Leather gun belts vs kydex reinforced leather gun belts

This is a discussion on Leather gun belts vs kydex reinforced leather gun belts within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I currently have two Aker B-21 gun belts. They are leather, but have the kydex reinforcement bar in them. They are RIDICULOUSLY stiff. Maybe too ...

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Thread: Leather gun belts vs kydex reinforced leather gun belts

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    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    Leather gun belts vs kydex reinforced leather gun belts

    I currently have two Aker B-21 gun belts. They are leather, but have the kydex reinforcement bar in them. They are RIDICULOUSLY stiff. Maybe too much so as in they are not as comfy as my all leather belt which I wear sometimes IWB cause my Shield is so light. It isn't a "gun belt" but it is thick and heavy duty.

    So here is my question, does a high quality all leather gun belt (sparks, beltman, etc) offer the same or better support than my B-21? Is it more comfy at the same time?

    Thinking I am wanting an all leather belt, but don't want to spend money if they are about the same.

    Anyone have any thoughts here?

    Thanks!
    As Benjamin Franklin left the hall in Philadelphia, he was asked, “What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?” He replied: “A republic, if you can keep it.”

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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    I use ted blocker belts they have spring steel sandwiched between two beautiful leather covers sturdy but good looking does a great job

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    Member Array WashingtonCross's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smolck View Post
    I currently have two Aker B-21 gun belts. They are leather, but have the kydex reinforcement bar in them. They are RIDICULOUSLY stiff. Maybe too much so as in they are not as comfy as my all leather belt which I wear sometimes IWB cause my Shield is so light. It isn't a "gun belt" but it is thick and heavy duty.

    So here is my question, does a high quality all leather gun belt (sparks, beltman, etc) offer the same or better support than my B-21? Is it more comfy at the same time?

    Thinking I am wanting an all leather belt, but don't want to spend money if they are about the same.

    Anyone have any thoughts here?

    Thanks!
    if you get a two-layered stitched gun belt (1/4" thick), you do not need a kydex insert. A leather belt is that is constructed correctly will last you a long time and provide you ample support.
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    VIP Member Array searcher 45's Avatar
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    I have found that Wal Mart sales a utility work belt for about $13.00 that has worked very well for me.

    The belt is not necessarily a dress belt, but i ware a suit with it and it just works for me.
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    Member Array luke213's Avatar
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    There are allot of factors at play including weight of the gun/mags, and how tight you wear your belt. I've found that a thinner belt with reinforcement is more comfortable for me, that said a thicker belt can provide the same level of support without the reinforcement but at least from what I've seen it won't provide it for as long as the reinforced belt. So a good heavy gun belt will break down, it's leather but the reinforcement seems to resist that to a certain degree. I wear a full sized 1911 and 2 mags as my normal carry, and typically like my belt slightly loose so I'm pretty much a worst case scenario for abusing belts so your mileage may vary but that's what I've seen. Also IWB it's less important but still a factor.

    Take care!

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    Distinguished Member Array Nmuskier's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by searcher 45 View Post
    I have found that Wal Mart sales a utility work belt for about $13.00 that has worked very well for me.

    The belt is not necessarily a dress belt, but i ware a suit with it and it just works for me.
    I found the same thing. I can use this for heavy work around the house in Carhartts where I wouldn't want to risk damaging my pistol (concrete demo, rolling in sand) without worrying about damaging an $80 belt, but it will hold my holster well enough. It's gone iner 2 years now, which makes it worth the (little) money.

    I also have a 5.11 dress belt with Kydex insert. I wear this much less often, but it is a much better carry rig.

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    Member Array MarksmanCentral's Avatar
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    I have a double duty belt from cabelas. Works fine for me. I think the reinforced ones are a solution to a very specific problem. If you are carrying a very heavy gun with a small footprint (one clip or something that the weight is carried by a small portion of the belt) then the reinforcement would spread that stress over a larger area. But, if you carry a good quality holster with a wide footprint then you will likely not tell the difference.

    Another concern is that belts mold to your body shape. If you look at a well worn belt it will not be straight. The reinforced belts will not mold like this where the extra stuff is. So it will likely not be comfortable even after break in.

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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Go for the best leather belt you can find. They are more than worth it in durability, comfort and satisfaction. YOu pay for one once and gets years of pleasing wear (provided you do not gain weight). I have had the one I am wearing now for five years after paying $68 for it at a police supply store. It shows no sign of wear, not any sag or distortion.
    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

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    Member Array ginzo's Avatar
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    I have a -Ridgid Holsters- belt w/kydex. Not a regret, although I've been told kydex is not needed. Very stiff, but comfortable. Also tried an Eddie Bauer double leather stitched belt. nogo! Look at the difference.
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    VIP Member Array smolck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldman45 View Post
    (provided you do not gain weight).
    I had to bust out laughing on this comment. I know you didn't probably mean it to be funny, but for me it hit home. Note my original post says I have TWO aker B-21's. One for when I was a 36" waist and one now that I am NOT!\

