Many people, especially those who choose to carry concealed, carry their gun in a holster. A good, purpose-made gun belt is very important to help bring out the best in a holster. Let’s have a look at gun belts and holsters.
Most department-store belts are fine, but they’re not made to withstand the weight of a gun. Even a small gun like my Smith & Wesson M&P Shield M2.0 will cause the belt to buckle under the weight of the gun and holster. What that will do is cause the grip of the gun to lean away from your body, and the muzzle of the gun to dig into your thigh. It will feel rather uncomfortable.
An actual gun belt is much thicker and more rigid. It will support the weight of the gun much better. Get a good gun belt before you start testing and buying holsters. Otherwise you may dismiss a perfectly fine holster as inadequate, when the problem is actually with the belt.
Belts come in two major flavors, leather and nylon. Both are very rigid, and which one you choose is typically a matter of personal preference. Some people get one of each, and wear the one that’s appropriate with the pants they’re wearing.
I prefer leather belts, but I’ve found that most of them have ugly buckles that easily identify the belt as a gun belt. That doesn’t help with concealability. The one belt that I found that has a buckle that I like and is a belt I could wear with dress slacks is the Vedder Leather Belt. Of course, this is a purely personal decision.
Nylon belts themselves come in several styles. The first has a nylon loop that you use to cinch the belt tight . The second also has a nylon loop, but has a quick-release buckle that prevents you from having to cinch the belt to the proper tightness every time you put it back on, and makes removing the belt a lot easier as well. For example, the Vedder Nylon Belt. The third kind that I have seen have ratcheting buckles that work using friction. Again, which one you choose is based on your personal style and preference. I can’t tell you that one is superior to the other.
There are two main kinds of holsters: Those worn inside the waistband of your pants (IWB), and those worn outside the waistband (OWB). With IWB holsters you have to wear pants that are about 2 inches wider at the waist than you would normally wear. The holster is attached to your belt and most of the gun is concealed by your pants. I find these kinds of holsters to be rather uncomfortable. But they do work well in the summer when you don’t have a concealing jacket or thick shirt. Most IWB holsters are worn by people who want to carry their weapon concealed (legally, of course).
OWB holsters also attach to your belt, but to the outside. This keeps the gun away from the body, resulting in greater comfort and range of movement, but also more difficulty with concealing the weapon.
Many modern holsters are made of Kydex, a lightweight, firm material that’s actually easier on the finish of a gun than even leather. Some holsters, known as hybrid holsters have both leather (against your body) and Kydex (towards the outside).
There are several ways that a holster can be attached to your belt. Some holsters have plastic or metal clips that clip on to your belt. Some have loops. Some have slots that you thread your belt through. Personally, I’ve found that OWB paddle holsters are most comfortable. They’re named that because they have a large clip that looks like a paddle. Their main benefit is that they can easily be removed if you’re going some place where you cannot carry a gun (like a school). My personal favorite is the Vedder Pro Draw holster.
Continue reading: Legal Defense: The Fight After the Fight
Image taken from https://www.vedderholsters.com/gun-belts/ ↩