Can a belt be TOO stiff???


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Corpral_Agarn
April 3, 2014, 12:03 PM
Hello THR!

So with all of the "Which Belt for me" threads rolling around I have decided its time I got an upgrade.

I have been eyeing the Wilderness Frequent Flyer belt and am fixing on purchasing one. And there is a Beltman belt in my future as well.

My question is this: with so many belt manufacturers offering extra stitching or an internal stiffener, can a belt be too stiff?
At first I was thinking the stiffer the belt the better, but now I am second guessing that opinion.

My every day carry set up is a Sig P239 9mm riding IWB at around 4 o'clock and a double mag carrier at around 8.
Current belt is 3 year old Galco B2 and I am thinking that maybe its not stiff enough anymore.

So with the Frequent Flyer belt, should I be looking at just the 5 stitch model or the "CSM" with the internal stiffener?

Any thoughts or opinions on this would be very much appreciated.
Thanks!

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Sam1911
April 3, 2014, 12:07 PM
I wore the Wilderness Instructor belt with the stiffening panel in it for about 5-6 years, every day, carrying or not. Now I wear a custom made 2-layer horsehide/cowhide belt that's over 1/4" thick every day.

I don't think you're likely to find any/many belts stiffer than those, and yet they are not too stiff. If the belt fits you, I don't think you'll find too much stiffness possible.

Drail
April 3, 2014, 12:20 PM
Back in ancient times the most popular belt for competition use was the Ernie Hill belt. It was heavy and massive BUT it absolutely kept the gun in the same position all of the time. It was circumferentially cut (tapered) so the the edges would not dig into your waist if you were "normally sized". It had a steel insert at the holster area for even more support to the gun. It would probably make a pretty good weapon all by itself. At the end of a long match day it still felt really good to take it off. But pretty much these days nylon has replaced leather just as polymer has replaced steel. For street carry I still prefer a heavy stiff leather belt. If you have "love handles" wear your belt a little looser and use work suspenders. If your rig slides down your hips it's going to get tighter and cut off circulation and/or pinch nerves. Proper fit is VERY important on a gun belt. Close won't get it. Extra stiff is OK as long as the belt sits evenly around your waist and doesn't dig in at the top or bottom edge of the belt.

Corpral_Agarn
April 3, 2014, 12:37 PM
I wore the Wilderness Instructor belt with the stiffening panel in it for about 5-6 years, every day, carrying or not. Now I wear a custom made 2-layer horsehide/cowhide belt that's over 1/4" thick every day.

I don't think you're likely to find any/many belts stiffer than those, and yet they are not too stiff. If the belt fits you, I don't think you'll find too much stiffness possible.

Thanks Sam! that was some fast response time!

Back in ancient times the most popular belt for competition use was the Ernie Hill belt. It was heavy and massive BUT it absolutely kept the gun in the same position all of the time. It was circumferentially cut (tapered) so the the edges would not dig into your waist if you were "normally sized". It had a steel insert at the holster area for even more support to the gun. It would probably make a pretty good weapon all by itself. At the end of a long match day it still felt really good to take it off. But pretty much these days nylon has replaced leather just as polymer has replaced steel. For street carry I still prefer a heavy stiff leather belt. If you have "love handles" wear your belt a little looser and use work suspenders. If your rig slides down your hips it's going to get tighter and cut off circulation and/or pinch nerves. Proper fit is VERY important on a gun belt. Close won't get it. Extra stiff is OK as long as the belt sits evenly around your waist and doesn't dig in at the top or bottom edge of the belt.

hmm... Well no love handles on this boy!

I am 5'8" at 130lbs.
I wear a 34" belt.

I wonder, could being of smaller size perhaps make a difference?

rayban
April 3, 2014, 08:51 PM
"I wear a 34" belt."....."boy" is right.... a 3/16" thick cowhide belt will do you when carrying IWB.
Not too thick, but plenty firm enough to do the job.

JTQ
April 3, 2014, 08:54 PM
I suspect you won't need much of a belt for such a little gun as SIG P239. Guys with an S&W N-Frame (or X-Frame) or a 5" 1911 will often need a stiffer belt.

