Gun Belts 101: Everything You Need to Know About Finding the Perfect Belt

This week, we are taking a look at gun belts for your everyday wear. The obvious question here, why should you buy a gun specific belt for concealed carry?

The answer is, it is part of your carry system. If you carry a gun regularly, something I would encourage you to do, the benefits are many to a real gun belt.

Think of it as a tool. Would you buy Chinese tools from AutoZone? Maybe, if you work on your car once every other year. But if you use them every day, they are going to disintegrate in short order.

A gun belt is part of your concealed carry system.  Don’t skimp on a chintzy belt.

A gun belt is also going to be more comfortable. A cheap leather job is going to fold and bend under the weight of a gun. A proper gun belt will be made of quality leather (or nylon, situation dependent) and often includes a stiffening inner layer of Kydex or pliable steel.

Not only is this easier on your body over a long day, it keeps the gun in the correct position. In this regard, a cheap belt can fail in two ways. One, it folds, and your pistol flexes away from you. Two, you over tighten the belt to prevent flexing and it makes it more difficult to grip and draw the gun.

The belts I’ve come to prefer are from CrossBreed Holsters. It makes sense. If a company can make solid holsters, they can probably also make solid belts.

I started using them about a year ago, and I have been impressed with the durability. I am notoriously hard on equipment, and my first model is none the worse for wear. Impressive for an item that sees 100-degree heat, sub-zero temperatures, rain, snow, and thousands of draws with not a thought given to maintenance.

Don’t forget, that artillery in your pants takes up real estate

The CrossBreed line goes from $60 to about $100, with two primary styles. First is the traditional tongue (hole and pin style), second is the friction lock.

SEE ALSO: Top Five Everyday Carry Gun Belts

The friction lock has the benefit of being infinitely adjustable, though it takes a little getting used to. The tongue or frame style (yes I had to look that up, GQ is not on my reading list) is closer to what most of us normally wear, and works great.

The friction lock gun belt from Crossbreed.  (Photo: CrossBreed Holsters)

The tongue or frame style belt.  This is the style most of us think of when we think of belts.  (Photo: CrossBreed Holster)

My latest edition is from the CrossBreed Founder’s Series. This executive model is named in honor of the company’s founder, Mark Craighead. It features a unique leather color, and gunmetal grey closure. It is a wearable work of art.

The Founder’s Series Executive gun belt retails for $84.95.

Another added bonus of buying from Crossbreed, every belt features a two week trial period. If you aren’t happy, simply return it, no questions asked. But I recommend you don’t use your rent money. You won’t be willing to let this go.

***Shop for Your New Concealed Carry Handgun on GunsAmerica***

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,

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • William Pratt January 27, 2018, 3:51 pm

    I found the article very interesting most of the belts recommended I have seen other people using and they like them. I will probably go with the slide belt just have to go see which will work for me and with all of the injuries I have. I found this article very informative.
    As for the guy that didn’t like the article. Next time skip it and spare us your bullshit.

  • Injured in Baghdad January 15, 2018, 8:51 pm

    I have a lot of nueropathic pain from injuries sustained in Baghdad (lumbar injury). I also like to conceal carry.
    Problem…almost all gun belts cause significant pain.
    I FINALLY found the answer: Slide Belts!
    It uses a ratchet system to offer infinitely more variability to tighten/loosen the belt. Make sure it is slide belt, the cheap knockoffs have a single button on the back that makes it difficult to use if you have to wear it tight like I do. The slide belt one is also strong and easy to use when you sit down (which causes me pain, pain, pain…unless I loosen). I have no relationship to the company and I have not been given any free samples, I just got sick of spending hard earned money on twenty different belts to find one that doesn’t HURT!

  • John Kable January 14, 2018, 10:28 am

    Have been wearing the purpose built Kore Essentials X2 gun belt for the past six months, 12-14 hrs x 7 days Put it through the rigors of E.D.C. using IWB and OWB holsters while standing, heavy lifting, bending, sitting, driving an Eighteen wheeler, hard range use, shoveling snow, etc
    The tough as nails ratcheting adjustment track and exterior finish show no signs of wear what so ever and believe me it”s not been “babied”.
    Quality construction, options available regarding buckles and color, very affordable as well!. One of the best C.C.W. related purchases I’ve made thus far!
    In addition nice enough to employ as a dress belt….

  • Ton E January 13, 2018, 11:18 pm

    Alien Gear makes a good carry belt also.

