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.
I picked up a similar “work” belt at the local wally-world for $10. Same function at 1/4 the price.
Steel lined workbelts hurt my back. Some Wally world belts are actually pretty good.
Can you reproduce that lead photo?
I have plenty of inexpensive belts, too. A decent, simple leather strap one from Old Navy. A stretchy fabric one from Target. I use both for CCW purposes all the time. They hold my pants up. They can’t come anywhere close to supporting the weight of a firearm on their own compared to this belt. They wouldn’t be appropriate for competition use, for instance, with an OWB holster and a couple of mag carriers. The stuff would flop around too much or I’d have to crank the belt down like crazy to try and prevent that. The Bigfoot doesn’t need to be that tight to work even better. Solid, functional, good looking. But, yeah, you pay more for made in USA out of high quality leather than you do for Old Navy, Target, and Wal-Mart stuff. Still, at 1.5″ width it’s more comfortable and more flexible in the right ways vs. my Instructor belt and it’s more appropriate to be seen wearing outside of competition use. The Bigfoot has mostly replaced that one for competition, but the biggest difference is that I also wear it daily gun or no gun. It’s the only belt I have that can do all of these things.
rust……..unless it’s nickle boron coated 🙂
Have you been able to compare this side by side with Magpul’s? I’m in the market, my current belt was a black Friday sale for $4.99, it lasted this long but not much longer.
I bought one of these and love it, but… This is not a criticism of the belt, but the clip on holsters and mag carriers, and also my cell phone holders have problems with the thickness. Just gotta find someone that makes the spring steel clips in a configuration to work with this belt.
I recently bought the exact same belt. I wear it daily and find it very comfortable. I agree with your comments on hole spacing. Another good belt company offers options on 3/4″ or 1″ spacing between holes and a choice of 5, 7, 9 or even 11 holes. http://www.zachsgunbelts.com/index.html Bigfoot should consider offering some of those options, even if it would increase the price marginally. Nonetheless, my Bigfoot belt was a very good buy. It is suitable for dressier occasions. Also, Bigfoot let me exchange the belt i ordered for a larger one with no hassles.
“I’ve passed through TSA security six times — and not once was the belt flagged for scrutiny.”
Hmm. That means one of two things:
1) There isn’t really steel in the belt, or
2) TSA metal detectors are really nothing more than security theatre.
Meanwhile, I’m wondering if you’re on your dentist’s frequent novocain flyer rewards program. She was pretty darn eager to help out!
There is a third option, murder!
No wait, maybe he took it off and put it in the tub with the stuff for x-ray.
Yeah, took it off and put it in the x-ray tub. It’s possible a metal strip inside a belt isn’t as rare as we’d think and it’s something that TSA is familiar with and not bothered by. Like metal shanks in shoes. No idea. They’d definitely see that stainless steel band bright and clear on the x-ray though.
That doesn’t exactly match what you wrote,
“I’ve flown three times while wearing the Bigfoot belt.”
May want to re-word that for clarity.
I did fly while wearing the belt.
Since the changes after 9/11, TSA has required that you ALWAYS remove belt and shoes and pass them through the x-ray machine. This shouldn’t be news. Unless you are TSA Pre-Checked or over 75 or whatever the age is, you WILL put your belt through the x-ray machine. Trying to get through security otherwise would cause you to be flagged and you’d have to remove your belt — any belt — and try again. In the last few years I have very rarely gone through a traditional metal detector anyway. I fly probably 10 times a year and even tiny airports have been using the millimeter wave detection things for a long time. Those have replaced metal detectors for all normal use and metal detectors are used as an exception or a backup. You’d still have to remove your belt and shoes regardless, though, prior to entering the metal detector. It’s mandatory that they go through x-ray (exceptions are children, pre-check, and seniors).
Anyway… I digress…
I want one of those buckles…
You don’t use calipers like that, it gives an erroneous reading, and can wreck the calibration.
(If I’m wrong on the calipers, someone bitch-slap some sense into me, please…)
They’re $9.99 calipers and the options for one hand on the camera, one hand on the belt, and one hand on the calipers are limited 😛 …as for erroneous readings, you can take that up with the 0.229″ stat on the manufacturer website and compare it to my caliper reading the same thing down to the thousandth 😉 …
I wasn’t clear, I suppose.
When using calipers, I was taught to never push, squeeze, or force on the movable end. Move it down until it contacts and when the clutch-drag, or whatever they call it slips, that is the proper reading.
If I’m wrong on that, someone please whack me with the clue-bat…
These calipers do not have the little wheel you’re talking about that slips so even pressure (and limited pressure) is always applied to the calipers when squeezing against the object to be measured. They function solely by pushing directly on the moving part. How tightly the jaws squeeze down is entirely up to you to control. If your caliper has a specific slider mechanism (usually a roller wheel), by all means you should certainly use it. FWIW, I have 1/4″ bar stock sitting on a shelf next to me and the caliper measures 0.250″… it’s certainly close enough to accurate for the purposes of measuring a belt 😛
Ahh, the Harbor Frieght special.
Shoulda used the 20% off “super coupon'” I got my calipers for $7.99.
side note- my 14 yr old “Chicago” grinder for $19.99 is still goin strong. (and yes, I hate the MIC crap, but… like a moth to the flame.)
That’s really not a bad price for a quality belt. I may have paid close to that for my Ted Blocker. (With no steel lining).
Interesting; this is now on my short list for potential replacements for my current Wal-Mart pants retention system.
I wanna know more about that swanky belt buckle. The one with what looks like an NAA Revolver in it.
NAA makes a couple of belt buckles that hold their Mini Revolvers. I have ’em both 😛 …the skeletonized one is my open carry rig haha
Here are the two currently available for the LR-sized revolver: http://northamericanarms.com/index.php/accessories/l-accessories/l-cc.html
That belt would be wonderfull for beating small childeren and unruley wives. Im buying two
What brand are those shoes?
Salewa. Their “Wildfire” shoes… lots of color schemes available and a handful of versions with different heights, gore-tex or not, etc. GREAT shoes and boots. Absolutely excellent. IIRC Outdoor Magazine gave them a best product of 2015 award and, for me, they’ve replaced Merrell as my go-to outdoor shoe (e.g. trail hiking, trail running, “approach shoe,” etc kind of a thing), which is actually a very big deal as far as Jeremy S. shoes go haha. Available on Amazon and such.
Looks nice lumbal back pain increase ^^
I bought one of these belts (14oz + core), and I don’t like it at all. The buckle is way too thick (looks bulky), the belt is so thick it barely slides through my holster loops, and the adjustment holes are spaced too far apart (either too tight or too loose).
Well JD, how many other belts do you have where the holes are less than 1″ apart? Do tell us and don’t lie!
I have six belts, the holes are 1″ apart on all of them.