If I recall correctly, most of the makers tend to comment, you don't really need a stiffener for a horsehide belt (unless it is a truly large/heavy gun), and often a larger waisted guy could benefit from a stiffener. I suspect a slimmer guy like you, with a lighter weight gun would be fine with a regular dual layer belt.

There is probably no downside to the stiffener in the Wilderness belt, just extra cost. If you think you need it, go ahead and order it.

Corpral_Agarn
April 4, 2014, 11:46 AM
Well, I went ahead and asked Wilderness their opinion and received (via email):

That being said I would recommend the 5-stitch belt. Donít forget to take the measurement with your IWB holster on. The CSMís work really well for larger waists and sometimes the feedback for smaller waists is that it is not comfortable.

Let us know if you have any more questions. Have a great day!

So I ordered a 5 stitch. Response time was a few minutes after i sent them my email. They seem like good folks to work with.

Going to pick up a Beltman Horsehide someday too.

Thanks to everyone for the replies!

Sam1911
April 4, 2014, 12:10 PM
I think you'll be very pleased!

rodinal220
April 5, 2014, 12:35 AM
No. Another vote for Ernie Hill. I still use mine!!

Hometeached1
April 7, 2014, 08:34 AM
Let us know how it works out. I'm about your hight and weight (2" taller and 10lbs heavier) and same waist size. I've been thinking about getting a 5 stitch to replace the leather belt I have now (it's not a gun belt but is pretty thick and was stiff).
Thanks.

jon_in_wv
April 7, 2014, 10:01 PM
I used the 5.11 stiff belt and gravitated back to the single layer belts. I just found stiff belts to be very uncomfortable and the extra bulk didn't offer any real advantage for me.

Tallbald
April 8, 2014, 03:27 AM
I've been wearing a custom laminated belt from our own Rayban (see my review) that is about 1/4 inch thick and is 1 3/4 inch wide for several days now. It's very stiff. I have never worn such a comfortable belt as this. It's stiff and hardy, and I am loving it. Don

smovlov
April 8, 2014, 06:45 PM
6' 150lb here. Sometimes gun belts push into the front part of my hips which is uncomfortable. It happens mostly when in sitting. It doesn't happen with regular belts.

Corpral_Agarn
April 10, 2014, 02:25 PM
Just a little update everyone:

My wilderness Frequent Flyer belt arrived yesterday. Wearing it now. This is a really good belt so far.
I really like the infinite sizing adjustment.
My only beef with it is that the end of the tail (the part with the velcro) ends right where my IWB holster snap is. I may have to put it on backwards to accommodate that, but other than that, it is a great belt.

I was really surprised at how thin it was an how pliable it was around my waist. My old leather belt was not nearly as comfortable around my waist.

Will see how it holds up after a few weeks to be sure. So far so good!
Would recommend it!

oh, when you order it be careful. I measured my old leather belt at 34 inches including the IWB holster. I ordered a 34" Wilderness belt and it is almost too big. Lots of adjustment, though!

JTQ
April 10, 2014, 08:30 PM
My only beef with it is that the end of the tail (the part with the velcro) ends right where my IWB holster snap is. I may have to put it on backwards to accommodate that, but other than that, it is a great belt.
That's one option. Another is to just move the buckle to the left, which is what I do. You don't have to have the buckle centered, and I'm a retired USAF guy that spent many years making sure my "gig line" was aligned properly.

Corpral_Agarn
April 11, 2014, 01:12 PM
Yep! have it off center right now and it is working pretty good.

Being off center does bug me a little, but shirt covers it up so whatever.

dab102999
April 11, 2014, 01:23 PM
That's one option. Another is to just move the buckle to the left, which is what I do. You don't have to have the buckle centered, and I'm a retired USAF guy that spent many years making sure my "gig line" was aligned properly.
I have the same problem with my 5.11 belt. I reverse direction and problem is solved, until I started wearing my extra mags at 8 o'clock. So I just offcenter my belt some and works fine.

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