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How to Choose the Best Gun Belt

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When you decide to start concealed carrying a pistol, there’s a lot to consider. From finding the right pistol to choosing a holster that’s both comfortable and easy to conceal, finding the right setup can be a challenge.  

The wide variety of available options can alleviate some of the stress concealed carrying brings, but there’s one critical accessory you’ll need that you may be overlooking: a good gun belt

Whether you’re carrying IWB or OWB, your belt is responsible for supporting the weight of your pistol, holster, and any other gear you may be carrying. While some continue to use the same belt they’ve had for years, dedicated concealed carry belts have become increasingly popular and readily available, making them an essential piece of gear to have.  

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What is a Gun Belt? 

When new enthusiasts hear “gun belt,” the first thing that usually comes to mind is either the classic leather belts and holsters associated with cowboy action revolver shooting, or the larger and bulkier modern battle-belt setups. Today’s gun belts are more reminiscent of modern styles and designs and often look identical to the typical ones you’re familiar with.  

So, what makes a gun belt different from a regular one? They differ greatly in their construction, as they’re much more rigid, allowing for better holster retention, security, and support. Gun belts are made from durable materials such as leather and nylon, which often make up the belt’s outer lining. To give them their rigidity, manufacturers incorporate a stiffer, reinforced core that’s made of materials like carbon fiber. This rigid core allows the belt to freely conform to your waist and support weight without collapsing in on itself, regardless of whether you’re carrying just your pistol for EDC or a full competition rig with magazine pouches and other gear.  

Benefits of Wearing a Gun Belt 

While you can use a regular belt for conceal carry, having a dedicated gun belt comes with many benefits: 

Improved Holster Compatibility 

As we said before, a good gun belt can seriously enhance your EDC setup. For concealed carry, using one allows you to run a plethora of different holster types for your pistol. Take IWB holsters, for instance. The rigid belt face gives your holster a good surface to rest and clip onto. Paired with the better adjustability that’s found on most gun belts, you can find the best fit possible, offering adequate retention and security you’re your holster, while finding a tightness level that’s comfortable for you.  

The same applies for carrying with OWB Holsters. Essentially, you can run just about any holster with a solid gun belt. As such, you have a lot of freedom to play around with different setups to find one that works for you. For example, if you’re interested in competitions, you can set up your gear to fit different pistol shooting stances. Likewise, you can try out different placements for any EDC gear you might be carrying to maximize your efficiency.  

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Better Concealment 

A common issue enthusiasts run into when concealed carrying is printing. Printing is when the outline of your handgun can be seen through your clothes when you’re carrying. A properly fitted gun belt can remedy this, providing the support needed to securely hold your holster and pistol closer to your body. However, it’s not the only factor to consider.  

The type of holster you use, as well as your clothing, play a significant part in your ability to adequately conceal a pistol. AIWB Holsters (Appendix Carry Inside-The-Waistband) is a type of IWB holster that’s specifically designed for the appendix carrying position, one of the most popular carrying positions. Carrying AIWB puts your pistol directly in front of you in an easy to access area that requires less movement/telegraphing to draw from.  

While appendix carrying is by far the easiest way to conceal your pistol, it isn’t practical if you aren’t wearing clothes that are conducive to concealment. The type of clothing you wear plays an important role in your ability to conceal a pistol. Our guide on concealed carry clothing goes in-depth on this, and we recommend checking it out if you’re having trouble with printing when carrying.  

Capability of Carrying Other Tools/Gear 

Gun belts aren’t just for pistol carrying; they’re excellent for acting as the hub for your other EDC tools as well. Common EDC gear such as Flashlights often comes with a leather or nylon pouch that can be secured to your belt for easy access. Even though not every light comes standard with an included pouch, there are plenty of aftermarket options available that can fit your light and even extras like batteries.  

