Friday, September 6, 2013

"Battle Belt" And Overall Tiered Gear Rethinking

Max Velocity's Gear Philosophy Update got me thinking. First it rekindled last year's battle belt/ war belt train of thought. It got me to thinking. The idea of a more modular setup appealed to me. Being able to have a decent setup that can work for home invasions, a Katrina like event, training or as a base for a more substantial setup would be nice.

I used a system similar (a TT rig that was  probably not stiff enough) to a battle belt long ago and found it unnecessarily cumbersome. Granted gear has moved a long way in almost a decade but a big padded belt is still a big padded belt. Without being able to fiddle with one I am concerned the same issues will pop up.

One option I previously considered was just doing it on a rigger belt. The downside of this plan is that your gear does not stay securely in place. Some systems have come along recently that let you retain PALS type gear on standard belts. I fear the cost of that option would get silly fast and it adds another variable to go wrong. So I did some more looking. There are some PALS compatible single row belts out there. This one from SKD seems nice. Others are available from quality makers. Has anyone done a battle belt on a belt like that?

Then again enough really smart people who actually train with their gear (specifically John Mosby and I think Max Velocity) are pro battle belt that there is probably something to the general configuration of a 3 row PALS padded belt.

Regardless of the belt I'd basically do the same thing. My plan would be to put on a pair of HSGI double taco's, a compass, flashlight, pistol, knife, plus a small water bottle. I would probably use suspenders for every use except home defense.

This got me to having an overall gear setup. Right now my BOB/ ruck (Tier 3) is a commercial style hiking backpack. It's integral padded hip belt would not work with a battle belt. The simple solution would be to swap the pack out for an ALICE which is already on inventory. Since it's free that is easy enough. Not as comfortable but it's utilitarian ruggedness has some benefits.

So down the rabbit hole of gear reshuffling I went. Thankfully there are some nice tools and pieces of kit already on inventory. That means instead of a huge shopping list it's more about choosing what goes where. So basically I have no immediate plan to fund this trip down the gear porn road or an idea about what exactly the main component is going to be. Honestly I may have just written about it because so much time was wasted thinking on it.

Of course input is appreciated.


riverrider said...

it seems like the pendulum is swinging back to the old lbe, but with padding. back in the day we padded the belt with sleeping mat foam. we wore either really low to allow the ruck belt to ride on the hip bones, or really high to let the belt rest on the frame of the ruck. both worked okay. when the vests came out we were like "yah!" but soon found them lacking and went back to for the field. we hate the lbe, but nothin so far works as well. the new battle belts and padded harness adds comfort to the same old system.

Ryan said...

Riverrider, I think you are partially right. What I am seeing is a trend for folks to keep the chest rig's or pouches on the PC which are have recently became the style and adding a battle belt. Maybe a touch belt and suspenders cumbersome but a very modular approach.

Anonymous said...

Everything is 'situationally dependent' even kit...
I mentioned in an earlier post I use the HSGi Battlebelt with TACOs (single rifle and pistol) a G-Code RTI setup, and some misc pouches (light, IFAK, Seal PUP knife, dump pouch and a misc bag).
I had been doing regular belt setup and then went to my old LEO belt with setup.
Between multiple classes (Costa, etc) and some modern sporting rifle/2 gun competitions I finally realized that for prolonged firearm use I needed a battlebelt setup.
It provides the versatility for all different configurations of firearms I utilize. In addition the design allows for easy on easy off so can carry or stage and within seconds have entire 'kit' ready to rock and roll.
Issue with battlebelt is visibilty it stands out no matter what camo pattern or color you choose. This can be a problem in some 'situations'.
Enter a chest rig with kydex hip holster and mag pouchs... Many chest rigs can be concealed bahind a large loose shirt or jacket combined with a good kydex pistol rig which also conceals under those types of clothing you now have a lower visibility package.
SO as I said it is really situationally dependent.
I keep both configurations available to the level of having G-Code RTI (G-Code also makes a mount for their RTI which can mount to MOLLE and be placed on chest rig/plate carrier and allow for holster to be snapped into that so you could take one RTI holster and use it on a battlebelt or chest rig then throw in their belt look mount and it can be worn on belt also) and a good Kydex holster for each pistol.
Unfortunately there is no one answer fits all...but this concept of configurations allows for adaptablity and flexibility (and that padded belt is damn more comfortable when being worn for hours on end than a riggers belt with all the weight.
- Chief

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