Is It Possible To Wear Suspenders Instead Of A Gun Belt?
Some people may find a gun belt uncomfortable on occasion – even if made from supple, premium leather – and wonder if perhaps suspenders would be viable alternative. After all, if a pair of suspenders can keep a pair of pants with a holster and pistol held up without the discomfort that some feel with a heavy gun belt, why not?
Is it possible?
It actually is! However, the reason why people wear a gun belt to hold up a carry gun is that they work. That’s the reason why gun belts are a thing.
You Absolutely CAN Conceal And Carry With Suspenders
Provided that they have enough grip to hold up pants with a holster and pistol, there’s no reason you can’t wear concealed carry suspenders. Provided you make the right choice of suspenders, they’ll hold up as well as the best leather gun belts.
The only odd thing is going to be the actual concealment aspect, as the typical concealed carry set up of an untucked shirt covering the pistol is not going to work as well unless you wear your suspenders under a shirt, which is just weird.
However, if wearing a jacket doesn’t bother you or you have to anyway…who cares?
Get The Right Concealed Carry Suspenders
If you’re going to wear concealed carry suspenders, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve selected the right ones. You need them to be able to hold up your pants as well as a holster and firearm. Not all will necessarily have the necessary hold to be able to do so as – just like with belts – many pairs of fashion suspenders will not necessarily be up to the task.
It’s highly recommended that you select leather suspenders. They will feel more solid than nylon suspenders, but not too much. The leather straps will offer far more tensile strength, and are therefore better suited to the task.
It’s also a good idea to select a pair of leather suspenders with elastic connections and adjust them for optimal use. As the slack is taken up in the elasticized fabric, this gives far less room for gun sag. Your suspenders should feel snug, but not uncomfortably so.
If using clasps, make sure they are large enough and grab hard. You may also wish to consider installing tack buttons. This will provide the most secure connection.
Alligator clips, which are found on most suspenders CAN work if of sufficiently beefy design, but tack buttons are even better.
Y-Back vs X-Back Suspenders
If you’re going to carry a gun with your suspenders, you’re likely to wonder if you should get Y-back vs X-back suspenders. Now, provided the suspenders are of sufficient quality, and you have suspender clips that connect with sufficient strength, either is fine.
Top Tip: look for leather suspenders, that have clips with large jaws.
With that said, most people carry on the strong side, between the point of the hip and the wallet. If that’s you, you might notice X-back suspenders potentially locate one strap near your gun and your holster, if not over it. Therefore, if you carry with that position, the Y-back suspenders are going to be the better model to get.
When Suspenders Can Work Instead Of A Gun Belt
It’s actually not too complicated how suspenders could work – if said suspenders can hold up one’s pants with a holster and pistol ostensibly carried inside the waistband, then there’s no real problem. Right? Ostensibly, sure! But there are a few things to look for if considering making the switch.
First is how the suspenders attach. Most use alligator clips, which can give good hold provided quality construction. However, the problem there is that the clips have to be strong enough to overcome not only gravity and your pants, but a holster and a pistol (maybe even a few spare magazines!) as well.
Gravity is going to eventually win.
Instead, look for the “y” loop suspenders with leather straps, as these will provide the kind of hold you need. However, you’ll need a set of tack buttons in order to use them.
Wait, what? Tack buttons?!
Tack buttons are a two-piece button that attaches to clothing without sewing. Look at a pair of jeans – the waist button is a tack button. One side is a tack, the other is the button. Lay said piece of clothing – such as jeans, other pants, a shirt, what have you – on a flat surface, with the tack on the inside and the button on the outside. Align them, then hit the button with a hammer or clamp them together with a stout pair of pliers, seating the tack in the shaft of the button.
For suspenders, you’ll need to install up to 8 of them on the waistband. The suspender tabs slip over the button and hold up your trousers, holster and gun. Provided your suspenders are of stout enough construction, and the cinch doesn’t allow slippage, they’ll work.
That’s how suspenders were worn in decades past, as most pants or trousers came with suspender buttons installed. Occasionally you’ll still find them sewn into the inside of the waistband, though in modern times that’s more common with tuxedo or suit pants instead of more casual pants or trousers.
However, it’s recommended you buy a stout pair of suspenders, such as those meant for work purposes, to do so. Look at those with a 2-inch width, as less than that may not be sufficient material to hold.
Another question to consider is whether you wear said suspenders over your shirt or under it. It would be weird to wear a shirt over suspenders, to be sure, but so long as your shirt covers the belt line, they’ll be undetectable. As will your pistol be.
So yes – suspenders can work, if stout enough to hold up your gun.
Just Make Sure You Have Enough Support For Your Gun
It’s one thing to use suspenders instead of a gun belt, but if you have to use both it means that probably indicates that you don’t have enough support for the pistol. If you just WANT to, that’s one thing…but it is a little weird.
Part of why we exist here at Bigfoot Gun Belts is that we know how poor many belts and suspenders are once you add a holster and belt to the equation. Most store-bought belts just aren’t up to the task, and we have all gone through the disappointment of a few of them.
We know what it takes for a belt or suspenders to hold up when carrying all day. Whether you use one, the other, or both…just make sure you have enough support for a pistol. You’ll carry more comfortable and conceal more effectively if you do.
Still looking for more tips & tricks for your daily carry? Bigfoot’s got you covered:
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.