The best sharkskin belt?
So, who makes the best sharkskin belt? In a few months, I'll be looking to treat myself to one.
As far as I know, Milt Sparks, Rafter, and Beltman make sharkskin belts....I haven't heard of anyone else(*). Which one makes the best quality and most appealing belt? I'm especially interested in hearing from anyone who has seen/worn/owned more than just one of these belts. I'm assuming everyone who has owned just one will be happy with his choice, but I'm really looking for comparisons.
From the Internet, I can see and read the obvious differences: Rafter = the least $$; Rafter has 4 rows of stitching rather than 2; Beltman has a stiffener; Beltman will have the quickest turnaround time; etc. (Since I won't need this for several months, turnaround time is not that important, but I won't wait for more than 6 - 8 months, so that leaves out several places).
But actual looks, finish, durability -- anyone have A/B comparison information?
* -- ETA. I see Del Fatti and Kramer make sharkskin belts. But DF has a 2+ year waiting list and Kramer wants $280 (!) for a sharkskin belt, so both places are non-starters for me.
I am getting ready to shell out for a nice belt as well. I am trying to decide between shark skin or Elephant. From what I hear and read, Rafter is awesome. The only negative I have heard is that they are sometimes not realistic on their delivery estimates. Nothing like 6 months, but more like 30 - 60.
I have not seen any other than RafterS, which I have. I am well pleased with them and do not desire better if someone makes them better.
I did have someone tell me that Brommeland belts were better around the edges and superior to RafterS.
Sparks would be superb, and some others also. But for me I am pleased with RafterS. Their prices are almost unbelievable.
Their service is not as good as it was several years ago, but the belts are.
Others may have some experience that will provide a direct comparison.
Bought a refurbished shark belt from Nate at UBG, really fine belt. Only gripe, I wish the tip was pointier. Looks great with jeans or high end dress slacks, tough as iron.
Had a pair of elephant cowboy boots years ago. They lasted a very long time. Had them resoled and heeled 4 or 5 times. Wore them almost every day, riding a motorcycle in a lot of different weather. You couldn't hardly scratch them with a sharp nail. I would think the belts would wear longer, since they do not generally get the same kind of abuse boots do. Elephant hide doesn't stretch much either. On boots, you better buy them so they fit right when new. I would assume that also holds true for belts. The beltmakers should be able to advise you on that. I think Beltman uses a layer of bullhide and a layer of elephant.
Don't have a sharkskin belt from Beltman, but I have two of his bullhide belts and a sharkskin holster. The belts and holster are great looking and wear extremely well. IMO, if he can make a holster this good, a belt is no problem.
I have a really nice shark belt from DM Bullard out of Azle, TX. It's a black tiger shark over Hermann Oak Leather, double stitched, nice heavy roller buckle, custom made to 7 hole belt. I love it. The edges do seem to get some wear, but it's a great belt. I also have one of his 'oil brown' leather belts. Great guy to deal with... I don't have a picture but here are some of his exotics.
Gun Leather, Concealment and Cowboy holsters, Azle, TX.
dgg, what type of holster are you going to wear? Rafter makes a pretty thick belt, and their 1.5" does not always work well with some holsters that are cut for 1.5" belts.
If you have the option, match holster and belt maker. For instance, the Max Con V from Brommeland with a Brommeland belt feel like they were made for each other(because they are).
I love my Rafter belt, but it is too thick for some holsters, so plan ahead.
To be completely honest, the sharkskin belt is more for show than for go. I'm buying it for the appearance.
Originally Posted by Kerbouchard
In terms of an all-weather CCW workhorse, I already own a Beltman horsehide belt(*) in that size -- after some research I concluded the horsehide would give me maximum strength with minimum width, and thus would cater to the widest variety of holsters.
That said, I did find differences in holsters with the current Mitch Rosen belt I have, so your point is well taken. Kramer canted belt scabbards simply did not fit well, but the Alessi CQC does fit easily. I sold my Kramer after that. In the IWB arena, the TT VM2-clone takes some work to snap into place, but does get there.
* -- and after seeing the Beltman in horsehide, my default move would be to get the Beltman in sharkskin as well.