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Complete Guide on Setting Up Your Battle Belt: 2024 Edition

Today we’re focusing on the battle belt, a concept that’s evolved a bit over the years. Up front, the “ideal” battle belt setup varies from person to person. There is no single best way to configure your belt. That’s both a blessing and a curse, because it means you’ll never stop fidgeting with your kit trying to find a better way to do it.  

So what is a battle belt, exactly? Sometimes also called a “war belt,” the best way to think about it a minimalist fighting kit. It’s more than a gun belt, but less than a full-blown LBE. The battle belt can stand alone, or supplement additional equipment like a chest rig or plate carrier. You could equip it to be very capable (but heavy), or strip it down to the bare necessities. It’s personal preference.

As we get going, I find it helpful to establish a mission set. This drives our requirements.

Scenario-X

At The Everyday Marksman, Scenario-X is our illustrative emergency situation. Imagine this: a natural disaster swept through your region, leaving you and your neighborhood isolated from government services and fending for yourselves. Your priority, along with a team of like-minded citizens, is providing security for your families against nefarious elements taking advantage of the situation.

You are not necessarily looking to fight, but you must present the impression that you are ready to do so in an organized fashion. This creates a layer of deterrence and presents your neighborhood as a hard target better left alone.

Load Carriage Options

You have two major options for managing your fighting equipment. Do you want it on your hips, chest, or mixed? Each have their pros and cons as far as comfort, capacity, and accessibility.

Today’s post is specifically about carrying weight on your belt line without a suspension system.

The battle belt, or something like it, belongs to the second tier (“Patrol”) of The Everyday Marksman Gear Hierarchy, right after your everyday carry (EDC) and basic essentials.

As I mentioned, everyone has a slightly different view of what they need and want to carry on their belt. I’m not going into this to be dictatorial about it. Rather, this post lays out some principles for success that you can use for your own setup.

Additionally, I’ll  share my lessons learned through years of experimentation and mistakes.

This article contains affiliate links.

Background of the Battle Belt

The exact origin of the battle belt is difficult to pin down. For thousands of years, carrying equipment on the hips using some sort of belt was the default. This was no exception for the US military, which did it all the way up through the well-known All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) era in the 1970s and 80s.

As an aside…if industry trends are any indicator in the post-GWOT 2020’s, it appears that hip-loaded carry is making a resurgence as well. More and more prominent gear companies are releasing their own updated versions of classic LBE gear.

ALICE consisted of a gun belt with suspenders. ammunition pouches, canteens, entrenching tool (E-tool), and other personal equipment all attached around the belt via metal clips.

Alice kitA standard combat load consisted seven total magazines. Two “ammunition cases,” on each side of the body, carried three magazines each. Plus one more in the gun. Extra ammunition went in the ruck.

After ALICE, we added more things to the chest using load bearing vests (LBV). These evolved to individual body armor where we started attaching pouches directly to the armor carrier.

Battle belts came about as a solution for carrying a minimum effective load when full kit was not required. As things picked up in Afghanistan and Iraq in the early 2000s, not everyone needed to walk around wearing their whole body armor system and complete combat load all of the time. Instead, a belt equipped with some fighting essentials made it convenient for day-to-day tasks like preparing fighting positions, digging latrines, and performing other duties around the base aside from fighting.

If needed, fighters put on additional equipment like a vest or plate carrier in conjunction with the belt to bring fighting kit up to full capacity.

Battle Belt Guidelines

Let’s talk about some quick philosophical points I’ve learned over time. These serve as our guideposts for the final configuration.

  • Battle belts are for making holes and plugging holes
  • If it’s heavy enough to need suspenders, rethink your approach
  • Avoid putting things on your legs

Make Holes and Plug Holes

The first point, making holes and plugging holes, means that battle belts should focus on fighting gear and medical kit. Obviously, that’s not a hard and fast rule as I routinely violate it by adding a thing here or there. But the principle is that you shouldn’t be carrying a ton of stuff on a battle belt.

The goal is a lightweight, minimum viable fighting kit. Think in terms of fighting your way to your main load carrying system. Or, just enough gear to break contact and run away.

At some point, if you add enough weight, you’ll need a suspension system. That gets us to the next guidepost.

Suspenders and Weight

As a battle belt gets heavier, it requires a suspension system to help distribute the load and keep it in place. Once you add suspenders, you effectively turn your belt into load bearing equipment (LBE). This is not inherently bad, but it’s not the original intent of the battle belt as a minimum fighting load.

Load bearing equipment harness
Adding enough gear necessitates suspension to stabilize the load. At that point, you might as well commit to a full load bearing harness like my go-to “Minuteman Rig” pictured here.

I’m a fan of LBE systems, and often prefer it for many things. But, if you turn your battle belt into an LBE system, then you must make other choices about your gear and what you carry. For example, a belt with suspenders combined with a chest rig (or PC), and then a small backpack results in a lot of straps to get tangled in.

It’s best to consider belts and LBEs as two different systems serving different purposes. The battle belt is supplemental to things like chest rigs and plate carriers while the LBE is a standalone fighting kit.

