Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

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Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Murph » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:14 am

Welcome to the latest installment of Tactical Tuesday!

Today's topic is about the Pistol Belt, also known as: battle belt, duty belt, tac belt, bat belt, first line, belt kit, etc. Whatever you may call it, basically it is described as a belt that is worn around the waist, over top of a standard pants belt, and outside of the pants belt loops. It is designed to carry a light amount of gear for emergency cases.

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Working from the left, around the back, to the right (opposite direction for lefties) here is average pistol belt:
Two Pistol Reloads
Flashlight
Multi-tool (optional)
Rifle Reload (optional)
Dump Pouch (optional)
Small First Aid Kit (optional)
Small Survival Kit (optional)
Pistol Holster
Knife

Of course the above order & items can be modified based on your tastes, but typically a pistol belt is setup that way for several reasons.
For example, below the placement of the knife and multi-tool are swapped:
Image

Example of a police duty belt:
Image
Notice the pistol and magazine placement is nearly identical.

The pistol is placed closest to the dominant/strong hand. Spare ammo is placed closed to the center/gig line, but on the weak-side. This allows for a quick draw and fast reloads, hence the location of these items. Likewise, having a readily accessible flashlight is important too. A few holsters and many pistols also allow for mounting a "weapon" light directly on the pistol frame. While this is extremely convenient, it may not be ideal. You may want to shine a flashlight at a friend to help, but they would be rather upset with you pointing a gun at them as well. Just something to keep in mind when deciding on flashlights.* The last important item is a good knife.* Depending on your style of holster should determine the placement of your knife. Suggested placement is either in front or behind the pistol holster. What you want to check for is that you can both draw, and holster your pistol without the knife interfering with or snagging the pistol.

I'd like to briefly mention drop-leg panels/holsters, aka sub-loads. Personally, I think they're more trouble than the extra "real estate" they provide. I do not advocate using them because they're bulky, twist around your leg, snag on everything, and just generally a nusience... to me. If you like them and use them, that's great. If you don't know if they're right for you, you'll only find out by testing. With that said, they do allow you to carry more... (...to slow you down.)

Once you have a few items attached to your belt, it's time to test it. First, while standing make sure that the belt and pouches are comfortable. The belt should be adjusted to fit firmly at your waist. If your belt is sagging, do not make it uncomfortable tight, instead reduce the weight you're carrying on it. Many belts allow for suspenders/harness to be attached, allowing for more weight. If your pistol belt is the only way you have to carry gear, then invest in a good set of shoulder straps. However, like I said earlier, this belt is for a light (minimum) amount of items. Ideally, you build upon your pistol belt with chest rigs, plate carriers, messenger bags, back packs, etc.*

Next try sitting down in a chair, couch, car, etc. and make sure nothing gets in the way or is unnecessarily uncomfortable. Again try positions like kneeling, crouching, prone, crawling, etc. Try wearing a jacket, or back pack while using the belt, make sure things are comfortable and snag free. Test to make sure that the items on your belt do not slide out of position. If they do move around, invest in some belt keepers, and put them on either or both sides of the item to help it stay in place. Don't be afraid to move/add/subtract things around until it feels right.

When you're done, you might have something that looks like this:
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*Topics Coming Soon to Tactical Tuesday.
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
"When planning, prepare for the most likely, and then the most catastrophic."
raptor wrote: Being a gun collector does not make you a prepper.
the_alias wrote: Murph has all the diplomacy of a North Korean warhead, but -he has- a valid point

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by SwampRat » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:10 am

Just curious. Have you ever tried any long hiking in a pistol belt? (like if you where buggin out) I guess foot patrol cops do it all the time. I just never bought one because they look so damn uncomfortable.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Murph » Tue Mar 30, 2010 8:18 am

SwampRat wrote:Just curious. Have you ever tried any long hiking in a pistol belt? (like if you where buggin out) I guess foot patrol cops do it all the time. I just never bought one because they look so damn uncomfortable.
Yes, from time to time I've spent the day wearing one... But if think you maybe uncomfortable, there are main options for padding too. If you search for "MOLLE Battle Belt" you should find a number of styles/brands of padding for belts that are specifically designed with PALS on them for attaching all your MOLLE pouches to. :)
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
"When planning, prepare for the most likely, and then the most catastrophic."
raptor wrote: Being a gun collector does not make you a prepper.
the_alias wrote: Murph has all the diplomacy of a North Korean warhead, but -he has- a valid point

