Stuck at home again this weekend? Bill takes a look this week at Belt Setups, an area that can always be upgraded and improved!
Planning for any skirmish day or event is a key element to enjoying your game, and to this end my first task is always to research the climate and the temperature ranges I will need to address with my kit choices; I’ve talked about clothing systems at length in Airsoft Action in the main “monthly magazine” on numerous occasions, so feel free to dip into our back issues section for more detailed information on this!
Good performance clothing and foot wear is always the fundamental building block of any loadout, but when it comes to discussing “First, Second, and Third Line” gear, the base of your “fighting” setup, I tend to include a decent set of belt kit in my “First Line” as it’s what I will have to hand at all times; strictly speaking your belt kit, including pistol and holster would sit in “Second Line”, but for me it’s gear that I will always wear, or if sleeping have very close to hand.
So what to me makes a good belt kit setup? I’m not talking here “SAS” level emergency sustainment level belt order, but simply a set of gear that has all my essentials for a simple game or range session. Over the years I’ve seen things change dramatically, moving from those “SAS style” with hand-tailored pouches suspended from a roller-pin belt, through the “battle-belt”, sometimes with protective inserts, which made use of the MOLLE system, allowing you to tailor the make-up of your belt to your own specifications whilst (importantly!) keeping everything firmly in one place.
In the past couple of years though things have moved on even further, with lower profile systems coming to the fore, and new technologies being embraced to ensure strength and durability whilst keeping the weight well and truly down. The “two piece shooters belt” solution that’s morphed from “comp” to “tac” is now very popular and easily found, and having now tried a few different models from a variety of manufacturers, I understand why this is so.
Although many belt setups are a two piece system there can in fact be three components; the inner trouser velcro belt, the outer belt with a sturdy, dependable closure (like a buckle from the Cobra family), and then a MOLLE sleeve which covers that. Overall this means that you have a versatile and very strong system that will support the weight of multiple pouches and a holstered pistol. And talking about pouches my personal setups are standardised (for obvious reasons!) with a Double Pistol Magazine Pouch, two Rifle Magazine pouches, a Slimline Foldable Dump Pouch, IFAK First Aid Pouch, a small Admin/Uitilty Pouch, and a holster for whichever secondary I need to carry, these days usually a model from Kydex Customs. I usually have a personal retention bungee too, especially if I know I’m going to be working from vehicles or helos (rare, but it has happened!).
As you can add and subtract pouches as required (I will swap out the IFAK if I’m using a chest rig or plate carrier as I usually have the IFK on that), I have to say that a two-piece belt suits me best, and since trying various options I’ve come to love the lo-profile Mustang system from Direct Action; the inner belt works simply as a trouser belt and as a stabiliser for both the Mustang and Warhawk outer belts. As it attaches to the inner Velcro loop panels of those belts, it prevents ride-up during dynamic movement or when drawing a pistol from a holster. I also like the LOW PROFILE DIRECT ACTION MK1 SHOOTERS BELT from Warrior Assault Systems as this comes as a complete set that you can buy to get you started, and the new COMPETITION set from the RANGE LINE offered by Helikon-Tex is proving to be a real gem too as shown in the main image!
I’ve worn my personal setups regularly both at home and abroad and already given them some serious abuse and thus far they’ve been nothing but exemplary, so if you have some time on your hands this weekend then have a look at your own belt kit to see how it can be updated to work just as YOU want it!