Gun Belt Printing

This is a discussion on Gun Belt Printing within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This is my first post here, so I hope I'm posting in the right place... I have a Sig P229 SAS Gen 2 that rides ...

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Thread: Gun Belt Printing

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    New Member Array dward0487's Avatar
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    Gun Belt Printing

    This is my first post here, so I hope I'm posting in the right place...

    I have a Sig P229 SAS Gen 2 that rides in a Galco KingTuk (IWB) holster. Up until now, I have been wearing this holster with an average "department store" belt. I've heard almost everyone say how important it is to wear a proper gun belt, so I made an investment in one, and received it today. The belt I purchased is a 1/4" thick, 1.5" wide, double-stitched, dual-layer bullhide belt with a Kydex insert from A Better Belt USA. The belt looks amazing and the quality and craftsmanship is readily apparent. The belt was comfortable from the moment I put it on, and it is just the right size.

    However, here's the reason for my post: I noticed that when I tried on my holster with the new belt, my handgun/holster was somewhat more visible under my shirt than it was with the old belt. It seems like the gun belt is so stiff that it doesn't conform to the holster on my side and causes it to protrude a little more than the weaker/thinner belt did. I'm a bit confused because I've always heard people say that gun belts give them better concealment... Do I just need to give the belt time to "break in" or develop that curved shape that my old belt had? Given that gun belts are renowned for their stiffness, will there actually be much of a change? I'm concerned that the extra "printing" will be a permanent issue. Anyone care to share their thoughts or experiences? Thanks!

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    VIP Member Array blitzburgh's Avatar
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    In my experiences this will change as you wear it more.
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    I've got a couple of moderately-stiff double-hide 1.5" belts from The Belt Man. When new, these each had enough firmness to nicely hold up a ~30oz gun with spare mags, IWB or OWB, without much change in printing. Over time, a bit of curvature has "cured" into the belt's shape around my body, so that (if anything) it conceals a bit better now than originally. With respect to the belt's shape around the IWB holstered gun, though, I don't believe it has changed much since new.

    An uber-stiff belt that doesn't flex/bend around an IWB holstered gun's shape should, if anything, provide a bit greater concealment, overall, turning whatever sharper bulges might have existed into smoother curves.

    Q: Can you snap a handful of photos (rear, side, front-on) to give us a view of what you're concerned about? Might not be as bad as you think.
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    Senior Member Array Smarshe's Avatar
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    I had the same thing. My $85 belt stuck out a 1/2 inch from my back. I wore it as my every day belt for a couple of weeks and conditioned it with leather lotion and it conformed much better. Now it is my only way to carry. Either with a good leather clip holster or a Remora.

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    Yes, over time most belts will form to your waist thru being used in a daily manner with the holster and mag pouches. This also is in the same category as breaking in a new holster. Gotta wear it to make the good one's work properly. The rest of them will not work and you will know, it just takes about 30 days or so to know what works when you need it.
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    New Member Array dward0487's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Q: Can you snap a handful of photos (rear, side, front-on) to give us a view of what you're concerned about? Might not be as bad as you think.
    I'm going to split the photos into two posts.

    (Note: I carry at the 3 o'clock position. I find that this is the most comfortable position for me, and it allows me to sit down with minimal printing. It's also more comfortable while driving. I've tried carrying at 4, 4:30, and 5 o'clock, but none of those positions felt as good to me...)

    Here's the new belt:
    newbelt.JPG

    Here's the way the gun/holster sit on the old belt:
    oldbeltreveal.JPG

    And here are the front, side, back, and seated views, with the old belt:
    oldbeltfront.JPGoldbeltside.JPGoldbeltback.JPGoldbeltseated.JPG

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    New Member Array dward0487's Avatar
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    I apologize for the quality of these photos... My wife was my photographer, and half the time the pictures come out fine, and the rest of the time they're pretty fuzzy.

    Here's the way the gun/holster sits on the new belt:
    newbeltreveal.JPG

    And here are the front, side, back, and seated views, with the new belt:
    newbeltfront.JPGnewbeltside.JPGnewbeltback.JPGnewbeltseated.JPG

    Finally, here's a comparison of the old belt and the new belt:
    beltcomparison.JPG

    I might be making a big deal out of nothing... I'm a perfectionist, and I tend to be very picky and obsessive over certain things...

