It’s 3 am. Your wife nudges you awake. (Maybe it is your husband. Or girlfriends. Or dog. Whatever–play along.) She whispers the classic words “I heard a noise outside.” You retrieve your trusty carry piece off the nightstand and tiptoe down stairs. As you descend, you hear it too. Damn. All those years of cheap earplugs, it is a burglar! As you continue toward the front of your house, it grows steadily louder. Burglars? Gang fight in the front yard? You throw open the curtains to your living room, and are greeted by hell on earth. Zombies! Fast Zombies at that! And the flood waters are rising! The neighbors houses are all on fire… and no… surely not! North Korean paratroopers descend from the sky, so thick they black out the moon. Yep, welcome to it. All the worst scenarios you have rolled into one. And you are facing it in your underwear holding a PF9.
I’m not belittling the little 9mm, I carried a Kel-Tec for years. My point is that there is a reason we like little guns. They are easy to conceal, they cover the problems we are likely to face on the street, and its generally frowned on in polite company to rock a plate carrier full of shotgun shells. And lets be honest. For all day walking around, doing my real job, a double stack 45 stuck in my pants gets heavy. Defending my home though, I like to bring much more substantial hardware. Tactical gun set up is for another day, right now I present: The under the bed emergency gun belt.
The model I currently use is the VTAC Brokos belt. I was fortunate enough to be around when the Brokos belt hit the market, and it is light-years ahead of the old non-padded belts we used to wear. Less than a decade ago the standard for military assaulters was a 2.5 inch thick super stiff belt, to which you attached your pistol and pistol mags. Usually with duct tape. I’m completely serious. In elite US forces. The duct tape wasn’t actually the attachment point, but it is what you used to keep your holster and other pouches ( charge bag, dump pouch etc) from sliding around. If you were super high speed, it had Velcro lining the inside of the belt, then the belt that actually held up your pants had outward facing Velcro, to keep the entire system from moving around your body. They were heavy, uncomfortable, and had a bad habit of rubbing your body raw when you wore them over 2 hours. In short, they sucked, but they were all we had. You don’t know what you are missing until you get an awesome piece of gear. And the VTAC Brokos is that.
The first time I put a Brokos belt on, complete with all my accoutrements, it felt like I was wearing a Cadillac made of helium. Comfortable like a lazy boy, and it seemed to somehow have reduced the weight. There is a genius in the lab at VTAC that made the 30 pounds of gear that goes on your waist feel great! I have actually been using a Brokos for a long time. Nice thing about that, I can speak with authority to the durability and long-term comfort. I wore the same one for an average of 9 hours a day, 250 days a year, for 3 years, while teaching Urban Combat. Never a distressed seam, and it only got more comfortable the longer I wore it.
Back to the point of what we are talking about. What are you going to put on it? This is where we run into a bit of operator preference. As a combat load out, most guys I knew ran a variation on a theme. The Brokos held all the vital stuff in case you had to drop your armor and run. ( That’s the short word for Escape and Evade.) This is a pretty standard fear in recce. Go watch “ Lone Survivor” if you don’t believe me. The load out would be 2 frag grenades, a couple rifle mags, small survival kit, pistol, knife and water. Not a lot of change, some guys added pistol magazines, some ran 3 grenades etc. The load out for an emergency at your house belt is going to be a little different though, as is mine now.
My house belt starts on the right side with a Safariland ELS 2” drop plate with a Safariland ALS holster. I like this system because I run ALS for 3 gun as well, and before I go to bed I can pop the holster of my current race gun onto the emergency belt. Odds are I just spent time dry firing that gun, and it limits the guns I have to have out of the safe at anyone time. I should point out here that I don’t have children, so I feel comfortable with a gun in the holster under my bed. At any rate, I can change from 1911 to Glock 34 or whatever without actually having to take the belt apart.
On the right side I keep an old double 40mm pouch. The first hole has pistol magazines in it, the second a handheld light. For a combat rig I much prefer having my magazines secured by Velcro, Kydex just doesn’t cut it for me. The 40mm grenade size holds 2 Glock or 4 1911 magazines, which I like. I never carried a spare pistol magazine in combat (after I had some experience), but that was different. I had a rifle (sometimes 2), grenade launcher, rockets, and lots of friends with the same. A pistol magazine never seemed worth the real estate on my belt. In a crisis at my house though, I might have just my pistol. Walking around the back yard with an AR looking for a raccoon at 3 am is probably going to get the police called. But if I walk into a hornet’s nest of bad guys I am going to be very happy I have those spare pistol magazines.
