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Author Topic: "War Belt"  (Read 31096 times)

Nightcrawler

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"War Belt"
« on: October 20, 2012, 04:04:09 pm »
This is in tactical vogue now.  The "War Belt", "Battle Belt", whatever.  A lot of companies make them.



Add suspenders and we've pretty much come full circle, and are back to an ALICE rig, except with MOLLE webbing.



The idea is that this is "first line gear".  I.E., something you have with you all the time.  You then put your high speed, high ride plate carrier with three magazines across the chest on top of that when you need it.  You will then still have some supplies and a sidearm if you have to strip off your armor.


Obviously it needs to be in Multicam.

The theory sounds good.  These are very popular at the shooting schools, and amongst the tactical folks on the internet.

So how does it translate in reality?  As in, not at a shooting class, but in actual day to day use?  Well, that depends.

In my small corner of Afghanistan, I didn't see anyone with such a set up.  Sometimes grunts go outside the wire without backpacks, I've heard, but it almost never happened in my area.  They always at least had a small patrol pack.  A patrol can last all day.  You never know when you're going to need extra supplies or bottles of water.  EOD never goes anywhere without packs, because you need your EOD tech crap with you in order to do your job.

A "war belt" is generally going to be incompatible with any pack that has a waist belt, which is to say, any good pack.

I did a little poking around on the internet to see how folks were getting around this.  The consensus seemed to be that you're not going to be wearing your backpack in combat anyway.  And I was all like, huh?

They used to teach that when you took contact, you'd drop your ruck, fight it out, then go back and get your stuff.  There are times when that may be necessary or viable, but being doctrinaire about it is foolish.  Doubly so when your operating environment is an IED-infested grape field in Afghanistan, where going back to get your s___ can get you killed.  It operates under the assumption that you're going to be able to go back and get your things, or that you're just going to be able to shrug and go, "oh well!" if  you can't get it.

For a civil SHTF scenario, the same logic applies.  If you're carrying it, you probably need it.  Do you really want to leave your vital supplies somewhere hoping you'll get to come back later for them?


See?  It has to be in Multicam.

This is my gear.  Just dumping the robot and leaving it in some Afghan village until the engagement was over probably would've gotten me into a lot of trouble, if it was unsecured.  I didn't want to have to explain to the flight chief why I let some Afghan kids walk off with a hundred thousand dollar piece of equipment and the explosives I carried.

The war belt also assumes you're going to be wearing a high-ride plate carrier.  Any kind of full vest, lower riding chest rig, or issue gear like the IOTV, and it's not going to work, because they come down to your belt line.

None of this is to say it's a bad idea.  It's certainly not.  One would've been handy for tooling around the big base, where I was required to have a weapon.  Of course, an old ALICE pistol belt and a UM84 flap holster would've worked just as well for that purpose.

Now, if you're wearing a light pack, you may not even need your waist belt.  I never used it on my old medium ALICE pack, for instance.  But that pack was terribly designed anyway.

Being the tactical hipster that I am, though, I am amused at how, um, adamant internet denizens can be about their gear set ups.  So I thought I'd share.

My big question, then, about the war belt idea (aside from pack compatibility), would be how well it works with a Kydex holster.  They don't fasten to your pants belt in any way (like a police duty belt with keepers does).  It seems to me that trying to draw without some kind of leg tie-down or drop rig could turn into an exercise in frustration, with the whole belt pulling up as you attempt to draw the gun.

Has anyone used this kind of setup? Just curious.  Does this issue come up?

Here are some more pictures of the set up.  ATS, High Speed Gear, and a bunch of other companies make these now.





« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 04:17:44 pm by Nightcrawler »
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    LoneStarNational

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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #1 on: October 20, 2012, 04:51:49 pm »
    I've got one, but it's more of a "bump in the night" belt with everything I might need to respond to an issue at home.  G-code holster w/ Glock, double mag carrier (one of which holds a flashlight), knife, shotgun shell pouch, cell-phone pouch. 

    It's something easy to throw on over my boxer-shorts in an emergency, to make sure I have everyhing I might need besides just my HD shotgun, which sleeps next to it. I think it perfectly fills that roll.  What you're saying about its limited use in a war zone, or SHTF, makes sense though. Any situation outside my home that requires those tools also likely requires more provisions than I can squeeze onto a belt.