    Thanks to all for the comments. Undecided at the moment, but will let you all know if I make a decision and how the belt works .
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    Distinguished Member Array oldman45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smolck View Post
    I had to bust out laughing on this comment. I know you didn't probably mean it to be funny, but for me it hit home. Note my original post says I have TWO aker B-21's. One for when I was a 36" waist and one now that I am NOT!\

    Thanks to all for the comments. Undecided at the moment, but will let you all know if I make a decision and how the belt works .
    There are few reasons for getting anything in duplicate.
    1. Item worn out.
    2. Item got too small for user. I married with a 32 inch waist. Now some 41 yrs later, it is a 44 inch waist, which is sad but even more sad is the change in the wife's size. When we married, she weighed 115 pounds. Now she has one leg that weighs more than that.
    3. Item no longer servicable for the need at the time of purchase and newer model woks better.

    It is often said that the words of experience is best advice. I have over 40 yrs of carrying professionally. I also have some of the nicest guns available. I learned that some holsters like Kydex will mark guns with continued wear over time. I bought some, tried them and all of them eventually marked the guns up badly. I now have several that is no longer used. Leather worked well for a couple hundred years and it is still my choice.
    A 9mm might expand but a .45acp never shrinks.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smolck View Post
    Aker B-21 gun belts ... leather, but have the kydex reinforcement bar in them. They are RIDICULOUSLY stiff. Maybe too much ...

    does a high quality all leather gun belt (sparks, beltman, etc) offer the same or better support than my B-21? Is it more comfy at the same time?
    Haven't worn the Aker B-21 kydex/leather belts, myself, so I couldn't say.

    IMO, the question isn't so much whether a given belt will support equally as compared to another belt, but whether it'll support sufficiently above the minimums necessary for the loads/stresses you are carrying. How great a "safety" margin above the actual need is the Aker B-21? Can't say.

    Generally speaking, I think it's fair to say that a ridiculously-stiff belt is going to have a higher strength in terms of ability to carry loads without twisting/torquing than a less-stiff belt of the same size/shape. That said ...


    My experience with belts for carry purposes consists of the following:

    • Kramer duty belt, dual-hide leather 1.5" wide -- extremely stiff, almost too stiff for daily carrying (with a bit puffier midsection than many folks have). Used by many LEO's; very capable, but in all-leather is likely (guessing) to be somewhat less-stiff than your kydex/leather B-21's.

    • BeltMan gun belt, dual-hide leather 1.5" wide, 1.25" taper along end of belt, no internal stiffener, single stitching -- fairly stiff when new, flexible/soft enough for basic all-day-carry comfort. Sufficient to support a ~38oz total load, all day every day. After 7yrs, noticeably less stiff than when new, but still capable of supporting 30+oz loads, with fairly good comfort.

    • Armour Belts (Mike Bissell) gun belt, dual-hide leather 1.5" wide, no internal stiffener, no taper, double stitching -- fairly stiff, about the right amount of stiffness for heavier daily-carry loads. Noticeably stiffer, initially, than were the BeltMan belts initially, but nowhere near as frighteningly uber-stiff as the Kramer belt. Easily handles ~38oz total loads, all day every day, more comfortably than the Kramer ever did. Might be an option to consider. 1.5" @ $65 shipped; doesn't offer 1.75". Have only been wearing this one for several weeks, now, but so far I am very impressed. Time will tell, whether it'll remain as firm for heavier loads and resisting torquing as the years go by. Am assuming it will, given the double stitching and firmness I'm seeing now.


    As to whether any of these would meet your less-stiff needs for a carry belt, I can't say. My experience with these three different brands of belts has resulted in me, at least so far, enjoying the Armour belt far more than the other two. Though, my body shape/fitness is different over the range I'm comparing; yet, the overall loads/torque I'm attempting to compare is roughly similar.


    Smolck, you don't say what your daily carry load is, how much weight it is overall, which would give an idea of how large of a tortional torque the load would exert upon the belt itself. What gun, holster, number of spare mags, other stuff, on the belt you carry daily?

    One option would be to acquire 1.75" wide belts, which would better be able to resist the loading while still affording you some margin for "softening" up the belt by going to something in all-leather and/or without an internal stiffener. Or, going to a marginally softer and less-stiff alternate belt could yield the benefits you're seeking. In my case, I was impressed by the difference between the stiffer Kramer and the softer BeltMan, particularly with the taper. And I've been equally impressed with the added initial stiffness of the Armour over the BeltMan.
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    Member Array MLittle's Avatar
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    No leather for me...... I like original Wilderness Tactical belts with additional stitching. Reasonably priced and long lasting. I carry all steel 1911's with NO problem using them.

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    Senior Member Array DoctorBob's Avatar
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    I have a double layer belt from Crossbreed that I wear as a dress belt and carry belt. Well made, good looking very functional. Check it out

    Dress Belt | CrossBreed® Holsters Dress Belts

    You can get it with 'loop' Velcro sewn across the inside but I do not recommend that unless you are determined to use the V-clips on your IWB holster.
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