Gear Review: Comp-Tac Kydex Reinforced Contour Belt

One of my favorite “gun guys” at my office asked me earlier this year what kind of belt I was going to use when I started carrying. I laughed and pointed at the brown leather belt I was wearing at the time and said, “What does it matter?” Oh how wrong I was. It turns out that it matters very much . . .

Having recently undergone a bit of education on the finer points of why it matters, I’ll share what I know. Whether you choose to carry IWB or OWB, a gun belt is THE connection between your body and your holster (which should contain your gun). As such, you need a belt that can remain stiff and give you a solid platform from which to hang holsters, mag pouches, flashlights, and cell phones.

The biggest problem with your run of the mill Wal-Mart belt is that the leather is thin and prone to breakdown. For example, I have a leather belt from some big box store that I’ve already had to cinch to the next hole after less than a year of use. My new Texan neighbor Nick Leghorn can testify to my love of Whataburger and breakfast tacos. I assure you that my belt adjustment is not the result of sudden weight loss. No, that thing just stretched itself right out over time. OWB fans should be focused on the belt a bit more than IWB users as the belt is the ONLY thing keeping your piece attached to you. IWB users should definitely not overlook proper belt selection either, though. But enough preaching.

 

The biggest claim to fame for the Comp-Tac belt is the strip of Kydex sewn down the center. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Kydex is the bee’s knees when it comes to holster materials. It’s light, impact resistant, and slick. Oh yeah, and its super rigid which makes it an excellent support material for a leather belt. I tried out a few holsters with my “big box” belt and the Comp-Tac belt and noticed a huge difference in both usability and comfort.

 

My grandmother would call this a “smart” looking belt. I ordered the brown version and was rewarded with a very neutral dark brown exterior and much lighter interior. I’m not a leatherworker by any means, but I have spent some time around nice saddles and the work from Comp-Tac is on par with some of the nicer pieces I’ve seen. The stitching is uniform, there were no loose threads, and the whole belt generally felt VERY sturdy.

Levi says I have a 34 inch waist, but Comp-Tac’s size 34 belt was on the second to last hole (38 inches) during regular carry and the last hole with an IWB holster. I highly recommend that you read and reread the sizing guide on their website before buying. I prefer that my belt  have a little extra tail on it, but for this test, I didn’t have any issues.

Given the chance to do it again, I’d go with a size 36. My belt had six holes for the buckle spaced perfectly at 7/8 inch increments with the closest to the buckle at 34 inches. When they say 34, they mean 34 – on the dot. One other nice feature is the removable buckle held together by three very stout brass screws. If you have a favorite buckle, you can swap it out for the stock unit as long as you have a flat bladed screwdriver around.

Specifications

  • Available Lengths: 28-72 inches
  • Width: 1.5”
  • Available Colors: Black or Brown
  • Other options: Tapering from 1.5” to 1.25”
  • Price: $85-$165 depending on sizing and configuration. As reviewed, $85

Ratings (out of five stars)

Fit and Finish * * * * 1/2

While it’s beautifully made, the only reason the Comp-Tac belt doesn’t get five stars is for the buckle being uber squeaky. I managed to quiet it with a bit of mink oil, but it was really annoying at first and decidedly not tactical.

Performance * * * * *

Using this belt with a number of different holsters was a dream compared to my big box belt. The rigidity lent by the Kydex strip made a huge difference in the security I felt carrying at the range and in my house as most of my testing was done before I got my fancy card in the mail. When you cinch things up, this thing locks down like a damn vice. That’s not to say that it didn’t conform a bit after some repeated wear. Full disclosure: I was born without a functional derriere. As such, every belt I’ve ever owned has formed a U shape almost immediately as it spends its life clinging for life to my hip bones with no support from the area where my posterior should be. The Comp-Tac belt certainly started to show signs of the U, but still retained all of its lateral rigidity.

Overall Rating * * * * *

What else is there to say? It’s a belt. But it’s one hell of a belt. Before you go burning dollars on holsters, buy a quality belt to attach them to. The Comp-Tac belt is a high quality piece of kit manufactured in Houston, Texas that is built to last. I enthusiastically recommend it.

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About Tyler Kee

Tyler Kee is a small town kid trying to make it in the big city of Austin, TX. A salesman by day, he is an avid motorcyclist and aspiring chef out of the office.

25 Responses to Gear Review: Comp-Tac Kydex Reinforced Contour Belt

  1. avatarPhydeaux says:

    Mmmmm, Whataburger! Wish they had those in Oregon.

    Nice belt review, and a good looking belt. I typically wear a 5.11 nylon web belt that consists of two lengths of 1.5″ wide nylon webbing sewn together. It’s light weight and comfortable, but also provides some rigidity for holster carry.

  2. avatarKWAL says:

    Those are GREAT belts at a great price. The contour makes them fit comfortably, right out of the box, so to speak. They are a bit thicker than other more pricey models with a middle liner for stiffness, like The Beltman belts. Almost all belts will be a size larger than your jeans waist size. A 34 waist should usually order a 36 belt regardless of maker. I followed their sizing instructions and that advice was right on.

