal, subjective, and you must decide what YOU value and what are your priorities. To me the superior support and stiffness for less sag and minimal movement are very important for a gun belt, along with quality workmanship and comfort. So two layers of double-stitched Top or Full Grain leather is mandatory for me.

Custom Made USA Leather Gun Belt with Chicago Screws for a Reasonable Price

Custom Made USA Leather Gun Belt with Chicago Screws for a Reasonable Price

 

Recognizing that many factors and subjective opinions are involved, here is my evaluation of the USA Carry double-stitched, double-layered Gun Belt, after wearing it for a few days:

  1. Minimizes Movement of my weapon (clarification: all belts give some & body build is a factor)– 10.
  2. Quality Workmanship. Excellent Fit and Finish— 10.
  3. Support & Stiffness– extended wear time will be the genuine sag test, but stiff for now– 9.
  4. Comfortable– for only a few days wear- very comfortable– 9.
  5. Durability– Top Grain cowhide leather, but not Full Grain or bullhide– 8.
  6. Density & Type of Leather– Cowhide-1/4″ thick– 9.4-USA Carry Belt ARTICLE-Double
  7. Price— Double-Layered from $64-$79 and Double-Layered-Double Stitched from $74-$89– 10.
  8. Availability– Production & Delivery Time- Received belt within 7 days– 10.
  9. Quality of Buckles and Color Choices– Assortment; Chicago Screws used for switching buckles, appearance of the square buckle is nice & a little dressy for versatile use– 9.
  10. Personal Preference— 9.

Total Score = 93 out of 100 possible. RECOMMEND. An excellent double-layered, American-Made gun belt with double stitching.

This custom-made, handcrafted belt has two pieces of Top Grain leather which are glued and stitched together with strong nylon threads for strength and stability and are approximately one-quarter inch thick. You can select between black or brown leather colors, roller buckle or square buckles, and choose either smooth leather or an embossed pattern.

Visit the USA Carry Store to see their products, options, and to order your gun belt click here. They have several nice items, including my new Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials book.

Conclusion

I hope this review has given you some information and help for selecting your gun belts. Remember, with all belts it is so very important to measure for your belt size based on the particular manufacturer’s guidelines. This varies among manufacturers, so follow their exact steps and measure properly for best fit. Also, I recommend the 7-hole option rather than the 5-hole belt because you have more flexibility for adjustment. Decide up front what YOU want and what are your own criteria, based on your desired features, the belt’s workmanship, type of hide, leather, stiffness, etc. and make your personal tradeoffs based on your use and needs. A very important personal decision that only you can make!

Continued success!

Photos by Author.

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you establish your own criteria based on your personal needs, goals, purpose, and priorities. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2015 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected].

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  • I ride a motorcycle and wear leather. This reminds when my friends sister wanted to go for a ride and I asked if she had a leather jacket. She did, probably genuine leather. Felt almost as light as a shirt. My motorcycle jackets weight around 10lbs. Genuine leather is useless in that context.

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  • Another problem for women. How many of us routinely wear a belt, let alone a sturdy belt?

    • Col Ben

      Hi Suzie. I understand your concern. I have admitted to myself (and so has my wife) that there are times when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable to carry certain guns in certain ways. So there are tradeoffs we must reluctantly make at times. Someone said “Carrying a gun isn’t supposed to be comfortable, it is supposed to be a comfort.” I understand this, but don’t really like it. I want ALL my carry goals to be met in all situations, but is that realistic? I believe this quote is not meant to be a copout, but something to think about and get our brainstorming juices flowing. So, I accept that there are TRADEOFFS to be made between comfort and carrying a handgun. Yes, we would like to meet all of our carry requirements, but sometimes we have to prioritize our goals and give and take with our desired features.

      Without a doubt, selection of the PROPER HANDGUN for YOU is of paramount importance. I believe it is THE most important decision, especially since it affects many other factors.. Your
      handgun should have the proper dimensions and size for your personal handsize, body proportions, hips and curves, hand strength, your usual clothing preferences, as well as other features. The larger and wider your gun is, the harder it is to keep concealed. The heavier it is, the less comfortable it is to carry, but also generally helps with accuracy. Another challenge is to discover the best HOLSTER which is specifically designed for your gun model and size, which securely retains the gun, and attaches and blends to your particular body and clothing effectively and comfortably. There are very many to choose among and most of us have a large box full of holsters we have considered. Trial and error and remember you can have more than one
      holster to meet your needs. For your complete carry system, you must consider the clothing you wear to cover your gun; this may include a BELT. I believe for most folks a belt is very necessary for security and safety reasons, even if it is a little uncomfortable. I don’t want to, but I can sacrifice a little comfort for gun security, support, and a better draw.

      Off-body carry in a purse or briefcase is possible, but there are many relative disadvantages related to safety and access. I know you and most women don’t want to read this, but I
      sincerely believe that BELT carry or on the waist carry is the preferred, optimal, and most common form of concealed carry for women, since the gun is close at hand and the grip is readily available to grab and draw quickly. But, recognize that not all waist holster options require a belt. Some use clips on the waistband without a belt and some use magnets on the waist without a belt (Read my related magnet holster article on this website.) There are also bellybands and other options. Inside the Waistband (IWB) with a clip to the waistband with the holster down inside your pants is an option. My newly-released “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials” book covers 13 methods of carry and my criteria for selecting a holster and my criteria for a gun belt. Hope this has helped you some my friend and let me know if I can further help. Please don’t give up regular carry because of a lack of a belt or comfort. Continued success!

      • Thanks, Col Ben, for that unexpectedly long reply, and thanks for your suggestions.

      • Thanks, Col Ben, for that unexpectedly long reply, and thanks for your suggestions.

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  • Ryan Schaenzer

    I live and Oregon and I recently purchased my first pistol. I would like to open carry my firearm. I know this is unrelated to the current discussion but I have had trouble finding answers to my questions. What is considered unconcealed in a vehicle? A car is considered public area but if my firearm is in my holster on my belt, is that allowed?

    • Col Ben

      Hey Ryan. I appreciate your questions, but you need to get reliable answers from Oregon law enforcement in your jurisdiction, rather than from opinions on a general gun website. CHECK THE OFFICIAL LAW IN YOUR STATE & JURISDICTION. DO NOT TRUST GENERAL OPINIONS FROM OTHERS.

      Just for your GENERAL information, I do remember reading in the last month or so that private sales of firearms are now illegal in Oregon.

      Again, check with those knowledgeable about Oregon law, but it seems I recall that the state of Oregon has no prohibition on carrying loaded handguns in your car. However, like in most
      states, the state DOES allow localities to restrict loaded carry of firearms “in public places” which I generally think it includes your car. If I remember correctly, several areas there, like Portland, restrict loaded carry by those who do NOT have concealed handgun licenses, so you may NOT have a loaded firearm in your vehicle. So I think (opinion) in Portland, for example, you may not have a loaded gun anywhere in your car and you may not even have loaded magazines separate from the handgun. It must still, however, be either visible or “not readily accessible.” But, check it
      out for sure. Furthermore, if it is a handgun, I generally recall that it must be carried openly or “not readily accessible.” So perhaps in your trunk or a in a locked glove-box or center console. If I recall correctly, long guns do not have to be “not readily accessible” but if you don’t have a concealed handgun license and you are in a locality that restricts loaded carry it must be
      unloaded.

      I hope my general opinions help, but check the law out in your jurisdiction and state
      before taking any actions. Success in your research!

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