Avoiding Drop Legs

The trend more or less dead, but drop leg holsters and pouches suck. For a while, it seemed like everyone was doing it because it was the cool thing to do, but they eventually realized carrying a few pounds on your thigh sucks for real world use.

Adding weight to your legs increases your energy expenditure by 4% per pound and makes running awkward and uncomfortable. If you must use some kind of drop leg configuration, and I do at times, then situate as high as possible on your leg. I also recommend Safariland’s UBL system or the True North Concepts Modular Holster Adapter. Both are rigid connectors that lower the holster a few inches without attaching it to the leg.

Don’t confuse this with with a leg stabilizing strap. Many holsters today have a slight drop to them to help clear body armor, and this usually comes with a strap that goes through the bottom of the holster and around the leg. This configuration does not support the weight of the gun on the leg. Instead, it exists to stabilize the holster and prevent it from twisting during the draw. The main belt is still the thing carrying the load.

Allowing for Personal Preference in Battle Belts

This is my catch-all to say that these rules are not set in stone. Everyone has a preference or how and where they want to carry their stuff. I like to add a utility knife to mine as well as a canteen/utility pouch. Some people elect to carry dump pouches, others might attach a radio. All of that is fine as long as you keep the weight manageable.

Ultimately, what you carry on your belt is a reflection of your own needs. What works for me probably isn’t ideal for you, and vice versa.

My Personal Belt

Before I talk about my belt’s history, let’s look at the current configuration. This is for the 2024 update, and it’s a big departure from previous editions of this article. The biggest change is switching away from a padded MOLLE belt towards something else. The driver behind that was about 30 lbs of weight loss during 2023 and my old belt was just too large. I took the opportunity to experiment, and here we are.

I say “current configuration” because experimentation is a constant thing. An underlying philosophy of mine is to accept the possibility that I might be wrong and always look for reasons to change. On top of that, I’m constantly tinkering, adjusting, and evaluating what works for me. So by the time you read this, it might already look entirely different.

The core of this belt is the Emdom USA CM belt. It’s a 2″ wide heavy duty nylon belt. I’ve also attached the optional CM belt pads to add cushioning.

From support side to to strong side, these are the pouches:

  • Esstac double pistol Kywi
  • G-Code Soft Shell Scorpion
  • ATS Tactical Enfilade Dump Pouch
  • SO Tech Viper Mini IFAK
  • Arbor Arms Multi Function Pouch (MFP) with Nalgene canteen (sometimes)
  • Dara Holsters ALQD system and holster(s)
  • [Not pictured] TQ pouch

The History

To illustrate my lessons learned and why I’m making the suggestions I do, let’s look at the evolution of my equipment.

I was first introduced to the battle belt concept not through my military service, but by the internet. Like most enthusiasts, I browsed the various picture threads on message boards. One of the longest running is still going at M4carbine.net. That particular thread started in 2006 and is still getting new pictures. The discussion provides a nice glimpse of the evolution of peoples’ kit.

After shooting my first “tactical” match, I realized that I needed a way to carry extra magazines to the line. These picture threads provided the inspiration. My first iteration wasn’t too far from what I settled on for years. It consisted of two pistol mags, two rifle mags, a dump pouch, IFAK, and holster. This worked well for those outlaw matches, but eventually I became interested in small unit tactics and what those instructors were suggesting.

Learning From Max Velocity Tactical

In 2014, I found my way to a series of articles by Max over at MVT. I wouldn’t get to actually attend a course of his for a few more years, but his articles were free to read.

His approach was different. It wasn’t about being flashy and showing off pristine pictures for the internet. Rather, he spoke from a place of been-there-done-that and trained others to do it as well. At the time, he was writing primarily from his experience in the British military, known for its webbing harnesses. The battle belt configuration he advocated was closer to load bearing equipment than a lightweight belt. It’s also the one he wrote about his first book, Contact!, which was the predecessor to his tactical manual that I’ve reviewed.

battle belt version 2
My second iteration of the battle belt, working much more like ALICE than the lightweight kit I'd started with.

“Modern Alice”

Inspired by Max, I included suspenders. The TT Magna pistol mag pouches and HSGI tacos stayed as they were, but I attached a TT Universal Mag pouch on the outside of each taco. The belt also included a first aid kit, two canteen pouches, a utility pouch, and my holster.

That brought me up to carrying eight rifle mags, stacked four deep, and two pistol mags. All of it hanging on one side of my body. That was very imbalanced.

By this time, I was stationed in California and couldn’t give this kind of rig a good shakedown. I had no 30-round magazines to stuff in the pouches and test. When I showed it to others with more experience, the feedback was generally good. They thought it was well thought out but probably heavy and bulky on the sides.

I also ran into another problem. The TT Fight Light harness I used for suspenders had a drag handle on the back. That in of itself isn’t a bad thing, but the attachment loops on the belt didn’t inspire confidence that they would hold up to dragging someone my size (220 lbs at the time).

What shaking out I could do of Version 2 helped me realize that the imbalance wasn’t going to work. Eight rifle magazines on one side was too much. Version 3 was an effort to shift things around and achieve better balance.