    Edit to answer the question- the Gcode works really nice with it. Because its retention primarily comes from the hood, the tension from just the holster is not as extreme as some others. Once the hood is open, the gun draws fine without pulling the belt off my hip. The weight of the magazines and shotgun shells also probably helps keep the belt where it belongs. http://www.tacticalholsters.com/product/XST/XST-Standard.html
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #2 on: October 20, 2012, 05:15:13 pm »
    Yeah, I can see it as a range belt, or as a bedside belt (both of which I wouldnt personally use) but It seems like people just keep trying to shovel 5lbs of s___ in a 2 pound sack
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 05:25:14 pm »
    In my mind it's appropriate anywhere a policeman's duty belt would be appropriate.  You can fit about the same amount of gear on it; it's simply more tacticool. And, in my example of a bedside belt, I would suspect it to be more comfortable on my nearly bare hips.
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #4 on: October 20, 2012, 08:03:54 pm »
    In my mind it's appropriate anywhere a policeman's duty belt would be appropriate.

    Yeah, it's just a duty belt by another name.
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    "War Belt"
    « Reply #5 on: October 20, 2012, 08:20:22 pm »
    Yeah, I can see it as a range belt, or as a bedside belt (both of which I wouldnt personally use) but It seems like people just keep trying to shovel 5lbs of s___ in a 2 pound sack

    More like 5 pounds on a 2 pound belt...total gain of 7 pounds more to carry
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #6 on: October 20, 2012, 09:02:44 pm »
    strangelittleman and I have called it a "sub-fighting" unit for 20+ years. I picked it up from him and he picked it up when he was a FAST Marine. The idea was if you had to drop armor to E&E, fell overboard or were at chow, etc. you still had a minimum combat capability at all times. For me its just a jazzed up duty belt which I pretty much wear daily already
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #7 on: October 20, 2012, 10:51:40 pm »
    Yeah, I'm pretty pro on the idea, but that's probably heavily influenced by the fact that I already wear one for 40 hours a week, and a lot of my other gear and procedures are predicated on the idea that I will be wearing one.

    I think the general idea is sound, just keep what is on the belt reasonable. Pistol and mags, flashlight, tourniquet and IFAK come to mind. I'm sure whole treatises have been penned about this. For me, it's mostly decided for me, based upon my work duty belt.

    I think the main issue with it is that it is incompatible with heavy packs, but this then raises the question of when you would be fighting with a heavy pack. For MOST of us, the answer is "never" (obviously, a different answer would be given by someone in the .mil). We would be working out of vehicles (police, civilians), doing aggressive homestead/neighborhood defense (citizens), playing at the range (all of the above). You do need to be aware that if you do have to don a hefty pack that your fancy pants belt will be in the way.

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    « Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 11:03:46 pm by Coronach »
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #8 on: October 20, 2012, 11:13:54 pm »
    I think they'd be good for Air Force cops.  Security Forces have to wear ABUs, same as the rest of us.  ABUs feature a 4-pocket jacket and can't be tucked in.  The pants belt is covered by the jacket.  So you have the cops wearing 2" nylon duty belts, with a few pouches on them, attached to Sarfariland drop-leg holsters.  I had a similar setup on a job once.  This arrangement pulls the duty belt down at an awkward angle and pulls your pant leg up.

    A wider, padded MOLLE belt would be a better solution.  And, it'd have better load carriage, so they could do away with the clumsy load bearing harnesses they sometimes wear in addition to the duty belts.  You could just throw a high ride, no frills plate carrier on above it for higher threat situations and call it good.

    For any situation where you're not wearing a heavy pack, the idea is certainly sound.  It's not like carrying gear on your belt is some radical new concept.

    Coronach, have you experienced an issue with drawing your weapon?  What kind of holster are you using?  Does it yank the belt up?
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #9 on: October 21, 2012, 03:49:43 am »
    Could such a belt be rigged so that it can be worn like a bandolier when donning a pack?  Just curious.  The belt is probably thick enough to be an issue between you and the pack, but if you can keep your pouches out of there, it might be tolerable.
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #10 on: October 21, 2012, 08:14:44 am »
    I use a Safariland holster, it does not pull the belt up when you draw, so long as you deactivate the retention.

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    Re: Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #11 on: October 21, 2012, 08:16:40 am »
    Could such a belt be rigged so that it can be worn like a bandolier when donning a pack?  Just curious.  The belt is probably thick enough to be an issue between you and the pack, but if you can keep your pouches out of there, it might be tolerable.
    You may be able to put it over the pack's belt. MAY. Of course, this negates the 'dump the pack and fight with your plate carrier and belt' idea, since the belt would get dumped, too.