  • Larry January 12, 2018, 8:29 pm

    Interesting. My comments in favor of custom gun belt craftsmen/makers while pointing out some of the objectively less than desirable features of commercial belt makers’ products was not posted, N’es pas? Custom makers produce a better gun belt. Fact. More value and a better product for the money from smaller craftsmen/makers. Finished edges, better leather and stitching, better guarantees. One small maker offers a 100 year guarantee — not two week inspection period per the article. Word to the wise.

    • mikelasnicov January 13, 2018, 7:01 pm

      I bought a 14 oz solid full grain leather belt from Hanks gunner. It has the 100 year guarantee. It’s Amish made and honestly I don’t see how it can fail because it’s so thick. I’d put it up against that mass produced thing he is showing on here. It also has Chicago screws so you can change the belt buckle, much better than snaps. Honestly this thing is almost too thick, and it’s one layer so it’s not coming apart.

  • John R January 12, 2018, 6:16 pm

    My primary gun/everyday belt is from Quillan Leather in Paris, Kenrucky. 1.5 inch width Texas Ranger style belt made from English bridal leather. It’s 12+ years old and shows no indication of wearing out anytime soon.

  • Larry January 12, 2018, 5:54 pm

    While I appreciate the fact that the leather Crossbreed belts featured in this article (as well as Bigfoot belts in the comments) are much, much better than a department store belt, they are not the best for the money. The Crossbreed belt seems to be finished on the edges with EdgeKote, an acrylic “paint” that will eventually fail. Some commercial firms don’t even bother to finish the edges — take a close look at those sold by the NRA store, for example. The Bigfoot belt edges are not completely finished and it is only topstitched on the flat leather surface. A true custom gun belt can be purchased from a craftsman/maker for the same amount or a little more and is made of better leather; top stitched into a groove so the threads won’t stand proud and fray; assembled with Chicago screws; etc. A custom belt is made in eleven to twelve different steps as opposed to four or five. Superior leathers are selected — many times English Bridle leather with a natural vegetable tanned back. Commercial belts can be heavy metal chromium tanned instead of the more natural veg-tanned. Custom is made from two layers of 8 oz leather for a full 1/4″ thick gun belt. Importantly, the edges are properly finished: shaped and sanded, burnished, hand dyed, burnished, waxed, burnished again until perfectly smooth, coated with a clear coat to match the face leather finish. Paste waxed and polished. A LOT more work, but the difference is stunning when compared to a commercially produced belt. Search the web. There are a lot of skilled belt makers out there producing belts that are far superior to the commercial firms. Do Crossbreed and the other commercial firms make belts that will do the job? Sure. They will do the job. But they are far from the best. For what it is worth.

  • Chris January 12, 2018, 10:08 am

    I have a hard time finding knife sheath’s that will mount horizontal like the one your showing. What knife and sheath is that. Thanks Chris

    • Clay Martin January 12, 2018, 11:57 am

      Spartan Blades CQB tool

    • Stephie La Grande January 14, 2018, 5:01 pm

      Buck Matt Would Go.

  • Rodger Miller January 12, 2018, 7:31 am

    I have tried many gun belts in my 66 years of life. The one that works best for me (in my opinion) is Bigfoot Gun Belts. Try as many as you can afford, you only go around this life once.

    • Buddy Grier January 12, 2018, 12:14 pm

      No question, Mr. Miller. Bigfoot gun belts have no equal.

  • kerry prance January 12, 2018, 6:13 am

    This article is bullshit – spam. If you want to keep me as a reader you need to quit trying to pass off product advertisements as ” guides” & ” how to’s”.

    • S.H. Blannelberry January 13, 2018, 8:11 am

      Crossbreed is what Clay uses (And no, CrossBreed didn’t pay Clay to write this article). Doesn’t mean you have to buy one.
      As others have, add something to the conversation. Chime in with what belt or belts you prefer.

    • Stephie La Grande January 14, 2018, 5:04 pm

      Really?? I look at it as info for me to make a enlightened decision OR data points to continue research. Respect your opinion to not like the article.

    • Thomas F. Towey January 16, 2018, 12:18 am

      If Clay Martin wears it, then he has the option to write about it. I would say that if you don’t like his opinion, so be it and move on. I’m pretty sure that Clay did not have you or your “readership” in mind when he wrote this article.
      The world seems to go along so much better when we finally discover just how unimportant we really are in the larger scope of things.

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