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Thursday, March 19, 2020

Battle Belt / War Belt setup

A "battle belt" and a "war belt" are the same thing.  They are a way of shifting gear(weight) off of your chest kit which focuses pressure on the shoulders and moving it to the hips.  The concept appears to be an evolution of the "duty belt" from policing to war fighting mixed with a dash of Batmans utility belt.  The military used "Load Bearing Equipment"(LBE) for decades which included gear on a belt, but there wasnt a good way to attach pouches to various pieces of equipment until 1997 when the US Army's Natick Labs invented the MOLLE system.  Molle didnt take off until 2001 when the Army had the funds to start replacing pretty much all of their Vietnam era gear.  By 2003 MOLLE would be on all newly issued vests.  Civilian gear makers would eventually start making gear that would adhere to the standard and the market today is dominated by the system.
It is hard to tell when the first battle belt came to being, but it was done most likely by request from someone tired of rigging up attachments to their belt.

This will be a budget build.  The battle belt will be basic and various things can be added or subtracted for individual use.  The key to making effective kit is keeping it simple and light.  The less clutter on the belt the more comfortable and usable it will be. This build will focus around a rifle build, but will also include some sidearm options that can be added later.

The first piece is the belt.  Any belt will do, but you want something that can be easily buckled.  You can always get a belt later if needed if you have a normal belt currently.

The next piece is the battle belt.  This is the slim version.  You dont need a lot of vertical molle.  A slim belt will help with agility and comfort in the long term.

There are 2 popular types of quick draw magazine retention systems. The taco and sleeve(speed)
The taco system appears to be more durable(pictured below).

I would also add a dump pouch. A dump pouch is a pouch that is collapsed and can expand to hold partial mags for later use.  There are many different kinds, but you will want an collapsible storage solution in the range.  They super cheap.



The next piece you need is an IFAK(Individual First Aid Kit) because you are working with weapons.  An IFAK doesnt have to be large.  It just needs to stop the bleeding from a wound.  There is no point in carrying a lot of gear you do not know how to properly use.  Having that extra gear in a bag is fine if you know people that can use it.  If you have one then use it. If not here are a few pieces to get you started.

Pouch I like the rip-away design because the pouch is typically placed at the back because it is not frequently accessed, but when you need it it is easier to have in front of you.

A pouch isnt super useful unless you have stuff in it.  Remember, this is a starting point, and you can add what you need as you grow.  Here is a good budget friendly starter kit and another option(includes shears).  The key here is it has a tourniquet. Learn to use it!   Add an optional Israeli bandage.

As for the sidearm these are just suggestions and are dependent on the the situation and users preference.

Safariland Mid-ride This will give you enough drop to clear the molle portion for a quick and clean draw. I do not advise drop legs because they tend to flop when running.  If your sidearm moves then if can affect your draw.

Quick Lock system If you have multiple sidearms you switch out this would make the swapping much easier.

The actual holster will vary based on your sidearm. From there you can either do a friction kydex holster or a locking system like Safarilands ALS.  The options depend on the application. When in doubt use the combat option.

If you are going for pure speed then a quality(ability to adjust tension) kydex holster is the way to go.
If you are looking at a more combat oriented role then the ALS Safariland offers is a solid choice. 

You will also need magazines for your sidearm.  Once again I would go with the taco for durability.

I hope this helped you on your search for effective gear.  If there is anything you think should be added then comment on the FB page or here.

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