I’m not sure when Battle Belts came back in fashion, but I remember when I first saw widespread use of them. On my first deployment, we went from the massive Modular Tactical Vest to much smaller Eagle Plate Carriers. Less room meant less MOLLE.
It wasn’t long before we started removing the belt from our old LBVs. God knows why we had to pack an LBV from the early 90s, but it was on the list. Those belts quickly became home to 40mm grenades, rifle magazines, IFAKs, and more.
We now have tons of choices in the tactical gear market, and the Wilder Tactical Ultimate Operator Package aims to be a one-stop-shop for your battle belt needs.
The Ultimate Operator package combines their minimalist belt pad with two universal pistol magazine pouches, two rifle mag pouches, and a tourniquet pouch. All that’s missing is the belt you’ll slide into the belt pad and your holster of choice.
My internal belt is a Wilder Tactical minimalist belt. This isn’t my first battle belt, but it’s the first time I’ve ever used a rig that comes from one company entirely.
The only non-Wilder Tactical component is the Blackhawk Omnivore holster. I’m pairing it with GLOCK and AR-15 magazines. Specifically, Lancer AR mags in transparent red because why not? The Glock is my Polymer 80 build I reviewed a while back.
Breaking it Down – The Wilder Tactical Belt Pad
The Minimalist Belt pad is much smaller than your average belt pad. It’s padded, but still thin and comfortable. It’s made from laser-cut 1000D Cordura laminate. The inside of the belt has attachment points for the belt around your waist or an H harness system. The interior is also rubberized to keep the belt still and keep it from moving around when worn.
The key to the system working is how the actual belt weaves through the belt pad. There are laser cut webbing that allows you to run the belt through the weaving, and you only skip the weaving to leave room to attach your pouches and holster.
The result is superior support and the ability to mount your pouches anywhere. Other belt pads often have loops to run your belt through. These loops could sit right where you want to set a piece of gear, and you’re likely SOL.
The Wilder Tactical Pouches
The pouches are most certainly the stars of the show. Wilder has a universal pistol pouch, a Universal AR-15 pouch, and a Universal 308 pouch as well. Theses are primarily polymer pouches held together with a compression strap. This strap allows them to shrink and grow in size to accommodate various size magazines.
The pistol pouch will accommodate everything from 1911 magazines to GLOCK 21 mags. The compression strap continually puts pressure on the magazine and ensures solid retention without the need for a flap.
The Wilder Tactical Universal AR-15 magazine pouch will fit any polymer or metal magazine out there. The rifle mag pouch works on the same principle as the pistol pouch and uses a compression strap to hold the magazines in place while also accommodating magazines of various sizes.
The three holes you see in the middle allow you to stack pistol or additional rifle pouches on the rifle pouches to take up less space on your belt.
The Wilder Tactical pouches are compatible with Standard Quick Clips, Safariland 744BL Adjustable mounts, TEK-LOK, or MOLLE-Lok attachments. For the Ultimate Operator Package, I went with 1.5-inch clips.
Finally, we have the Universal Tourniquet pouch, which has all the same attachment options as the rifle and pistol pouches. It’s designed explicitly for professional-grade and proven TQs like the CAT, SOFTT, and SOFTT-W. This pouch can also be piggybacked onto rifle pouches.
While they aren’t included with the Ultimate Operator package, Wild Tactical also produces a polymer handcuff and flashlight/pepper spray pouch.
Putting it All Together
It took a little time to measure out where exactly I wanted to position my gear for easy access. I put it together, took it apart, and put it together a few times before I was running hot, heavy, and comfortable.
Putting it together is easy, but taking it apart requires a little effort. The clips fit snugly, and that is honestly a good thing. The last thing I want is my gear falling off my belt. While it was inconvenient during the sizing process, it’s well worth the security and peace of mind once you have it all where you want it.
Range Time Pain Time
Taking it to a square range wasn’t much of a test in terms of retention or durability. But it was a decent test of was how natural and comfortable intuitive the kit is.
The magazine pouches are all easy to reload from. They offer some resistance due to the compression strap design, but not enough to throw you off balance. The pistol pouches are perfectly cut to allow plenty of room for 17-round GLOCK 17 magazines. I’m using Magpuls at the moment, and I want to add a bulkier baseplate, to be honest.
I practiced reloading from the standing, kneeling, and prone positions. With the current setup, reloading the rifle is quick and easy in every position. The handgun is slightly trickier while prone, but it’s not impossible. I’m still moving parts around and experimenting.
