When it comes to sources to feed reloads to a pistol or rifle, there are many different options on the market today. The sheer amount of battle belts, plate carriers, and chest rigs on the current market can make a beginner’s (or anyones) head spin. I am frequently asked about my preferred method of feed, and I have to admit, I love loading off of a battle belt. The battle belt is easy to use, allows for quick reloads, and makes you look pretty operator.
Editor’s Note: Rule Number 1. Look Cool.
Blue Alpha Gear
My current battle belt chassis is a Blue Alpha Gear’s 1.75 inch standard range belt. This belt is a two piece system, the inner belt is a low profile rigid belt with loop velcro on the outside. This belt is meant to feed through the belt loops on your pants and can be used as a stand alone belt for concealed carry. The outer belt is a rigid belt with hook velcro on the inside and a simple cobra buckle.
I have to say, I absolutely love this belt. It adds the right amount of rigidity to keep your gear from sagging but not enough to cause hot spots on your hips when fully loaded. . The build quality is awesome, in three years of use I have zero issues to report.
One often overlooked aspect of any gear item is the customer support to back the product. During a shooting competition, I somehow lost my buckle and the elastic bit that holds the belt “tail”. While there are many places to source a new buckle, I decided to contact Blue Alpha Gear about purchasing a replacement. I figured if I ordered it from them it would be the right piece the first time.
I first contacted their customer support by email around 8:00 PM thinking they would contact me within a few business days. Well, I was wrong. Just three and a half hours, at 11:25 PM I received an email from their customer service department. I was simply amazed at the speed of reply especially when I contacted them outside regular business hours.
Over the next few days I exchanged emails with the customer service department giving them all the pertinent information. Finally, roughly a week and a half later, I had a new buckle half in hand. I have to say, I was impressed with all aspects of their customer service department. The speed of reply, the professionalism, and the end result were all on par with the best I’ve received from any company.
Esstac Kywi Pouches
For magazine pouches, I really like Esstac’s Kywi pouch. I have extensive use with both pistol and rifle pouches and have experienced zero issues. The pouch consists of a nylon pouch with a kydex insert. The pouches attach to your belt/plate carrier/chest rig via molle. I will say, sometimes the inserts are tight and magazines don’t like to seat all the way down. To counteract this, apply heat and simply reform the insert. Don’t worry, Esstac has an instructional video.
Tactical Tailor Dump Pouch
I never thought that I needed a dump pouch until I had one. Now, I don’t know how I got by without one. When it comes to a dump pouch, the concept is very simple. It is a bag that hangs open and you put stuff inside it. There are a ton on the market, I personally purchased the Tactical Tailor fight light roll up dump pouch based on affordability.
You can spend upwards of $90 on a bag that hangs at your side. Some have extra features such as a rigid mouth that stays open and a flap that covers the top so your “stuff” doesn’t fall out. I decided to keep it simple. The Tactical Tailor pouch is a bag, it hangs open, attaches via molle, and has a draw string to close. This is all that I required, and it performs perfectly for my uses. It can even roll up and stow relatively flat but let’s face it, nobody rolls their dump pouch.
Coyote Tactical Solutions STOMP
I have had this particular IFAK in hand for less than 24 hours, but without any field use I have fallen in love. The STOMP is a tear away IFAK held to it’s base by a plastic buckle and velcro. This design is simple and used by many top manufacturers. It works well and is very user friendly.
Where this particular IFAK really shines is in the user’s ability to mount essential supplies in any configuration. The IFAK has 1/2 inch molle slots and holes around the outside to feed shock cord (included) through. I really like being able to organize my items in a way that makes finding everything easy for me to find, this IFAK knocks it out of the park.
I found that for certain items, such as my chest decompression needle and medical tape, weren’t held well by shock cord. For these items, I used 1/2 inch wide strips of double sided velcro to attach the items. The end result was a well organized and very user friendly IFAK.
Simple, quality, effective. I really don’t have much to say about the G-Code OSL holster. I have used this holster for a couple years now and have had absolutely zero issues with it. It is a quality product, it has all the features I look for and none of the gimmicks. I mounted this holster on G-Code’s duty mount.
Downfalls of a two belt system
During November, I participated in a four day shooting competition that required a battle belt. The weather was, to put it politely, horrible. Rain, snow, wind, and cold. I quickly found out that a two belt system was less than ideal when wearing thick wet weather or cold weather bottoms. I could only pull my outerwear up to the bottom of my inner belt or I could not engage the velcro.
After my cold and wet range experiences, I began searching for a solution. Part of me wanted to build an entirely new battle belt but that would be very expensive. I finally settled on the HSGI micro grip belt panel.
The micro grip belt panel is a neoprene belt liner that attaches to the inner velcro of the outer belt, essentially cutting out the need for an inner belt. So far this has worked very well. The belt doesn’t move around and retains the comfort found with the original design. Buyer beware: HSGI makes two versions of this belt liner, one with hook lining and one with loop lining, be sure you purchase the correct liner for your belt!
Velcro One Wrap
Recently I have changed my pouch attachment system from malice clips or Esstac belt loops to strips of velcro one wrap. This allows me to swap out pouches without having to remove every pouch on the belt or reweave molle straps. It also allows me more velcro engagement when mating the inner and outer belt. I have only been testing this system for about a month now but so far, I really enjoy it.
I have spent several years putting together this battle belt, but as with anything in life, I am expecting some evolution. Our gear ultimately needs to fit the mission set that we operate under. Also, with cool new gear comes cool new Instagram stories, and as I’ve said before, looking cool is half the battle. If it’s not on the ‘gram then did it even happen?
Thanks for reading and operate on my friends!