best gun belt for IWB

What's The Best Gun Belt For IWB Concealed Carry>

What's the best gun belt for IWB carry? Great question!

Unfortunately, the answer is "it depends" and pretty much entirely on what you want in a belt. The truth is a lot of different belts out there that will do the job, many of them pretty well.

It's more that there are certain things you need a gun belt to do, and whatever belt you choose HAS to do those things. Again, there are many that will do those things.

So it's really a question of what kind of gun belt is best for IWB carry, and that's what we're going to cover here.

What You Need In A Gun Belt For Any Use

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What do you need a gun belt to do, regardless of how you carry a gun?

Firstly and foremostly, it has to support the weight of the pistol as well as securely attach it to the person wearing it. A good belt also creates a stable platform for the gun to be drawn from and reholster to.

The belt should have sufficient rigidity to not sag or bow very much when the gun is holstered. When you put the gun and holster on, it should stay more or less where you fasten it.

The belt should also work with your wardrobe as well as any dress code that you happen to follow, either due to your own personal sensibilities or as a condition of employment.

It should also be comfortable to wear. Not only should it be comfortable enough to wear on its own, but should also be comfortable to wear when carrying a gun. If you have to tighten it so much that it pinches or seems to cause digestive issues...you need a better belt.

So long as any gun belt covers these bases, it's a good gun belt for IWB use.

But with that said, what are some types of gun belt that fit this description? Let's go over a few popular styles that fit.

EDC Tactical Belt

One type of gun belt to look for is an EDC tactical belt. Belts of this kind give you the strength and support that's needed while also being low-profile, which some people prefer.

Look for a dual-layered nylon web belt made with strong webbing, such as scuba webbing. Find a reinforced model, if at all possible, either with resin-reinforced webbing or a belt with a reinforcing layer such as a spring steel core.

Some models can be found with an inner belt for reinforcement. While this does give the belt a bit more rigidity, but some people find them not as low-profile as they'd prefer. While not terribly wide from top to bottom, they feel quite thick on the waist.

That much is up to the individual, but what some people are after is a belt that gives you the most amount of strength with the least amount of material, not a thick belt made of something other than leather.

A 1.5-inch width works with most belt loops, but a 1.75-inch width might not; it depends on what kind of pants you wear. Therefore, consider your wardrobe before selecting one. Again, a 1.5-inch EDC belt works with darn near everything, but a 1.75-inch belt can be problematic.

With that said, a quality example is arguably the perfect modern solution to almost any need for an EDC belt. Many have no issues carrying up to full-size service pistols - even a Beretta 92 or 1911 - and spare magazines without issue.

A Rigger's Belt Gives You The Most Support...But Doesn't Always Work

If you want the absolute pinnacle in strength and support, a rigger's belt is about as beefy as a belt gets short of a load-carrying duty belt and suspender rig. A good example of the rigger style will hold up any gun up to and including full-size magnum revolvers.

A rigger's belt is a nylon web belt, typically made with dual layers of nylon webbing. Heavy-duty hardware is added for a secure attachment, often including a V-ring.

Some use quick-detach hardware from AustriAlpin, others use knockoffs, and some use something different altogether. If you want a quick-detach buckle, look for genuine AustriAlpin hardware.

The great thing about rigger's belts is they are ridiculously strong. The downsides are that they aren't compatible with all clothing or, for that matter, holsters.

Not all belt loops on all pants are necessarily made to the same dimensions; the clothing industry has some universal conventions such as sizing (S, M, L, XL, men vs women) but not for belt loops, so you're likely to find some of your pants work with a rigger's belt and others don't.

Granted, tactical pants are often made for use with a larger belt, but not everyone wears them.

Holsters are the other problem, as not all holsters are made with belt clips or loops that will fit a 1.75-inch belt. You may have to order a new holster or hardware from the manufacturer that will work with a 1.75-inch belt.

If you want a gun belt that gives you all the support that's possible to get, a quality rigger's belt does that and more, but only if you have the clothing and holster that works with them.

The Classic: Leather Gun Belt

Of course, no discussion of gun belts is complete without mentioning the classic and arguably the default for IWB use: a good ol' leather gun belt.

Old-fashioned? Sure. A bit spendy? Good ones can be. Dummy thick? As a bowl of oatmeal. But do they work? Good ones do, and look darn good doing it.

Of course, you need to find an actual leather gun belt, rather than just getting what seems to be the biggest belt at the local department store.

What you're looking for is a dual-layered belt of strong, thick leather. Look for actual grain leather, not "genuine." Again, there should be two layers of hide, never just a single strip. Look for a vegetable-tanned leather, which produces a stiffer leather than chrome tanning.

The classic gun belt is dual layers of 14-oz leather. This is fine for most compact and smaller pistols. For a full-size gun, a good idea is to look for 18-oz leather.

Typical width is 1.5 inches, which works with most belt loops. There are some slimmer leather gun belts, such as for use with dress pants, but are typically not as supportive as a full 1.5-inch leather belt, so those are best used for subcompact pistols or smaller.

Reinforced leather belts are best, and will give you the longest service life with the reinforcing material. Some are reinforced with hard plastic, such as Kydex, but these are known for getting brittle with time and breaking.

A steel reinforced gun belt will not have that problem, so that's the better buy as far as reinforced belts are concerned.

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