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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #12 on: October 21, 2012, 12:52:19 pm »
    So my post Nam Gear can come out of hiding?

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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #13 on: October 22, 2012, 04:06:26 am »
    Going back a good few years I was in the British armed forces and our webbing was our first line kit (this was before the introduction of Osprey armour). Our webbing carried magazine pouches, bayonet, canteen(s) and a pouch holding one 24hr ration pack and a stove. The next line was a patrol rucksack- made up of the two pouches of our large backpack fastened together and held on a yoke. When we needed our full gear, the small pouches went back onto the big rucksack/Bergen and we carried that- and there was no problem fastening the waist belt with the webbing on.

    There are some good examples of this kind of gear layout here- http://www.survivalaids.com/kit.php?id=5 Below the picture are links to the other "layers" of kit.

    From pictures I've seen from Afghanistan lately, the practice of wearing webbing is all but gone- instead that gear is distributed on the vest and in patrol sacks. However, back in Iraq when the Osprey body armour system started being worn, it wasn't unusual to see it paired with webbing.

    Personally, I'm an advocate of the idea of carrying your ammo, water and food for 24 hours on your person at all times. To name one example, when the guys in the SAS Bravo Two Zero patrol came under attack and had to bug out, they were forced to ditch their Bergens and run with just the gear they were carrying in their webbing. Same applies if you were to come under attack at night, for example, and had to move fast to a new position.

    My advice is that if you are carrying a large pack and don't have a belt/webbing system, make sure that you can grab a smaller one from it at a moment's notice with essential gear in it.

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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #14 on: October 22, 2012, 05:16:17 am »
    I agree with the SAS Bravo Two Zero example and that's what my brother and I tailor our "sub-fighting unit" / war belt after. Its a self-contained grab-n-go / Minute Man set up.

    On my SWAT belt besides the two rifle and pistol mags, radio holder, side arm and fighting knife, there's a survival / E&E kit packed in a M-16 mag pouch. Water isn't a problem here as we are in a temperate rain forest but I do have a Platypus collapsible bottle in the E&E kit.

    If on surveillance in the woods, which is my primary job on the drug task force, I use an ALICE H harness on my "woods belt" which has all of the above in addition to a first aid kit in another M-16 pouch and a pair of canteens. I also carry a camo Kelty hunter's pack full of water, chow, camera and radio equipment over that and its never been a problem.

    Being nylon based, the entire thing is still lighter than my leather duty belt.
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #15 on: October 22, 2012, 08:34:09 am »
    If you wanted a belt that was pack compatible, Hill People Gear just announced a new product. (I promise I don't work for these guys.)
    http://www.hillpeoplegear.com/Forum/tabid/679/forumid/22/threadid/3880/scope/posts/Default.aspx
    It is modular, so you can run it as your pack belt, as a stand-alone, or with a harness.

    I fully expect to never be in a scenario where I am donning a pack and a rifle before going out to fight bad guys, but I could see running this on your pack with the pistol on a drop rig so that even when you are separated from the pack the pistol is on you still.
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #16 on: October 22, 2012, 11:07:31 am »
    I think I remember a pretty big write-up by Tireiron on this same subject... no idea where I read it though. 
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #17 on: October 22, 2012, 12:19:35 pm »
    I remember we used to unhook our LBE in the front to allow the canteens to sag in the back and get underneath the rucksack...I also remember replacing the metal hardware with 550 cord and electrical taping anything that rattled and jumping up and down to test it....what is new is old and visa versa again...

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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #18 on: February 26, 2013, 12:39:19 pm »
    Resurrect.

    There was an article in a big gun magazine by a big name author talking about how to set up your "war belt" for shooting classes.  These are definitely in the tactical vogue right now.  Which is fine.  If it works for you, it works for you.  I guess the faddishness of the industry annoys me sometimes. It's funny to see people "wow, you can attach suspenders to your belt to help keep it up!", gee-whizzing over what is essentially a redux of 1960s ALICE gear (which was, by the by, the first gear I was ever issued). We've come full circle.

    I think my other pet peeve is when people who are in the tactical vogue TELL YOU what gear YOU NEED, when they're coming from a frame of reference of prepping for a shooting school or whatever, and just get confused when you tell them your needs are different.  Like me, for example, not wanting a "war belt" because on deployment I have to carry a backpack everywhere I go in order to do my job (and no, those little three day bags won't cut it.  They're not good for much more than 20-25 pounds, and C4 is heavy.  The robot is heavier).

