The tie that binds: how important is your belt?

This is a discussion on The tie that binds: how important is your belt? within the Defensive Carry Holsters & Carry Options forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; There have been many threads on this forum and elsewhere about the importance of a "good gunbelt"; I take a different view in my work. ...

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Thread: The tie that binds: how important is your belt?

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    Senior Member Array rednichols's Avatar
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    The tie that binds: how important is your belt?

    There have been many threads on this forum and elsewhere about the importance of a "good gunbelt"; I take a different view in my work.

    That's because the belt is a coincidence to what we're designing: we wear a holstered pistol on our belt 'because it's there'; i.e., we're already wearing a belt, so why not carry our pistol there?

    But as designers, we must not consider the belt as a structural part of our holsters -- because we can't control that part of the equation, short of selling them as a set and riveting them together.

    So rather than being in the situation where a buyer blames the holster when he has a soggy belt, we must assume that the belt plays only one role: holding up the buyer's pants. It does this at a certain area -- at the waist (not the hip in concealment) -- and so we choose angle and balance and height accordingly.

    Here's a holster that's being held at the waist by 1/4" cord.

    string balance (1).JPGstring balance (2).JPG

    The cord has NO stiffness, it has NO width. With time, the wearer's pants will begin to slide down because there is no belt to hold up the pants against the weight of the pistol. But note the wearer stands vertically in one pic, and leant over in the second: the important equation that's been solved with this design is that the holstered pistol follows the body position, and the belt is not part of the structure. There is literally NO belt. The configuration of the holster is positioning the pistol, not the stiffness of a belt.

    P.S. The 'pistol', although a blue gun, is a 'real weight' SIG.
    Phaedrus and sanfordreed like this.
    Red (Richard) Nichols

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    VIP Member Array Easy8's Avatar
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    Not sure I agree. The belt stays in place when drawing. The strength of the retention is defeated by a sturdy belt that stays put keeps the holster from moving while drawing an reholstering with one hand.
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    Senior Member Array rednichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy8 View Post
    Not sure I agree. The belt stays in place when drawing. The strength of the retention is defeated by a sturdy belt that stays put keeps the holster from moving while drawing an reholstering with one hand.
    Then you've missed the point of this study. As to which you're speaking of, it is the WIDTH of the belt WITH THE PANTS LOOPS (try it over your sweats that don't have loops) that allows drawing and holstering; but neither that width, nor the thickness, nor the stiffness, POSITIONS the holster against you when the latter is designed correctly. Not when a bit of cord can do it :)
    Red (Richard) Nichols

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    Senior Member Array ironmike86's Avatar
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    Can you draw with that cord? I find if the belt is tight with the holster the friction is what keeps it from moving. A larger stiff belt seems to work with larger holsters and pistols. If it's not tight the holster will pull away from your body. I've tried with dress belts they seem to work. But a stiff gun belt ones my mags and gun is on there it feels better to me. Or I simply wouldn't spent the $$ for a belt. JMO

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    VIP Member Array Phaedrus's Avatar
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    Amazing, Red! I wish I could make your holster design class. So many makers just copy what's already on the market and add their own little flourishes, but without any underlying understanding of how holsters work.
    "When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis

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    Senior Member Array rednichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ironmike86 View Post
    Can you draw with that cord? I find if the belt is tight with the holster the friction is what keeps it from moving. A larger stiff belt seems to work with larger holsters and pistols. If it's not tight the holster will pull away from your body. I've tried with dress belts they seem to work. But a stiff gun belt ones my mags and gun is on there it feels better to me. Or I simply wouldn't spent the $$ for a belt. JMO
    Yes, because you can't see the fine fishing line to the leg. No, not really, though I did consider it. The purpose of the study is to divorce these functions of the belt, from the notion that it is the combination of the belt with the holster that conceals your pistol. The belt is simply an adjunct; it is not "the wind beneath your wings". That latter function is carried out by the holster (or should be and often isn't).
    Red (Richard) Nichols

