War belt, battle belt, survival belt, patrol belt, tactical belt… for every day use. It depends on the day what you have to wear.
I believe that a sense of ownership is essential in any walk of life, perhaps especially when it comes to “combat” belts. There is a season for every look and a strategy for every season.
That said, flexibility is key. You will never be prepared with just one piece of equipment.
Your mind may be prepared, but your gear isn’t. There are far too many variables to cover. Depending on your operational area, specific missions, support…etc.
But there are still approaches that, if you keep a few concepts in mind, are applicable 80% of the time.
The Theory Behind The Practice, The Essence You Need To Cover
There are still a few theories behind the practice. But when it comes to the basic theory for a Combat Battle Belt:
“He should have two essential things: the ability to make holes and plug holes.”
The rest is pure user preference mania that makes quite a difference in the long run. But in the overall view of the daily extreme work situations not so much. A lot of extra heavy stuff on your harness systems just means you’re one of the non-tactical types, a newbie, or a gear whore.
Try to be a warrior who has only the bare minimum to perform at an optimal level and not just be cool. A lot of extra stuff on you slows you down and makes you a bigger target or a burden.
Combat belt essentials should be:
- magazine pouches
- Medical Equipment
Extra magazines for your primary weapon system and extra magazines for your secondary weapon system. No matter which system. Hidden in a good magazine pouch.
They need to secure your magazines so you can fall, fall, or get strapped to a rope upside down and your stuff doesn’t fall out.
At least 1 magazine for your primary magazine and 2 magazines for your secondary magazine. There can almost never be too many cartridges.
Depending on how you train and whether you reach for your fast mag first, I would suggest that all of your mags on your belt be on the “fast mag” side.
Want to limit movement economy as much as possible because in a stressful situation your reptilian mind takes over and your hands must already know where to go for a magazine.
Position the magazines in such a way that they do not hinder you when reloading, but provide maximum support for your anatomy and physiology when reloading.
Holsters that adapt to your weapon system and anatomy. I’m more of a drop leg approach because it gives me more control over my weapon. Some people don’t like them because of their body composition. Thick legs tend to impede movement, especially with extra straps attached.
My legs are fat so I have a wider belt. But tactics are like assholes, everyone’s got one. If you wear a gun on your thigh, do it if you prefer and it suits your needs. Be clear about why you are wearing them and test them on your belt as well.
Now for a little self-love – Medical Kit – IFAK – Customized First Aid Kit. There is not much to complain about here. A gold standard IFAK should have:
- ACE bandages (2)
- combat flora
- chest cuffs (2)
- Lubricated nasal oxygen cannula
- Rescue blanket (great for preventing hypothermia on the EVAC platform).
- NCD’s (2)
- “pill pack”
- Gloves (2 pairs)
- duct tape
Marker and Combat Casualty card (filling in name, rank, blood type and allergies is a good idea as it makes the medic’s job a bit easier).
The medical equipment on you must be within reach of both hands. The rest is not so important because you can just place everything in the middle. Otherwise it quickly becomes too unwieldy. The medical bag will be quite large, just accept it. you need this stuff.
The bare minimum is a tourniquet, a cotccc approved tourniquet. Don’t spend thousands of dollars on guns and then cheaply buy a fake TQ. Position it horizontally on your belt, in front, so that it’s in the middle for both hands to reach and isn’t intrusive.
Whatever type of belt, whatever suits you best. I like a dual harness system, but more on that later.
The Practical Approach, Reality Meets In…
What are you doing? Are you invading a foreign country, are you fighting the cartels, are you launching a covert military operation in Cuba… Depending on what you’re doing, the right equipment needs to be there to give you that little bit more scope, flexibility and sophistication.
I consider my combat belt an additional logistical asset to my job. It’s a backup reserve. Should also be treated as such. Don’t wear anything and everything.