In addition to lights, one of the most common EDC tools available is knives. Knives are available in all shapes and sizes, plus they’re incredibly versatile, making them one of the most popular EDC tools around. While many opt to carry a smaller pocketknife, it’s still common to see enthusiasts choosing to carry a larger fixed blade knife instead. Because of their larger size, they can’t easily fit in a pocket. As such, they often come with a leather or kydex sheath that can clip on, or loop through, a gun belt. 

If you have a good gun belt, you’ll easily be able to carry all sorts of gear mounted to your belt. Whenever you add gear or pieces of kit to your belt, they’ll begin to weigh it down. A good gun belt with a rigid inner core can support multiple pieces of kit without collapsing under the weight. 

Better Comfort, Fit, and Retention 

Compared to standard belts, EDC belts offer superior comfort and fit for when carrying handguns and tools. Many modern gun belts have multiple adjustments, allowing you to easily find a comfortable fit. Unlike standard belt buckles, which usually have around six to seven adjustment points, options like those from Nexbelt and KORE Essentials use a ratcheting system, while others incorporate Velcro and COBRA Latches for retention.  

Ratcheting mechanisms can have over 40 adjustment positions that increase by ¼-inch increments while Velcro retention, on belts like the Ferro Concepts EDCB2, provides you with a similar degree of on-the-fly adjustability. Both options give you a lot of flexibility for fitment and are very secure, allowing you to carry all manners of gear while still being comfortable enough for everyday use. 

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Choosing the Best Gun Belt 

There are a lot of solid options to choose from when shopping for a gun belt. While it’s nice to have such a wide variety to pick through, there are some factors you should consider before choosing one.  

Belt Width and Thickness 

Something to consider is the width and thickness of the belt itself. Most belts have a standard width of 1 ½ inches. This width fits most, if not all, belt loops and they can provide more than enough support for holsters. That said, there are wider options available, with another common size being 1 ¾ inches. This size offers a bit more support, but you run the risk of it not fitting within your belt loops. For professional/duty use, these belts are the better choice, but for the everyday enthusiast, we recommend sticking with a 1 ½-inch belt width since it’s compatible with most belt loops.  

The thickness of the belt can vary as well. The standard thickness for a belt is around 5mm, but this can vary depending on the manufacturer. A thinner gun belt often won’t have the same rigidity and support as a thicker one. However, this doesn’t mean you should opt for the thickest belt available. Thicker belts offer more support, but they often come with the caveat of added weight, and at times, reduced comfort. Ultimately, it’s up to your personal preference as to which is better. We recommend trying our different belts to find what’s most comfortable. If you have a standard belt that’s comfortable to wear, try searching around to see if there’s an EDC belt that matches its thickness.

Brands to Consider 

Like we said before, there are a lot of concealed carry belts and EDC belts to choose from. KORE Essentials has been producing high-quality belts for a long time. They have many belts in their lineup, with options made of leather, nylon, and some that feature a blend of the two.  

Nexbelt is another manufacturer that’s well-renowned for their high-quality EDC belt options. They offer multiple different belts, with options for nearly every budget. Depending on the model you look at, they have belt options that fit all occasions, blending the look of standard belts with the security and rigidity found in dedicated gun belts.  

Other brands like Ferro Concepts also produce excellent EDC belts. 


While it’s often overlooked, a solid gun belt is one of the most crucial components in an EDC setup, responsible for supporting the weight of your gear. Though it’s impossible to name one choice as the best gun belt, having the one that works best for you makes carrying handguns, tools, and extra magazines easy and comfortable.  

Investing in a quality gun belt is a smart choice for enhancing your EDC setup, but they aren’t the only factor to consider. It’s important to take time and research the several types of holsters and clothes, as both play a significant role in optimizing your concealed carrying experience. 

Shopping for the right holster can be a challenge when there are so many options, but our guide on choosing the best holster goes over everything to consider before buying. We recommend checking it out to get a better understanding of what to look for in a holster, especially if you plan on concealed carrying.