I am not too proud to admit when I am wrong, and this week’s review is one of those times. Up until about this time last year, I would have been of the mindset that as a citizen you had no need of a belt kit. If you asked me for my honest opinion, I would have told you time and money would be better spent with your CCW rig, as that would be what you were most likely to need. Even as an advocate of an AR for home defense, I could imagine very few realistic scenarios where you might need a reload. Or multiple reloads. Well, the summer of Love 2020 changed all that. And I can tell I wasn’t alone, because it took this long to get a review item in.
Things are accelerating quickly, and the odds of you needing a load out closer to a soldier than an insurance salesman are increasing by the day. With that in mind, I wanted to take a look at some of the new hotness in tactical nylon. It is not without irony that one of the first things I wrote about for Guns America was the VTAC Brokos Belt system. At the time, I considered that more a look into the mind of a soldier than something you might actually need. I had been retired less than 6 months, and the Brokos were cutting edge at the time.
Despite what I keep telling myself, time does march on. So as things got spicy last year, I was curious what the kids were using these days. Fortunately for me, I have a lot of younger friends still in the game. And universally, they were all big fans of the newer style micro battle belts. The evolution has basically been to go smaller and thinner, utilizing new materials that are tougher and lighter. Volund GearWorks was recommended by several ninjas, so we put in an order for the latest model. The Micro Battle Belt Version 3.
Compared to older models of gun belts, the Micro is absolutely tiny. At only 2 inches wide, it is less than 1/3rd the footprint of the old Brokos. It is also stunningly light. Even before it arrived, I asked how it could possibly hold up to the load of a gun belt. The answer is in lessons learned from competition and combat over 20 years. Despite the small size, the Volund is actually stiffer than last generation belts, by a margin. It reminds me of USPSA style Velcro belts, which can hold a ton of weight comfortably. Despite the fact that the Volund has MOLLE loops all the way around, it weighs nothing. The lesson applied here is that GEN 1 MOLLE loops were comically oversized. The loops on the Volund are about 1/4th as thick as GEN 1 MOLLE, but made of better nylon. Much like the laser cut MOLLE on Eberlestock packs, it looks fragile to the eye. But it proves to be incredibly durable, even more so than the old thick MOLLE.
The second piece of magic is a direct application from competition belts. The Volund uses an inner and outer belt system. The inner belt has the soft side of Velcro and goes through your belt loops. The outer belt with all your gear on it has the hook side Velcro, which locks to the inner belt when you put it on. As proven over years of 3 Gun and USPSA, this is an excellent model for weight distribution. In a pinch, you can just wrap the belt around you and snap the cobra buckle. It is less comfy, but it does get the job done.
In the interest of giving the Volund a fair test, I opted to load it down extra heavy. My thought was that if it would carry a borderline dumb size load and be comfortable, it would be great for anyone with a sane load out. And it would be a more fair comparison to older style gun belt systems.
I started with some more new hotness. True North Concepts makes a holster adaptor that has gained a huge following amongst Special Operators. In place of a bulky plastic drop leg or mid-ride loop, True North has slimmed the package considerably. A single T-shaped piece of aluminum acts as the backer for either directly mounting a Safariland Holster, or using a Safariland QLS clip. Not only is it smaller, but it offers angle and cant option no other drop leg can. The best part is how it mounts to the belt. It is direct MOLLE attach with aluminum backers, which also means it absolutely cannot slide. Where you put your holster is where it rides, every time. To feed our pistol, we put a double full-size mag pouch upfront.
Next, I added a Spartan Blades Ares. I’m a big fan of a fixed blade on a belt kit, offset from my pistol. The Ares is light and agile compared to a full up Rambo knife but still weighs in at .422 pounds. With a 5 3/8ths length blade, it is big enough for most chores, and with enough reach to handle the business if necessary.
Behind the Ares, I opted for two double mag pouches from Blue Force Gear. I chose to use 308 size mag pouches, as they work for 308 or 556. The same is not true in reverse, and I like my stuff to be multi-use. The new Blue Force pouches are made out of some space-age unicorn fabric, and I could not be happier. They are so light it’s scary, but tough as hell.
Last, since I don’t have hand grenade or breaching charges anymore, I opted for a single canteen. Canteens have kind of fallen from favor in the last two decades, but that is because we literally had pallets of bottled water in the GWOT. (If you are a Vietnam Veteran, please skip over this paragraph. It’s true. Baghdad had an on-post Burger King as well. Yes, I’m serious.) I wanted to not only add it on for weight but because water is a must-have if you are covering any kind of distance.
Over a two-month test with multiple gun reviews and training session uses, I am ready to pronounce judgment. The Volund Gear Works belt is a stunner and absolutely performs. Despite its diminutive size, it can handle any weight you slap on it. This one gets 5 stars.