    I'm not criticizing people who have gear.  I'd be a monstrous hypocrite if I did.  And there are folks who have piles of gear, who run through shooting courses a lot and have used theirs a lot more than I have.  But the gear I have isn't really for shooting classes, anymore than I bought my rifle so I could go through a shooting class.  I have gear because I have a rifle.  The rifle is not used for home defense, and I don't hunt.  I have the gear on the assumption that if I ever need the rifle, I'm probably going to want body armor and some way of carrying magazines, too.  (It's hard to imagine scenarios where you have NEED of, for example, my Broadsword, and would NOT want these things.)

    I also hear this a lot: "You have first line gear, on the WAR BELT, in case you need to ditch your body armor, so you're still in the fight."

    If you're still in the fight why in the hell are you "ditching" the thing that protects your organs from bullets?

    As for carrying 24 hours worth of stuff with you...I guess it depends.  I didn't have enough room on my IOTV or my plate carrier to put in 24 hours worth of water (I drink a lot of water, and water is heavy).  I didn't carry any water on those vests, actually.  No canteens, no water bladders (I didn't use the latter because of the pack.)  All of my water came in the form of half-liter plastic bottles.  I'd have a couple in a dump pouch attached to the waist belt of my pack, or maybe in my cargo pocket, and a bunch more in the pack.  I could fit enough jerky and Snickers energy bars in my snack pouch to keep me going for a day, but not water.  And, of course, applying to my career field in particular, I can't do my job with just water and ammo.

    It depends on what you're doing.  If you're tooling around the FOB? I often carried my M9, but not always, and that was only because of the ANA.  I did a couple of long dismounts with my M9, but if I knew I was going to be doing a ton of walking I just left it behind like big weight of dubious utility it actually is (remember, the vast majority of infantrymen in the Army or Marines don't get sidearms and never have, but some people on the internet act like going into combat with only one gun is some crazy concept). 

    Outside the wire, it's more important to have what you might need on you, and this includes things less focused on these days, like spare socks and toilet paper.

    But the next war may not be like Iraq or Afghanistan, where US forces endlessly patrol the same occupied territory, operating from a series of large, medium, and small fixed bases, for years on end.  The nature of the conflict drove a lot of the thinking, like the new 84-ton mine/IED protected APC the Army is trying to get to replace the Bradley.  (It weighs more than an Abrams tank but still only carries six guys.)
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #19 on: February 26, 2013, 01:48:02 pm »
    In wonder if you could hang some sort of bag between the suspenders on your back, for carrying bulkier gear?  :hmm

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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #20 on: February 26, 2013, 01:51:50 pm »
    ROFL

    I'm waiting for them to re-invent the buttpack.
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #21 on: February 26, 2013, 04:32:39 pm »
    I have never been able to figure out if the "war belt" was a good idea or a horrible idea.

    On one hand it sounds like a good thing for folks to have to just toss on real quick for emergencies.
    On the other hand a plate carrier can do pretty much everything you do on the belt and it adds ballistic protection.

    Of course my view of things is more of a civilian quick action rig, not a participating in a big green machine war. 

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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #22 on: February 26, 2013, 05:43:21 pm »
    I drink a lot of water, and water is heavy.

    On a normal day, I drink 1-2 gallons of water.  That's 10 to 20 lbs and enough that my mother in law was convinced I was a diabetic and demanded I get tested before I married her daughter.  I'm not diabetic and tested healthy.  On an armored run I drink as little as 25 ml as the driver and don't get out of the car for eight hours.  Pretty typically I shoot down 3-4 liters and piss like a race horse after I am off shift.
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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #23 on: February 26, 2013, 05:43:48 pm »
    I favor the war belt concept, simply because I am forced to wear one on duty. It's called the Police Duty Belt. Ergo, all of my gear is set up around the idea that I'll have a belt with some equipment and MAYBE a vest with some equipment. I could do completely different things on and off duty, but that adds a level of training complexity that doesn't do anyone any good. I basically assume that my "primary" gear will be on my belt and I may have additional crap on a chest rig. I try to keep locations consistent.

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    Re: "War Belt"
    « Reply #24 on: February 26, 2013, 05:49:53 pm »
    ROFL

    I'm waiting for them to re-invent the buttpack.



    Already done.  :neener
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