Guns for Beginners: Buy a Proper Gun Belt


As someone who carries a 41-ounce handgun, take it from me: #beltsmatter. Not only do I have to use a belt that’s stiffer than a quadruple shot of whiskey, I have to cinch it tighter than Sinbad Jr. facing a pack of pirates. In fact, I couldn’t carry my Wilson without a top notch (so to speak) gun belt. To lessen the wear-and-tear on my midsection, I’ve taken to donning a Tommy John always tucked undershirt; it makes drawing from my K-Rounds OWB holster a lot smoother and helps maintain blood flow to my nether regions. Highly recommended. The T-shirt, not my nether regions. Anyway, a good carry system needs a solid foundation: a proper gun belt. The definition of proper being . . .

the stiffest belt you can stomach (literally). Consider a Kydex-reinforced belt; they’re hideously expensive and worth every penny. Also buy a belt that offers as much adjustment as possible. There will be times when you’re carrying a gun in a holster attached to your belt, and times when you’re not. Regardless of the size, weight, shape or carry system you use, those are two very different settings. Hence the fact that I’m highlighting the adjustable KORE ESSENTIALS belt above. I haven’t tested it for stiffness, but the idea seems sound. Perhaps TTAG readers can recommend belts for beginners. But please, not in white. Unless you’ve got the tasselled loafers to match.


  1. avatar locke_n_load says:

    Never had a problem carrying my glock 26 using a good leather belt. Gotta match my boots, and look good for Open Carry come January 1st!

    1. avatar Jimmyjames says:

      What he said. Other than Safariland belts for 20 years of IPSC/USPSA, a good LL Bean or Eddie Bauer leather belt has always worked just fine for EDC.

    2. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:


    3. avatar Chuck in IL says:

      Buy a real gun belt and you will see the wisdom of this article. There is a difference.

    4. avatar Laughingdog says:

      I agree on the G26 being just fine with a normal dress belt. I have a Galco IWB holster (looks like they call it the Ultimate Second Amendment model now) that I’ve had for about a decade now that has worked fine with the heaviest belt I could find at Ralph Lauren. But with anything more sizable, a proper gun belt makes a world of difference, especially when carrying IWB with something like the Comp-Tac IWB holsters.

  2. avatar peirsonb says:

    I’ve been wearing a Blackhawk! Instructors Gun Belt daily for about 3 years now. The price was right (read: I had a gift card). I have no complaints. Besides being a good gun belt it’s probably the best belt I’ve ever owned. Granted, I’ve always worn Cheap-Mart specials…

    Plus, in a pinch it can be used as a tow strap. Because why not…

  3. avatar Cory says:

    Highly recommend the SOE Cobra Riggers belt… I have two, both also have the Velcro lining for extra stiffness. I have used them to carry up to a 4″ 1911 with steel frame. Well worth every penny

    1. avatar Guerrero says:

      I have the “little brother” to the SOE Cobra Rigger’s belt, the SOE EDC belt. Indeed worth every penny.

    2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      I have been running the SOE low profile EDC belt for the last two years. Hard to beat and nothing to poke me when I sit down, though it looks like I may need a smaller size soon after loosing a fair amount of lard this last year.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Tell me about it. Mine is elephant with sterling hardware (not cheap!), and I’ve lost 2 inches in the past few months, and intend to lose more. I’m going to try to have the belt shortened, but I understand 2″ is about the minimum you can shorten the type I have, I may go 3″ to hope it will serve longer. The belt is pretty stiff, but I haven’t tried a 41 oz gun on it, either. Currently around 17 1/2 oz, works fine.

        1. avatar John L. says:

          This is one reason I like the Crossbreed Instructor. As I lose pounds a drill bit makes a new hole, and (if necessary) shears take off the excess length.

          The CB Instructor has the extra length to the inside, not the outside, of the belt so the cut end never shows.

          In any case I’m also having to buy new clothes. But as my wife says, going this direction it’s both an expense she’s glad we have, and it gives her a chance to update my fashion choices.