    So, what's the verdict? Will this sort itself out as the belt "breaks in?" Should I even be concerned? Will the gun belt take on the same "curve" as my old belt had? Let me know! Thanks!

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    Member Array Bmoliv66's Avatar
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    Looks good to go now and it will only get better
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    Senior Member Array scgunlover1's Avatar
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    I think you are ok. The belt will get better by the day.
    SCGunLover1

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dward0487 View Post
    Here's the way the gun/holster sits on the new belt:
    newbeltreveal.JPG

    And here are the front, side, back, and seated views, with the new belt:
    newbeltfront.JPGnewbeltside.JPGnewbeltback.JPGnewbeltseated.JPG

    Finally, here's a comparison of the old belt and the new belt:
    beltcomparison.JPG

    I might be making a big deal out of nothing... I'm a perfectionist, and I tend to be very picky and obsessive over certain things...

    So, what's the verdict? Will this sort itself out as the belt "breaks in?" Should I even be concerned? Will the gun belt take on the same "curve" as my old belt had? Let me know! Thanks!
    Looks fine and fairly well concealed, to me.

    Some thoughts ...

    Q: The "bulge" you're concerned with ... do you mean the bump/curve of the belt itself, as it swells out from the gun? Or, do you mean it doesn't seem to hold the holstered bun (ie, the butt of the gun) as closely to your body?

    If you're concerned about the way the shirt hangs at the top of the gun butt, one way around this minor issue is thicker/heavier shirt material. It'll drape better, refusing to get bent out of shape so easily at top/edge of the gun butt.

    If you're concerned about the way the belt conforms around your body, your photos comparing the old and new belts show the contour that your belt took on as you wore it over time. Some belts come with that sort of contour already built in (ie, the Galco "contour" series of gun belts, such as the CB2). My couple of stiff 1.5" Belt Man belts both came without initial contour built in, but they've taken on a fair contour over time, and IMO they have grown even more concealable (and comfortable) as the leather has broken in (ie, like a good pair of shoes).

    I'm assuming your holster snugly holds the butt-end of the gun closely to your body (with your old belt). It should be roughly similar with the new belt, I'd think. Can't see why it wouldn't be, unless somehow your holster had been (or is being) deformed somewhat by usage and is now, with the stiffer/firmer new belt, being bent out of shape so that it doesn't hold in the same position. Might try a slightly different position along the belt line. If you've got another holster for that same gun, perhaps try that holster as well, to compare/contrast differences.

    It looks good, though. Other than an expected slight bulging along the belt line at the spot where the belt must get around the holstered gun (which is normal, of course), and other than the shirt not draping perfectly at the top edge of the gun butt, I'd say that's about how it should be concealing. Looks like a nice belt, nicely firm. Comfort-wise, it'll ease up with usage, much like a good pair of hiking boots. It'll also conform a bit more around the holstered gun and develop a slight curve/contour to your waistline over time.

    Enjoy the new belt. Enjoy shopping for a handful of new, thicker/heavier-material T-shirts. Tip: the thinner, billowy type don't tend to do nearly as well as thicker, heavier material, for all the obvious reasons. Might be an opportunity.

    BTW: With an uber-stiff Kramer duty belt I had for some time, it was extremely stiff and wouldn't conform worth a damn around the holstered gun. Which in many respects was a good thing. Somewhat uncomfortable, without the "give" many other belts have, but it concealed the gun like nothing else. Extremely easy to carry heavy loads, with extremely an snug/close fit of the gun/butt against the body. Would crush poorer-quality holsters, but with great holsters it was a dream (other than the initial comfort issues, which reduced with break-in).
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    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
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    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dward0487 View Post
    This is my first post here, so I hope I'm posting in the right place...

