Gone are the days of “Grandpa” and “pure cooking” equipment!
“Exit” the canvas belt, the A.L.I.C.E. …!
Materials technology, research in ergonomics and the evolution of equipment have gone through this.
So today we are going to explore together the world of belts, belts and other MOLLE belts for carrying equipment.
To do this, four areas will be successively addressed:
- The military belt
- The duty belt
- The MOLLE Belt
- The “discreet wear” belt
The “classic” belt
Things were simple and basic “before”, but that was… “before”!
Today, even for a “simple” belt, several parameters must be taken into account when choosing:
. Materials: knowing that at present, excluding the loop, it is synthetic that dominates (resistant, light, rot-proof)
. The height of the belt: which must be in accordance with, on the one hand, the dimensions of the loops of the pants, and, on the other hand, the attachment system of the equipment.
To be monitored especially in the case of holsters mounted and worn with a “Belt Paddle”. The “gills” of the paddle must accept the height of the belt!
. Flexibility: some manufacturers offer, for the same size, different thicknesses and therefore different rigidities, ranging from very flexible to semi-rigid.
The most rigid versions will be preferred if you have to attach equipment to them (holster, magazine holder, baton holder, etc.).
. The closing system:
– The classic loop. The free belt loop that fits into the fastening loop
– The “Cobra” type loop. We are thinking here in particular of the buckles of the Austrian company “AustriAlpin”.
Much more technical, since a “male” part interlocks with a “female” part.
These buckles are available in metal for the most resistant (on some models the resistance is well above 1 ton!), but also in polycarbonate, therefore undetectable, for operators often crossing detection gates.
This COBRA buckle technology has the advantage of keeping the setting determined on D-0 day after day. It is no longer necessary to fight every morning to regain its tightness from the night before. Just lock the COBRA buckle and you’re done!
Note four specific categories
– The “Scratch” belt which is used both to hold the pants in place but also to prevent any rotation around the waist of a belt carrying MOLLE type equipment (see part III below).
– Models with velcro closure
– Curved belts (see at FIRST TACTICAL) offering a “plus” in the field of comfort. The bending of the belt coming better to fit the waist, in comparison with a belt with a straight cut
– Reversible belts: a different color on each side of the belt
Due to its dimensions, it is often worn as an “over-belt”.
Its primary purpose is to allow the attachment of equipment (handgun, handcuffs, chargers, lamp, telescopic baton, etc.).
If worn for long periods, it can be advantageously supplemented, by layering, with a so-called “comfort” belt which, thanks to the padded parts, allows a better distribution of the load and avoids “shearing” at the hips.
The belts are offered according to the models with a double or triple security system.
Even if they are available in different sizes (S, M, L, XL…etc…) with an adjustment at the level of the fastening loop, a “fine” adjustment is often possible via an integrated “velcro” system.
The “GKPro” brand offers a whole range of “duty belts” perfectly suited to law enforcement missions.
The MOLLE belt for equipment (combat belt)
Very oriented towards operational use, its traditional MOLLE or MOLLE LASER CUT attachment system allows the carriage of numerous equipment.
There are a wide variety of heights on the current market: For example, the “TEMPLAR GEAR” brand, which offers heights ranging from 65 mm for the “PT5”, up to 160 mm for the “PT3”.
This latest model has 6 heights of LASER CUT MOLLE attachments!
Whatever their size, these platforms must be supplemented by a traditional belt (supplied or not) which ensures the locking around the wearer’s waist.
In some cases, a “scratch” trouser belt completes the set (see part I above).
Finally, some models are fitted as standard with rings allowing them to be worn with suspension straps. Indispensable in the case of a very heavily loaded belt, for a better distribution of the load between the hips and the shoulders.
In addition 3 remarks:
. Many brands offer attachment systems for equipment, especially designed for this type of belt. For example the brand “G-CODE” which develops fixing “wheels” allowing the installation of a rigid holster, detachable at will, from MOLLE openings (Reminder: G-CODE is compatible with SAFARILAND holsters )
. Pay attention to the fact that this type of belt, due to their dimensions, can quickly interfere with the wearing of a vest, in particular a plate carrier vest.
The top of the belt coming up against the bottom of the vest, causing the latter to move upwards and ultimately causing discomfort for the user.
. They can be approached as an alternative to wearing a vest for places or missions requiring reduced equipment.
Knowing that the tallest models have an impressive carrying capacity.
For example, these platforms can be loaded at the same time: a holster, magazine pouches (P.A. + F.A.), an IFAK pouch, a dump pouch, a load shedding pouch.
The discreetly worn belt
A class apart!
Very elastic, the discreet wearing belt is designed to keep the equipment very close to the body for maximum discretion.
Particularly recommended for “low profile” missions in civilian clothes.
It allows, in general, the simultaneous carrying of a handgun, spare magazines, a radio, or even a telescopic baton.
Note the very beautiful model, from the “G.K.” brand, very complete and with an irreproachable finish.
In conclusion :
As always in the field of equipment, a concordance must be found between:
The ergonomics of the wearer. What goes to “Pierre” does not necessarily go to “Paul”