Editor’s Note: The following is a post by Mark Kakkuri, a nationally published freelance writer who covers guns and gear, 2nd Amendment issues and the outdoors. His writing and photography have appeared in many firearms-related publications, including the USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @markkakkuri.
Read Mark’s previous articles in this “Top Five” series:
- Top Five Types of Revolver Grips
- And Top Five Questions I Get as a Gun Owner
- The Top Five Glock Enhancements
- Top Five Belly Bands
- Top Five Hollywood Gun Handling Awards
The term “everyday carry” (or EDC) has made its way into the public consciousness, even if not directly related to matters of self-defense. EDC gear, for some, simply includes a wallet, mobile device, set of keys and maybe a comb. EDC gear, for others, includes more techie stuff: a tablet and/or notebook computer, headphones or earbuds, a portable charger, and a paper notebook and pen. For you readers, EDC gear probably leans a bit more tactical: concealed carry pistol (holstered), spare magazine or other type of reload, folding knife, and flashlight. And that’s usually in addition to a lot of the other EDC gear already mentioned.
While some of our EDC gear can end up in a messenger bag or backpack, some of it also ends up in pockets or hanging off our belts. In either case, the ability to keep our carry gear stable, secure and accessible becomes paramount. And that’s where the oldest everyday carry gear item in the books comes in — the belt. But not just any belt. I’m talking about a true gun belt — one designed to bear the weight primarily of a handgun but also of the other gear we might strap, lash or loop onto a belt. With that, here are my top five everyday carry belts.
1. Blackbeard Peacekeeper Duty Belt ($95.90)
Meant for 3-gun competitions or those times when you’d like to securely attach another person to your belt, the Peacekeeper is made from a polymer-coated nylon measuring 1.5 inches wide and 5/32 inches thick. As the only non-leather offering in this list, the Peacekeeper shows how far plastics manufacturing has come in terms of good looks and durability.
Here is a plastic belt that won’t bend, roll over or stretch yet is perfectly flexible no matter the weather. And while you can drive a giant truck over the Peacekeeper and not harm it (Blackbeard has a video of this on their site), the main feature is the buckling system that literally ratchets in ¼-inch increments as tight as you need it but lets go with the flick of a single switch. The system provides 9 inches of adjustability and goes on and off in a snap. And indeed it provides a stable platform for a variety of guns. Made in the USA.
Visit the Blackbeard website to learn more about the Peacekeeper.
2. Disse Amerihide 1.25-Inch Gun Belt ($59.95)
Here’s one of my favorite everyday casual gun belts. Durable and good-looking, especially if you get the colored thread in the stitching, the Amerihide belts feature a dual layer of leather, which provides great support. At only 1.25 inches wide (you can get one in 1.5 and 1.75 inches as well), it can still handle an outside-the-waistband holster and a smallish gun, but the belt really excels with inside-the-waistband carry, especially appendix carry.
Pull it as tight as you need it; the leather is strong and the buckling system is up to the task. The stainless steel roller buckle makes cinching a cinch and, over time, the leather forms a nice patina as it breaks in. But breaking in doesn’t suggest weakening in any way; the Disse is as good at holding a gun as the day I got it.
Shop the Disse website to learn more about the Amerihide belt.
3. Escape and Evasion Belt ($79)
As a certified luggage nerd, I love gear that aids in travel. But even when I’m not traveling, I’ll use the Escape and Evasion Belt not so much for escaping and evading but simply for being prepared for whatever. Besides being a legit gun belt — durable, stiff and stabilizing for a concealed carry rig — the Escape and Evasion Belt features zippered hidden pockets on the inside of the belt.
In these, you can carry whatever you think you need for daily survival or travel emergencies. While the belt’s founder, Jason Hanson, carries lock-picking tools, a handcuff key and a utility blade knife (among other things), I keep things a bit more simple: a couple of extra $20 bills, an extra house or car key, and a thin survival tool (the kind which can slip into a wallet).
Visit the Escape and Evasion Belt website to learn more. Retail is $79.
4. Galco Dress Belt ($89.95)
While carrying a concealed handgun usually demands clothing choices that can only be described as baggy and untucked, sometimes dressing like that just isn’t possible. The dress code at the office in which I work in each day still demands dress pants and a tucked-in, buttoned-down shirt. As such, while I could use a tuckable holster, sometimes I opt for an undershirt holster (built into the t-shirt) or an ankle holster.
In any case, my go-to dress belt is a Galco SB1 dress belt. Here’s a gun belt that doesn’t look like a gun belt. It easily handles guns in tuckable holsters, guns in quickie IWB clip holsters and more. And on the occasion where I’m wearing a suit, I’ll go for a matching outside-the-waistband holster. Very sharp, very solid.
Visit the Galco website to learn more about the Dress Belt.
5. Versacarry Double Ply Leather Belt ($49.99)
Finally, here’s the gun belt that tops the “outrageous value” category. Available in a variety of colors, Versacarry’s Double Ply is exactly that: two strong layers of leather.
Measuring 1.5 inches wide, this is the casual belt you wear with a favorite pair of jeans and your favorite carry gun. It’s got just the right amount of flex and only loosens up a little bit over time. It’s strong, good-looking and worth the price, even if you never carry a gun or any other gear on it. But you should because it can handle just about anything.
Visit the Versacarry website to learn more about the Double Ply Leather Belt.
Every one of these gun belts has endured not just an abundance of holsters but also myriad accessories and other gear attached to them. Sometimes, it’s a carabiner clipped to the belt strap; sometimes, a metal clip or two. All of the belts can handle the extra weight without any problem (assuming it is cinched tight around my waist), but the constant application and removal of a metal clip will start to wear down the leather over time. All in all, it’s great to have such a wide variety of gun belts available to us today. And no matter what you carry, every day or otherwise, a solid gun belt makes carrying all the more effective.
Discover how you can join more than 200,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.