Reviews Best Gun Belts For Concealed Carry  David Lane June 8, 2023 1 Comments, Join the Conversation SUPPORT THAT YOU CAN COUNT ON, A GOOD CONCEALED CARRY GUN BELT IS THE SOLID FOUNDATION TO BUILD YOUR PERSONAL DEFENSE ON Underestimated and overlooked, the right gun belt is critical to hide the fact that you’re carrying, keeping your gun and other items safe and secure, and giving you a repeatable, fast draw when fractions of a second can mean the difference between life and death. There is more to think about when buying a gun belt than you might be used to, so we’ll break it down and give you all the info! DO YOU NEED A CCW GUN BELT? If you carry a gun, then yes you need a gun belt. For people that have never needed to use their belts for anything other than holding up their pants, it sometimes comes as a surprise that belts are actually a critical piece of equipment and that not all belts will do all jobs. Your average belt is built for fashion over function. Sure, they can hold up pants also — but not much else. Using a normal belt and loading it down with a handgun will quickly destroy the belt. First, it will sag, a lot. This makes your gun print more, makes it easier for the gun to fall out and makes drawing it in an emergency harder, slower, and riskier. Bottom line — don’t use a normal casual belt for carrying a gun. Gun belts are normally at least 1.5-inch wide, although some brands offer 1.25-inch belts now, and are thicker and stronger than a common belt. Some are reinforced with nylon, some just use more layers/thicker leather, and some are actually cored with steel for a lot of rigidity and strength. These belts won’t sag on you, they’ll carry pounds of extra weight (4 pounds to 20 pounds depending on the model), and most of them will last a lifetime. They aren’t cheap, but they’re surprisingly affordable for niche equipment. TYPES OF CCW GUN BELTS Every brand is different so I recommend reading the small print before you buy anything, but just to give you some primer here are a few things to look out for. 1.25” VS. 1.5” VS. 1.75” The first thing that trips people up is the width of the belt. Long question made short, 1.5 inches is the most common belt size. Some casual dress pants come with 1.25-inch belt loops but almost all suit pants that have belt loops are 1.25 inches. You can normally order a suit with larger loops, but current men’s fashion favors thinner belts, thus thinner loops. The Suit Man tactical suit is comfortable and lightweight, while also aiding concealment. Recoil's Tom Marshall is wearing his Glock 19, two spare mags, and ankle med kit in this photo. 1.75-inch and the rare 2-inch belts are normally reserved for tactical belts or duty-wear belts, designed for 20-plus pounds of gun, magazines, cuffs, taser, etc. Thicker belts mean they can, generally, carry more weight. But what the belt is made of is far more important. There are 1.25-inch belts that can support 10 pounds and there are 1.75-inch belts that can only support 4 pounds. Read the fine print! LEATHER OR NYLON? Totally up to you. I like leather on the outside simply because it’s more of a classic belt look, but in the end, this is purely fashion. Nylon belts are great because they are easy to take care of and easy to cut to size. Leather belts look better, I think. Both can be made for supporting a lot of weight. Both can be made to look very nice. It really just depends on what you want most. One note I’ll give about leather is leather ages and will look aged over time. The leather will change color where it is worn or flexed more, it will age with sun damage, and depending on how hard you are on your belt you might need to reoil it to prevent cracking. Nylon doesn’t have these issues. TRADITIONAL BUCKLE VS. RATCHET BUCKLE Traditional buckles are exactly what you think. A simple buckle that pokes a stem through a hole in the belt to lock it in place. This is the classic, the norm, the default. If that’s what you want, go for it. However, there are now ratcheting buckles also. These require special belts and are not usable on a normal belt, but offer a few advantages. Kore gun belt with ratcheting teeth First off, you’re not limited in sizes based on holes in your belt. The ratcheting teeth lock onto a track on the back side of the belt giving you a new sizing point every couple of millimeters. This makes wearing them super easy especially if you have different CCWs, different holsters, or carry more or fewer items depending on what your day looks like. Gain a pound over Christmas? Doesn’t matter, the belt still fits perfectly. Lost weight getting ready for a wedding? Doesn’t matter, the belt still fits perfectly. Wearing your big gun today? You guessed it, the belt still fits perfectly. This is the style that I prefer since I change what CCW I’m using based on what I’m doing and wearing that day. If you’re new to carrying, I strongly recommend a ratcheting belt and buckle until you nail down what your preferences are. SIZING Generally speaking, you’ll want a belt that is 2 pant sizes larger than you normally wear — but I strongly recommend that you read the website you’re ordering from and follow its instructions. Some belts require specific sizing, some belts are cut-to-fit. There is no right or wrong way to go. If you’re between sizes or you’re not sure, I recommend erring on the larger size so that you’re not strangling your body. End of the day, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation! BEST GUN BELTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY Hank’s The Gunner One of the classic belts in the market, Hank’s has been around forever and is still one of the most popular belts sold. Why? Because it works, it's quality made, and it looks amazing. The Gunner works as a CCW belt or as a work belt, my first Hank’s was actually for when I was working construction and had nothing to do with carrying a gun. Hank’s The Gunner Made from 14 ounces of full-grain leather with standard interchangeable buckles and heavy-duty hardware the Gunner is as classic and simple an option as you can find. While Hank’s doesn’t reinforce their belt with steel or nylon, they don’t need to. I will say that the Gunner can feel kind of thick and make bending over a little harder, it also isn’t designed for loaded down with everything including the kitchen sink. Even full-sized guns will be fine with the Gunner, but don’t go loading yourself down with a 1911, 3 mags, 2 flashlights, and your keys. KORE Leather Gun Belt [11/14/22 Update] After 4 years (I ordered it on 11/22/2018) my KORE X3 belt finally died on me. This was my EDC belt that I wore at least 4 times a week for 4 years, most of that time with a CCW. I also took it to nearly every industry event I've attended in that time, so it's been on airplanes, boats, ATVs, up mountains, and down valleys. Tens of thousands of road miles and an uncountable number of walked steps. 