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    Things that make you go hhhmmm...I'll be curious what others who have forgotten more about guns/holsters/belts more than I'll ever know have to say about this. I find that my belt is key component of my CC gear. I hear you saying that it is now if the holster is designed and fitted correctly to the wearer that most/all the difference. That goes against most/if not all of what I've read so I'll be open to what others including you have to say about this. Tangential to this topic...I really like my Crossbreed belt and FoxX Trapp IWB holster and Shield 9 combo...outstanding!
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    VIP Member Array 357and40's Avatar
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    I have tried lesser quality belts and I have to say that I sincerely believe my beltman-belt is an integral part of the equation. Anyone can say as they wish, but a good gun-belt, to me, is a must.
    ironmike86 and JDE101 like this.
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    You are correct in saying that the belt is an adjunct to the holster. However, the holster cannot function as a stand alone device. If it is only clipped to the pants, then the weight of the gun will surely cause the pants to descend. Some type of belt or suspender is needed to prevent them from coming down. A good quality "gunbelt" performs both functions. Also the belt enables the holster to maintain a desired cant when the holster is threaded thru the belt as in your pic. Just my thoughts. Your reputation preceeds you as being a master holster maker, and I have much respect for your thoughts and your products.
    sanfordreed likes this.
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    Member Array AZ40's Avatar
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    makes sense to me, while the belt is an important thing you want your holsters to be balanced to the point that even if the customer has a piece of string for a belt the gun/ holster will still ride correctly. Belt it's just one part of the equation.

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    VIP Member Array Phaedrus's Avatar
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    I don't want to put words into anyone's mouth but I think the point of the post is that some people view the belt as the "foundation" and rely upon it to compensate for poor structure of the holster. A good holster shouldn't require a belt to compress it into your body and retain the gun- the holster should do that on its own. The belt holds the holster in place, not the gun.

    The belt is very important, and you should have a good one. Otherwise the holster might pull your pants down. It adds structure but doesn't make a crappy holster good.
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    VIP Member Array chiefjason's Avatar
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    I may actually give this a try. I've been making a lot of the flat back pancakes. And folks are loving them. That flat back is also a big part of what allows the gun to ride close to the body. The "conventional wisdom" in holsters is to completely build the holster, then shove the gun/blue gun in it and mold away. With 50% of the mold in the back, and 50% of the mold in the front; you offset the gun from the body by 50% of it's width plus leather before you ever get to carry position and belt. IMO, the flat back carries almost as close as IWB carry. Verddy interdesting.
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    Senior Member Array rednichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phaedrus View Post
    I don't want to put words into anyone's mouth but I think the point of the post is that some people view the belt as the "foundation" and rely upon it to compensate for poor structure of the holster. A good holster shouldn't require a belt to compress it into your body and retain the gun- the holster should do that on its own. The belt holds the holster in place, not the gun.

    The belt is very important, and you should have a good one. Otherwise the holster might pull your pants down. It adds structure but doesn't make a crappy holster good.
    V good, and right on the money.
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    Distinguished Member Array technomonster's Avatar
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    i think it also depends on the ride height of the holster and where it`s located on the body. the belt loops on my OWB pancake holster is below the trigger guard with most of the weight above the belt, i wear it at 5 o clock and the gun sits in the small of my back off to my strong side. while a string would hold up the holster and the holster would retain the gun there is no way a string could press the gun to my body close enough to conceal it, it would flop outwards, especially if i was seated.
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    Senior Member Array rednichols's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by technomonster View Post
    i think it also depends on the ride height of the holster and where it`s located on the body. the belt loops on my OWB pancake holster is below the trigger guard with most of the weight above the belt, i wear it at 5 o clock and the gun sits in the small of my back off to my strong side. while a string would hold up the holster and the holster would retain the gun there is no way a string could press the gun to my body close enough to conceal it, it would flop outwards, especially if i was seated.
    And that's the point, in the inverse. Your holstermaker, seeking a high ride, could only accomplish this by relying on the belt to fight the top-heavy nature of the pistol. But the holster I've shown IS top-heavy (and remember, real weight pistol) yet the belt doesn't accomplish that; instead the holster does that, by transferring the weight to the wearer laterally, by design; and is held only vertically by the cord.

    A more difficult concept to communicate than I expected; didn't someone say that "a picture is worth a thousand words" -- Confucius?
    Red (Richard) Nichols

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