When it comes to Battle Belts, War Belts, Range Belts or whatever name you want to put on them, there are a lot of options. And if you look back over the past two decades or so of war, you will see a lot of changes and innovation. One of the best offerings I’ve had the opportunity to put in time with has been the Snake Eater Tactical (S.E.T.) War Belt (3 Part System).
Before we get into it, let’s look at some of the reasons for one. War Belts can do a number of things for us. Such as consolidating gear from other places, like a plate carrier or chest rig, onto your belt. Aid in the ease of putting on and taking off gear. As well as help transfer weight to your hips rather than your shoulders.
When I first started looking into a belt set up I was working as a Security Contractor in Afghanistan. It was around Christmas time and due to manning, we were working 12-hour shifts. At the time I had all of my gear on my Crye JPC (Jumpable Plate Carrier). This included rifle magazines, multi-tool, flashlight, and medical kit. I kept my pistol and pistol magazines on my pants belt, threaded on with conventional holster and mag pouch. Day after day of 12-hour shifts carrying around all that weight wore me down. As soon as I got home I ordered up a battle belt.
My initial foray into battle belts was with the Viking Tactics Brokos Belt. It was in truth a sleeve that had panels of PALS webbing on it. Through it, I ran First Spear AGB (Assaulter’s Gun Belt). I then attached a Safariland ALS holster for my pistol as well as some Blue Force Gear 10 Speed Pouches. A double rifle magazine pouch, double pistol mag pouch and a second double pistol pouch for my multi-tool and flashlight. Also on the belt, I put a Blue Force Gear 10 Speed Dump Pouch and a tear-away medkit.
The belt was an amazing step up from keeping most of that gear on my plate carrier. Wearing the belt setup lightened the load on my shoulders, cutting it to just my plate carrier and any rifle magazines I chose to carry. It also allowed me to easily put on and take off my belt. This is a really important aspect. Rather than having to weave a holster and mag pouch onto my pants belt, I could pick up one belt, clip the buckle and have all of the above gear at my fingertips. You could put the battle belt on while just wearing underwear or shorts, which happened during an attack one time…
One shortcoming of that set up though, was that the belt would sometimes shift with movement. For example, moving from standing to prone and back again, the belt set up has a tendency to ride up on your hips. While this isn’t huge, it is a factor. It can continually shift your gear, keeping you from getting a consistent draw of your handgun or other gear. Another potential issue is hot spots created by whatever pants belt buckle you are wearing making contact with the war belt over it.
Now enter the S.E.T. War Belt. Unlike some belt systems made of two belts, an inner belt, and padded sleeve, the S.E.T. War Belt consists of three belts. At its base is their Pant Belt. It is a streamlined pant belt made of 1.75” Hypalon and faced with a 1.5” strip of female velcro. This makes a great low profile pants belt, devoid of any buckles and thereby not creating any hot spots. The closure/sizing is via velcro with a keeper tab that wraps vertically around the belt, keeping it from loosening.
Next is the heart of the S.E.T. War Belt, the Duty Belt. This belt is what people envision as a battle belt. A strong yet pliable belt 1.75” wide made of Type 13 Parachute Webbing. Every 2.5” stitches create MOLLE compatible channels for people to run attachment devices such as Malice Clips if needed. The belt uses a Cobra Buckle, which is incredibly strong and still allows for easy on and off. The inside of the belt is lined with a 1” strip of male velcro. This allows the belt to be mated securely to the pants belt. Keeping all your gear in place regardless of how dynamic your movements are. It also allows this belt to tie in with the Belt Pad.
The Belt Pad is a section of padding made of 1/4” closed cell foam covered with a heavy-duty mesh. This provides a couple of advantages. One, it helps distribute the weight over a larger area, helping reduce fatigue. It also reduces the amount of heat, helping you stay cool in warmer climates or during exertion. The outer side of the Belt Pad is faced with a 1.5” strip of female velcro, while a line of male velcro runs along the center of the inside. This lets the Belt Pad attach securely between the Pant Belt and the Duty Belt.
One of the best aspects of the S.E.T. War Belt is the scalability. Depending on your loadout, or your clothing layers, you can scale the belt. Anything from using the system without the Belt Pad, or if you have layers on which cover the Pants Belt, using the Belt Pad and Duty Belt over your clothing. **Which works but isn’t as secure as when it interfaces with the velcro of the Pants Belt. But because of the slight abrasiveness of the male velcro on the inside of either the Belt Pad or Duty Belt, it does stay in place pretty well.**
While all of this sounds awesome, I will say there is some great synergy with the Snake Eater Tactical Burro Pouches. First off, the pouches are incredibly well made. Using a mixture of Heavy Duty Elastic and a Hypalon, they are incredibly versatile. The Hypalon provides almost a tacky surface while the elastic helps provide tension as well. And due to the sizing, you can fit a huge number of objects into the magazine pouches securely. Also, due to the way they are sewn, the opening of the magazine pouch is flared. This makes it very easy to insert magazines, a big bonus when conducting tactical reloads.
The way the Burro Pouches attach to the belt, they use Onewrap Loops, think strips of velcro. They can be placed at different heights and anywhere around the Duty Belt, rather than being restricted to just where lines of stitching are like PALS webbing. They are also easy to move around, which is great if you are setting a belt up for competition, or just experimenting with optimal gear placement.
All of this being said, how has my experience been with the S.E.T. War Belt and Pouches? It has done an amazing job for me. I used the gear while competing in 3 different Tactical Games. Each comprised of two days of competition with 6 events. If you are unfamiliar with it, think of a Crossfit Competition meets 2 Gun Shooting Competition. Physically demanding challenges intermixed with rifle and pistol shooting. Anything from running, to rope climbs, to carrying heavy sandbags, climbing over walls, negotiating tunnels, all of it. The S.E.T. gear did great. It always stayed in place, keeping my gear exactly where it was supposed to be. The pouches provided great retention, keeping my magazines secure, but easy to remove as well, even under dynamic stress.
Like anything, the belt and pouches are modular. I’ve used other pouches on the S.E.T. War Belt and conversely, the Burro Pouches on other battle belts. I think the S.E.T. War Belt and pouches work great together though. You can purchase the War Belt (3 Part Set) for $183 as well as the Loadout Package [consisting of (2) Rifle Burro Mag Pouches (3) Pistol Burro Mag Pouches (1) Tourniquet Burro (1) Dump Pouch] for $187. All the gear is made here in the USA and available in multiple colors: Black, Coyote Brown, Ranger Green, Multicam and some A-TACS and others.
If you are looking for an incredibly comfortable, rugged, well made set up, take a look at what Snake Eater Tactical is offering. You can see my video review of the S.E.T. War Belt and Burro Pouches below.