The Best Gun Belt
After 20 hours of research and actively testing 15 gun belts over 4 months we have decided that the Daltech Force Bullbelt Steel Core is the best gun belt to securely support your holster. It will carry all your tactical gear and holster without any sagging or stretching and looks like a real belt with a top quality finish.
The fact you get a 100 year warranty with this belt should tell you it's not your average belt. The Hanks steel core belt is great if you have a heavy gun and tactical gear, the inner spring steel insert makes all the difference. Running a SUV over the belt will not even cause it to sag or bend, it's just about indestructible and will handle anything you want to mount onto the belt. At 20oz it is the heaviest belt and one of the thickest belts on the market. I found I could wear this belt a bit looser than regular belts which made it considerably more comfortable.
For those that want a belt without an insert then this is the one to get. Double leather with double stitching gives this belt a classy look that is wearable anywhere. Without the insert this belt will conform to your body shape once worn in. Handmade in the USA from top quality bridle leather in four different colors. The Hanks Premier gun belt has all the options we expect in a good gun belt, changeable buckle with Chicago screws and both layers of leather wrap around the buckle. At $135 it's more expensive than other belts we have looked at but you get what you pay for and this belt is worth every dollar.
Everything we recommend
Why you should trust me
How we picked
For an earlier version of this guide, we conducted a survey of GunsToCarry readers asking what they wanted from a gun belt. The most-important attributes named were the comfort of the belt (46.9 percent of respondents), secureness of a holster or other items attached to the belt (26.9 percent), and stretching or sagging of the belt over time (12.7 percent).
Once we surveyed the types of gun belts, we combed through sites that post lists and reviews of various gun belts. We also read discussions on reddit and in the forums on other sites, along with Amazon and accessory vendors websites on the 15 contenders we had selected. That's a lot more than we usually do but given the lack of reliable information we decided to err on the side of thoroughness.
How we tested
We carefully inspected each gun belt for any obvious deficiencies, the quality of construction and materials and what type of buckle was used. We then wore each of the most promising ones for weeks at a time with different loads.
Each belt was subjected to light and heavy guns along with all the tactical gear. We tried inside the waistband and outside the waistband holsters on all belts. It quickly became apparent as to which belts were not up to the task and after eliminating those we ended up with six belts that made the final cut.
We then narrowed those six gun belts down to the final three based on price, comfort, warranties, weight, range of options such as color, replaceable buckles and appearance.
Our pick: Ultimate Steel Core
The Relentless Ultimate Steel Core can be used with lighter guns and is more suited to general purpose use. But it is still up to handling tactical gear and the heavier guns if you want to throw those on. The steel core will outlast kydex and plastic stiffeners which can break. The thickness of the belt comes in at 1/4 inch.
The fact it weighs less and costs less than the Hanks Steel Core was what edged it to the top ranking.
The quality of the finish is so good it can be used as a dress belt and this is now my main CCW belt I use every day. This belt is a real bargain at the price. Normally a belt of this quality would sell for a much higher price and in fact only a few months ago this same belt was selling for around $85. We are not sure why the price has fallen but suggest you quickly snap one up before the price rises again.
Runner-Up: Hanks Steel Core
The Hanks Steel Core is more suited to situations where you want to carry everything in tactical gear and a heavy gun.
Because of the spring steel in the belt it will not conform to your body shape like a regular belt and may take a bit of getting used to. There is also much less flex in the belt so I had to adjust my method for putting the belt on, but I cannot say it was harder to put on, I just had to change my technique. The buckle is attached with Chicago bolts that screw on, these are preferable to the snap on type which can sometimes come undone. Anyway, the buckle can be changed fairly easily if required.
Another thing to consider is that the thickness of the belt may require new clips on some but not all IWB holsters. I only had to change the clips on one of my holsters.
If you look after the belt by applying leather conditioner every now and then it will probably last you a lifetime so it's a good investment. If you want to see how tough this belt is watch the video below.
The belt is available in two colors, black and brown and has a 100 year warranty.
The steel core makes all the difference
Also great: Hanks Premier CCW Belt
We added in the Hanks Premier CCW belt to cover people who cannot get used to a steel insert belt. Although, personally I find the steel insert belts more comfortable as they don't need to be done up as tight as a regular belt. I have worn other similar belts but over time as they age they can start to stretch and twist. Not this belt though, I have worn it for six months now and it is still a solid support for my gun with no signs of stretching or twisting. I have noticed that the higher quality leather can scratch a bit more but any scratches can be easily removed by rubbing on some leather conditioner.