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by phil_in_cs » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:26 am

I bought an ATS "padded war belt", and have been experimenting with it. I have suspenders for it. When you get a lot of weight on a pistol belt, you need keepers (to attach it to your pants belt) and/or suspenders.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by EricinVirginia » Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:20 pm

My wife and I have pistol belts to which we added:
- Dump pouch. For a water bottle.
- E&E pouch. Used as a FAK or pistol mags.
- Support sidde drop leg rig for gas mask bag OR sidearm.
- We have lots of those spacers to ensure we have room for knives etc.

The problem we've had with these so far is that no matter how you place things, they slide around a lot, even with the spacers. How did you get around that? Also, the belt completely overlaps some of the functions of the BOB and we kept moving stuff back and forth. On that same note, you think people look at you oddly with a fully-geared up BOB... try going out with a pistol belt!

The pistol belt sits on top of a normal belt. Your BOB might have a belt that sits over that. So you end up with 3 belts all crossing each other. Murph's suggestion of doing different activities to see how the belt works is good... but it's almost impossible to run with these belts on. Maybe we're doing something wrong, but the instant you run, stuff starts coming loose or the belt rides up and begins to rotate.

We have Blackhawk specops harnesses attached to the belts. Fully-loaded up, they do a good job supporting extra weight, but if we're going to be carrying that much extra weight - on a belt - we might as well go to a backpack or vest.

My opinion... battle belts are for battle and have a specific role in prepping. Outside of a role in active or imminent combat or patrol, their functionality becomes a bit questionable.

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Chef » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:45 pm

I run a "Duty Belt," which is similar to the GI pistol belt, but doesn't have the archaic grommets. It's lined with loop velcro, and pouches designed for duty belt use have patches of hook velcro to prevent the pouches from sliding around. It's a neat setup, but there's no way I'd use it in conjunction with a rucksack.

I recommend using belt keepers with a pistol belt. These are small loops of material that wrap around both your pants belt and pistol belt and keep you from fruitlessly lifting the pistol belt when attempting to draw. No beat cop in the world would be without a set.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by D-Train » Tue Mar 30, 2010 7:57 pm

I heart Tactical Tuesday.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by AKFTW » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:04 pm

Right now I have a USMC style LC-2 belt, with that same dump pouch, and two Alice M16 pouches, one for a FAK, and another for sustainment/survival gear like water purification tabs, power bars, AAA batteries, LED light, tissues, bug spray, etc. Stuff that will keep you going in the field for longer, and that you can get to easily because it's always there in front of you.
I'll add a holster and double mag pouch once I get the Glock hopefully soon.
I also plan to add a P90 pouch for a smoke grenade once I get around to testing out the available types and figuring out what works for me.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Crimson Phoenix » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:29 am

I recommend a set of suspenders for that thing if you've got any weight on it and intend to be wearing it for a while. I've got two ALICE kits, one with a set of Y-suspenders hooked to the older grey buckle belt and the other with the thing tied to a '90s vintage IIFS vest and USMC fastex buckle belt (which I prefer). Both kits have two M16 mag pouches, two canteen pouches, a first aid kit, butt pack on the vest rig, and a compass pouch over my left shoulder for a radio pocket or whatever else catches my fancy. Got a bunch of other ALICE compatible stuff like pistol mag pouches and extra rifle mag pouches, but it doesn't see much use yet. I'd like to make sure all my rigs are symmetrical to prevent the loaded weight making things lopsided and wearing me out quicker.

I'm seriously tempted to use the pistol belt and suspenders rig in the field when doing geology work, but I'm self-conscious about wearing too much military crap at once for whatever reason. With that in mind, I started using a pair of Spec-Ops X-system magazine pouches on my BDU belt for carrying my camera and GPS unit on one side and sample collection bags and sharpie on the other and it works out just fine without having to sling my bag on one shoulder and dig things out all the time. They're slightly larger than an ALICE M16 pouch without the grenade loops I never use and compatible with both ALICE and MOLLE systems. Don't have a knife worthy of mounting to a belt rig yet, but maybe someday. Honestly, I'd like to find a way to rig up a Kukri to the space between the belt and buttpack for use as a field knife/hatchet/machete.

