My take on the dedicated gun belt

My take on the dedicated gun belt

This is a discussion on My take on the dedicated gun belt within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; http://www.gibsongunleather.com/CROS...K%20CHERRY.JPG You don’t “need,” or have to have a hundred dollar gunbelt. As most of you know, I’m one of many Makers here that build ...

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Thread: My take on the dedicated gun belt

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array BruceGibson's Avatar
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    My take on the dedicated gun belt


    You don’t “need,” or have to have a hundred dollar gunbelt.

    As most of you know, I’m one of many Makers here that build custom leather gunbelts. I don’t pretend to be an “expert,” as I seem to learn something new, or some new trick or method almost every day. All I can tell you is what I do, and what I know...or think I know. That shouldn’t take more than a minute. Other folks do things differently, and they’re most welcome to jump in here.

    There have been several posts I’ve noticed lately that ask why these things cost the better part of a hundred dollar bill. Eighty to a hundred bucks or more for a “Plain Jane” gunbelt.

    What I’ll discuss, and what I can relate to, is the small shop with one, maybe two folks making your belt. In my case, it’s me. From there, we get into the raw materials.

    I only use leather produced by the Hermann Oak Leather Company in St. Louis, Missouri. American leather, from American steers. I never worry about imported issues, toxic waste or God knows what being used to tan the leather I use. Hermann Oak’s been around since 1881, and they’re one of the few tanneries still operating in the United States. Their website is Home | Hermann Oak Leather. As long as they exist, they’re the only producer I’ll use. They’re also expensive.

    Add to that the leather dyes, 100% pure neatsfoot oil, thread, buckles, glue, edge finish products, tools, stitchers, hand-sewn keepers, shipping costs, etc., and you wind up with a pile of materials and equipment necessary to make a gunbelt. And, at this point, you haven’t even gotten started. Somewhere in the mix you have to add weeks, months, and sometimes years of experience via trial and error. That never goes away.

    I won’t bore you with all the minutiae of belt assembly and finishing. I will say, for me, there are at least 25 steps involved, and these occur over a two-to-three-day span of time (this includes drying times). That’s for a plain, black dual-layer 1.5" leather gunbelt. I can have several in-progress during that period of time, but from start to finish, it takes me nearly three days to make a single belt. If it’s stamped, crosscut, or floral carved, each take progressively longer.

    If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to jump in. I know I’ll learn something, and hope something I know helps you out when you’re trying to understand the sticker-shock of a custom gunbelt.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Haystacker's Avatar
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    Bruce,
    First I want to say your holsters and gun belts look amazing. I also use Herman Oak for my gun belts and holsters. About the only thing I do different than you is allow a 24 hour drying period between steps such as gluing or dyeing, finishing, etc. Seems to take me about 5-7 days to make a belt.
    regards,
    Jeff
    NRA Life Member

  3. #3
    Member Array maddy345's Avatar
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    A good quality gun belt or holster is worth every penny. I never have a problem spending $100 on a gun belt or $150 on a custom holster.

    I have tried my hand at making my own and can appreciate the artistry that goes into your craftsmanship.
    shockwave, Husker and BruceGibson like this.


    ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ

  4. #4
    Member Array Doubledown's Avatar
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    I just bought my first ever gun belt and have holsters on order from Pure Kustom. As a businessman I understand the need to make money and if you can do it while doing something you love....BONUS. I bought a Wilderness Instructor as my first belt only because I need to lose enough weight that I hope the belt will be useless in about 6 months. I could not justify the $$$ for a temporary measure, but when I hit that magic number my first reward will be a belt from your incredible selection. I look at all of your websites and marvel at the beauty and quality of the work. I am so happy we can carry and this new world has opened up to me, my wife (the accounting dept) is less happy but patient. You guys keep making your amazing products and many of us will keep buying them, some will complain of price but that is life in retail.
    Philly Boy and BruceGibson like this.

  5. #5
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    A good purpose made gun belt is worth every penny, just as a good holster is. It's not like these are disposable items, it is more of a long term investment. With proper care someone should be able to get years of use out of either a belt of a holster. But even if so, lets say I have a $100 gun belt, and an $80 holster. If I wear them every day for a year, that comes out to slightly under 50 cents a day. If you get more than a years use from them (you should), it costs even less.

    It is a high cost up front, but well worth it. People that like to brag about getting the most expensive pistol they could, and then stick it in an el-cheapo holster, with their wal-mart belt, don't really have the proper mindset. I get the best all around gear I can afford, because my life is quite valuable to me.

    Good thread Bruce, thanks for the info. Every time you post a link to some of your work, I start drooling. One of these days I'm going to have to get some of your leather. But first I need to decide what I like the most.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

  6. #6
    Member Array tawcat's Avatar
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    Totally agree with all said. However, I do have a question that maybe the experts can answer.

    I purchased a designated gun belt from one of popular named makers. When I got the belt, first it seemed too long, obviously the measurement they required was not the same as you outlined. Second the belt was as stiff as a 2x4.

    No I did not send it back to be resized as they charge a resizing fee. I just didn't think it fair for me to have to pay the additional $25 to get a brand new belt resized. Needless to say I don't wear the belt often due to the stiffness and the sizing. It is wearable, but for me I have too much extra belt going through the keeper and belt loop.

    So I guess my question is, is it necessary for a gun belt to be so stiff? If you say yes, will it eventually loosen up?

