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Table of Contents
- Types of Gun Belts
- Gun Belt Features
- Best Gun Belts on the Market
Guns are many things to many people.
They are protection. They are entertainment. They are a necessary tool to acquire food.
But one thing they are not is light.
Even a polymer-framed handgun has a heavy metal slide and metal internals. Ammo, with the heavy projectile made of lead and copper, isn’t much better.
Slap that on your fancy leather belt you received as a gift from your kids and you’ll drag that belt down, curving it permanently out of shape.
Or, worse, you’ll visit the Porta Potty and the gun’s weight will pull the belt out of the loops and drag the holster off the belt and into the blue lagoon!
That’ll do wonders to make you want to carry the gun again.
A good gun belt is vital for CCCW.
That’s like “CCW,” except with “C” for “comfortable” thrown in front.
And even if all you do is run’n’gun on the range once a month, a good gun belt can aid in equipment retention. It won’t make you any faster but you’ll be less likely to disqualify from an equipment malfunction.
So, want to hold up your pants, handgun, and ammo with a circle of leather or nylon?
Then this is the list for you!
Types of Gun Belts
They are reinforced and so can handle much more weight than your typical belt.
Sure, they’re also good at holding your pants up and they have to close in some way. But what makes them gun belts is that weight-bearing reinforcement.
You can break gun belts down into two categories:
A leather gun belt can look exactly like the same type of belt you’d wear to a white-collar desk jockey job.
With reinforcement, of course.
This reinforcement can either be natural or synthetic.
Double-thick leather is strong enough for most concealed carry purposes and looks just as good as a dress belt.
Some leather belts are reinforced with a synthetic material such as Kydex. These will keep their shape longer but, because they don’t form to your body as much, may not be quite as comfortable as a thick leather gun belt.
You might even be able to use an all-leather belt as a tourniquet!
A subset of leather gun belts, western leather gun belts cannot be mistaken for a dress belt.
They are wide, often tooled for decoration, and sometimes drop down on one side.
Western gun belts also tend to have cartridge loops and are designed to be worn lower on your hips than your pants, so good luck using them to keep up your pants.
However, they tend to be more comfortable because they spread the gun’s weight over a wider area.
The best western gun belts will be custom-made, though there are a few good mass-produced western gun belts out there.
Belts made from synthetic materials such as nylon may not look as fancy as leather belts but they are more weather resistant and are often cheaper for the same quality.
A rigger’s belt is like a nylon belt on steroids.
Rigger’s belts may not have been invented to be worn by riggers, but they represent the rigger’s art. The extra thick nylon can support thousands of pounds, which makes carrying your Glock 19 a breeze.
They’ve come in vogue for carrying in the past few years but since they tend to look similar, once you know what a rigger’s belt is you’ll be able to spot anybody else wearing one.
Battle belts are the modern equivalent of western belts. They are unequivocally meant for carrying weaponry, so don’t think you can get away with concealing a gun with one!
You’d have a hard time of it anyways. They are extra wide, thick, and have MOLLE all the way around.
They’re effectively a small belt inside a wide belt.
You’re supposed to attach a handgun holster, pistol and rifle magazine holsters, first-aid kit, dump pouch, perhaps a radio, and more.
They’re often worn with a plate carrier and, unless you’re SWAT, military, or like to do Cool Guy Stuff at the range, you won’t need one.
But it isn’t always about need!
Gun Belt Features
All gun belts have similar features, though what those features look like can be vastly different.
As covered in the descriptions of gun belt types above, gun belts tend to be either leather or nylon.
Leather looks classier.
It’ll also mold to your body more. It requires care, though; you’ll need some sort of leather conditioner to keep it looking nice.
Nylon tends to retain its shape. However, it’s lighter and doesn’t care if you get it wet or expose it to heat and cold.
All belts have to attach one side to the other.
The normal method is the humble buckle. You might be wearing a buckled belt right now. You thread one end through a metal loop on the other end and use a prong through holes to hold it in place.
As nice as these are, they have two downsides:
- They are slow
- They have wide spaces between adjustments
Ratcheting belts have a curved rectangular buckle. You slide the other end through and the buckle locks into notches inside a track on the belt’s inside.
