If you wear a handgun at your waist, you’re probably familiar with gun belts. They’re often made of leather or nylon and have a reinforced core that keeps the belt from sagging under the weight of a weapon.
A pistol belt also carries a handgun, but are you familiar with the full functionality of this kind of belt? Although the name suggests that it’s similar to a gun belt, it’s actually quite different. In this article, we’ll share some of the differences between the two belts and teach you how to wear a pistol belt.
PISTOL BELT BASICS
To wear a pistol belt, wrap it around your waist and secure it OVER your belt loops. If you wear a belt to keep your trousers in place, wear the pistol belt OVER that belt. The pistol belt will sit around your waist as the outermost layer.
You should always tuck in your shirt when you wear a pistol belt. These belts are typically loaded with items you want to access quickly, and an untucked shirt will get in your way.
HISTORY OF THE PISTOL BELT
Pistols belts are a piece of tactical gear mainly developed for the military, but they are also widely used by law enforcement officers. Recreational shooters use them as well, and there are several practical situations in which civilians may choose to use them.
Some alternative names for a pistol belt are battle belt, war belt, and duty belt. They feature grommets or eyelets to which you can attach equipment. The purpose of a pistol belt is to carry essential equipment that you need to access quickly.
The primary difference between a gun belt and a pistol belt is how you wear them and what you wear on them. A gun belt is worn INSIDE the belt loops of your pants, and you attach a holstered weapon to it. They can often hold a knife and extra ammunition as well.
A pistol belt is worn OUTSIDE the belt loops and over a trouser belt, whether it be a gun belt or a fashion belt. Like gun belts, battle belts hold knives and extra ammunition, but you can load them with considerably more than that.
In combat situations, battle belts usually hold emergency gear for battle and for wound care. Many soldiers and civilians attach a dump pouch to the belt to hold empty ammunition magazines. They may also attach a canteen.
If you’re interested in learning more about the military history of the pistol belt and how it’s changed over time, check out this page.
BENEFITS OF USING A PISTOL BELT
One of the benefits of a battle belt is that it evenly distributes the weight of your supplies around your waist. This dramatically reduces the burden on your back and shoulders.
Some outdoorsmen like to carry their gear in backpacks but getting your supplies out in an emergency can be difficult. War belts keep your essentials close at hand. If you’re alone and you injure yourself, you’ll be grateful that your emergency first aid supplies are on your belt and not zipped into your pack.
Whether you’re using the belt in a tactical situation or as a civilian, it will keep your supplies close while allowing you to use your hands for other tasks.
WHAT CAN YOU CARRY ON THEM?
Common duty belt items are:
- A pistol
- Spare loaded magazines
- A knife
- Emergency medical supplies such as tourniquets
- A flashlight
- A canteen
- A dump pouch
If you’d like ideas for how to load a tactical battle belt, check out this video:
If you’re using the belt tactically, try to keep it as minimal as possible. In an emergency, the last thing you want to do is grope around a stuffed belt to find your defense items or medical supplies.
If you’re a civilian and you’re utilizing a war belt for your job or hobby, the contents will vary. The beauty of a pistol belt is that you can attach anything you like to the grommets. A rock climber will fill his belt much differently than an oilfield worker, but both will be well served by wearing one.
WHY WEAR ONE?
If you’re hunting and have a lot of supplies to carry in and out, a pistol belt can take some of the weight off of your back and shoulders. At the gun range, you can fill the dump pouch on your belt with empty magazines while you practice quick reloads.
If you do outdoor work like geology, oilfield and natural gas work, or construction, a battle belt can keep frequently used supplies close at hand. A tool like a pistol belt can be indispensable when you can’t just reach into a desk drawer to get what you need.
Some people like to use war belts for home defense. If you keep the belt loaded, you can be armed in seconds. When you hear something go bump in the night, just snap the belt over whatever you’re wearing and you’re good to go.
PRO TIPS FOR WEARING A PISTOL BELT
Try using belt keepers to attach your pistol belt to your trouser belt. These handy loops will stop the battle belt from rotating around your waist as you move. If you have to load your battle belt with heavy items, wear a gun belt with a reinforced core to keep it from sagging.
Some war belts are padded to make them more comfortable. Try to find one made of a breathable material like neoprene to stay cooler on a hot day. Some even feature a high-friction interior or Velcro lining to help them stay put on your waist.
Battle belts can be used in tactical situations, for work, or for hobbies. Wearing a pistol belt is as simple as snapping the belt around your waist OVER your belt loops and trouser belt. Whether you load it to face the zombie apocalypse or to walk your dogs, we hope you’ve learned how to wear a pistol belt in any situation.