Practical Not Tactical: War-Belts Outside of War
This post is looking at two different load-bearing setups I’ve experimented with over the course of a year, using the same kit in two very different applications.
At the core of this is the war-belt, also known as a battle-belt. This padded belt traditionally integrated into a soldier’s load bearing system. It carries rifle magazines, first aid kits, and all manner of necessary equipment when on patrol overseas or in any number of dangerous environments. However, the war-belt has found a life independent from the drop-loads, chest-rigs, plate-carriers, and assault-packs involved in a complete system.
I have two distinct setups built from Tasmanian Tiger’s Warrior Belt: one for the specific applications of 3-Gun, and one built to maximize flexibility outdoors between all kinds of firearms.
The first setup is an adaptive (not dynamic) war-belt. It’s one of the least tactical but most flexible pieces of equipment I own. Because of that: it sees more use than any of my other soft-cloth gear.
Without changing anything I can take it to the indoor range for pistol drills, wear it out into the wilderness for a hike with the shotgun, or throw it in the back of the jeep with a new rifle that is about to be zeroed.
As part of this focus on flexibility I’ve chosen soft cloth Tasmanian Tiger magazine pouches. Two rifle, two pistol. The mag pouches use an elastic retainer and can fit P-mags, M-14 mags, both calibers of Vz-58 magazines or even AK-47 mags if needed. They may not be designed for everything I force into them, but they’ll hold anything I might want to take to the range on a given day.
In the same vein, I use the adjustable MKII Holster, which I can fit and wrap around any pistol from a walther .22 to a .357 revolver. It can hold any handgun in my safe, regardless of lights, lasers, sights or magazines I might choose.
This means the holster is not a duty carry setup. It does not have serpa retention or other speed releases. But in the name of flexibility it can securely hold any sidearm or accommodate radios, GPS units, laser rangefinders and other similarly sized equipment.
I’ve attached a OSOE shotgun panel for 12 rounds of shotshells, and a TT dump pouch. Personally, I find a good dump pouch makes a world of difference to my shooting. It’s a space for loose ammo, a pocket for your cold-weather gloves, or a bin for empties and trash.
I try to promote responsible range care, and nothing encourages you keep your shooting area clean like having a bag on you to put spent shells and empty boxes. Plus the standard empty-magazine-storage helps make sure you’re not tossing your precious p-mags in the dirt.
I keep the belt on this quite loose around my waist, and often wear it in conjunction with a set of suspenders (the updated MkII Warrior Belt includes these). This means that the load-out can be used by anyone else of similar body size, and that I don’t have to resize any straps between shooting indoors in a T-shirt and out on a mountainside with insulating layers.
This belt is built for the kind of shooting situations that I experience on a regular basis, and because of that it sees regular use.
My second build is part of my introduction to 3 Gun: holds your pistol and munitions. Nothing else.
War-belts are made up of 3 components: an inner belt that fastens around the waist, a padded outer belt with molle attachment points, and the actual load bearing parts attached to the molle. For my 3-gun setup I replaced the standard inner belt with a tight Ferro Concepts belt.
This offers two advantages: the upgraded raptor clip, and the ability to weave the 2″ belt through the war-belt panels. This way I can use both molle and belt mounted magazine carriers. I buckle this setup in the rear, to maximize the real estate right in front of me.
I use a Fobus hoslster, as its one of the few Israeli holsters designed to fit the Israeli Jericho 941. I’ve found the best stability for this actually involves placing the entire paddle over the war-belt, rather than threading it into molle or 2″ belt sections.
This will hold 3 rifle magazines of different capacities at an even height, and a 5 pistol magazines right up front. I’m currently working on a shotgun solution. Hopefully I’ll have an update on that soon.
The way I’ve setup my warrior belt, it would be out of place on a battlefield. But that hasn’t stopped me from using it at every opportunity.
Sometimes equipment gets so caught up on being combat-ready, or built for SHTF, or loaded down with tactical-extras, that it can get left behind in the closet for just regular shooting. When I spend money on gear, my goal is to never let it rust in the closet. This war-belt certainly doesn’t run that risk.