The notable changes here were moving the pistol magazines to the right side next to the holster, deleting one of the tacos, deleting a canteen, and adding a knife.

Moving the location of the pistol magazines wasn’t ideal for speed and accessibility, but it worked well enough for just carrying ammunition. I considered moving one of the triple mag pouches to that location, but it got in the way of squatting, kneeling, and made it awkward to go prone.

Looking back, this configuration wasn’t all that bad from a practical standpoint. It was slightly better balanced, though not by much since it still had seven rifle mags on one side. The big reason I drifted away from it was the a decision to include a chest rig in my load out.


Driving Towards Light Weight

Not long before Version 3, Max revised his battle belt ideas towards a much lighter-weight configuration paired with a plate carrier or chest rig. He called this the Lite Battle Belt, and it stemmed from his time training civilians and considering other logistics, like riding around in vehicles.

The philosophy is that this BB [battle belt] is light enough to not be an encumbrance, even while carrying out normal chores. Yet it allows you to carry enough gear to be useful in a fight. This is not a full BB as I have posted about in the past, which is more specialized towards infantry dismounted operations. Between a BB lite, a VERSA chest rig, and some form of patrol/assault daypack, you can carry all you need.

You can wear the BB Lite all the time, with the rifle either on you or accessible at short notice. You can simply wear it on its own for short duration range time/training where it allows you a basic ammunition load. As the situation changes, or perhaps you go out on patrol,  you can add the VERSA chest rig ( and perhaps a plate carrier) as you feel the need.

The BB Lite will not interfere with riding in vehicles or simply sitting down on watch / QRF. Worn with the chest rig it is also vehicle/chair compatible. For me, it is the ideal gear layer system.

– Max Velocity Tactical

The idea shifted away from the battle belt a do-all fighting implement. Instead, it became a minimum-capability system that you could keep with you all of the time without being encumbered.

It wasn’t just Max relaying this, but I was seeing it come from several other combat veterans and trainers.

Jeff Gurwitch, former Army Special Forces, outlined his thoughts for SWAT Magazine in 2016. He echoed a lot of the sentiment Max does for keeping it fairly minimal but recommends a utility pouch for miscellaneous items.

More recently, I had a live stream discussion with Marine and renowned gear nerd, Brent0331. He came to the same conclusion. A light weight belt set up for minimum combat makes sense for most people getting started.

I also closely followed the reports of guys on Lightfighter.net as they rotated in and out of training. Everyone came back with similar answers: it’s all about what you need it to do at a minimum, nothing more. When you needed to step up capability, add a plate carrier/chest rig and a backpack.

The trend for huge loads on so-called war belts peaked around 2011. By 2016, it seemed to be slipping back to a scaled down minimal fighting kit. This represents what life would look like in Scenario-X.

Your job isn’t always planning patrols and advancing to contact on a daily basis. Instead, you go about your daily life doing chores, taking care of family, and working with your community. A minimalist configuration supports those activities without getting in the way.

All of this led me to scale back my belt to something a bit more “mid weight.” This would be Version 4 of the belt. 

battle belt version 5
The "Mid Weight" belt that served me for 6 years of training and competition. Also, oddly, one of the most common images found when you search for "battle belt" these days.

One More

That gets me to Version 5, which was the most recent iteration and the subject of this article for several years. To be honest, Version 5 is nearly identical to Version 4 except for the fact that I moved the first aid kit to the small of the back.

I still alternate between mounting a fixed blade knife, dump pouches, canteen/utility pouches, etc. In general, though, the bones are there and you see the same basic configuration of V5 translating to my current belt- though now with four columns less space due to a smaller belt size.

Since it’s more or less the same, V5 is the belt you’re seeing in the additional photos below.

Lessons Learned

With most of the history out of the way, we should talk about a few of the lessons you can take away.

First, the battle belt should not be too bulky. As a minimalist fighting tool, you want freedom of movement in and out of vehicles, doorways, and other confined spaces. Since you want to avoid suspenders, you simply can’t carry too much equipment on the belt.

Second, you want it to be relatively balanced. Without a suspension system, the belt easily tips more to one side or the other. This becomes uncomfortable after standing around or moving on your feet for a long time. 

Back to the Current Battle Belt

My belt, as it stands now, is a mixture of all the advice and experience I’ve gained so far. A few items routinely go on and off the belt depending on circumstances. For example, a good fixed-blade field knife should be part of everyone’s kit and go with you when you’re in the field.

An enclosed canteen or utility pouch can do more than carry water. Most range days, it holds tape, a staple gun, and snacks. But you could also small survival essentials, binoculars, chemlights, or extra mags. An enclosed utility pouch is just a handy way to carry some stuff- as long as it’s light.

Configuring Your Own Battle Belt

With all of that setup out of the way, let’s talk about your belt. I’m not terribly interested in cosplaying as an operator, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few lessons with us. Something like our fictional Scenario-X makes you consider your minimum essentials.

What do I recommend? That really depends on your needs and weapon choices. Remember:

  • Battle belts are for making holes and plugging holes
  • If it’s heavy enough to need suspenders, rethink your approach
  • Avoid putting things on your legs if you can

Let’s work from support side to strong side and break things down into zones.