    I have a Sig P229 SAS Gen 2 that rides in a Galco KingTuk (IWB) holster. Up until now, I have been wearing this holster with an average "department store" belt. I've heard almost everyone say how important it is to wear a proper gun belt, so I made an investment in one, and received it today. The belt I purchased is a 1/4" thick, 1.5" wide, double-stitched, dual-layer bullhide belt with a Kydex insert from A Better Belt USA. The belt looks amazing and the quality and craftsmanship is readily apparent. The belt was comfortable from the moment I put it on, and it is just the right size.

    However, here's the reason for my post: I noticed that when I tried on my holster with the new belt, my handgun/holster was somewhat more visible under my shirt than it was with the old belt. It seems like the gun belt is so stiff that it doesn't conform to the holster on my side and causes it to protrude a little more than the weaker/thinner belt did. I'm a bit confused because I've always heard people say that gun belts give them better concealment... Do I just need to give the belt time to "break in" or develop that curved shape that my old belt had? Given that gun belts are renowned for their stiffness, will there actually be much of a change? I'm concerned that the extra "printing" will be a permanent issue. Anyone care to share their thoughts or experiences? Thanks!
    Hybrid holsters, by their design, push the entire width of the pistol outward away from the body. Add a 1/4" belt thickness to that, and you are bound to experience more printing of the belt.
    "When you have to shoot, shoot, don't talk."
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    New Member Array dward0487's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Q: The "bulge" you're concerned with ... do you mean the bump/curve of the belt itself, as it swells out from the gun? Or, do you mean it doesn't seem to hold the holstered bun (ie, the butt of the gun) as closely to your body?
    The new belt does a fine job of holding the butt of the gun close against my body. I think the slight difference in concealment is due to the thicker belt material and extra stiffness. The new belt does not conform to every angle/curve of the holster, and this causes it to protrude just a tiny bit more. I also think that the "bulge" is related to the fact that the new belt is still completely straight and has not taken on any contour.

    I think that, as others have said, this will improve over time and I'm just being paranoid. Overall, based on the pictures, I think it looks pretty good. I need to give the belt time to mold itself to my body more, and when it does, I'm sure it will provide even more concealment. Tracy and Mike from A Better Belt USA have advised me to give the belt 10 to 21 days of use to fully break it in. I'll update from time to time on how things are going.

    On a final note, I would highly recommend A Better Belt USA to anyone looking into getting a new gun belt. They are very professional, and their communication is excellent. I got my belt about a week after ordering it. I was able to choose the width, leather color, the color of thread, the buckle finish, number of holes/spacing, edge coating, and whether I wanted a reinforcement insert. Overall, I'm incredibly pleased with the quality of the belt I got from them. (By the way, I do not work for these guys -- just a happy customer!)

    Thanks for the comments, everyone! I'll keep you posted!

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    Member Array hoghunter84's Avatar
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    Can someone explain the advantages of using a gun belt to me? I use the regular Columbia or Dockers belts that are relatively thick and 1.5" wide and only cost $20. They do the job just fine. Am I missing something here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoghunter84 View Post
    Can someone explain the advantages of using a gun belt to me? I use the regular Columbia or Dockers belts that are relatively thick and 1.5" wide and only cost $20. They do the job just fine. Am I missing something here?
    If it works for you then it's fine. Most people carry a gun that's too heavy to carry with a regular belt comfortably, so a heavier stiffer gun belt is necessary to accommodate the extra weight.


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    Quote Originally Posted by hoghunter84 View Post
    Can someone explain the advantages of using a gun belt to me? I use the regular Columbia or Dockers belts that are relatively thick and 1.5" wide and only cost $20. They do the job just fine. Am I missing something here?
    I have heard it said that a gun belt is more important for those who carry OWB than those who carry IWB. However, most people will tell you to get one regardless of your carry style. The idea is that the thicker, stiffer belts hold the gun/holster in place better and keep it from sagging or pulling away from the body, thus providing a higher level of comfort and better concealment. I will say that a dedicated gun belt feels more "secure" and sturdier than a regular belt. The majority of people generally say that the difference is apparent when you compare the two after a full day of carrying. Those who carry a smaller/lighter gun may notice less of a difference. Gun belts will also last much longer with the extra weight of a gun on them than a regular belt.

    Try it out and see if you feel a difference. If not, stick with what feels right! At the end of the day, it's completely up to you!

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