Editor’s Note: The following is a syndicated article by author Tamara Keel that first appeared in USCCA’s Concealed Carry Magazine Volume 10, Issue 5 July 2013 under the title, “A Good Stiff Belt”
I was a gun owner for some years before I seriously began carrying a pistol, which is my excuse for coming late to the following very important revelation concerning concealed carry: Some of the most important parts of your carry gun aren’t necessarily on the gun.
When I was just throwing a small revolver in my purse or leaving it in my car on those nights when I had to work late, I never really gave much thought to its accessibility. Looking back, the gun may have made me feel safer but I’m not sure how quickly I could have gotten to it had I needed it.
When I started working in a gun store, I decided to wear a pistol on my belt while I was behind the counter, and purchased a Glock 23 and a nice Bianchi 81 PDQ holster.
I hated it.
It seemed heavy and floppy and was always banging against my elbow or trying to drag the right side of my jeans down. I waited until after I’d walked through the doors at work to reluctantly thread my heater onto my belt, and I couldn’t wait to take it off at the end of the day. My cute, stylish, on-sale-at-The-Gap belt was in no way intended to support the weight of a loaded pistol and a metal-lined, double-layered cowhide holster.
The thin and decorative belts in question were rarely much more than an inch wide, while the tunnel loops of the PDQ holster were cut to accommodate a one and three-quarter inch duty-type belt. My pistol pitched and rolled on my belt like a rowboat in a North Atlantic gale.
It was by accident that I solved my problem. I had traded the Glock for a SIG, which necessitated a new holster, and said holster just happened to have one and a half inch loops. At almost the exact same time, I picked up a wider, thick leather belt from (don’t laugh) The Gap. The difference made by a holster and belt combination that didn’t allow the gun to shift, flop and slide was amazing.
After that revelation, I started shopping for belts expressly designed to hold a holstered pistol, and have worn guns much larger and heavier than that old Glock 23 in complete comfort. In fact, I’ve been known to find myself napping atop a pistol having forgotten I was wearing it.
Make sure your belt width matches the size of your holster’s loops to keep the gun from rocking back and forth. Look for a reinforced belt to keep the pistol from flopping out and away from your body. A contoured belt will distribute the weight more evenly and make it even more resistant to rolling over or under the gun.
Like I said at the start: One of the most important parts of your carry gun isn’t part of the gun.
Discover how you can join nearly 300,000 responsibly armed Americans who already rely on the USCCA to protect their families, futures and freedoms: USCCA.com/gunsamerica.