Should I Get A Tactical Belt Or A Leather Belt?
There are many styles of gun belt out there, but people find themselves wondering if they should get a tactical belt vs leather belt for concealed carry and other purposes.
The truth is that both work. If you look at today’s police duty belts, both are available though modern nylon belts are a little more common as the old leather Sam Browne belts just don’t get issued as much for a variety of reasons. Cost is certainly one (the laws of economics don’t take a back seat just because police are involved!) but there are others as well.
You’ve probably noticed that many leather gun belts go for a bit more than many tactical belts, though there are certainly some web belts out there that seem to have an outsize price tag relative to their construction. Let’s talk about the good and bad of both.
Tactical Belts: Strong, Lean, But Obvious
Essentially, tactical belts are more than strong enough for concealed carry. They’re often a little more compact relative to leather gun belts, as there’s less material but the same (if not far more) tensile strength in less material.
The catch? First is that many tactical gun belts are 1.75 inches wide, which might or might not be too wide for use with some pairs of pants. Typical jeans? A bit tight, but not too bad. Slacks? Pushing it. Suit pants? Forget it. Granted, some are 1.5 inches wide, but – again – some pants just don’t have the belt loops that can accommodate that.
Hence the reason why some companies offer dress gun belts for use with dress pants.
They’re also terribly obvious. Look, a nylon belt is just a nylon belt, and the more hardware it has on it, the more it can stand out. Granted, people pay less attention than you’d think to what other people are wearing (in fact, hardly any) but this is largely a subjective thing. Some people are more conscious than others about their own appearance.
Point being that they’re just as strong, if not more so, and are usually slimmer in width (not height) than leather CCW belts. You can usually dial in the fit more exactly as the hardware isn’t the same; usually fastening is done with hook and loop fastener or a different kind of hardware than leather belts. However, they don’t work with all pants (most are fine, though) and wouldn’t meet a business dress code.
Leather Gun Belts: Burly, Strong, But Not Without Some Imperfection
Hey, we know leather gun belts here. We know exactly what’s great about them…but what isn’t always so great.
Obviously, quality leather belts made for concealed carry are made to be strong, and quality examples definitely are. (The addition of a spring steel core certainly helps, which is why we do it!) Strong leather belts have toted pistols for decades, and it’s the default choice if you’re going to carry a gun for good reason. Dress versions are also on the market that enable CCW in dressier clothes.
Everyone knows they work. But are they perfect?
There are a few things that some people don’t care for.
The burliest of gun belts can feel a bit cumbersome as they are a bit thick. Once fastened, they can feel a bit tight, and some people don’t care for that. While leather is pliable, a tightly-fastened heavy leather belt may be a tad uncomfortable for some people.
Then there’s the fit. Leather belts use a prong, which goes into a hole in the tail. While the placement of said holes can let you get a pretty darn good fit, some people find it isn’t quite perfect. Many tactical belts let you dial the belt in to exactly your preferred setting, which some people do like.
Leather, however, does make a better appearance. A good leather belt is a nice piece of kit, without doubt, and concealed carry in business casual or other non-casual dress is that much easier since none of what you’re wearing screams “hey this guy is packing heat!”
So, leather belts could be said to look better. They’re definitely effective. They’re available for dress pants. However, some people find them less than perfectly comfortable.
A leather belt is also a little faster to put on and take off. With a single prong buckle and keeper, there isn’t much fettling with the hardware to be done. Tactical belts with hardware plus hook and loop fastening require a bit more adjusting and messing with to get fastened, whereas leather belts don’t.
Get The Gun Belt That’s Right For You
Your gear, from your gun to your holster to your gun belt, is entirely your choice. You have to figure out what works best for YOU, and go from there.
We can tell you only so much, after all; you have to try stuff out and figure things out for yourself.
Here in the Bigfoot Gun Belts offices, we’ve had a pretty diverse range of opinions. Some people feel that tactical belts are best for range use and prefer leather whenever or wherever else they have the choice. Some people feel that it’s a leather belt when they need to make a decent appearance (say at work) but will wear a web belt elsewhere.
If you asked the guy writing this, my experience is that tactical belts of good quality are every bit as strong as a leather gun belt. They work. The few that I’ve tried out were also as comfortable as my Bigfoot belts, and handled my holster and pistol on the street and at the range just about as well. However, the hook and loop fastener made getting my holster clips onto the belt a little more complicated.
Also, it should be said that my Bigfoot belts are quite well broken-in by now, and have become exceedingly comfortable. So I have no real reason to switch!
Again, your choice of gun belt is up to you. Tactical belts vs leather belts…really depends on you and what your preference is. Both work for daily carry.