  4. avatar Lance F says:

    I got mine from Dal tech force, a black and a brown in super bio. They are great, non leather, very stiff, and have a lifetime warranty. The customer service was great too. These belts and a Dara holster (post TTAG review) made a huge difference in comfort and control.

    1. avatar Rokurota says:

      GREAT belt.

    2. avatar Hillsrider says:

      Use it everyday for concealed carry.

  5. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Also, go with as wide of a belt as you can. Most jeans and pretty much all outdoor clothing will accept 1 3/4″ belts. You won’t have to wear it as tightly and it will hold the gun much better.

    1. avatar Charlie says:

      +1. Wider equals less floppy. Wrangler jeans and most other western wear will accommodate a 1 3/4 inch belt.

  6. avatar Ryan says:

    Ares Gear Aegis belt is just awesome. Expensive for a belt, but I own two and they have been well worth the price.

    1. avatar DevilNuts says:

      I have the Ageis belt and while I like it, I do however not like the buckle very much. The buckle is MASSIVE. It sticks out so much under a T-shirt, it’s just too damn bulky.

  7. avatar vince says:

    I’ve got the Andsen belt, which utilizes the same ratchet system. That part is great. The problem is in the toothed lever that holds the buckle to the belt itself. Over time it stretches out the belt material to the point where once unbuckled, the buckle can just fall to the ground. I’ve lost one into the toilet and had another one nearly break my toe. And that’s just from the stress of just keeping my pants up. Adding the weight of a gun…..

    1. avatar Karl Kozak says:

      Vince – We are familiar with the Anson ratchet belt (not Andsen). And it is a regular, fashion belt and NOT intended for concealed weapons carry. The leather is not reinforced and the buckle has not been modified. It’s merely intended to hold up your pants – that’s it.
      On the other hand – we designed the KORE Trakline X1 and X2 belts specifically to hold a concealed firearm. The genuine leather is reinforced and our buckle uses an entirely different mechanism meant to carry the extra weight and stress. So although you may recognize the track type system – the 2 belts are very different in many ways. Additionally, our belts have been field tested and passed with flying colors. Thanks Karl Kozak – Kore Essentials, Inc.

  8. avatar David says:

    I have a 5.11 leather belt that works great when carrying a full size gun OWB, but it works very poorly with my EDC LC9s in a Sticky holster. The stiffness of the belt actually leaves gaps around the gun, particularly for appendix carry, holding it less securely.

    1. avatar TheOtherDavid says:

      True that. Love the Sticky/Remora options but less belt stiffness, with a good sound buckle, is the key for that style.

  9. avatar John L. says:

    Fan of the Crossbreed Instructor belt here. Simple, strong, looks good.

  10. avatar BigBoy says:

    The 1and 1/4 inch polymer lined Mirage leather belt from U ncle Mikes is the best quality/cost belt for concealed carry. Too bad Uncle Mikes discontinued it. I’ready to buy another.

  11. avatar fishydude says:

    I like the Kore X2. The fine adjustable step will make it easier to properly adjust for the different IWB holsters I have. 1″ holes don’t really allow for the small differences between a 2 clip kydex hybrid, single clip leather, all kydex single clip or a mini hybrid.
    I Will have to order one of those.

  12. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

    Galco “Cop Belt” for me. 1 1/2″, very sturdy solid leather. Got it for about $80 on Amazon. Be sure to order it bigger than you think you need.

  13. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    my cabela’s new zealand upland belt goes quite well with my brazilian h.h.traask tassel loafers.
    unfortunately for this fashion plate, it is showing signs of distress and will need replacement.
    jake belt? horsehide?
    somethin’. that cz isn’t going to carry itself…

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      1 1/2″ elephant is beautiful, feels great, and is stiff, though not as stiff as some thick leather I’ve tried, which were so stiff it was hard to bend them around me. Not really flashy before you get BBQ hardware for it, like my sterling from Rewards. Belt alone was around $200.