From my experience the Hanks Premier will outlast nearly all other non insert belts on the market and is capable of carrying the full range of guns from light to heavy. These gun belts will never split like some cheaper belts will - Made from 100% Full-Grain leather, the Premier can take anything you throw its way and will continue to look great with age. If you have a thinner, cheaper belt, by the time it has worn a bit and started to stretch the Hanks belt will still be going strong. You may spend a bit more now but long term you will be saving money. Always buy quality over lower quality products.
Full Grain leather is the top layer of the hide which is the toughest part, making this belt indestructible. Made out of Double English Bridle Leather this belt is about as elite as they come.
The belt comes in four colors, black, brown, cherrywood and butter and don't forget the 100 year warranty.
Why you need a good gun belt
Look at the handgun, belt and holster as part of a system, the weakest link will break the chain. More importantly this system could be needed to save your life some day so failure is unacceptable.
You can have a good gun, good holster, good ammo, and good sights, but without a good foundation to hang all these on you are wasting your time.
To prevent that system from failing the holster needs to be matched to a correct gun belt. If that is not done then the belt will not be rigid enough to give you the best support for the weight of your handgun and will not be comfortable. Although it may sound like a rigid belt around your waist will be uncomfortable they are not and are actually very comfortable to wear.
What to look for in a quality belt
A good gun belt is reinforced with a metal insert and made from double thick leather. Avoid the plastic or kydex inserts as these can break leaving your belt totally useless, always go for a spring steel insert. You will find that with a poorly designed belt that even a good holster will hang outward from the body while constantly shifting its position. So it's important to purchase a good gun belt along with your holster.
This is what we look for in a quality gun belt;
- Metal insert - plastic and other insert materials don't quite give the same rigidity of spring metal.
- Chicago bolts - these are a screw on fitting that holds the buckle in place. You will find some belts with snap on fittings. I have found that sometimes these can come undone so I only use belts that have a Chicago bolt.
- Replaceable buckle - A top quality belt should allow you to replace the buckle.
- English Bridle leather - is rated as some of the best you can get.
- Two layers of leather around buckle - If you have a belt made from two layers of leather then you want to make sure both layers go around the buckle. Some belts only have one layer of leather around the buckle which creates a weak spot.
Getting the correct sized belt
To get the best support you will need to match the holster to the width of the gun belt. Gun belts mostly come in widths of 1¼ - 1¾ inch widths. You will find that holster slots vary in width with some even using belt loops that can be adjusted.
- Measuring a well-fitting belt you already own is the best way to determine your belt size.
- Lay the belt on a clean, flat surface.
- Start the tape measure at the hole you use and measure to the end of the belt, where it meets the buckle.
- Belts are measured in inches and you should round to the nearest inch.
- If you measure 36 inches, you will want to purchase a size 36 belt.
Most gun belts are fairly similar but there are a few that stand out. You will need to pay a bit more for a top quality gun belt but it is worth it. I have had many belts over the years bought with the intent of conceal carry. They usually start off doing the job, but slowly over varying times they start to sag, pinch or stretch till I have to replace. So that's why I always go with a steel insert now.
The one exception to the steel insert I would make is the above Hanks Premier belt which with it's two layers of leather is certainly not going to sag or stretch for many years, if ever.
You can find tons of gun belt reviews online but in my opinion they are not giving you the full story
You can find tons of gun belt reviews online but in my opinion they are not giving you the full story. Yes, what they claim is probably true initially but what they do not tell you is that after the belt has worn in for 6 months (time varies) and become nice and supple, guess what is going to happen! This is important so I am going to repeat myself, it's going to start sagging or stretching.
Lets say you thought you got a good deal with a $40 belt, well now you will need to buy another one for a total of $80. So if you find yourself in this situation then the prices of the belts we have recommended suddenly seem like a good deal, and to top that off they will last a lot longer than 6 months, you are looking at 10 years plus with these belts.
There is not much point in having a quality holster if you try to use it on a inferior cheap gun belt. So do yourself a favor and get a top quality belt.