When we start talking about “belts” some may cringe at the word (and some of you may get excited). No this is not in reference to “the belt” you received when you did something bad, this is in reference to, in my opinion, one of the most important gear accessories to have to be successful on the range or in a match.
At my last match last weekend, one of my fellow lady shooters had asked to do a brief interview with me where I would provide some tips to new female shooters. One of the tips was on gear. After some thought, I found myself diving deep into the importance of having a good, reliable range belt that works best for the shooter and that the shooter trains with consistently.
So let’s talk about what your range belt actually is. Usually different then an “Everyday Carry Belt” (or EDC belt) a range belt is typically a belt that is used to hold what you will need when training, on (or even off) the range, during a match, during tactical shooting, possible real-world scenarios, etc.. Some folks could utilize just 1 range belt for all of their shooting goals and needs, while others may have 2, 3, 4, or more depending on the situation. For me personally I have 2 range belts. One I have set-up and geared more towards tactical type of training, where I have a drop leg holster attached, a mag dump pouch, tourniquet and med kit. I do not use the tactical belt too much unless I know I am training more in that direction that day. Other then my EDC belt, my other go-to range belt is my competition range belt. This belt has 3 pistol magazine holders, 3 carbine magazine holders, and my pistol holster (not on a drop-leg system, instead mounted on the belt at hip level). I wanted to keep this belt simple since I planned on using this belt solely for matches and training for competitive shooting. Keeping it light, sturdy, and functional was my main focus on it.
If you have searched for belts up to this point, have a belt or two or three, or currently thinking about purchasing a belt, I am sure you have had quite a time sifting through all of the companies that make the different types of belts out there. Here is my list of qualities to “swipe right” on when looking for a new belt:
- What kind of material is the belt made out of? I always want to make sure the belt is pretty heavy duty and will last for the long run. I also like to make sure the buckle is heavy duty and can easily be manipulated in even the most stress-filled situations.
- How wide is the belt? I try not to go more than 2″ inches in width of the belt, most pant loops and also holsters/pouches/other accessories fit on more than 2″ size belts. Most of the accessories match great with 1″-1.75″ sized belts.
- How secure is the belt on the body? I want to make sure I can tighten the belt relatively tight and snug so it doesn’t move around when running or say prone or kneeling. Ladies, trust me when I say I know how hard it is to stay fashionable at the range AND ensure the belt is fully secure to the pants you wear. Best scenario is to try to find pants that work for you that also have belt loops, to keep your belt in place.
- Is there enough room for placement of all the gear I want to add on to the belt? Consolidate when needed. Consider multiple belts depending on what you plan to train towards.
Okay so now that you found a belt, it’s time to put on your cape you superhero you! Okay just kidding, but no really, now it is time to tap into the power of having a great range belt. First, attach the gear you will need for your type of training. This could be just the holster and magazine pouches, or it could also hold things like a medical kit, flashlight, knife, drop pouch, etc.. Keep in mind the placement of your gear. Obviously you want to place your holster (on your belt or on a drop-leg set-up) on the side you draw from, and your magazines where you can easily grab them for a seamless reload, typically as in the front side of the belt as you can, leaving the other “stuff” around the back side of the belt. By this set-up, you have what you may need in a training on the belt, but the most important gear needed for effective shooting is easily retrieved because it is at the front. Ladies, if you are looking for some killer good tips on how you can set up your belt to perform seamlessly quick and efficient reloads, I encourage you to consider joining our awesome tribe where we have an entire “Reload Retreat”, making you a reload queen! Shoot me a message if you would like more information on this.
If there is one thing you take-away from this article is: practice consistency, consistency, consistency with your range belt during your training. This is where the absolute true power of having a great range belt. Train and become incredibly familiar with everything related to your belt. What I mean by this is close your eyes, run your hands over your gear in your belt. Familiarize and train your mind where your magazine #1 is located without even looking at it. Do this repeadetly. Where is your magazine #2? Familiarize yourself repeatedly. Do this for all of your magazines and your holster. If the gear placement is working for you, keep it there and don’t change it, instead make sure the placement of the gear is in the same area each time your train. Keep them at the same place. Can you draw your gun without fishing for it? Can you sprint 25 yards, and trust the familiarity of you and your belt to be able to draw your handgun and a magazine, load your handgun while on the move, because your belt is still in place and still secure on your hips? This is the power of a great range belt. Your main tool to success in my opinion. My recommendation is to train consistently and train with your range belt every single time whether dry fire or live fire. I mean.. we all know why Batman was always so successful.. he knows how to use his a kick butt utility belt. And you can too 😉
If you are curious what belt I use for my matches and 95% of my training, I have been using The Battle X Belt by The X Belts. This belt checked all the boxes for me. It is 2″ wide, made from super durable but comfortable scuba and elastic material, ADF Raptor Buckle, and made in the USA. Definitely check them out at: http://www.thexbelts.com and get 10% off your order by using the code: marcee.mae at check out.
We are all making improvements everyday. Becoming the best we can be. So keep moving forward and train hard! What kind of gear do you prefer to have on your belt? What is your go-to? I want to know!