VTAC Brokos Belt–What’s under your bed when the Revolution starts?

The Brokos Belt by VTAC is the foundation for a flexible, customizable way to stay organized and move fast.

The Brokos Belt by VTAC is the foundation for a flexible, customizable way to stay organized and move fast.

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.


How else would you gather all of this up in one simple movement?

How else would you gather all of this up in one simple movement?

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.

You can get fancy and match all of the camo patterns, or simply go for utility.

You can get fancy and match all of the camo patterns, or simply go for utility.

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.

A modular holster system, like that from Safariland, will allow you to mix things up without the hassle of changing out the holster.

A modular holster system, like that from Safariland, will allow you to mix things up without the hassle of changing out the holster attachments.

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.

The knife is a tool and a weapon.

The Spartan Blades Harsey-Difensa knife is a tool that doubles as a weapon.

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.

Brocos 018

The VTAC Brokos Belt has an MSRP of $199.95. You will need a belt to hold it up, and pouches and holsters, too. All told, it is an investment worth making. If you ever need it, you’ll understand what I mean.

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.

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The belts are available in green, black, tan, and camo.

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Keeping everything together is easy with the right gear.


A concealed carry rig is one thing. Really being prepared is another, but it still doesn’t have to be over-the-top. A Brokos belt is more easily concealed than you’d think, and much easier to hide than a chest rig.


The belt keeps hands free, making it easier to use a long gun.

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 13 comments… add one }
  • Diego Blanchard October 6, 2014, 8:16 am

    I just found the semi auto 16 round shotgun I was looking for so if interested…Who wouldn’t be? log on to the wen site attached. http://www.srmarms.com/

  • Diego Blanchard October 6, 2014, 8:13 am

    I don’t know I think I would rather have a vest that holds at least 20, Thirty round magazines plus 6 45ACP Mags. And with a vest you get a lot more room for other things..like first aid, Knife {As shown here} But a lot more room for other things, Then a camel pack? I just think a vest is better then a belt….Which all vest’s GOOD ONES come with a duty belt for attaching various other items, Flash lights, Flares, Flare gun, handcuffs, Para cord…Just so many options…Is it a lot heavier YES…Are you going to be heading back your your house during an INVASION OR REVOLUTIONARY WAR? Needed, One AR or Garand type rifle, One Shotgun preferred 15 round UTS in semi auto if they ever make one…Bull Pup style. One 45ACP, One or two smaller Revolvers. MY 1st choice? The S&W 327 8 round 357 MAG. with as many speed loaders you can carry, They make a special belt for those also. And maybe another Revolver in 4,6,8 inch 8 round also 357. All of this sounds like way to much huh? It’s not you carry the revolvers like the SMALL 327 on your ankle, The other on your side, shoulder holster or what have you. Shotgun slung over, 45 ACP on the VEST, Main Rifle always in hands.{I ALSO LIKE THE FNH P90 OR PS90 BUT AMMO IS A PROBLEM YET EACH MAG HOLDS 50 ROUNDS.} Cannot go wrong with my set up…And as far as extra ammo? Well you take that off the dead A/H you take out! So over all you will start out with at least 96 rounds or more of 357, 56-64 of 45 ACP, 630 rounds of 223/5.56 {A lot of weight/Grain ratios available} or 7.62/308 and at least a bag or two of shotgun shells…maybe 2 3/4 amount as many as you can carry. I would stick with the smaller of the two rifle rounds being weight and most others will have same. SO THAT’S MY TACTICAL OUT OF THE HOUSE TIME TO TAKE THE COUNTRY BACK FROM THE MUSLIM SCUM WHO ARE RUNNING IT TODAY OR AN INVASION FROM ONE OF THE NUMEROUS OTHER COUNTRY’S WHO ARE CONSTANTLY THREATENING TO KILL ALL AMERICANS. NOTE: I own none of this equipment nor any firearms at all…This was for research purposes only.

    • Ric H October 6, 2014, 9:13 am

      Dude, put all that crap on and walk one mile, then write about what you are going to have when TSHTF, I about fell out of my seat. Do you know how much all that ammo alone weighs?

      • Diego Blanchard October 6, 2014, 11:03 am

        I know man…..But if TSHTF like we think it might that ammo won’t last very long….You think? Like I said it was just my idea of what I think you will need…men in combat now run out of ammo during firefights and are left to pray for a drop. Or someone to drive back to base camp and bring ammo back. But from what I have seen the teams that do get that low call in for air support….Will we have air support?

        • Joe McHugh October 7, 2014, 2:51 pm

          Diego Blanchard, soldiers and Marines who run out of ammunition during a firefight and are not appropriately resupplied with more ammunition are going to be overrun by the enemy and killed on the spot or captured for video throat cutting photo opportunities. If Bradly fighting vehicles and Apache helicopters didn’t come to the rescue, we would be witnessing a lot of the enemy overrunning American positions, situations.