There’s a quick-release lever, too, so you can take the belt off as quickly as you put it on.
Ratcheting belts have finer adjustment than traditional buckles, often 1/4″.
These buckles are even more advanced than ratcheting buckles, though wearing one makes you look either like a mountaineer or like someone wearing a gun.
Cobra buckles have a quick-release mechanism with prongs that flare like a cobra’s neck.
You adjust the belt to fit then just click the buckle together. Push the prongs in and the belt unbuckles.
Fast and easy!
But, belts with Cobra buckles tend to be a bit more expensive.
Hook and loop, or Velcro, is also fast and easy.
You don’t have to adjust the belt beforehand. Just slap the belt ends where they’re comfortable.
The biggest problem with Velcro is that it’s noisy. This makes tacticool stealth stripping difficult.
Don’t play strip poker when hiding from Charlie!
Velcro can also wear out faster than other attachment methods.
Reinforcement is the heart of a gun belt.
It keeps the belt stiff and level even when you’re wearing a heavy gun.
Reinforcement can come in the form of another layer of leather, Kydex, polymer, or even a flexible steel core.
The tougher the reinforcement, the less your belt will sag.
Personally, I’d avoid the steel core, for one reason:
Steel is not easy to cut through with trauma shears.
Some trauma shears can cut through pennies, which should be about as hard to cut through as a steel core, but not all will.
Am I likely to get into a situation where EMTs have to cut through my belt to save my life? No, but I’m also not likely to need to store my gasoline for years at a time either.
But we’re both here to get prepared for rare eventualities.
That said, the most important part of reinforcement is for your gun belt to have some reinforcement.
It ain’t a gun belt without it!
Best Gun Belts on the Market
|Relentless Tactical "The Ultimate"||Leather||1.5"||4.8||$$
|Tactical Tailor Fight Light Battle Belt||Battle Belt||N/A||3.7||$$$
|Daltech Force Bullbelt Steel Core||Leather w/ Steel Core||1.5"||4.5||$$$
|Blue Alpha Gear Hybrid EDC Belt||Nylon||1.5"||4.7||$$$
|Hanks Extreme Gun Belt||Leather||1.5"||4.9||$$$
|Shotgun Lilli Gun Belt||Western||2.5"||4.7||$$$$
|Elite Survival Systems ELSCRB-B-M Cobra Rigger's Belt||Rigger's||1.75"||4.2||$$$
|Fairwin Tactical Belt||Nylon||1.5"||4.0||$
Best Gun Belt For the Money
Relentless Tactical “The Ultimate”
- Material: 14 oz leather
- Colors: Stitched black, stitched brown, woven black, woven brown
- Attachment: Roller buckle
- Width: 1.5″
Relentless Tactical calls this belt The Ultimate. That name may be a bit ostentatious, but it is a pretty good gun belt.
You can buy it in either black or brown with stitched edges or a basket weave pattern. I prefer the stitched style myself.
The buckle is made from heavy-duty metal and has a roller to make putting on the belt easier. A leather loop helps hold the excess belt material down.
It’s strong enough to carry a light CCW piece forever or a heavier all-metal gun sometimes.
That’s because while The Ultimate is made from thick leather, it’s still just leather.
A heavy gun may, over time, cause it to drag a bit. Carrying ammo on the other side will help this belt stay even longer, though.
Relentless Tactical does have a lifetime warranty, though!
- Lifetime warranty
- Not very expensive as far as gun belts go
- Thick enough for moderate use
- Dye can bleed
- Light reinforcement
The Ultimate may not be the best gun belt ever but it’s a pretty good one for the price.
Best Battle Belt
Tactical Tailor Fight Light Battle Belt
- Material: 500D Cordura
- Colors: Black, coyote brown, Multicam, ranger green, wolf grey
- Attachment: N/A
- Width: Not stated
Tactical Tailor manufactures equipment used by US soldiers. The Fight Light battle belt has been tested and proven overseas!
The first thing you may notice about it is that it comes in three parts. That’s because it’s designed to work with your existing belt to increase the amount of gear you can carry.
It has two rows of MOLLE webbing all the way around the outside. The inside has thick mesh padding for breathability and comfort.
