Get Serious about your Belt–Mean Gene

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The belt is from Mean Gene Leather. Read on for more information.

The belt is from Mean Gene Leather. Read on for more information.

Buy a Serious Belt: http://www.meangeneleather.com/

Sometimes the gun world takes it self too seriously. Other times, I find that we pay too much attention to little trivial pieces of minutia while ignoring the massive big picture. Some of the most basic elements of concealed carry, for example, have little to do with the choice of caliber. Yet that’s where I see most of the heated arguments.

But what’s holding up your gun? A holster, usually. Beneath that (or above it, or behind it) is a belt. Why don’t we pay any more attention to that?

There’s more to the story. While some people (myself included) focus on the gun, and not the whole system of concealed carry, there are others who go overboard in another way. If you’ve attended a training class in the last few years, you know who I’m talking about. These are the dudes (and dudettes) who show up to a handgun class dressed for combat. They’re rocking plate carriers and battle belts. There’s a place for this, but we all know that’s not how they carry on a daily basis.

The new above the old. It was time for a replacement.

The new above the old. It was time for a replacement.

We all need to take a step back and look at how we carry from a purely analytical fashion. You need something to carry (that’s not what this article is about). You need something to carry it in (which is almost as important). And you have to have some way of tying it all together. Even if all you’re carrying is a little Kel-Tec P3AT and a spare mag, you have to hold up those pants.

Get a Serious Belt

I’m a fan of custom leather work. As I work from home, I typically dress down. Boots and jeans. I’ve been wearing this belt in the image below for 15 years. It is ragged out. The leather, which I stopped caring for ages ago, is rotting. It is a miracle that it makes it through the day. But that’s how I am. I wear things until they fall apart. Then I’ll buy another.

My old belt had conformed to my shape. Comfortable, for sure, but not ideal.

My old belt had conformed to my shape. Comfortable, for sure, but not ideal.

But I bought a new belt–an Victory Aegis Belt from Mean Gene Leather . I figured it was time. I found Mean Gene Leather online. I called up Gene Higdon (Mean Gene) and we talked for a long time about his belts. They’re purpose built for daily carry. These things are thick and rigid. Unlike my tired belt, this one is more likely to retain its shape thanks to the way it is constructed. The belt is built of two pieces of cow hide with a webbed core. This core is glued into the belt, and then the whole thing is sewn together.

The liner helps the leather hold its shape. The combination of materials makes the belt less prone to stretching and warping.

The liner helps the leather hold its shape. The combination of materials makes the belt less prone to stretching and warping.

The buckle screws on with Chicago screws. No more rivets.

The buckle screws on with Chicago screws. No more rivets.

And it is rigid. And thick. It is so think that it is a bit unforgiving. Some holsters (especially hand-made Kydex holsters) have tight loops. Where my old belt would conform, this one is a bit more dominant. But it will flex into place. And it rides exceptionally well.

Since it is my gun belt, I thought I'd take it all the way.

Since it is my gun belt, I thought I’d take it all the way.

The buckle is from Ares Gear. Mean Gene is selling the belts with them. It is a stainless buckle that secures the belt with a toothed bar that slides into place under the belt. As these are steel, they are solid. After wearing mine for a while, I took it down to the local engraver–Trophies Unlimited–here in Fort Smith. I had them cut the less-than-subtle warning on the belt. I thought the proverbial Come-and-Take-Them would be fitting. Those who are familiar with the slogan will understand its meaning at once. Those who don’t, won’t get easily intimidated by my belt buckle.

All told, I’m sold. Not only does it fit, and function flawlessly, it is much better looking than what its replacing. The finish is a consistent even color. The stitching is evenly spaced and flawless. The sides are burnished and finished–every detail is what you’d expect from a belt made by hand.

The cobra buckle requires a bit more work, but may be even better than the one I have.

The Barbarian Belt requires a bit more work, but may be even better than the one I have.

And there are other options. The belts come in other colors. The stitching patterns can be more ornate. If you don’t want a roller buckle, you can have a traditional buckle–that’s the Shooter’s belt.

