After your firearm and holster, the next most important piece to consider is the belt it will rest on.
Most resources will recommend a belt specifically manufactured for concealed carry. The manufacturers of these belts have taken into account issues like weight, durability, and flexibility and it would be hard to find a normal belt that can compete in these areas.
There are a vast array of belts with varying sizes, weights, flexibility, and material to consider.
Many people will recommend a specific belt, or a specific must-have feature, but what is most important is that the belt works for you and allows you to carry and use your firearm safely, efficiently and without undue discomfort.
The most focused-on feature of a concealed carry belt is its stiffness.
A stiff belt won’t sag with the weight of a gun and accessories. It seems that the trend for concealed carry belt makers has been to move to stiffer and stiffer belts, but there can be a disadvantage to wrapping tougher materials around your waist.
An overly stiff belt will not form well to the contours of your holster, accessories, and body. This can lead to gaps between the belt and holster that will make it more difficult to conceal the firearm. An overly stiff belt can also create anatomical pressure points, placing undue stress on a person’s lower back.
Softer belts, like those made of natural leather can form nicely to the shape of your holster and hips.
This can improve your ability to conceal your weapon, and it may also be more comfortable to wear throughout your day. Unfortunately, softer leathers can crumple, fold, or flop, which creates huge problems. The best way to overcome this weakness in the leather is to choose a wide belt, in the area of 1.75 to 2 inches in width. This gives additional support to the holster, and more securely holds the belt to your hips.
I like to wear my belt off-center, with the belt buckle one set of belt loops to the left. This prevents my holster from resting on the buckle, which creates a pressure point and a more pronounced bulge. Offsetting my belt is more comfortable and reduces my holster’s signature.
Your mileage may vary.
In the end, what works best for 99% of concealed carriers may not work for you.
There is a lot of hype and advertising revolving around the gun industry, so make sure you are buying items that suit your needs, and not just buying the newest ‘hottest’ item. Try out different belts to see what is most comfortable and most practical for you personally.
What kind of belt do you wear? Comment below.