There are also attachment points for drop leg holsters and for 4-point harnesses if you feel the need to weigh yourself down with a dozen AR magazines.
You can separate the pads by up to 6″ if your gut expands thanks to a particularly long steak’n’beer spree.
- Attaches to your existing belt
- MOLLE webbing
- Thick mesh padding for comfort
- Requires a nylon or rigger’s belt
The Tactical Tailor Fight Light Battle Belt is an excellent modular battle belt that goes over another gun belt. Do you need that much MOLLE around your waist? If so, a “normal” belt won’t do!
Best CCW Gun Belt for IWB or OWB Concealed Carry
Daltech Force Bullbelt Steel Core
- Material: 16 oz leather
- Colors: Black, brown
- Attachment: Roller buckle
- Width: 1.5″
Another leather belt, the Daltech Force Bullbelt has a steel core inside it.
This makes it very effective for IWB concealed carry. The steel transfers weight all around the belt so it won’t sag under a heavy steel gun.
Less sag = better concealment!
The leather is 15 to 17-ounce full grain bull hide. The buckle has a roller and is attached via Chicago screws so you can change buckles if you want.
Remember, though, that it does have a steel core. It may not be able to curve around your body as well as an all-leather belt. It’s all a trade-off.
- Lifetime guarantee
- Steel core eliminates all sagging
- Steel core may be uncomfortable
The Daltech Force Bullbelt Steel Core is an excellent choice for IWB concealment but may not fit everyone comfortably.
Best Gun Belt for the Range
Blue Alpha Gear Hybrid EDC Belt
- Material: Nylon
- Colors: Black, coyote brown, wolf gray
- Attachment: Cobra buckles
- Width: 1.5″
Blue Alpha Gear’s Hybrid EDC Belt is tough enough for everyday carry but it shines on the range where you need as few snags as possible and don’t care about impressing someone with leather.
It’s made with a double-thick body of heavyweight nylon webbing. The buckles are quick-detach Cobra buckles but, unlike some, are thin enough to go through your average pant’s loops.
Adjustment is made by Velcro, so you can either set it and forget it or adjust it to be more comfortable without having to undo the buckle.
The reinforcement is another layer of nylon which will keep the gun up but isn’t strong enough to prevent all sagging if you carry anything larger than a subcompact.
So, it’s good for the range but not as good for heavy-duty EDC
- Cobra buckles
- Easy adjustment
- Won’t interfere with grabbing the right gear when used for competition
- Can sag under heavy loads
The Blue Alpha Gear 1.5″ Hybrid Cobra EDC Belt is better on the range than as an EDC belt unless you carry a subcompact pistol.
Best Leather Dress Gun Belt
Hanks Extreme Gun Belt
- Material: 17 oz leather
- Colors: Black, brown
- Attachment: Roller buckle
- Width: 1.5″
At a full 1/4″ thick, the Hanks Extreme CCW belt is very thick.
Thick enough to carry a heavy load without sagging or folding over, despite not being reinforced with Kydex or steel!
Most leather gun belts are made from 14 to 16-ounce leather.
Since it’s made from a single piece of steer hide there’s no possibility of splitting, unlike plastic or steel-cored gun belts.
The buckle is attached with screws instead of snaps so you can add your own version if you don’t like the looks.
8 holes let you swap between OWB and IWB with the same belt. Either way, this belt will look great on you. And will for a long time:
It has a 100-year warranty!
- 100-year warranty
- Extra heavy leather
- Some users reported minor amounts of discoloration from dyes
Hanks Extreme gun belt is extremely well made from high-quality leather. With its 100-year warranty, you’ll look snazzy for a century without anybody knowing that you’re carrying!
Best Competition Range Belt
- Material: Nylon
- Colors: Black
- Attachment: Velcro
- Width: 1.5″
The Blade-Tech Competition Gun Belt is a dedicated range belt through-and-through
It’s actually two belts in one:
- A thinner inner belt holds up your pants.
- A thicker outer belt holds your gear.
This arrangement lets you relax without your gear when other people are shooting. Then, when it’s your turn to run the course, you can slap on the outer belt and be good 2 go.
The outer nylon layer is strong enough to carry a full-size pistol and half a dozen magazines without any hint of sagging.