And you can even go one step farther and get one with a cobra buckle (the Barbarian Belt). That was one of the funniest moments in the conversation I had with Mean Gene. I asked if you would have to take off the buckle in order to put on a holster. The answer is, of course, yes. You have to know that going in.

If you want to see how Mean Gene Higdon get mean, ask him about the folks who buy a Barbarian Belt and then bitch about having to take off the buckle to put on their holsters.

That’s what this is all about. We baby our guns, but stick them in the holsters and let them ride. Still, we pay attention to them. We protect them. Treasure them. And rightfully so. But we all tend to ignore the rest of the equation. And when we have to work a little bit–like taking off a buckle–in order to get the best possible carry system, we bitch and groan. Go figure. Even about the daily rituals with which we are obsessed, we are too often lazy.

Well, these aren’t lazy belts. And they’re not meant for those half-assed wing nuts who don’t have their priorities straight. They’re meant for those of us who are serious about carrying guns. Prices range from $79.95 up.

Belts with holes mean small adjustments. Here you can see how much my weight has fluctuated over 15 years. A roller buckle will keep the belt from stretching so badly.

Belts with holes mean small adjustments. Here you can see how much my weight has fluctuated over 15 years. A roller buckle will keep the belt from stretching so badly.

Did I mention this thing is thick? .35".

Did I mention this thing is thick? .35″.

There's really no comparison. There wouldn't have been when this belt was new, either.

There’s really no comparison. There wouldn’t have been when this belt was new, either.

You can customize the buckles and make them as subtle or as garish as you'd like.

You can customize the buckles and make them as subtle or as garish as you’d like. I like the way that this is both instantly recognizable to allies, and innocuous to the rest.

 

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Nick January 12, 2016, 12:56 pm

    I like the leather and the buckle but is there another color available?

  • Bud Carrigan December 15, 2015, 10:29 am

    Finding a good tactical belt that has a Cobra buckle and a zippered money pocket is impossible. I would think that many would like to carry a few bills hidden away, but nobody seems to be making the money belt with Cobra buckle.

  • Fred May 23, 2015, 4:41 pm

    Too thick.

  • Phil May 18, 2015, 9:37 pm

    .35 thick???…that’s .100 thicker than 1/4 inch and .025 thinner than 3/8 inch…I don’t believe it !!!

  • Phil May 18, 2015, 9:34 pm

    .35 thick ????…that’s .100 thicker than a quarter inch and .025 thinner than 3/8 inch….I don’t believe it !!!

  • Dave Smith May 18, 2015, 8:36 pm

    By far, the best belt I have ever purchased was from Boxer Tactical on Amazon.com. Solid, sturdy, and made 100% in the USA with American raw materials.

  • Leetrav May 18, 2015, 7:49 pm

    I looked at your old belt…then at mine…again at yours…and then mine. I need a new belt!

  • Tomah May 18, 2015, 11:51 am

    I went to the web site…Is Mean Gene color blind ?

  • David May 18, 2015, 10:52 am

    Thompson Tactical is another great option with similar materials.

  • Glen Heppner May 18, 2015, 8:07 am

    Thanks for a good article on a subject not examined too often. Mike & Tracy Pillsbury own “A Better Belt USA” in Houston. They have a style of belt within their selections called “The Perfect Fit Belt.”

    This born and bred and resident Hoosier thinks this belt from Texas has no peers. I own 2 of them, one black, one brown, and have been wearing them 7 days a week since November 2013. Neither belt’s “shape” has changed one millimeter! Read up on ’em and give ’em a call. Their customer service is second to none to boot (pun intended). No, I’m not related to them. I’m spoutin’ off because I believe their product is that good.

  • Will Drider May 14, 2015, 12:26 am

    In addition to stability for your handgun, your belt and locking device should be able to lock at any lenght an support a minimum of 3X your weight for survival applications. Length should be 1.25 X your waist size. A dual purpose money belt can be found. Any buckle that locks in a hole is worthless.

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