4 years of hard use, I call that a respectable tour of service from a $60 belt. This is a ratcheting style of belt meaning that the buckle locks into a track on the back side of the belt and gives you a LOT of sizing options. I love this because I often change what gun I’m carrying. Sometimes I have a Beretta 92FS in an IWB holster, sometimes it’s a Glock 19, other times it’s just a Bersa Thunderstorm in .380 ACP. Kore Leather Gun Belt No matter what gun I’m taking with me, a ratcheting belt fits every time. Kore belts come in a huge range of sizes and styles, all of them have worked really well for me and I haven’t had any complaints. Something I like about Kore is they give a weight rating for each belt, I really wish every brand would do this. The leather gun belt is rated for 4 pounds, more than enough for normal CCW. KORE Tactical Gun Belt My current shooting range and competition belt for the last 4 years, this is basically a bigger and thicker version of the leather belt from Kore, but it’s made from nylon and steel. Rated for 8 pounds of equipment, I love this belt. Not only is it my EDC belt but it’s also the belt I use for about 90 percent of my range trips and competitions. From USPSA to NRL22 this is a great belt for loading down with extra weight and stuff. Kore Tactical Gun Belt Something to know is that this belt is stiff as hell. The steel-reinforced core makes for a belt that won’t ever sag, but it also makes the belt very stiff. This takes some getting used to when you wear it, and definitely limits your ability to bend a little. But overall I find it’s a great trade-off since it gives an unbeatable platform to carry. Blue Alpha Low Profile EDC Belt Made from layers of thick nylon, Blue Alpha is a budget-friendly option that might not look very stylish, but works really well. No buckle is required since this belt uses a hook and loop fastener, this makes sizing super easy and always perfect. Blue Alpha Low Profile EDC Belt Without a buckle, this belt doesn’t make much of a fashion statement, but I think you’ll be impressed with it in every other category. I’ve often used a Blue Alpha belt as a quick and easy range belt since it’s so easy to put on and take off. It also works really well as a standard EDC CCW belt as it’s strong, flexible, and surprisingly comfortable to wear. There aren’t any bells or whistles to this belt. What you see is what you get. 5.11 Casual Leather Belt Like a lot of people in shooting sports, I have a lot of gear made by 5.11. From pants to bags to half the patches on my gear, 5.11 makes just about everything — but their belts are often overlooked. The 5.11 Casual Leather Belt is super simple and has no frills. This is a stiff, good belt that comes in a classic style using standard buckles on a 1.5-inch leather belt. 5.11 uses their proprietary Permastiff inserts to reinforce the belt itself. I like this because it results in a belt that is thinner and lower profile than some other leather belts but doesn’t let you down in the load-bearing department. You can’t load this down like a steel-core belt, but you can carry a full-size gun and more with no issue. Crossbreed Classic Gun Belt When it comes to leather in the CCW world, Crossbreed is one of the biggest names in the business. Well known for their awesome hybrid leather/Kydex holsters, Crossbreed also has a line of belts where they use much of the same hybrid technology. Crossbreed belt with recover speed loader The Classic Gun Belt is a simple 1.5-inch leather belt that looks great on the outside but is reinforced with woven nylon on the back to really up the durability and load-bearing ability of the belt. This full backing also prevents the leather from stretching over time like some other leather belts are prone to do. You got a lot of choices in styles, sizes, and buckles making it pretty easy to find an option that works for you. While I love the belts that Crossbreed makes, I got something to say about their return policy. Crossbreed likes to say “Try It Free, Two Week Guarantee” on their site, but the fine print to that mentions that “a $10 charge will be required for any exchanges or resizing during the two-week trial period”. It’s free but they’ll charge you $10 to exchange or resize it… doesn’t seem very free to me. Read the sizing guide carefully and you should hit the right size on the first try. LOOSE ROUNDS A lot of people get wrapped up and lost in the struggle to find the perfect CCW and totally forget about getting a quality holster and belt to carry it with. These might feel like supporting characters, but I guarantee that getting a good holster and a good belt will make carrying much safer, comfy, and secure. Personally, I recommend Kore as my No. 1. Blue Alpha and 5.11 are close seconds depending on what you need from your belt. Need some more to read? Take a look at these awesome articles: Best 9mm Pistol For Defense Review: Magpul Tejas Gun Belt CCW Printing: Etiquette When Concealing A Handgun Explore RECOILweb:RECOILtv DIY: Fitting a 1911 Thumb SafetyMorale Patches We LikeThe Ashley Update: Winchester Lever Action ShotgunRECOIL Issue #8 NEXT STEP: Download Your Free Target Pack from RECOILFor years, RECOIL magazine has treated its readers to a full-size (sometimes full color!) shooting target tucked into each big issue. 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