  3. avatarEric says:

    Wilderness Tactical Instructor’s belt. That is all.

    • avatarRopingdown says:

      The Wilderness reinforced model with Ti buckle is my favorite for rough wear. With suits or jackets I can recommend the heavy Galco pre-curved gun belt, incredibly well constructed. They’ve lasted me for years. And then there’s the pocket….

    • avatarBuzzy243 says:

      +1

  4. avatarbontai Joe says:

    I wish I had a 34″ waist……. heck, I wish I had a 44″ waist!

  5. avatarSteve says:

    I got a pretty sturdy work belt at Wal-Mart recently that was recommended on a gun forum. Faded Glory, “ballistic nylon” type material with a leather strip sewn in and leather reinforcing the holes. We’ll see how long it will last but it is very stiff and is working great for me. Cost: $12.00

  6. avatarbrigo05 says:

    -1 to kydex
    Love all my guns in leather holsters.

    • avatarTyler Kee says:

      Curiosity killed the cat.

      Why the kydex hate?

      • avatarbrigo05 says:

        Because my Ruger GP-100 SS 4″ wouldnt look near as good in a kydex holster, I have it all dolled up with tulipwood grips. The only one I would wear a kydex with is my Sig 229 and I IWB that, and I cant imagine kydex being near as comfy as good leather against my fat ass.

  7. avatarWade says:

    I don’t CC but carry around the ranch pretty often, and I use a heavy leather pants belt made by justin that works just fine.

  8. avatarJason says:

    Hey Tyler,

    Your last post (First Time CHL) had a picture that clearly showed W 31 L 30. You’re not employing that old Seinfeld trick of changing the label from 34 down to 31, are you? :)

    Jason

  9. avatarBarry says:

    I like made in America as much as anyone, but 85 bucks minimum for a belt just doesn’t trip my value trigger. I can get a reasonably heavy and stiff Wrangler leather belt for about $20. It may not last as long as the Comp-Tac but long enough to warrant cheaping out.

    Speaking of going cheap, I have an Old Navy leather belt as my “beater” that supports my M&P 9c and its OWB kydex holster quite handily. It has scuffs but is not yet wearing out. $15 on sale and made in the USA!

    I’ll have to check out the Faded Glory belt that Steve mentioned…

    • avatarGrant says:

      If you’re cheap, but still want a high quality leather gun belt, look into Crossbreed. When I bought mine, they were about half the price of the competition.

    • avatarKhary says:

      The Comp-Tac belts are ridiculously sturdy. I’ve abused one of their leather belts for about three and half years now and it’s still going great. We’re talking going swimming in lakes while wearing that belt type of abuse. Not to mention nonaquatic activities like carrying concealed. These belts are *sturdy* and well worth the cost.

  10. avatargar says:

    As my wife and my sister would say: brown belt for brown shoes, black belt for everything else. So I guess matching color holster with belt? Between the 2 of them I get more than enough fashion advice… Ha!

    Now if they start telling me that I have to have a matching color gun with the holster… I’ll just argue that the color GUNMETAL goes with everything. LOL.

  11. avatarAPBTFan says:

    I bought mine from Bullhide Belts. 1/4″ thick genuine bullhide – this thing is all business and makes a great gun belt. I’m glad as hell my old man didn’t have one of these when I was little and got into trouble.

    http://www.bullhidebelts.com/Black-Stitched-BullHide-Belt_p_97.html

  12. avatarSkyler says:

    I’m very happy with my belt from Mitch Rosen.

  13. avatarPWolf says:

    Try Rafter Gun Leather belts. Great belts at the right price, even the exotics:

    http://www.raftersgunleather.com/Belts.htm

  14. avatarSteve says:

    I have a few different carry belts: Aker, Wilderness & The Beltman. I didn’t realize how much of a difference a proper carry belt makes until I purchased one. I can recommend all the ones I own.

  15. avatar"lee n. field" says:

    “The biggest problem with your run of the mill Wal-Mart belt is that the leather is thin and prone to breakdown.”

    If that can even properly be called leather.

    There is nothing in any of the stuff-marts, or even the step up from struffmart (thinking of you, Penny’s), that’s any good at all. Cheap, flimsy crap, all of it.

    For a step up, go to a store that has uniforms, and look for a uniform belt intended for a postman. Those are made to meet a standard, and are actually decent.

    • avatarKhary says:

      The problem with big box belts is that most of them are stamped “Genuine leather” but that’s a technicality. They’re more often than not what is called split leather. When a hide is processed, the really good quality leather is the Top Grain and the underside is the “fuzzy” or flesh side of the leather. After that top layer is stripped, you get another layer that is the rough leather on both the top and bottom. This is infinitely less sturdy than the top grain. The factories put an artificial finish on it to smooth the leather out and make it look like the good quality stuff. That’s why big box belts don’t usually last as long as a top grain cowhide belt.

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