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by ranger sean » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:40 am

Just from experience, don't use them without suspenders. If you go with the old style Y military type (or even older..the H style), cut off the metal hooks (meat hooks) without cutting the webbing and run 550 cord through them and through the eye holes on the belt. Personally, I would use the new, flat webbing, low profile style suspenders. These can be worn under LBV, armor, etc and not be too uncomfortable. If you are wearing the belt and using a BOB, the kidney belt is pretty much useless on the pack now. Again, I am only saying what I know from my personal experience, but as far as the long hike question.....wearing full alice gear and pack going 20-30+ miles.....it rubbed me raw all the time.

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Murph » Tue Apr 06, 2010 7:28 am

@Crimson Phoenix & ranger sean:

The ALICE system, designed 1965, was designed to carry the entire fighting load of the soldier. Fast forward 40 something years, and the IBA and MOLLE are born. The fighting load is moved off of the waist line and onto the chest. Sometime there after soldiers started wearing pistol belts with a minimum amount of gear to increase their survivablity if they did not have their IBA/FLC/etc. on at the time. Welcome to 2010. :wink:
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
"When planning, prepare for the most likely, and then the most catastrophic."
raptor wrote: Being a gun collector does not make you a prepper.
the_alias wrote: Murph has all the diplomacy of a North Korean warhead, but -he has- a valid point

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by jor-el » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:43 am

Murph wrote:@Crimson Phoenix & ranger sean:

The ALICE system, designed 1965, was designed to carry the entire fighting load of the soldier. Fast forward 40 something years, and the IBA and MOLLE are born. The fighting load is moved off of the waist line and onto the chest. Sometime there after soldiers started wearing pistol belts with a minimum amount of gear to increase their survivablity if they did not have their IBA/FLC/etc. on at the time. Welcome to 2010. :wink:
They did get rid of those ALICE clips that weighed down the system.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Crimson Phoenix » Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:50 am

It's the future already? I was born into the Cold War. OMG I'm old!

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by ranger sean » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:09 pm

Murph wrote:@Crimson Phoenix & ranger sean:

The ALICE system, designed 1965, was designed to carry the entire fighting load of the soldier. Fast forward 40 something years, and the IBA and MOLLE are born. The fighting load is moved off of the waist line and onto the chest. Sometime there after soldiers started wearing pistol belts with a minimum amount of gear to increase their survivablity if they did not have their IBA/FLC/etc. on at the time. Welcome to 2010. :wink:
OMG...I feel so old now!!! Where is my cane?? Where is my viagra??? LOL....I am not that old!!!!!! I am still new the my 30's and I just stopped using this type of gear on a daily basis only 3 years ago. I will still stick to my original statement though......wear that pistol belt all day in high activity and tell me how good it feels!! It sucks, even with just a few mags, pistol, knife, and some small things. Now.......I need to go find my dentures!!

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Murph » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:43 pm

ranger sean wrote:
Murph wrote:@Crimson Phoenix & ranger sean:

The ALICE system, designed 1965, was designed to carry the entire fighting load of the soldier. Fast forward 40 something years, and the IBA and MOLLE are born. The fighting load is moved off of the waist line and onto the chest. Sometime there after soldiers started wearing pistol belts with a minimum amount of gear to increase their survivablity if they did not have their IBA/FLC/etc. on at the time. Welcome to 2010. :wink:
OMG...I feel so old now!!! Where is my cane?? Where is my viagra??? LOL....I am not that old!!!!!! I am still new the my 30's and I just stopped using this type of gear on a daily basis only 3 years ago. I will still stick to my original statement though......wear that pistol belt all day in high activity and tell me how good it feels!! It sucks, even with just a few mags, pistol, knife, and some small things. Now.......I need to go find my dentures!!
I've done it a number of times all day long, no big deal. Not to mention the thousands of Law Enforcement Officers do it everyday with a lot more stuff then I suggested. Radio, Cuffs, OC Spray, Tazer, Pistol, Spare Mags, Flashlight, Baton, etc. I can count the number of them I've seen with suspenders on one hand.
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
"When planning, prepare for the most likely, and then the most catastrophic."
raptor wrote: Being a gun collector does not make you a prepper.
the_alias wrote: Murph has all the diplomacy of a North Korean warhead, but -he has- a valid point