    Thanks for your time and reply.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array BruceGibson's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jeff. We're on the same page.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array BruceGibson's Avatar
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    It shouldn't be stiff as a 2 X 4. It's a leather gunbelt--it should FIT, but it should be somewhat comfortable from the start. They self-conform over time. I've never heard of a "resizing fee," but that's ridiculous. Find a Maker that has a policy of trading back a belt that doesn't fit right. If you screw up on measurement, you have to pay return shipping, plus the shipping for a replacement, but a $25 "resizing fee" is way outta bounds. Your question was, "Is it necessary for a gunbelt to be so stiff?" My answer would be, "No." Don't buy into all the crazy steel and kydex lined crap. The more discussion you find on a topic, the more "over the top" the solutions become. If it sounds a little hinky, it probably is.

    Quote Originally Posted by tawcat View Post
    Totally agree with all said. However, I do have a question that maybe the experts can answer.

    I purchased a designated gun belt from one of popular named makers. When I got the belt, first it seemed too long, obviously the measurement they required was not the same as you outlined. Second the belt was as stiff as a 2x4.

    No I did not send it back to be resized as they charge a resizing fee. I just didn't think it fair for me to have to pay the additional $25 to get a brand new belt resized. Needless to say I don't wear the belt often due to the stiffness and the sizing. It is wearable, but for me I have too much extra belt going through the keeper and belt loop.

    So I guess my question is, is it necessary for a gun belt to be so stiff? If you say yes, will it eventually loosen up?

    Thanks for your time and reply.

  9. #9
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    The Bruce Gibson gun belts are absolutely incredible & I agree that Hermann Oak is the finest vegetable tanned leather available.

    It should also be mentioned that Hermann Oak Leather Co. has a 10 side minimum order so that's a pretty hefty investment in raw material.

    All properly crafted leather will eventually conform to the human body which is one reason why it's such amazing stuff.

    Yes, depending on the firearm "gun belts" need to be quite stiff. Especially when carrying a full size/full weight firearm in OWB mode.

    A gun belt can be "less stiff" and still work very well for IWB carry.

    Bruce...are you going to ever start making holsters again?

    I'd like to buy one of your OWB Glock 36 holsters & have been waiting for one of them to pop up somewhere.

  10. #10
    Member Array ABC111's Avatar
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    All good information. There are many fine leather craftsmen out there and a gun belt doesn't have to be as stiff as a 2x4 to do the job.

    The most important thing I can add to the post that Bruce started is: Make sure you measure your belt correctly. All makers do not measure the same way. So follow their directions. I was discussing this issue a few days ago and realized that in all the years I have been making belts and holsters, I can't remember one situation where I have made a belt that was too big. They were always too small.

    And leave the pant measurement out of the equation. The best way IMO is the old cloth tape measure. That way you can circumvevt the curve in your old belt which is always a "killer" when trying to get an exact measurement.

    Bruce, thanks for starting the post & to everyone for the good information. It makes our job a little easier.
    NRA Member
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Array BruceGibson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QKShooter View Post
    The Bruce Gibson gun belts are absolutely incredible & I agree that Hermann Oak is the finest vegetable tanned leather available.

    It should also be mentioned that Hermann Oak Leather Co. has a 10 side minimum order so that's a pretty hefty investment in raw material.

    All properly crafted leather will eventually conform to the human body which is one reason why it's such amazing stuff.

    Yes, depending on the firearm "gun belts" need to be quite stiff. Especially when carrying a full size/full weight firearm in OWB mode.

    A gun belt can be "less stiff" and still work very well for IWB carry.

    Bruce...are you going to ever start making holsters again?

    I'd like to buy one of your OWB Glock 36 holsters & have been waiting for one of them to pop up somewhere.
    Thank you, QK! I make a few holsters here and there, and I probably always will. The past year I've been focused mainly on belts--mostly gunbelts and floral-carved cowboy gear. Shoot me an e-mail if/when you get ready do something with your G36. If I think I can "WOW" you, I'd be tickled and honored to take it on.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array BruceGibson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ABC111 View Post
    All good information. There are many fine leather craftsmen out there and a gun belt doesn't have to be as stiff as a 2x4 to do the job.

    The most important thing I can add to the post that Bruce started is: Make sure you measure your belt correctly. All makers do not measure the same way. So follow their directions. I was discussing this issue a few days ago and realized that in all the years I have been making belts and holsters, I can't remember one situation where I have made a belt that was too big. They were always too small.

    And leave the pant measurement out of the equation. The best way IMO is the old cloth tape measure. That way you can circumvevt the curve in your old belt which is always a "killer" when trying to get an exact measurement.

    Bruce, thanks for starting the post & to everyone for the good information. It makes our job a little easier.
    I agree 100% with Al (ABC111). Ideally, I get both the measurement from the fold at the buckle to the hole a guy is using, AND a true waist measurement using a tape. The reason I want the measurement from the fold is due to the buckles I offer, and it allows me to incorporate the buckle into the measurement at this end. I build for a partial-tongue buckle with a larger area/length than average, the square buckles which are somewhat standard/common, and trophy buckles which are huge in comparison.

    One other factor to consider, regardless of belt "stiffness," is the fact that the more weight you hang on ANY belt, the tighter you have to cinch it to support the weight.

  13. #13
    Ex Member Array Yankeejib's Avatar
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    No disrespect to the custom belt guys, but Western wear stores, Farm Tractor Supply, and "feed and seeds" are my main source for 1 1/2" leather belts. $20-40. Decent brass buckle and built to last. My belts always get whacked on the strong side where metal clips slide on and off daily. I've never liked nylon or their slide buckles.
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    My plain Jane custom belt from another small custom maker cost $140, and to me is worth every penny. It, too, is made from Hermann Oaks leather. The fit and feel are nothing short of phenomenal. You have some great looking products.
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  15. #15
    Member Array dudester's Avatar
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    I have two custom made belts made by Little Bear Holsters. I wear one every day and they are worth every penny - I would do it again in a heartbeat. BTW Bruce, those belts are absolutely beautiful. I would love to have one. :0)
    -Frank

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