What Makes a Gun Belt Last a Lifetime?
The arguments for getting a high quality gun belt is simple: the right gun belt can last you a lifetime. While a department store belt can often be cheaper, they're usually made out of cruddier materials that can result in gun sag, deformation due to body posture, and discomfort. A big thing we always tell concealed carriers who are having a hard time of sticking with everyday carry due to comfort reasons is, “have you tried a good gun belt?”
Often times, people will invest hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their everyday carry handgun but don't want to spare the additional pennies on getting the right equipment to make everyday carry easier.
Multiple Layers Of High Quality Leather
One strip of thick, durable leather will last a good long while but even the best strip of leather will deform naturally to contour with your unique body shape. If you've ever put on someone else's belt, you're immediately struck with how even if the belt “fits”, it doesn't fit as true as when it's on its owner.
If you've ever gone horseback riding, chances are really good that the saddles and leather are constructed from 14 oz. or greater English Bridle leather. There's a reason why a good saddle will last a lifetime – English Bridle leather holds up fantastic to the elements and wear and tear.
With a double reinforced, high quality leather belt, it's going to maintain a nice straight line no matter what. More importantly, the leather will act as a nice brace ideal for lower back support. If you're seated for long stretches of time, this sort of belt will prove itself many times over – especially when you go to stand up.
One of the unique qualities of a great gun belt is a reinforcing layer between the leather. Something like spring-coil steel or similar can act as a great guide to keep both strips of leather on the straight and narrow. Most gun belts use plastic which isn't very flexible and thus makes the belt uncomfortable. A steel core gun belt combines both strength and flexibility for superior support and comfort.
Corrosion Resistant Buckle
A rusty belt buckle is going to be a giant pain. Steel will corrode given enough time exposed to the wind and the rain. Having a nickel-plated roller will ensure that over the course of the lifetime of the belt, it will remain easy to buckle and unbuckle. More importantly, a good, sturdy buckle ensures that once it's notched into place – it stays notched until you say otherwise.
All of these pieces, when done properly, make for a belt that will stay true no matter what you put it through. English bridle leather, multiple layers, a steel-reinforced core, military-grade stitching, and a buckle that won't give – what's not to love about getting the right gun belt for your everyday carry?
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.