I do like that the belt holds the mag pouches tight to it. They don’t move up and down at all when I retrieve a magazine. I can move decisively and stay on task when reloading.
Since they rely on passive retention, there’s no difficulty in accessing your magazines. I can keep my gun on target and retrieve one very quickly. If your weapon is going click, you probably should have reloaded earlier. However, when it goes click, you want to be reloading at mach Jesus.
If you do a reload with retention, it’s not difficult to place the magazine back in the carrier if you lack a dump pouch. I want to add a dump pouch to my kit soon, but with a little practice, I found plenty easy to retain a magazine if I chose to. Again this is another benefit of open-top mag pouches. Once you practice a bit and know where your gear is you’ll be able to stash magazines.
The mag pouches keep the magazines just far enough away from the body to easily get your hands in to retrieve them. I’ve used belts in the past that would propel the magazines way out there. This made reloading easy, but moving through doors and in and out of vehicles awkward.
The Wilder Tactical kit makes going through doors and small hallways a pretty bang-free affair. In a lot of contexts, it’s terrible, but in this one, I’ll take. The vehicle question is a big one. Literally, in big vehicles like trucks, vans, and SUVs, getting in and out is quick and easy. Getting into smaller cars…not so much. Also, keep in mind my 6’4″ frame already has issues in small vehicles. However, I will say it’s doable, not entirely comfortable, but plenty doable.
Comfort-wise I have no complaints. The Wilder Tactical Belt pad is sufficiently padded to keep the gear from digging into the body. The belt doesn’t rub or chafe either. It also keeps the magazines and tourniquet far enough from the body to prevent them from ripping into you.
The Extreme Comfort Test
I wanted to take the Wilder Tactical Ultimate operator package a step further in testing and practice all sorts of dynamic movement. I wanted to see how it fit and moved under stress and how well the magazines are retained when doing various movements as well as running. I had a lightbulb moment and bam, and I decided to wear the fully loaded rig while working out. I loaded the mags up to capacity, put the gun in the holster and got to it.
My workout was a circuit style that incorporated Gorilla rows, squats, farmers walks, bicep curls to shoulder press, and finished with sprints. I warmed up with a half-mile jog, did seven circuits, and then finished with another half-mile run. I live in the middle of nowhere with a mile-long driveway hidden in the woods so I could workout and jog loaded with the kit, and no one will call the police in a panic.
I was extremely impressed with the performance of the Wilder Tactical gear during my workout. The belt never shifted or loosened while moving. Everything ended right where it began.
Best of all, it was comfortable while I exercised. The only downside was a pistol mag poking me when I squatted. Other than that, the rig held up brilliantly. I was quite impressed at how comfortable it was and how well it retained my magazines and tourniquet through all the different movements I was committed to.
A Battle Belt for All
The Wilder Tactical Ultimate Operator Package is a simple, but beneficial idea. Ordering a complete kit takes the guesswork out of finding a quality belt pad and pouches. The Wilder Tactical kit gives you almost everything you need to build a configurable battle belt.
I’d add a robust IFAK, a dump pouch, and possibly a small navigational kit. As far as the basics go, the Wilder Tactical Ultimate Operator Package is an excellent way to establish the fundamentals. The gear is well-made, comfortable, and easy to use. Wilder Tactical also offers a Law Enforcement package that’s worth taking a peek at.
Colors – Black and FDE
Sizes Available – Waist Size 28 to 52
Pouch Clip Sizes – 1.5 and 1.75
Price: $200 (operator package), $54.99 (minimalist belt)
Ratings (out of five stars):
Ergonomics * * * * *
The belt is massively comfortable, the internal Minimalist Belt is comfortable and easy to adjust, and the magazine and tourniquet pouches work. They hold the gear until you need it, and they let it go with minimal argument.
Ease of Use * * * *
The whole thing is pretty easy to use and figure out. I knocked a point off because it’s difficult to remove the pouches to make adjustments. A good thing for retention, but an annoyance for setup.
Reliability * * * * *
Nothing moves drops, falls or fails in any discernible way. The kit just works and works well. It holds onto everything without issue and allows you to move, run, jump, and duck without having to worry about your gear.
Overall * * * * 1/2
From running reloads to simply running around, the WIlder Tactical Ultimate Operator Package works and works exceptionally well. It holds itself together and is an excellent means to carry extra ammo, gear, and an emergency tourniquet. The belt pad is exceptionally comfortable, and the gear gives you easy access to your ammo without retention issues.