          Pop quiz. What will be the cause of their deaths? If you say the bullets or knives used by the Muslim “Warriors of Allah”, you missing the point. Bullets and knives would be the tools employed to kill our fighters but the cause actually occurred before they placed themselves under the enemy’s gun and knives. Yes, each American soldier or Marine has enough ammunition to kill a company of the enemy combatants.

          Wait a minute, if one of our squads of 12 men has enough ammunition to kill well over a thousand of the enemy fighters how could 100 hundred of them overrun that squad? The M16A2 or M4 rifles that our soldier or Marine carries into battle have the option of being used to spray three bullets at their enemy for each pull of the trigger. In a stress situation many of them will select burst-fire over firing a single bullet for each pull of the trigger,
          (semi-automatic fire).

          Such “spray and pray” shooting wastes ammunition. Aimed semi-automatic fire is more effective in all situations except point blank, room to room fighting. It’s hits that count, not making noise shooting bullets to “keep their heads down”. Guess what, the bad guys are doing the same thing to keep your heads down. Call me crazy but I think that putting one bullet in the enemy’s center of mass will do more than keep his head down, it will make him lose interest in breathing!

          Why is it that basic combat training stresses aimed fire on known-distance ranges and dynamic target courses, but forget about all of that in a fire fight? Why is it that aimed fire is left to the sniper teams when the accurate M16A2 and M4 rifles are capable of hitting man sized targets at 500 yards?

          The number of small arms bullets used to kill one enemy soldier is embarrassing.
          In WWII, 25,000 bullets were fired to kill an Axis soldier.
          In Korea, 100,000 bullets were needed to kill a Chinese soldier.
          In Vietnam, 200,000 bullets were fired every where, until one of them killed an N.V.A. soldier.

          Nation of rifleman, what a laugh!

    • Mikey February 13, 2016, 10:20 am

      Dude, the vests (the “good vests that have the belt attached”) are kind of clown shoes for airsoft kids. You attach half of that crap to your body and how are you going to manipulate your slung rifle, how are you going to change magazines, how are you supposed to transition from rifle to pistol with a 7″layer of stuff hanging off of your body?

      The biggest problem with a vest is that they have no rigidity, so they flop around on your body. They’re always “one size fits most”, which fits only the fattest garbage can body snugly. Then you try to run in that thing and your stuff is flopping around on you, mags bouncing out onto the ground…
      Contrast all this with a modern plate carrier. Low profile, sold in sizes (at least “the good ones” are) to keep the weight close around your body, with the capability to hold anywhere from 2 or 3 to 6 or 7 rifle magazines depending on your setup; it is also rigid due to the soft or hard (or both) armor it contains, which prevents your gear from bouncing around like a meth-addled monkey on your chest but also STOPS BULLETS FROM PASSING THROUGH YOUR BODY. I like a relatively low profile plate carrier snug around my upper body with hard plates covering my vital organs (or at least soft armor) and just three rifle mags going across to minimize all the junk I have to work around when I am manipulating my rifle, running, climbing over stuff, crawling on the ground, transitioning from rifle to the pistol on my belt, etc.

      Those are just some of the reasons why people with frequently run a lot of their quick access gear on a belt, and keep a plate carrier at hand for a potentially more sustained fight, rather than rocking the NC Star or Condor Tactical Vests.

      Remember, your waistline is one of the better supported parts of your body, naturally at a height to be accessed by your hands. Your shoulders are supported by your spine; which is more stable, a monopod or a bipod? That’s also why mountaineering backpacks are designed to transfer weight away from your shoulders to that blessed padded belt, and why workmen wear tool belts, not tool vests.

  • El Mac October 6, 2014, 7:58 am

    So….what is the difference (besides another C-note) on this belt vs. the standard VTAC battle belt?

    • Dave October 6, 2014, 11:31 pm

      Clay’s informative article is on the VTAC Brokos battle belt…they are one in the same. They retail for $119.95

      On the Viking Tactics site…there is also a “more-padded” TYR Brokos Battle belt for $199.95

      The one reviewed by Clay, above, is the standard “VTAC Brokos Battle belt”…for $119.95

  • Jeb October 5, 2014, 9:40 am

    I became a huge fan of the Brokos in OEF-A during what was known as “Village Stability Operations” . Living in a remote firebase that someone thankfully thougt up another acronym called a “Village Stability Platform” (VSP) with Afghan Special Forces and other indigenous forces. Alot of times it was not practical to carry a rifle with you, but with the increasing threat of being shot by one of the Afghan counterparts, you always wanted to be able to put one of them down on a moments notice. It allowed me to carry my pistol, extra mags, knife and few frags in case one of the locals wanted to kidnap/ rape/ and make a propaganda movie out of me. Always had what I needed to make a final stand even when doing the less glamorous side of deployments like working on generators and construction projects. As we continue to proliferate “advise and assist” activities around the world, I find many new places to take it with me.

  • DAVE M October 3, 2014, 9:18 am

    Excellent article on this great piece of gear!

    We are running a special on ALL Viking Tactics gear on our site this month.

    Use discount code YODUDE2014 for 10% savings

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