Bigfoot Gun Belts is sandwiching a thin, spring-steel core in the middle of 14 oz English bridle leather to create this 14oz Leather + Steel Core belt. That sheet of steel is plenty bendy in your standard belt direction — you know, the curly way so it can easily wrap around your waist — but it’s extremely stiff vertically and relatively stiff torsionally, which is what we’re often looking for in a gun belt . . .
RF posted a “New From” piece back in October, and a bunch of the comments there centered around knowing if the steel core went all the way through, including through the adjustment holes. So, naturally, I X-rayed the belt. Well, not me so much as my dentist. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey, I have a weird question for you.
Me: I was hoping you could X-ray something for… [she cuts me off]
Her: You bet. Do you have it with you?
Me: Don’t you want to… [she cuts me off]
Her: Nah, whatever, bring it in and I’ll X-ray it for you!
Of course, her X-ray machine is only made for photographing a small part of a person’s mouth, so I could only capture a small part of the belt.
That’s the military-grade Tex 270 polyester stitching along the top and bottom of the photo, and my finger pointing out where I had guessed the end of the metal strip would be. BINGO! Well, “bingo” if we’re going by where my distal phalange ends, or pretty darn close if we’re using the low-tech end-of-actual-fleshy-finger standard.
At any rate, it’s about a half inch shy of the inner-most adjustment hole. So, no, the steel doesn’t extend through the holes. While it’s quite flexible, I’m not sure it’s flexible enough to allow the belt to comfortably make that S-like curve as it goes up through the buckle then back down on itself and under the loop. At least, that’s my guess of why it ends where it ends.
That said, I can’t say I’m concerned about the holes wearing out any time soon or the belt fraying and cracking underneath the buckle. This thing is approaching a quarter of an inch thick, and the leather is supple in that it isn’t dry and rigid like some belts I’ve had.
That English bridle leather does feel high quality and feels like it has enough pliability and elasticity to it to last for the long haul. It’s soft, though, and the surface finish scratches fairly easily.
The nickel-plated buckle has a roller on the leading edge so the belt passes through it easily and will hold up even longer, sans buckle-induced scuffs and worn spots. Two snaps retain the buckle so you can swap it out for…
…something flashier. The steel insert, by the way, ends just barely shy of the snaps.
In daily use, the belt works great. It’s of obvious high quality and looks the part. Adjustment steps aside (more on that later), it’s a lot more comfortable than I expected it would be. That vertical stiffness really doesn’t affect comfort, and the belt moves with you well enough in the ways that matter.
There were some TSA-related remarks in the comments on the press release post, and I’m now fairly confident this is a non-issue. I’ve flown three times while wearing the Bigfoot belt — meaning I’ve passed through TSA security six times — and not once was the belt flagged for scrutiny.
When carrying a gun and other gear, whether OWB or IWB, once again the belt is more comfortable than I expected. I attribute this mostly to the fact that I wear it a little bit looser than I do when wearing a typical, cheapo leather or other belt. Since the belt itself is capable of carrying weight without sagging, I don’t have to rely as much on squeezing my cargo against my body to ward of gravity.
This has made it a very good gun belt for me. I got it in late October and have been wearing it regularly since. It has primarily carried a GLOCK 19 MOS in a sleek IWB holster that can put more weight on the belt than larger holsters. The Bigfoot shrugs that off like it isn’t there. Ditto with OWB carry of the Ruger American Pistol and the REX zero 1 S plus mag carriers while running them through competition stages.
It’s a great belt, but it could be better. 1″ spacing between the adjustment holes is too far. I realize it’s standard, but it’s too far. Especially in such a thick, strong belt that doesn’t need the support of anywhere near as much lateral material between holes.
Because it’s so supportive, if I find myself effectively between holes I can err on the side of slightly loose and comfortable rather than slightly tight. With normal belts, I end up erring on the tight side. Still, perfect fit is rare with 1″ adjustment steps and I do often find that my perfect fit would be between holes.
The spring-steel core in Bigfoot’s belts is a cool design. It adds vertical strength and stiffness without compromising comfort and, in some ways, it even enhances it. This belt can carry and support anything from your IWB carry piece to a full-on law enforcement loadout.
The leather, stitching, and finish work is very nice. It’s a bit wide at 1.5″ and the stitching and buckle stand out a bit much to wear it as part of your nicer business attire, but I’ve gone “business casual” with it and it looked well enough at home. Unless you give it a close look, the burliness of its thickness isn’t anywhere near as apparent as the high quality is. It’s a good looking belt.
Material: 14 oz double English bridle leather over spring-steel core
Colors: Black or Brown
Ratings (out of five stars):
Quality * * * *
No flaws. High quality leather, high quality stitching, decent quality buckle. The leather is soft, though, which is both good and bad. It looks and feels great, but it scratches easily. Normally not a real concern of mine, but it’s a gun belt and the very act of threading holsters on and off it can scuff/scratch it up.
Comfort * * *
In some ways it’s more comfortable than usual, because I can wear it looser than usual if desired. However, with how stiff the belt is I really want finer adjustment capability, and the 1″ spacing between holes doesn’t do it. I may end up punching my own hole between the two that I choose between regularly (depending on what I’m carrying and how much I had to eat).
Strength * * * *
There are belts that offer more torsional rigidity — e.g. my wider, thicker, stiffer nylon “instructor belt” with a fairly thick polymer core — but few that can match the Bigfoot’s vertical (no sag) strength. Bigfoot also makes an 18 oz + steel core belt (0.381″ thick) in case you need to carry something even heavier.
Overall * * * *
This is a really good gun belt that doesn’t scream “gun belt.” Highly functional without any tacticoolness.