  14. avatar Aaron says:

    Guns for beginners: buy a GUN. Then, if you have dough, buy accessories.

  15. avatar Roadking says:

    I have been wearing Rafter S belts for the last 10 years. It’s a shame what happened to the business, but I was able to contact Steve and have another made since I lost weight. Should be here this week. For the price and the quality they can’t be beat.

  16. avatar Rick says:

    I use a stiff leather belt from bullhide belts. I think it was under $80.

    1. avatar Gary Schulze says:

      I also have a Bullhide belt. They come in different widths, from 1.25″ to 1.75″. They are extra thick and there are several buckles to choose from.

      And if you have a giant breed dog like a mastiff they sell dog collars and will do a custom length. Our boy looks quite handsome in his.

  17. avatar Ken in TN says:

    I swore by my Galco Instructors Belt, but then i got a SOE EDC belt and havent gone back for even a single day.

  18. avatar Hawkeye says:

    Since nobody else has said it: The Volund Gearworks Atlas G-Hook belt is the best belt for the buck.

  19. avatar Chris says:

    This article was full of links to things I didn’t know existed, but will make my life better. Thanks.

  20. avatar CarlosT says:

    I’ve really enjoyed the belt I got from the Belt Man:

    It’s a double layer bullhide belt and it’s very stable. It’s probably due for replacement after four years of daily wear, but it’s served me very well.

    1. avatar Khumanos says:

      I agree. I have a few from this guy and love all of them!

  21. avatar Binder says:

    Safariland – L820 Plainclothes Dress Belt 1-1/4″
    Safariland – L830 Plainclothes Belt 1-1/2″
    You can get them for $30, $20 on sale.
    Nice and simple, no tactical nylon.

  22. avatar Josh in TX says:

    5.11 leather and 5.11 nylon instructor. Both plastic reinforced both work great with heavy guns and both available at most gander mountain stores an cables stores for less than 80 bucks. There is nicer stuff out there but there is something to be said about being able to try the thing on at a common store before buying.

  23. avatar some dude says:

    video removed by user. WTF?

  24. avatar Elliott says:


  25. avatar freeflyer says:

    I just received my Kore X2 gun belt today, actually ordered it the day this review came out since I was looking for a new belt. The order processed and shipped within hours of me ordering online – impressive. I already have one “ratchet style” belt, a Mission Belt company (saw them on Shark Tank) belt which I really like vs the traditional belt with punched holes. The problem (or benefit if you simply want a plain belt, not for ccw) with the Mission belt is the leather is very soft, which while comfortable does not work well for carrying the weight of a holster. This Kore X2 seems to be very well made, and the belt feels like it will be great for everyday carry. I have tried it with my IWB glock 19 crossbreed-style holster, my IWB shield holster, and my OWB shield holster. It seems to carry the weight just fine, and does not sag or lack support. I’ve only had it a few hours but I am extremely happy with it so far. Highly recommended.

  26. avatar fishydude says:

    Just ordered an X2 🙂

  27. avatar Shawn Cooper says:

    Introducing our new X1 & X2 GUN BELTS. Link to > These unique EDC Gun Belts feature a hidden track sewn into the back of the leather to create 40+ sizing positions, in small 1/4″ increments. That means no more belt holes to crease, stretch, or try to fit your waist to. Instead, our CCW belts provide a perfect, secure fit – with a smooth, fast draw. The patented buckles are constructed of high-grade, zinc alloy, and the only difference between models is the style. Belts are reinforced, top-grain leather (1.5″ wide), One-Size fits all waist sizes from 24” to 54”, and designed to support light to medium firearms up to 3 lbs. total weight (IWB or OWB).

  28. avatar Newshawk says:

    I don’t carry concealed–yet. However, I work at a Walmart and wear a radio and box knife on my belt every day. The concept still applies–get a good belt to carry the load. I think I’m going to give the Kore Essentials Trakline EDC belt a try. If it’s good enough for my work gear, I’m sure it’ll be perfect when I start carrying in the new year.

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