I’m sure I wouldn’t be alone in saying that my own belt set up has evolved quite a bit over the years. It began with an issued PLCE belt, then an American LC2 and as time passed by, I even had one or two MOLLE padded belts.
But as kit moves on, I’ve found myself drawn to the more modern shooter belt design. I should point out whilst we’re here that a shooters belt is a specific bit of kit that fits a rather specific need; It’s no good for yomping across 20 miles of hillside whilst loaded up to the gills. And if you’re only in need of something to clip yourself to a vehicle, a simple riggers belt will serve you just as well. So always ensure you’re buying a belt for the requirement you have, not just for the look you desire.
For many years I used the FRV Tailoring Shooters Belt, and whilst I was mostly happy with it, I’ve been trying to move away from Multicam gear whenever possible. After replacing my Multicam ESSTAC KYWIs with ranger green ones about two years ago, it made perfect sense to start looking at a new belt in green.
Luckily, a good friend of mine owns a bespoke nylon kit manufacturing business; I’m talking of course about Andy from TacBelts UK. Whilst many people will know of the business through his patches, pouches and slings, the etymology of this particular business’ name comes from it’s origins as a belt manufacturer.
After a brief chat about what I was after, Andy took some measurements and went back to his workshop. A few days later, I was informed that it was ready and we agreed that I’d collect it in person at the next game. That was just over a year ago, and with a fair amount of use in both airsoft and practical shooting, this belt has now firmly earned it’s review.
So for transparency, I know Andy rather well; He’s a good friend and has been very supportive of the blog in the past. I did pay for my belt, and besides which, I’m sure you guys know where my moral compass lies by now.
I generally do not review an item unless I like it, and I do my utmost to remain impartial. Biased reviews help no-one, which is why I treat every item to the same cold hard scrutiny.
This belt takes the form of what I’d now consider a “traditional” Micro-PALS shooter belt design, formed in two key parts: An inner and outer belt, each one being able to be used independently, but becoming more than the sum of their parts when brought together.
Looking at the inner belt first, it’s simple looks don’t really carry across entirely how important to the system it actually is. Not only does it hold up one’s trousers, but it forms a secure and stable base for the outer belt to attach to. Made from 50mm webbing, each belt is made to each users required length, with enough leeway to ensure you can adjust it according to how many kebabs you’ve eaten that month.
Using Velcro loop on it’s outer surface, the inner belt is infinitely adjustable and can be readily fit to almost anyone’s waist. A shorter section of hook Velcro sits on one side of the inner edge, providing a mating surface to attach the belt to itself.
The inner belt can be used on its own, and it does an excellent job of keeping your trousers up. I’ll often set up the inner belt on my combat pants before I leave home, as it can sometimes be a struggle to fit once on site (depending on the tolerance of your particular combat pant’s belt loops).
Starting with it’s core, this belt is made from 50mm resin impregnated nylon webbing. This webbing is doubled up along the belt’s length, making it incredibly rigid. This might not appear to be the best option for comfort at first glance; however there’s more than enough flex to take care of user movement, whilst still providing support to holsters and pouches etc.
The inside surface of the belt is covered in hook Velcro, which will marry up with the aforementioned inner belt’s loop exterior. Getting the belts lined up exactly takes a bit of practice, but once attached, the whole system is incredibly secure.
A pair of half width webbing strips run along the top and bottom of the belt’s outer edge, spaced 25mm apart to allow PALS/MOLLE compatible pouches to be attached directly to the belt.
A small detail that might not be immediately obvious to some, is these strips are actually comprised of standard 25mm webbing that’s been folded over, and sewn top and bottom to provide cast iron strength and rigidity. Making the belt an incredibly stable platform, despite it’s size.
The front of the belt is home to a 50mm AustriAlpin Cobra buckle, the Cobra is the absolute “go-to” buckle for this type of belt. The unique locking mechanism is designed to be secure whilst under load, meaning that should you ever put all your weight onto the belt, it will not come undone.
One end of the core webbing is left open for user adjustment, with the male end of the Cobra buckle being fed through and providing an adjustable cinch point. TacBelts additionally provide an elastic sleeve to secure all excess webbing, ensuring that all spare material is held neatly out of the way.
The thread used is 40’s bonded nylon, with everything triple stitched as a minimum. Additional stitching runs along the centreline of both belts to keep everything in shape, and overall the stitching is finished superbly, as any of Andy’s previous customers would expect.
In use, the belt performs incredibly well. The Micro-PALS webbing is a little tough to thread items through, but it provides a rock solid foundation for whatever is attached. With over a years use, I’ve yet to see any wear (except a scratched up buckle) and as a whole, it’s as good as the day it arrives.
Delving a little further into it’s solidness, My holster and mag pouches act as if they’re bolted to my body. This rock solid hold allows me to draw my pistol and magazines without so much as a snag or holdup, unlike some other belts that have a little too much flex in their material.
What do I use at the moment? Well it does change, and I’m a sucker for trying out new bits of kit. But as of now, my belt set up consists of the following:
- Safariland UBL/QLS Mid Ride Plate
- Various Holsters (dependant on pistol)
- Haley Strategic SRMP
- Haley Strategic DPMP
- FMA M67 Trigger Pouch
- Coyote Tactical STOMP 2
TacBelts U.K. currently offer their shooter belt with a full width, 50mm belt core in Multicam, Coyote Brown, Black, Olive Green and Foliage Green. You can also request a Belt in Multicam Black or Ranger Green, although these will be 45mm width and have a narrower gap between the PALS due to the materials used.
My particular belt consists of a Foliage Green core with Ranger Green Micro-PALS, it works rather well in my opinion and in the absence of a full Ranger Green belt, this was as close as I could get.
As for the price, this particular belt currently retails for £110. This works out rather wallet friendly compared to most of the competition and without the long lead-time that other bespoke businesses often have.
Thanks again to Andy at TacBelts, and for anyone who isn’t already following him, be sure to follow him via the links below: