I’ve had this belt and have been wearing it daily since August 14th, 2018. After 6 months & 3 weeks of literally daily use (approximately 178 wearings), including multiple competitions, I feel like my opinion is informed enough to actually be useful to others.
One Line Review:
Built for and excels at EDC, unsuitable for any dress code above “casual”.
In Depth Review:
Why did I get this?
I’ve only ever owned normal, cheap, big-box belts, and I’ve only used them as my EDC belts. Since I only carry appendix the shortcomings of those belts don’t really bother me much. The last one I owned was made out of a rather robust single strip of leather and lasted me about 5 or 6 years. That belt’s replacement was much softer, so I figured that I ought to see what all the hype is about these ‘tactical’ belts. I’m also fascinated by cobra buckles, so getting one of those was also a draw all by itself. Blue Alpha Gear invented the sub-sized-buckle belt (so that you don’t need to remove the buckle in order to run the belt through your belt loops), they support one of my favorite podcasts (WeLikeShooting), and they offer their products for a very affordable price. When I was finally in the market for a true gun belt, there was little reason to go with anyone else.
I didn’t really have much of a first impression. As I said above, I have no real experience with this type of product, so I was a blank slate when it came to opinions out of the box. It shipped fast, which is always nice, but that doesn’t really tell me anything about the belt itself.
The material. The belt is sewn out of 1.5″ nylon, allowing it to be threaded through standard belt loops. It’s much stiffer than my previous leather belts, but it’s not so stiff that it’s uncomfortable. I’m of the opinion that stiffer belts help strong-side carry more than they help appendix carry, but this belt is by no means a wet noodle.
The buckle. I love that you can adjust the belt to exactly how tight or loose you want it. I also like that the buckle takes much less time than a normal belt buckle to undo and redo. I also really like the fact that when you re-buckle the belt it is exactly where you had it before you took unbuckled it. It’s honestly the thing I like the most about this belt.
The buckle again. The size of the buckle is an important feature, and one that needs to be called out specifically. The standard Cobra that fits 1.5″ nylon straps (webbing?) is not itself 1.5″ wide. Blue Alpha fixed this issue by attaching a 1.5″ wide female cobra end to a 1″ piece of fabric that then got sewed onto a 1.5″ nylon strap, thus making a belt & buckle that doesn’t have to be taken apart to be put on.
The color. I’m trying to coordinate my EDC stuff to all be gray, and this specific shade of gray is perfect. I’m aware that my gray belt is not contributing to my ‘Grayman’ objective, but there are some things in life worth sacrificing.
It is harder to adjust the tightness. The tightness is set by the extra material that’s threaded through the male end of the Cobra buckle and held down with Velcro. It’s not hard to adjust, but it does take more time than the normal notch system on most belts. This is the one legitimate thing that the belt does worse than a normal belt. Considering my waistline doesn’t change on a daily basis, I don’t consider this to be much of a downside, especially compared to what I gain in return.
It’s not as easy to thread through belt loops as a standard belt. I’m sure that a standard Cobra-buckled belt is much harder, since you’d have to detach and reattach a belt buckle each time you take off and put on a belt (I don’t have that kind of time), but a normal big-box store’s belt goes on and off easier. We’re also talking about 10 seconds as opposed to 6 or 7 seconds, so it’s not really an issue, but it’s technically a drawback.
Also, can’t be used as a tourniquet. Darn.
Can’t really be worn with a tucked in shirt without suggesting to others (who know what to look for) that you’re definitely carrying a gun. If you really can’t afford for your belt to give you away, you may want to look elsewhere. That doesn’t apply to me 95% of the time, but sometimes it does. For suggestions on that, look here.
My Current Opinion
I like the belt. It holds my pants up and holds onto my holsters. It’s not so stiff that I find it uncomfortable, though I’m not sure how stiff that would even be. I’ve read some contrarian opinions online about how appendix actually benefits from a more flexible belt than what is optimal for strong-side hip carry, and my personal experiences lend support to the idea. This belt is about as stiff as I’d like a belt to be. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all, I think this thing is great.
I’ve got my eye on another EDC belt here in the near future that I keep getting hounded about switching to. I think I’m going to give it a shot, but the bar has been set pretty high already.
See you next Friday. -S_S