Zone 1: Emergency Ammunition

Along with the pistol, if carried, Zone 1 is your primary reason for wearing a battle belt. This is your-go to ammunition supply should you find yourself in an unexpected gunfight.

In Zone 1, you should carry two pistol mags and one magazine for your primary weapon. The only exception is if you aren’t carrying a pistol, in which case I would say to carry an additional primary weapon magazine for your rifle.


Zone 2: Utility Space

Zone 2 is open space that you have a few options. I suggest choosing one of the following to fill the spot.

  • 1 rifle magazine pouch
  • Fixed blade knife
  • Radio pouch
  • Roll-up dump pouch
  • Leave it empty

Most of the time, I have a roll-up dump pouch here. It’s light weight, out of the way, and has a lot of utility for range trips and training.

I used to always keep another rifle magazine in this spot, but as I became more focused on weight, I kept asking myself if I really thought I needed 90 rounds in easy reach all of the time. On the advice of some community members with combat experience, their take was that 60 rounds (one in the gun plus one on the belt) was enough to break contact.

Zone 3: Kidneys and Back

Zone 3 can be tricky.  It’s an easy place to store things out of the way, so you tend to overload it. On the V5 belt, it consisted of 8 columns of MOLLE so there was plenty of room. But the heavier it becomes the more likely the unsupported belt is to slide down the body.

With my current belt, which forgoes MOLLE columns, it’s about the equivalent of 6 columns.

My suggestion is to only keep an IFAK and up to one of the following:

  • Canteen pouch
  • GP pouch
  • Dump pouch
  • Fixed blade knife
  • Leave it empty

For an IFAK, I suggest putting it as close as you can to the center of the back. Not all belts and pouch configurations have the columns in the perfect spot, so it could end up offset a little bit.

I like this placement on back for an IFAK because you can reach it with either hand and it doesn’t eat up any space on your front. The big caveat here is that anything up against your lumbar spine must be soft enough to fall backwards on it and not hurt you. For that reason, I suggest flat IFAKs like the SO Tech Viper model in the photos. This flat style doesn’t cause pressure on the spine and doesn’t get in the way of sitting in a chair or car seat.

Zone 4: Sidearm

Zone 4 supports the pistol. It has two sections, one for the pistol itself and one for the area directly behind the pistol because you need to keep it clear for drawing.

The only thing that could fit behind the pistol is a sheathed fixed blade knife. The way the belt wraps around the body keeps the knife clear of the pistol grip. However, there is an argument that the knife is better placed on the support side rather than behind the pistol so that you have access to some kind of back up weapon with either hand.


Zone 5: Utility/Emergency

Zone 5 is the space directly in front of the holster. In general, you should keep this space clear so that it doesn’t interfere with drawing the pistol. That said, this is a prime location for a TQ, especially when placed horizontally.

I have experimented with small GP pouches, but they never end up staying. Alternatively, this is a common spot to hang a carabiner or something else that dangles and holds gloves, chem lights, or other items.

Whatever you choose, be sure to avoid interfering with the pistol draw and don’t place anything that’s tall and rigid enough to interfere with the leg as you go up and down stairs or terrain.

The Template

This is your basic battle belt template. As a word of caution, remember you’re aiming to keep it as light as possible. Just because I gave the option to fill a spot doesn’t mean you actually should- I also gave the option to keep it empty.

Battle Belt Frequently Asked Questions

To round this out, let’s go over some of the frequent questions that I see about setting up a belt. We’ve had over a decade of innovation in the space, so there’s obviously a lot of “what should I do” regarding old school and new school techniques.

Should I put put pouches directly on my pants belt?

I call this a duty belt, or tactical belt. There’s nothing wrong with it, and there are a lot of benefits to doing so if you have the patience to thread pouches on and off the belt every time you change pants. The main thing is to get even more minimalist and drop any of the utility space slots I mentioned in the template. Keep it to three magazines (2 pistol, 1 rifle), a low profile IFAK, your holster, and a TQ.

tactical-belt with minimalist rifle
My minimalist tactical belt paired along with my minimalist rifle

In a worst case scenario, a battle belt being too heavy means it will bounce around a lot and maybe slip down your hips. But an overly heavy duty belt threaded through your pants might pull your pants down while you’re running.

Where does does inner/outer belts fit in?

The inner/outer design gained a lot of traction with competition shooters and tactical trainers. It consists of an inner loop-side belt run through the pants, like a duty belt, and then the outer hook-side belt that goes on top. The pouches and everything else are on the outer belt.

In practice, this solves the issue I mentioned with having to thread your pouches on the belt every time you change pants. The inner/outer lets you only put the inner belt on and move the outer belt wherever you need to. It’s great for that purpose.

Inner/Outer belt configuration, courtesy of Diceman

I have three drawbacks to the inner/outer design for you to consider.

