holster will not be nearly as effective as it should be. Whether a belt is made to be used for duty, competition, or for the average person wanting to conceal carry the job requirements are the same. A good holster that doesn’t stay where you put it, or flops in the wind is directly due to the belt not being up to the job that you require of it. It should keep your holstered pistol close to your body, and it should properly manage the weight of your equipment to reduce discomfort and fatigue.
There are two main materials that belts are currently made of which are nylon and leather. Nylon has made a very large inroad to being the most popular material that conceal-carry belts are made of. It can be made very stiff, is generally cheaper, doesn’t squeak and make noise while against a holster, and generally doesn’t stretch or wear out like leather can do. Additionally, nylon belts eschew the traditional notch and prong buckle for a versatile friction buckle. A friction buckle may be a better option, as it allows the user infinitely more flexibility in fitting, especially after Thanksgiving!
Leather, while usually being more expensive, does not scream “gun!” It is essentially a more traditional look, and blends in well with office or casual attire. The secret to
leather is often thicker leather that has been well cured to give it a more robust durability, while still remaining supple. It can wear out, and sometimes, the notch and post buckles don’t fit as perfectly as we like. However, a well -crafted leather gun belt is a joy to own, and there is an old world craftsmanship that is easy to love. It might require some break-in time with your holster, but so did your first baseball glove.
Unfortunately it is a common occurrence at the range to see a cheap Chinese leather belt trying its best to support a full size steel framed pistol. Also, thicker belts that
are generally used for construction or hard labor are also not up to par as they are not rigid enough. Another familiar sight is someone wanting a smaller firearm because their sub-compact is too heavy; after a quick examination it is plain to see that a better, more rigid belt is all that is needed to help distribute the weight, and make the firearm more concealable as a belt will naturally pull the gun closer to the body.
Weight distribution is the biggest factor of what a belt is designed to do…regardless if you are carrying a gun or are batman with multiple gadgets on your waist. A dedicated carry belt should be part of the purchase plan when buying a holster as they go hand in hand. Be aware of cheap knock offs; this especially holds true with nylon belts. A minimal amount of research is required as it is important that the width of the belt itself does not exceed the width of your normal pant belt loops. It is imperative that the shopper only buys from reputable sources as just because it is made out of nylon, or is “mil-spec” does not mean the belt is made to carry a firearm on a day to day basis. Proper fit is important, and it makes the difference between picture perfect presentations, holstering, or a sloppy and unsafe game of “where’s my holster?”
A good belt, whatever the material, will often cost just as much as a
good holster. The good side of this is that a good holster and belt can quite honestly give the individual a lifetime of service. This will help ensure that the individual carries a firearm more often which is, of course, the purpose of obtaining a CWP in the first place.