A lot of us spend time and money researching for the best gun and ammunition to carry with you. Most especially for Every Day Carry (EDC), concealment and discretion is the best way to go. Buy an easy enough gun to hide, go to a firing range, squeeze a few rounds, everything’s fun, fun, fun.
You get yourself an awesome holster from a reputable holster brand, and then think you’re good to go. You’re not.
That peeling, stinky, and old leather belt isn’t going to cut it. If you have a suitable holster and a decent handgun, the belt is the part of the structure that puts it all together. A proper concealed carry belt is what’ll make it all work.
Given, it’s not the most appealing of the three.
When purchasing a gun, you look into size, weight, material (whether metal or polymer), caliber, manufacturer, comfort, aesthetics, etc. The same thing almost goes for purchasing a holster.
But what do you look for in a concealed carry belt?
To put it simply, the concealed carry belt should have sufficient rigidity to maintain the gun and holster up. And if aesthetics is important to you, make sure it doesn’t scream tacky to everyone who sees it (AVOID THE COLOR ORANGE).
That’s the simple part, now to the complication. Most belts found in department stores aren’t strong enough for anything heavier than the lightest of handguns. If you’re carrying anything bigger than a .22 caliber revolver, you need to look for better options.
The two most common materials that people utilize for belts are leather or nylon. Nylon web belts are surprisingly rigid despite being extremely thin. A great suggestion would be to look for nylon web belts with a liner belt (a secondary belt that attaches by hook & loop fabric inside the main belt), or one that’s reinforced with resin.
Strength and durability are guaranteed on web belts, but be careful to select the most appropriate model. Belts that are as wide as 1.74 inches are quite common, but can’t be accommodated by every single trouser belt loop. For a size that’s guaranteed to work will almost all belt loops, opt for a 1.5-inch wide web belt.
For aesthetic and good ol’ style, leather belts are the only way to go. Leather belts are not only old-school but are also dressier-looking compared to nylon belts.
If you choose to wear leather belts, put in mind that not all leather is going to be the same. Make sure to select a belt made from top grain or full grain leather. Any belt tagged as genuine leather has a reason why it’s tagged as such, and it’s surprisingly not because it’s a good thing. Furthermore, two-sided belts will always be more favorable to belts made from a single strip of cowhide.
The majority of leather gun belts in the market today come in 14-oz and 18-oz leather. Every ounce counts for 1/64″ in thickness. There are gun belt manufacturers who offer reinforced belts, belts with strips of spring steel in between layers of hide.
The general lifespan of your belts depends entirely on usage. An 18-oz leather belt or a reinforced 1.5-inch web belt should be more than sufficient to carry more robust handguns like the Glock 19, 1911, or anything bigger.
Most of us have our concealed carry on the waistband, so it makes sense to invest in not just what’s meant to be held up, but what holds it up as well. It’ll be a less-worrisome carry for you if you do.