Next on my belt is a double SR-25 magazine pouch, again secured by Velcro. I did say SR-25 not AR-15. Another ninja showed me a few years ago, an SR mag pouch will hold 308 or 5.56 magazines. The reverse is not true. My theory on this is that my 3 gun rifle is usually in a gun bag in my living room, and if I have to leave the house in a hurry, I will probably have time to grab it too. Two on the belt and one in the gun is a substantial amount of firepower for most urban situations. If I needed more than that things have gone very wrong.
Following that on the belt is a solid fixed blade. Utility knives vs. dedicated fighting knives is a discussion for another day, but my home belt has a reasonable sized utility knife. Currently I am rocking a Spartan Blades Harsey-Difensa. It is 11 5/8” overall, with a 6 1/4” blade. Spartan and Will Harsey designed this knife for a Canadian Special Operations Force, and it is a thing of beauty. Big enough to do any job I need done, not so big as to be obnoxious. In a crisis I mostly plan on a knife opening things or serving as a camp tool. The Harsey does an outstanding job of this, and is also more than capable of giving some one the stabby stabs if things go haywire. It is worth noting here too, I intentionally offset my pistol and knife on opposite sides of the belt. If Taliban Steve is trying to take your pistol away from your strong hand, six inches of razor sharp steel in your weak hand will discourage him. 9 times out of 10, they never see it coming.
Next on my belt, a tourniquet rubber banded to the molle. In away games combat, a lot of guys put an actual med kit here, tourniquet on top. My house belt theory is that a tourniquet is plenty. One-I am a trying to keep my belt as slim as possible. My exfil vehicle is an F-150, not a Humvee or a Crashhawk. I’m going to have a hard time driving if I my belt is to thick. Two-hopefully if I need medical attention, the sounds of me decisively winning the engagement have summoned the local PD and an ambulance. Three- If it actually is Armageddon in the streets, I have other med supplies in the house and truck go bag.
Last but not least, my loot bag dump pouch. Dump pouches went in and out of vogue during my CQB time, but I always liked them. In the old days we used them to drop partially expended magazines in, until we all kinda realized that was pointless. In a CQB fight at least, team USA isn’t giving up an inch. We can collect the partial mags when we are counting dead guys for the report. In a survival situation saving partials makes all the sense in the world though. A dump pouch is much quicker than trying to put half empties back in a magazine pouch, and works very well. A dump pouch in combat is also useful for a variety of other things. Indigenous forces are notorious for robbing the target house blind DURING the assault. A dump pouch for an American doubles as an evidence bag. If you see something that looks like evidence, you can drop it right in as you move through the structure. Sort it out later. Same for you if you are running through the streets escaping the onslaught of the crab people or whatever. You will be very happy for that can of Campbell’s soup later. I like my dump pouch exactly centered on the back of the belt, it tends to minimize the annoying bounce when it is full. You will notice I left water carrier off the list of belt kit. The dump pouch also doubles as a water bottle holder, and does it quite nicely.
That sounds like a lot of kit for a belt Clay, why not just wear a chest rig/vest? Glad you asked. Later we will have an entire article on those two items, but in certain application a Brokos Belt has distinct advantages. To go investigate what is likely the cat knocking over a dish, armor just feels a little silly. A belt is much faster to put on and take off, which also gets you to the source of the noise faster. Also consider the tactical application of a lower profile system. You look much less conspicuous in a belt than you do a plate carrier. Say you open your door and find the local 5-0 looking for a bad guy they where chasing in your backyard. This has actually happened to me. The belt will probably not even be noticed, they will be looking at your hands (now up the air–they have guns out) and your face. You have a much better chance of explaining you are the home owner than if that same flashlight beam reveals an AR across your chest and a Johnnie Rambo bullet bouncer covered in mags. The same holds true for if you are driving out of a bad situation (riot whatever). A belt disappears below your window line. A full up vest makes you look like someone the local authorities might want to talk to.
What’s on your belt? Add it to the comments below.