First is the hook and loop material overall. This stuff wears out and gets caked with dirt, mud, snow, and other grime. Over time, that means the holding strength between the inner and outer belt weakens, and the outer belt becomes liable to peel away under vigorous movement. During a recent discussion with tactical biathlon competitors, this tendency to get dirty and lose “stickiness” was an issue as the event went on.

This only gets worse when you realize that most pouches you add to the inner/outer remove surface area between the hook-and-loop contact points. You can mitigate this a bit by using outer belts with MOLLE loop (as Diceman did), or with pouches that have additional layers of hook-and-loop at the belt attachment point.

Secondly, you still have the same limitations of how much you can put on the belt. The inner/outer design still ultimately attaches to the pants belt, and could still pull your pants down if the belt is too heavy.

Lastly, the inner/outer system is very streamlined and clean when you’re wearing a tucked in combat shirt and your belt line is exposed to the outside world. So what happens if it’s getting cold outside and you need to wear a smock or parka? If all of your pouches are attached directly to your pants belt, then you have to dig around under your jacket to get to them.

In contrast, a traditional padded belt rides on top of all of your clothing and retains easy access. That’s why I suggest it for beginners. It might not be the most “optimum” solution, but it works well enough in the widest range of circumstances. That said, I do know a few companies make an inner belt pad that converts the inner/outer design into a regular padded battle belt to solve this issue. In fact, my current belt is exactly this kind of setup with a 2″ duty belt and attached pads.

Do I have to do a MOLLE belt?

No, actually. There are several ways to skin the cat. Another option I’ve experimented with is taking a regular 1.75″ duty belt and then weave it through an HSGI Duty Grip inner belt.

This effectively turns your 1.75″ pants belt into a padded battle belt while also being lower profile than multiple rows and columns of MOLLE. I’ve really come to like this style of belt, and would suggest it more often if there was a wider selection of ways to attach pouches to the duty belt.

As it is, there are relatively few duty belt-focused pouches and pouch attachment methods, so this isn’t a good option for beginners who haven’t quite figured out what they like yet.On the other hand, the 2″ belt I’m using now perfectly covers two rows of MOLLE, so most of my MOLLE pouches work just fine. This is probably the best way to go if you’re avoiding MOLLE belts.

Over to You

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this post helpful. Let me know if you have any questions, or how you plan to set up your own battle belt!

 

Matt

Matt

Matt is the primary author and owner of The Everyday Marksman. He's a former military officer turned professional tech sector trainer. He's a lifelong learner, passionate outdoorsman, and steadfast supporter of firearms culture.

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94 Comments
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nick
nick
Guest

I am currently looking into creating my own battle belt and this article was super interesting and is making me reconsider a few things. I will get back with my setup when I have it complete!

nick
nick
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

Mainly to cut even more down on the weight that I was thinking of carrying. I was thinking like 2 AR mags, 2 pistol mags, small IFAK, canteen, holster, and small admin pouch. Your article is making me reconsider all of that and lighten up the load even more. It also never crossed my mind to put a fixed blade on my belt, I am probably going to do that.

The reminder to keep everything all balanced was also good.

nick
nick
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

I do not yet so I will start with that for sure! Thanks for the tips!

Shillelagh Pog
Shillelagh Pog
Guest

Great article, and I appreciate the candor with the 30rd mags…being from NJ. I’ve bought 15/30s now 10/30s to replicate the length of the standard 30rd. (Pretty soon it’ll be down to 01/30 mags!)

Mark C.
Mark C.
Guest

::EDIT:: :I forgot to mention, I settled on two different configurations all together. One is for CQB and the other for rural patrol. The rational is that I live in an urban environment and any conflict would most likely be very violent and very quick, then over. A moderate amount of ammo, no knife but a multitool, no canteen but a hydration bladder if any water at all. Shorter stints, but more intense is the line of thought. 10.5″ with a can. In a rural setting, things draw farther out. A quick draw is typically less important than good retention… Read more »

Mark C.
Mark C.
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

Nice! I got an email notification that my message has a reply! First time so far…this new site is great. I haven’t thought about Mayflower in a while. I’m going to check out their current offerings. I’m not familiar with Velocity Systems but I gather they are related/same? Regarding CQB, and I’ve only had about 6 courses (48 hours total?), is that I prefer a chest rig with no belt (if I had to have a sidearm, it’d be a BladeTech Total Eclipse on my conventional belt) and it would be with a 10.5″ barrel with a can. Man, if… Read more »

nick
nick
Guest
Replying to  Mark C.

Did I hear St. Louis area?!

Mark C.
Mark C.
Guest
Replying to  nick

That is correct…

nick
nick
Guest
Replying to  Mark C.

Good to know that there are like minded people in the general area…

Mark C.
Mark C.
Guest
Replying to  nick

Have you ever trained at AS?

nick
nick
Guest
Replying to  Mark C.

Not yet, it is on my to do list, I am thinking I will go this year. I am a bit new into this world and I am working my way to the point I need to be at!

Sunshine_Shooter
Replying to  The Marksman

Wait, you’re Big Brother? That’s not so bad.

Mark C.
Mark C.
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

Matt, please do.