However, both belts overlap and attach via a hook and loop field. While this makes attaching the second belt extremely easy, it can be difficult to thread one end of the smaller belt through your pant’s belt loop as you put it on.
- Holds a large amount of gear without worry
- Two-piece design for easy on-and-off at the range
- Velcro underbelt can be difficult to put on through belt loops
The Blade-Tech Competition Gun Belt is excellent when you’re running and gunning but is out of place anywhere except the range.
Best Western Gun Belt
Shotgun Lilli Gun Belt
- Material: Leather
- Colors: Black, brown, natural
- Attachment: Buckle
- Width: 2.5″
I know I said that the best Western gun belts were all custom made.
However, not everybody has the budget or time for a custom-made belt. The Shotgun Lilli Gun Belt is the next best thing.
Shotgun Lilli’s gun belt is designed to be worn on your hips, not through belt loops, which is why the belt is 2.5″ wide. Good luck finding pants with loops that fit!
This width spreads out the weight so your hips are more comfortable after a long day of Cowboy Action Shooting.
I prefer the natural color. With some Huberd’s Shoe Grease it turns a beautiful brown, will last forever, and won’t stain your pants.
The gun belt comes with a holster that can accommodate revolvers with barrels up to 6″ long. There are also cartridge loops around the belt. You can get those to hold .22, .38, and .45 caliber cartridges.
Left-handed holsters are available, too.
- Well made
- May require a different holster to fit your revolver
If you’re into revolvers and don’t want to shell out for a custom-made rig, the Shotgun Lilli Gun Belt is your best choice.
Best Rigger’s Belt
Elite Survival Systems ELSCRB-B-M Cobra Rigger’s Belt
- Material: Nylon
- Colors: Black, coyote brown, multicolor, olive drab
- Attachment: Cobra buckle
- Width: 1.75″
Elite Survival Systems’ ELSCRB-B-M Cobra Rigger’s Belt has a no-nonsense design to it that won’t wow anybody at the office (unless they, too, are into shooting).
It’s made from extra-thick 1.75″-wide nylon that can support up to 7,000 pounds.
That’s enough to carry multiple GAU-8/A autocannons!
You can use this belt as a towing strap. How’s that for an emergency use?
In fact, the belt is even designed for similar contingencies. A thick D-ring is rated for 5,000 pounds of straight-pull force.
However, the belt is wide enough to not fit many belt loops. And it does, you may need to remove the very wide Cobra buckles.
- Extremely tough
- You may have to remove the buckles to thread the belt through your belt loops
The Elite Survival Systems ELSCRB-B-M Cobra Rigger’s Belt lacks the aesthetic flair of a leather belt but it’s a thick, durable belt that will hold up to extreme use.
Best Budget Gun Belt
Fairwin Tactical Belt
- Material: 100D nylon
- Colors: Black, camo, green, tan
- Attachment: “Cobra” buckle
- Width: 1.5″
Let’s get this out of the way:
The Fairwin Tactical Belt is not as high quality as the rest of the belts on this list.
The nylon is thick and strong but it’s more prone to sagging than even a 14-ounce leather belt.
Also, the buckle is a knock-off Cobra buckle. Some people have experienced weak buckles but Fairwin’s customer service is pretty good so they’ll replace a belt with a bad buckle.
Where Fairwin wins (fairly?) is through the price.
Are you planning on carrying a heavy firearm?
Then you may need to buy a better CCW belt.
If, however, you carry a lightweight CCW piece or need a light rig for the range, this Tactical Belt is good enough.
Spend the money you saved on ammo!
- Great value for the price
- Buckles may be too wide to fit through belt loops
- Not good for carrying heavy loads
If you need an inexpensive gun belt then Fairwin’s Tactical Belt is pretty good. If you need to carry a heavy gun without printing, though, spend the money for a better gun belt.
There are many different types of gun belts out there.
CCW belts. Rigger’s belts. Battle belts.
Some are specialized and shouldn’t be worn in public without a good reason. Others can go anywhere.
They are all stiff belts capable of carrying a holster without dragging your pants off your hips.
If I had to buy one, though, my favorite has to be the Hanks Extreme belt. It can do IWB and OWB carry and works well enough on the range.
Where will you wear your gun belt?