Belts have a long history as part of a soldier’s gear. Every Roman legionary was issued one; as well as holding his dagger, it also supported the metal-studded leather strips that protected his family jewels from enemy blades. Medieval troops often wore as many as three belts– one to hold their clothing together, one for their pouches and a third for their sword. Today, they’re as important as ever.
Military fashions come and go, of course. In the late 80s, British combat trousers still had buttons in the waistband for attaching the issue braces (suspenders, to Americans). The thinking behind this was that wearing two belts – one to hold the trousers up and the other, a couple of layers further out but holding a lot of weight, as part of the load-carrying equipment – could be extremely uncomfortable. That’s less of an issue these days as the fighting load moves from traditional webbing gear into vests and armour-mounted pouches.
There are two types of belts the average soldier, cop or security operator will need. The first is a basic belt to hold your pants up. The way to go here is a good rigger’s belt. With an easily adjustable roll-pink buckle, and hook and loop fastening to stop the end flapping about, they’re practical and comfortable. Classic rigger belts like the Blackhawk model also have an integrated D-ring, so they can be used as an emergency harness.
Now that your pants aren’t going to end up around your ankles, the other belt you’re probably looking for is one to hold a pistol and other equipment. There’s a wider choice here, but whatever you opt for you’re looking for two key requirements – security and stability. You need a belt that isn’t going to come adrift, but can be easily removed in a hurry. It’s also handy if it can be easily adjusted. A popular option is to carry most gear in a vest, with a handgun and a few essentials on the belt. That’s probably going to mean having the belt ride quite low, but if you’re not wearing the vest you can raise and tighten it slightly.
You also need a belt that won’t curl up under the weight of whatever you fix to it, and that holds gear where you put it. The last thing you need is a holster that slides around out of reach at the wrong moment. Something like 5.11’s Brokos Belt is ideal – wide and padded, it can carry a decent load in comfort – and it also has MOLLE loops to make sure everything stays exactly where you want it to.
Choosing a belt might not seem like a big deal, but after you’ve spent a few days in a wet forest being chafed to bits because a cheap one isn’t doing its job, you might think again. Every piece of your gear has a vital role, or you wouldn’t have it in the first place – and that means you need the best available.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.