Ben Dover
Ben Dover
Guest

Great article & I’m starting to think that I need to run 2 pistol & 2 rifle pouches on the belt instead of 2 pistol & 1 rifle. Also realizing I need to get a 2 layer belt ASAP instead of just hanging everything off a 1.75″ riggers belt.

Anyone have experience with the HSGI leg rigs? I’ve seen them & like the idea, but it seems like hanging that much crap off to one side would be a bad idea.

leg rig: https://www.highspeedgear.com/hsgi/HSGI-leg-rig-V1-21DL00.html

Ben Dover
Ben Dover
Guest

Marksman

How do you feel about inner/outer belts vs just outer belts (like you have)?

Ben Dover
Ben Dover
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

Fair enough. I had to ask. I’m at the point of I’ll need to get one or the other to get any further in this journey and I can’t/won’t pay to try both. If I go with the inner/outer it’ll have to be 1.75” since I know I can run that through my jeans (what I do for IDPA matches). Downside is how loud Velcro is when you undo a big strip of it and that you’ll wear the inner loop belt out eventually. If you’re willing to roll the dice Blue Alpha Gear does the inner/outer with a 1.5”… Read more »

Ethan wilding
Ethan wilding
Guest
Replying to  Ben Dover

I have been eyeing this:

https://www.optactical.com/raodmkiiibe.html

And great series of posts, but my concern is they will cost me money

Ben Dover
Ben Dover
Guest
Replying to  Ethan wilding

Oh, It’s definitely going to cost you money. I already ordered a new holster & rifle mag pouches….

I like that belt, nice and minimal. But now I have four contenders for what I want.

Mark A.
Mark A.
Guest
Replying to  The Marksman

I just got the blue alpha gear lite and love it. I got a g-code padded belt to supplement the inner belt for a few bucks. This way i can swap the inner belt so i can wear it over a jacket.

Kenneth Harrington
Kenneth Harrington
Guest

I might add that a multi tool is a handy add on. I always have a fixed blade and a small folder..think 2″ blade for mre’s, cutting cordage etc…

Kenneth Harrington
Kenneth Harrington
Guest

I’d like to add that a multi tool is handy, I’ve always carried a fixed blade, but a smaller folder is real handy. I also carry less than lethal..think pepper or bear spray. Pulling a trigger is very final with no going back. Just my 10 cents.

Mark
Mark
Guest

Thank you for this article Marksman. Being in the United Kingdom we cannot use firearms as a member of the public without valid defense but that does not mean that this article was not useful to me. With my future hobby in Air soft this has helped me realize that i don’t necessarily need to be fully encumbered with a Wrap/Plate carrier or a chest rig. The pointers i will be taking from this will be: if it fits it sits, basically i wont be putting my sidearm on a drop leg and instead to accommodate it onto my BB… Read more »

Mick Fraser
Mick Fraser
Guest

Nice write up and very informative. I’m currently in the process of setting up a belt kit for myself to primarily use on my hiking/outdoor shooting day trips so that I can ditch the rucksack and lighten my load . I live in Canada and regularly hike in the mountains with my rifle to do some quiet target and practical shooting in the bush. I’m building my belt by using the removable hip belt from my Savotta Jakaari rucksack combined with a Canadian forces style buttpack , a 3 mag capacity magazine pouch , an IFAK pouch and lastly my… Read more »

Mick Fraser
Mick Fraser
Guest
Replying to  Matt

Hi Matt , I have a jakaari L rucksack , love it , very well made and practical !

Bill
Bill
Guest

New to your blog, so I apologize if you’ve already provided this information. What is the belt you’re currently using (maker, model, etc)? I enjoyed reading this article and will look forward to reading future articles. Thank you.

james
james
Guest

So im about to purchase a belt and im torn between many. You stated you had the condor belt. Did you like it? Would you buy it again? Can you recommend something that wont break the bank?
Thank you,

Mellow
Mellow
Guest

What is that black kydex holster in your second iteration?

Matt
Matt
Guest

I do run drop legs in used to them with my sp2022 but I also run small ifak esee5 smoke grenade pouch one double ar mag pouch and one speed repoad pouch and 3 pistol mags with lanyard on one space for the pistol i might try to find a good kydex holster for that sp2022 is possible let me know if you guys got any peeps that make them for that firearm

Lou
Lou
Guest

Matt, Great article(s) and very sound advice. In my mind, your most critical point is to build what I would call your “Defense System” based on the scenario you’ll most likely be in. I’m in a suburban area with some nearby urban locations. My Scenario X doesn’t care/matter what happens, just that (1) The adverse event is drawn out; (2) There is no immediate law enforcement support; and, (3) We have to protect people and assets from the have-nots. First, you can’t do it yourself, it has to be a community of neighbors. Find like-minded individuals and discuss ideas. With… Read more »

Sam
Sam
Guest

I am curious if you have an opinion of the HSGI double stack pistol/rifle taco mag pouches. Are they to heavy for a belt set up?

Riccardo Palagi
Riccardo Palagi
Guest

I’m a little late to this article and was curious what holster (black on your 4th iteration pic) and drop system you are using. I’m trying to get my gun down off my hip to clear the plate carrier. I’m looking at the KT Mech setup with the TekLok drop…but I don’t think I’m gonna like that. Thanks!

