High-quality construction. Thick leather and heavy-duty buckle. Casual, rugged styling.
Doesn't work well with multiple firearms.
Reinforced webbing holds a concealed weapon and other gear if necessary. Prevents sagging. Buckle doesn't slip even with intense activity.
Runs small, making sizing problematic at times.
The look of leather with a polymer insert for extra stiffness. Effectively prevents sagging.
When carrying a firearm, movement makes it squeak.
Flexible inner belt is comfortable against the body while outer belt offers rigid stability. Works well with multiple firearms.
Extra bulk makes it hard to get through some belt loops.
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If you’re a gun owner, you’ve probably tucked your pistol in a holster from time to time. This traditional way to carry a gun requires a well-made belt to keep it in place. However, not all belts are made to hold up to this important task, and if not constructed properly a belt will easily slip and sag under the weight of the weapon. That’s why you need a belt that’s specifically designed for firearms.
Guns belts are made with materials, stitching, and hardware capable of providing the structure needed to keep a holster and firearm in place. Some can accommodate more than one weapon. Gun belts are sturdier than typical fashion belts but also look good while providing support.
Whether you’re heading to the shooting range for target practice or making use of your concealed carry license, a well-made gun belt will keep your firearm securely in place. Our shopping guide can help you understand some of the features and benefits you can expect as you look for a gun belt to fit your needs.
You’ve probably had many belts over the years that did a good job holding up your pants. But that doesn’t mean those belts could handle the weight of a handgun. A well-made gun belt is structured to remain rigid to keep a pistol in place whether you’re carrying open or concealed. The added strength and structure come from the craftsmanship that utilizes thick or double-ply materials, reinforced stitching, and hefty buckles. Gun carriers who try to use a regular belt can experience issues such as the following:
Drawing attention to concealed weapon
While all belts have certain characteristics that make them purposeful and fashionable, gun belts have some specific features that help them do their job.
Number of weapons and accessories: You already know that gun belts are designed for a holster, but your options aren’t limited to carrying just one. You can carry multiple weapons, plus ammunition holders, flashlights, and other types of gear on your belt. If you plan to use your belt for numerous items, pick one that’s designed to support more than one firearm.
Size: Measure your waist before selecting a gun belt to ensure a proper fit. Add two to four inches to that measurement so you have enough length for your gear.
Materials: From nicely crafted genuine leather to rugged nylon, gun belts are made of materials designed to keep them and the guns they transport in a position that’s comfortable, secure, and attractive on the wearer. Regardless of which material you choose, there are color options available, enabling you to match your gun belt to your holster or other accessories you plan to carry on it. Just like regular belts, leather gun belts come in classic colors like black and various shades of tan and brown. Nylon options come in neutral shades like black and brown and colors like olive drab and beige to match camouflage and tactical equipment.
Reinforcement: Just as important as the material are the features that add strength to gun belts. Some leather belts feature a two-ply design that’s great for heavy or multiple weapons or gear. Precise stitching keeps the material from fraying or wearing out with frequent use. In addition, many gun belts have metal or plastic inserts for added rigidity.
Buckle: Another mark of a sturdy gun belt is a solid metal buckle with strong screws or bolts to keep it in place. In addition to traditional buckles, clasp-style closures are also popular because they’re easy to put on and take off.
Lining: Many well-made gun belts have a lining for added rigidity and comfort. It also helps keep the belt in place against clothing.
Style: Whether you like the idea of keeping your weapon as inconspicuous as possible or prefer a tactical look, you can find a gun belt that will pair perfectly with your gun-carrying style.
Gun belts aren’t too costly. You can find them in various price brackets to fit most budgets. Larger and longer gun belts typically cost a bit more. You can expect to pay from $10 to $70 for a gun belt.
Inexpensive: Gun belts priced between about $10 to $20 don’t offer the same quality and structure as pricier options, but these aren’t out of the question for novices on a budget or occasional carriers. It’s rare to find a leather belt in this price range. Keep in mind that at this price durability could be an issue.
Mid-range: You can find both leather and nylon gun belts for around $20 to $45. These belts are well made and fit most gun owners’ needs. Some styles are even suitable for carrying multiple weapons and additional accessories.
Expensive: For frequent carriers or those who need enough structure and rigidity to carry heavier guns and gear, price may not be an issue. If you’re in this category, you can find a top-quality gun belt for $45 to $70. You have more leather options to pick from at this price, but there are also rugged, top-quality nylon belts in this range, too.
Choose the right size. Many gun belts run small, so it’s a good idea to choose a size slightly larger than the belts you normally wear. Also keep in mind that some manufacturers measure gun belt length in inches, not by waist size. This could affect the fit, requiring you to select a belt a few inches longer than you typically wear.
Take care of your leather belt. If you choose a gun belt made of leather, clean and condition it just like you would any other leather accessories to keep it looking its best.
Find a gun belt that does double duty. Do you need a gun belt that can easily double as a casual or dress belt? Many styles are indistinguishable from typical fashion belts, providing the best of both worlds: security for your gun and fashionable looks.
Consider buying more than one. With two or more gun belts in different colors, you can coordinate with different clothes and match the belts with other accessories such as shoes and holsters.
Q. I prefer the look of nylon over leather, but are nylon gun belts as sturdy as leather belts?
A. Don’t discount a nylon gun belt if you prefer this material to leather. Many nylon belts are nearly as durable and stylish as leather belts and provide reliable structure for carrying your firearm. Nylon also tends to show less wear such as scratches and scuffs than leather. The only exception is for gun owners who plan to carry multiple weapons. Leather has a bit more structure when it comes to accommodating the added weight.
Q. Can gun belts be used for both open and concealed carry?
A. Yes, most gun belts are designed for either purpose and are capable of keeping a low profile for a concealed pistol as well as looking good for open carry.
Q. I’ve heard that gun belts tend to run somewhat small. But if I purchase a larger size, won’t the overhang get in the way?
A. Provided the gun belt you choose is only about two to four inches longer than you usually wear, you shouldn’t have any trouble with the fit. You’ll need the extra length to accommodate your holster and any other weapons or accessories, such as a magazine pouch.