Bigfoot Gun Belt Goes Beyond Just Holding Up Your Trousers

Why You Need a Good Gun Belt, and Why Your Current Belt Probably Isn’t It

SHOT_6455One of the most important pieces of your CCW loadout might not be what some would expect.  Finding a firearm that is reliable, accurate, easy to carry, and easy to use under stress is paramount.  The number two spot on this list is often contested between a good holster and a good belt, the importance of which is difficult to understate.  Speaking with someone who carries a firearm regularly, whether for work or for general self defense, will confirm that one of the most important pieces of your CCW loadout is a good belt.

A CCW holster has a lot of responsibilities, including being comfortable, effectively concealing the firearm, keeping the firearm in the right position and angle where you put it, and keeping the firearm securely holstered unless and until you intentionally draw it.  But what keeps that holster where you put it and allows it to do its job?  As important as the holster may be, the belt from which you hang it is just as vital.  The important thing to realize is that the belt and the holster work together to comprise the overall carry system that you use.

Like many people who carry, Team GunLink has amassed a box-o-holsters through the trial and error process of finding the couple of holsters that work well and see regular use.  No matter how good those holsters are, without a good belt, they will have issues.  As such, CCW-ers may find themselves either going through a similar trial and error process with their belt or just dealing with those issues – which can lead to giving up on carrying a gun.  I personally went from using a standard web belt to a Dickies work belt, which I used for ages, using “fashion belts” for dressier work and toying with the idea of springing for a spendy double-thick gun belt before finally finding Bigfoot Gun Belts.  

Bigfoot Gun Belts launched in late 2015 from the same parent company that is behind the popular Alien Gear and Old Faithful holster lines.  Like the other products under the Tedder banner, Bigfoot belts are US made with a focus on quality and value.  We had been hearing about the new belts since their launch and finally got a chance to see them, inside and out, at SHOT Show 2016 and, not long after, Bigfoot had a belt on its way to GunLink HQ to try out.

What makes a belt a “good gun belt”?

SHOT_6451Bigfoot offers three flavors of gun belts, each constructed from two hefty layers of drum dyed English bridle leather, available in black or brown, held together with military-grade Tex 270 thread.  The edges of the multi-layer belts are hand beveled, burnished and painted before the belt is finished off with nickel plated hardware that will resist corrosion and stay looking good for years.  The entry level belt is constructed from 14 oz leather strips while the Cadillac model (which is still only $65 – modest for a good gun belt) is constructed from two layers of 18 oz leather with a spring steel core sandwiched between them for extra rigidity.  The best-of-both-worlds Goldilocks model, which I got, uses the 14 oz English bridle leather with the steel core.

The leather-only model is plenty sturdy and will likely provide a sturdy enough platform for most carriers, while the extra beefy 18 oz + steel model ought to allow wearers to comfortably carry their OWB Carl Gustav and a few reloads.  I decided to try out the 14 oz + steel model because, even though I typically have a G19 on my hip – which the leather model would handle with ease – I figured that the steel core would provide some extra support when I play Batman and strap on reloads, tools, and other abdominal accoutrements.

In addition to providing a solid foundation for a carry rig, the Bigfoot belts look quite nice.  While there are no shortage of gun belts out there, not all of them are appropriate for all situations.  Some, although plenty sturdy, are more at home effecting a field expedient mountainside rope rescue than around an office.  The Bigfoot looks great in just about every setting I have worn it, from working a grill at backyard cookouts to working a booth at professional trade shows.  If you don’t care for the plain looks of the standard buckle, Bigfoot belts are set up so that the buckle can be replaced with one of your choosing.

Problem solved. Problem staying solved.

SHOT_6456The improvement over previous belts – even the ones that I thought made for pretty good gun belts – was immediately obvious for use with both IWB and OWB holsters.  I spent a few weeks with each of several holsters hanging off of the Bigfoot, including Alien Gear, N82 Tactical, and Uncle Mike’s IWB holsters and Custom Kydex, Fobus, and Blackhawk OWB holsters – including a couple of 24-48+ hour stretches of continuous wear.  Where other belts would allow the holster to flop outward, the Bigfoot belt keeps it held upright.  Not only does holster flop make it easier for concealed carriers to get “made,” it can also make carrying uncomfortable as it tugs on your trousers while allowing the muzzle end to press into your hip.

Where other belt/holster combinations had allowed the holster to shift out of position throughout the day, “walking” around the body until stopped by a belt loop, the Bigfoot belt – with its thicker material that fill the holster’s loops or clips – keeps the holster where I put it in the morning.

The usual solution to these problems for many CCW-ers, myself included, is to cinch up the belt a little tighter.  This is uncomfortable enough by itself since you are now wearing a too-tight belt but, worse, this practice seemed to result in lower-back pain as the belt now effected posture.  Another contributing factor to back or hip pain related to concealed carry can be the extra weight of carrying around a loaded firearm.  While it won’t completely eliminate the imbalance (unless you even it out with reloads on the opposite side), a good gun belt like the Bigfoot can help alleviate some of the problem by more evenly distributing the weight across a greater area instead of allowing it all to be focused only on the few inches from which the holster hangs.

Recently, in a fit of laziness and in a hurry, I grabbed one of my old go-to belts for a quick trip rather than taking the extra few seconds to pull the Bigfoot out of that day’s jeans.  While I am sure it might have done a fine job of holding up a pair of jeans, all of the aforementioned issues associated with a floppy belt immediately returned when the holster was donned.

I am now left questioning how I ever got by with a regular belt instead of a purpose-built carry belt.  I will certainly be sticking with the Bigfoot Gun Belts going forward.

Given that I do a fair amount of travelling, I questioned whether or not the brain surgeons at TSA will be confounded by the steel core when travelling by air.  I suppose that the obvious answer would be to get one of the leather-only models and avoid having a suspicious metal “something” inside of my belt when it goes through their checkpoints.  I sent in a request in to TSA to see what their thoughts are on whether or not the steel core belts are travel friendly and received the following response:  “[a]fter reviewing your inquiry, the item in question is generally permitted in carry-on or checked baggage after proper security screening or inspection.

If you wish to try one of your own, Bigfoot belts are available on their website at bigfootgunbelts.com and priced at $55, $60, and $65 for the 14 oz leather, 14 oz leather + steel, and 18 oz leather + steel models, respectively.

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