Shea Ray
Shea Ray
Guest
Replying to  Matt

I like you have been at it a while and I came up with my belt after a few try outs . I have suspenders but I hung a camel back hydration system on the back . I customized the harness so it can be dropped off with quick release buckles . I just like suspenders lol my back is a mess . Mine is a belt then a padded Molle belt , all tactical tailer (I live right by them ) Left to right belt laying flat so, three taco pistol mag holders , one rifle mag , sure… Read more »

Chris
Chris
Guest

Great article…I like how it’s about what’s best for the individual, not shoving your ideas down people’s throats. For what it’s worth, I served with Max for a short time…the guy is legit and has a truly innovative mind, so I was glad to see a nod to him.

gary hamilton
gary hamilton
Guest

Matt, right above the paragraph that states ” My personal belt” you show a photo of your belt and an earth tone AR. What is the light mount you are using to mount the light on the left side of the fore grip? Is it magpul cantilever rail mount or something else? I am setting up my belt and fitting out an older “Sig M400 enhanced” carbine with MOE fore grip slots so it is a little more challenging since nothing can be mounted on the top. Thanks and I do enjoy this group. I look forward to hearing from… Read more »

gary hamilton
gary hamilton
Guest
Replying to  Matt

Thank you. My weapon also has the MOE slots prior to them making the M-Lok so I need the exact same thing as you. It looks as if your attachment pushes the light out further than the Magpul cantilever rail.
Thank you.

gary hamilton
gary hamilton
Guest
Replying to  gary hamilton

I just placed an order for this mount and fortunately they have them to ship. I talked to them in person and they are very nice so I will look to continue to buy from them.
Thank you for the referral.

Tim
Tim
Guest

Any issues w/ the retention on the KT holster?

Tim
Tim
Guest
Replying to  Matt

Excellent. Are you attaching to the belt with their standard attachment or the Teklok? Any thoughts on one over the other for a BB setup?

thanks,

Jeff
Jeff
Guest

So after reading the whole thing I’m still at a loss for what kind of pistol holster (Glock 22 Gen 4 .40 cal) to use On a war belt. Do I just use my Fobus holster on it or do I need to get a new holster that has prongs that will adapt to the Molle? Most or all of my pistol holsters are OWB so do I just slap them over the top of the war belt like i would my jeans or do I need to look into a holster that has molle straps

Phil A
Phil A
Guest

Hello. I have no military or LEO experience, and just became more serious about guns because of 2020. I’m focused on home defense and have extensive mixed martial arts experience. Is a battle belt needed? I’m thinking something goes bump in the night and know I only have less than a few minutes to be ready for whatever entered my house. I’m now keeping a pair of sneakers next to my bed. Guns are staged around my house and have an AR15 and Glock 19 next to my bed. I’ve been starring hard at the IC13 INVRT bandolier because it… Read more »

Derek Lilleskare
Derek Lilleskare
Guest

We were issued ALICE gear all the way through the 90’s at Fort Hood in both 1st Cav and 2AD (Before and after reflagged to 4ID). We were a pure Armor battalion, 3/67AR, but even our 11C and 19D were just getting the LBV instead of the ALICE suspenders in 1998. Strange now to think little had changed in our LCE -at least since Grenada in 1983 -if not earlier. BTW, the heavily loaded pistol belt gets tedious after just a few hours. Light Battle Belt concept is right on (Same with a Carpenter’s belt) -But I was a Tanker,… Read more »

Jordan
Jordan
Guest

Great article Matt! Just a question: When using battle belts, does the back of the belt rise up your torso when you crouch? I figure I’m doing something wrong.

Brandon Andreski
Brandon Andreski
Guest

I saw your setup and agree with the majority of it. Canteens and quick kits I feel, for me, are best kept on my rig at the low back near my left and right combat knives. There is a ton of space at my back that is unused and I like to offset a little of the weight from the front. Also with how loaded my sides are on my belt and with my full rig on I use a leg holster because I can draw my sidearm much faster, shaving a second or two off and the sidearm is… Read more »

Gene Wells
Gene Wells
Guest

I’m working on my battle belt as well. Currently no fixed blade, but I have a candidate for that now. Also, no hydration. Up until recently my Belt Rig was really more of a Range Rig, but that is also changing too. Rethinking a lot of things after joining this group. Thanks and keep up the good work!

Michał
Michał
Guest

Thanks for usefull advices. For sure I’ll take them into account.
It seems that war is cnocking into my doors so it’s better to be prepared.
Regards from Poland.

Stephen Ryan
Stephen Ryan
Guest

Wearing hook and loop buckle tactical belt involves the following steps: Step 1: Set the belt around your waist or through the belt loops on your pants. Step 2: Thread the end tip through the hole closer to the middle of your body. The end tip should thread from under the buckle in this step. Step 3: Pull the end tip and thread it through the other hole on the buckle. The end tip should be threading from above the buckle. Step 4: Pull the end tip to tighten the belt to your liking. Step 5: Thread the excess belt… Read more »

Stephen Ryan
Stephen Ryan
Guest
Replying to  Stephen Ryan

I’m also engaged on my combat belt. there’s currently no fixed blade, but I’ve got a candidate for that now. No hydration either. Until recently, my belt rig was more of a spread rig, but that’s changing too. After joining this group I’m rethinking many things. Thank you and keep it up!