Now that we know what kind of holster we need, what kind of mag pouches and medical kit, now for the practical approach, if you work long enough in the armed forces, law enforcement… you’ll soon find that not only do you: “Make or plug holes”.
There are many manoeuvres, special operations, tasks, unexpected events that require improvisation. For these situations, you need a little more gear.
A warrior is poorly equipped if he does not have:
- Multitool – to open a can or fix a fatal jam. Multitool says in its name what you can do with it.
- Knife – if you’re going after someone medieval, or in the more likely case of cake cutting. Good quality fixed blade that extends from the bolster to the center of the spine. A bit wider so you can use it in a survival situation.
- Flashlight – white or blue/red/IR light. I recommend having a mix, you also need white light. How many times have you lost something during an exercise and had to find it again?
- Garbage Bag – is handy for magazines, storing a water bottle, sandwich, gloves, or picking up bras at the end of the day. Where to put them: “Non-dominant side”.
In addition to these things, an administration bag to put all these things in it. The practice depends on whether you spend your own money on your gear or whether your government provides all your gear.
I’ve always chosen the middle ground. The military always chooses the cheapest option. Equipment tends not to be the best. So I wanted what was best for me and also not wanting to sell my kidneys for all the stuff I “need”.
Improvisation is key. Make it as thin as possible, easy to reach, easy to close without breaking your arm or breaking a sweat. It has to be big enough to fit your needs, don’t always try to pack things in and force it shut.
Try to position it in the back so it doesn’t get in the way of your actual mission work. The administration bag must be at the back, hence the name administration bag. Management must come last.
Put on braces if you need braces. Chances are you’re carrying too much weight, or have chosen a different tactic. You go old school and want the British porter look.
My favorite way to wear these things is on a two-strap system, Velcro comes in handy so your gear doesn’t bounce or rotate around your waist like a hula hoop. Also, I’m concerned about the practicality when you don’t need all your tactical gear.
You still have an underbelt holding up your pants. And how often do you go to the bathroom and it’s a pain to remove all the straps when your belt is secured in a different way.
Tell Me What Mos You Have And I’ll Tell You What To Wear
Rough guidelines are above, and they’re just there to give you some food for thought. Depending on what you are doing, you have to adapt to your situation and what you need.
- Officers, my favorite creatures on the planet, need a large administrative bag for their never-ending duties.
- Medic: then you need a BeepBeep bag. People will come to you when they are hurt. And because paramedics fix stupid things. You’ll need some band-aids, chocolate, and painkillers.
- Communications man, then you need extra batteries, which the squad will keep running out of. Never ending story.
- Demolition Man, I’m not going to say here that you always need C4. Also, I won’t say I haven’t run into a guy who needed C4 and I have C4. Carrying another weapon system like a shotgun or a SAW. You must house this system effectively. Considering you’re a boom guy. Maybe a bag for a grenade, smoke or a blend.
If you are going to be in a helicopter for some time, you will also need a restraint strap. You don’t want to fall out of the helicopter. You probably won’t even be allowed to climb into it if you don’t have it. Take it off when the helicopter is not in the mission plan. ‘Cause you’re gonna get caught on something.
At A Local Shooting Range
Well, if you are traveling in your home country. Of course you can train while you fight. But if you are not allowed to take your gear from your base. Then you will probably buy your own gear for the range. Speaking of which, will you have the support on your range like you have in the military? Train as you fight and the environment has changed for you.
The civilian “Battle” Belt is something else. Think about it, the world is yours, not just the plain military colors. Limited military-style gear. Now you can improvise, adapt and overcome.
Have everything ready when the shit hits the fan when you get home. It doesn’t matter if you’re in overdrive at work but easy prey at home. Prepare your equipment accordingly. That in a later post.
I hope you enjoyed the blog post, share, comment, criticize, help me learn with your comment. Whatever makes you feel good. The knowledge/wisdom was given to me by people who made mistakes, they made mistakes because they tested new things and found ways that something doesn’t work. I like following people who make mistakes.