Only Want To Worry About One Belt? Get A Rigger’s Belt
If you only wanted to get one gun belt to do everything from EDC to open carry to range days and all points in between…it would be hard to find anything better than a rigger’s belt of solid construction.
When made correctly, a rigger’s belt is really the last stop before you get to an actual duty belt, tool belt or battle belt that is anything other than concealable…but just as strong.
Again…presuming you get one that’s made right!
If you wanted to just get one belt to use everywhere, it’d be hard to do better than a quality rigger’s belt.
The Nylon Web Of A Rigger’s Belt Is Incredibly Strong
Obviously, a gun belt has to be strong and a solid rigger’s belt is about the strongest material that you can make a belt out of and still have it be comfortable enough to wear.
Nylon webbing can be incredibly strong, with a tensile strength that’s almost unmatched by most common textiles.
If you go online and start looking a bit, you’ll see there’s a significant spread. Most belts that are made for EDC purposes are made with something like scuba webbing, which typically will have a tensile strength of 2000 to 4000 lbs, meaning it takes 1 to 2 TONS of force to tear it.
By contrast, leather of 2mm thickness tends to have a tensile strength of about 500 lbs. Typical gun belt leather is 14 oz, which is around 6mm thick, meaning even a quality leather gun belt has a little less tensile strength compared a quality web belt.
In other words, a rigger’s belt starts with stronger materials. Switching between an EDC belt for concealed carry to a range rig or other use for a belt requires the belt be capable of handling multiple roles without issue, so you might as well opt for one strong enough to take all of it on.
A Rigger’s Belt Can Be More Comfortable
A quality rigger’s belt is incredibly comfortable. You might not believe it given how strong the material is – especially if reinforced – but you’ll actually get more comfort as well as more support for whatever you’re putting on your waist.
First, rigger’s belts are narrower from front to back than leather belts of similar strength.
A leather belt made of dual layers of 14 oz leather is 7/16″ thick. A dual-layer leather belt made of 18 oz leather is 9/16″ thick; that’s just over a half an inch. Dual layers of typical scuba webbing is around ⅓” thick.
While a heavy-duty rigger’s belt is as strong (in fact, stronger) than a leather belt, it occupies a heck of a lot less space.
It’s also the case that you’ll get a much more precise fit, which will also make the belt that much more comfortable.
The difference, of course, is that the typical rigger’s belt isn’t actually fastened at the buckle, but really more by the tail attaching to the belt with hook and loop fasteners. This allows for much more precise fitment as the belt can be drawn tight at the exactly correct length.
Ever find that one hole in your leather belt feels really snug but the adjacent one feels a tad loose, even if the holes are only ½” or ¼” apart?
With a rigger’s belt or other tactical belt, you adjust the belt to where you need it, you don’t settle on the increment that’s closest. That means less discomfort and a more perfect fit.
A more precise fit, less bulk…means a more comfortable belt.
A Rigger’s Belt Can Do Everything But Formal Occasions
The only real drawback to a rigger’s belt is that it can’t be worn with all pants. However, they can be worn with most. Typical belt loops on most jeans will easily accommodate a 1.5-in belt, and a 1.75-inch belt will fit a little tight but will otherwise work.
Most casual slacks and khakis…much the same story. Dress pants, up to and including suit and/or tuxedo pants…you’ll probably have some problems there. However, most of the typical pants that typical people wear most or all of the time are no issue.
What that means, of course, is that a rigger’s belt works for almost any purpose you have need of a belt for.
EDC belt for concealed carry? No problem.
Use the belt as a training or competition rig, with magazine carriers, an OWB holster, a dump pouch and maybe a shot timer and so on? Easily done.
Want to thread it through a battle belt? Easy peasy.
Going hunting? Works with most outdoor gear too.
Point being that a quality rigger’s belt is as close to an ultimate do-it-all tool as you’re going to get. Some people even use them as tool belts and there have been reports of use as a harness in tree stands.
Obviously, we wouldn’t and cannot recommend anyone use a piece of equipment in a setting that it’s not rated for, but we’ve heard of people doing so.
In short, it’s the perfect belt for the person who wants to invest in some quality gear but prefers a minimalist approach, getting the maximum utility from every piece of kit that they own.
Alton Brown recommends you avoid unitaskers wherever possible in the kitchen, so why not do likewise everywhere else in life?
Some people might find the price of entry a bit steep for what is after all just a belt, but the utility and strength of a quality rigger’s belt, especially one that’s reinforced for additional rigidity and has authentic AustriAlpin hardware, is worth it in terms of how much use you’ll get out of it.