Fargo
Fargo
Guest

I have tried multiple rigs from M57 gear WW2 Korean War surplus and mish mash with other things as I went from one rifle to the next. I still like the suspenders and pistol belt and will use with wife’s rig but found myself currently trying out a M83 Assault vest and so far I like it but as you stated things are always evolving/changing. I have one AR 10 mags, browning HP with 2 mags, 2 canteens one metal for boiling water, a lifestraw to filter water, IFAK with extra clot/wound dressing’s, TP , compass,pocket- knife and bayonet, small… Read more »

Jack Ducan
Jack Ducan
Guest

thanks for sharing this useful information. It is a durable belt on which I can attach pouches or organizers used to hold tools.

Paul
Paul
Guest

Matt – seems you ‘freshened up’ a topic that constantly both evolves and devolves. I’m a guy plagued with skinny hips and ‘gone ass’ so just about anything around my waist besides my pants and EDC gear will require suspension. It’s damn hot here in the Southwest so that is a major consideration in how we wear our gear. Chest rigs/plate carriers (with or without plates) cover one’s body core area and heat builds up fast. I don’t know how our LEOs can wear theirs all day during the summer months well over 100F for 4 months. The newer ‘micro… Read more »

Paul
Paul
Guest
Replying to  Matt

I must admit I’ve been influenced by both you and Brent0331 as far as LBE selections. As mentioned I’m a must for some kind of suspension for a belt kit which I prefer. I lean towards the FLC and LBVs for the shoulder support. I have PCs and plates but don’t like loading up the frontal area with gear contrary to the modern LBE concept.

Looking forward to the post on your rig for the event!

Paul
Paul
Guest

Matt – unrelated to the topic but a question on the rifle with OD Magpul furniture and the EOTech optic in the article title page picture with the battle belt. Is that a special mount for the EOTech? Riser for co-witness with front sight? Just noticed the EOTech wasn’t fitted directly on the picatinny rail. The rifle has a real solid look to it!

Paul
Paul
Guest
Replying to  Matt

Now you’re giving me hope Matt! I love the look of the older rifle config but the new setup reveals the same fixed rear sight (Daniel Defense?) I just purchased peering through, I assume, the lower third of the Aimpoint M5? I don’t have the Aimpoint optic but I’m hoping the Vortex allows that. It’s actually the Strikefire (I) I purchased years ago – thought I’d try it out finally. I didn’t think the DD rear sight would allow for a red dot on a receiver top rail – cool! I’m having trouble with the PSA carry handle A2 style… Read more »

Eugene
Eugene
Guest

Read the whole article, no mention of a handheld flashlight?

Pieter
Member
Replying to  Eugene

EXCELLENT Point.

Pieter
Member
Replying to  Pieter

I typically carry a Streamlight Stinger and at least one small pocket size light. Having a light takes you out of the stoneage. Without a light you are LOST in the dark. Try getting around in a blackout without a flashlight.

The Stinger is a medium size “Police” type light. I picked it because its rechargeable so I can use virtually any USB power source. The pocket size uses AA batteries that are pretty easy to find even in emergencies.

realwesterner
realwesterner
Guest

A little shortcut I found was the H-harness by Condor. I’ve used one a ton on a former job when needed gear was too much for a regular belt, and around our farm. They’re pretty inexpensive, pretty flexible as far as utility goes, and are very helpful for us guys with a bit of a spare tire in our middle age.

James
James
Guest

Slightly different take I heard on the application of the “battle belt or war belt” concept. A bump in the night or incoming at a firebase, a quick grab and go, when you should be kitted up, but you don’t have time, right now. It feeds the weapons and plugs holes. everything else supports the primary purpose.

James
James
Guest
Replying to  James

In addition, unless plates pre person in a family, armor goes on dependents. Exception being the helmet, because of NODS, Peltors and maybe comms.

Pieter
Member

I “grew up” using ALICE and then Pattern 58 (British) gear. Both were belts with gear and suspenders. My rig almost always had TWO canteens. Water is heavy but lack of water SUCKS. Lately I have taken to using steel water bottles. Steel is heavier than plastic but it can be heated next to a fire, unlike a plastic canteen. Back in the day, a first aid pouch was nothing more than a bandage. I usually carried two; but that was unusual. Today personal first aid is more extensive. and 2+ TQs plus multiple bandages are normal. I still prefer… Read more »

Cameron
Cameron
Guest

Reccomendations setting up for a cross eye dominant shooter? I’m right handed, but left eye dominate. I shoot rifle left handed, but still shoot pistol right handed. So figuring out where to put ammo has been a challenge. If put it on my left side it works for pistol, but not rifle. If I move the rifle magazine to ny right side and move it far enough back to not interfere with my sidearm then its hard to access.

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