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by TDW586 » Tue Apr 06, 2010 1:57 pm

Murph wrote:I've done it a number of times all day long, no big deal. Not to mention the thousands of Law Enforcement Officers do it everyday with a lot more stuff then I suggested. Radio, Cuffs, OC Spray, Tazer, Pistol, Spare Mags, Flashlight, Baton, etc. I can count the number of them I've seen with suspenders on one hand.
You know, I love suspenders for first line gear, but I wear a duty belt with M9, two spare magazines, 21" ASP baton, OC spray, cuffs, XTS-3000/5000 radio, Surefire, and a massive ring of keys, and it's really not that bad. If the belt is adjusted properly and wide enough, you really don't need suspenders until you get up above roughly 15-20 pounds on a belt.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by EricinVirginia » Tue Apr 06, 2010 2:04 pm

True that Murph... and you never see them pulling their pants up. Like most things, if you wear it frequently enough you figure out how to wear it comfortably.

Lara Croft does not wear suspenders.

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Murph » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:23 pm

EricinMaryland wrote:Lara Croft hearts Tactical Tuesday.
Please let Lara know that TT hearts her too!
:D
Does your BOB at least have: water, basic tools, fire, food, first-aid kit, and shelter?
"When planning, prepare for the most likely, and then the most catastrophic."
raptor wrote: Being a gun collector does not make you a prepper.
the_alias wrote: Murph has all the diplomacy of a North Korean warhead, but -he has- a valid point

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by ranger sean » Tue Apr 06, 2010 3:39 pm

Ok, now that Laura Croft is thrown into this........I can not dispute anything. What she did for the pistol belt is what Chuck Norris did for the roundhouse!!

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by RatDrall » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:11 pm

Pistol belt should also include a flashlight, I think.

+1 to whoever said that supspenders help when you are carrying that much gear.

My general rule is that, in the woods, I always have a basic survival kit on me, so that if at any time I am seperated from my pack and other gear I could make it a night or two to get to help. Cargo pants help...

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by AKFTW » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:48 pm

No suspenders for me, I adjust mine to be just a tad bigger than my pants belt, and it doesn't ride up or fall down. It goes under the chest rig, so suspenders would get in the way. Just adjust it to fit properly, don't overload it, and you'll be fine.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Crimson Phoenix » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:03 pm

Kudos on the cargo pockets. When I go into the field or camp or hike or whatever, I tend to cram what most people would consider their 1st line into my BDU pockets and have enough stuff to rig an emergency shelter and hunker down a night in my daypack which pretty much goes everywhere with me.

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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by Aikibiker » Tue Apr 06, 2010 5:42 pm

This is my 1st line:

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From left to right in the image: Safariland midride holster w/USP45c, SOG SEAL pup knife, Maxpedition Rolypoly foldup dump pouch, Blackhawk M4/M16 mag pouch (holds two mags), Surefire C2 w/LED conversion, Bianchi Accumold pistol magazine pouch. I use belt keepers (not shown) to attach the gunbelt to my regular belt I use to keep my pants up and it seems to work pretty well. I ran pretty much this exact setup (substitute a radio pouch for the knife and handcuffs for the dump pouch) for two years in Kuwait and regularly wear the current setup at CFDCC (search youtube if you want to see me shooting a tactical match, it ain't that impressive though) with no complaints.

A big thing for me is to keep my back clear in case I fall. I had that happen going down some steps in Kuwait and took a martial arts style front roll and stood back up with no damage, but some embarrassment.
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Re: Tactical Tuesday presents: The Pistol Belt

Post by TDW586 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:34 am

I see your Lara Croft, and raise you Jill Valentine.

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