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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.