Dear Fellow Survivalist;
One of the struggles that anyone who carries a gun all the time has, is dealing with the weight of the pistol and spare magazines. It’s not that a pistol is all that heavy, it’s just that our clothes aren’t made for that extra weight. We all know the problem of having to constantly pull our pants up, because the weight of the gun is trying to pull them down. That problem is even worse for those who are overweight, as the lack of a narrow waist prevents the hips from helping to hold the belt up.
Police have dealt with this problem for decades, although I haven’t seen all that many overweight police officers. That doesn’t stop the issue though, as even someone who is “normal” weight is going to have to deal with the weight of that gun and magazines. For the police, there’s also the weight of the rest of their gear, accelerating the problem.
The solution that the police came up with, long ago, was to use high-quality belts, made from thicker leather. Seeing that, I’ve used what I thought were thick full-grain leather belts for years. To save money, I’d buy them in Mexico, where leather goods are less expensive. That is, I used to buy them in Mexico. I recently bought my first American-made “concealed carry” belt and found that the leather was about twice as thick as the belts that I had been buying in Mexico. This means that the leather is much less likely to become deformed by supporting the weight of my gun or even through everyday use. While I have only owned the belt for about six months, I’ve used it every day; yet it still looks like new.
This is not to say that everything is perfect. My belly is larger than my hips, so I still fight the problem of my belt slipping down, especially if I move a lot. However, the wider, thicker leather allows me to tighten the belt up another notch or two, helping to fight against that. The big question is whether belt slip can be avoided altogether.
There are times when I use suspenders in conjunction with a belt. That only really works when I’m wearing a suit jacket though, as otherwise I can’t hide the suspenders. Having the suspenders up against my skin, if I’m wearing my shirt outside my pants doesn’t work too well, especially if I’m perspiring. I have to wear a T-shirt under my shirt, just for the suspenders. While that works, it also makes me perspire more, due to more layers of clothing holding my body heat in.
The other option is to get away from carrying my gun on my belt altogether. The classic way of doing this is a shoulder holster. Few people use them, but shoulder holsters are one of the best designs there is. The only problem is that you have to wear a jacket to cover it up. Still, if you’re going to be wearing a jacket anyway, it’s worth considering going to a shoulder holster. With practice, that cross-draw can become quicker and smoother than drawing from a waist holster.
One of the big advantages of the shoulder holster, compared to other holsters, is concealability. Carrying your gun in the space between your arm and your body makes it extremely hard to see, even while moving. At the same time, the gun is unlikely to get in the way of any normal activity. I wouldn’t recommend it while carrying furniture or other heavy weights though, as you might find your arm pressed up against the gun, from the weight of the furniture.
The other options to consider are under-the-clothing holsters, such as undershirts with built-in holsters and the various versions of the belly band. Neither of these will pull your pants down, while holding your gun secure. That’s not to say that the belly band can’t slip, but because of the elastic it’s not all that likely to.
These aren’t the only under-clothing holsters that are available; but they are the only ones I know of which still make it easy to draw your gun quickly, when needed. Ankle holsters provide excellent concealment, but I don’t know any way of drawing a gun quickly from one. The same can be said for some of the under-clothing options designed for women, with the additional problem that women are generally forced to expose more of their undergarments than they want to, in order to draw their gun.
It’s a tricky balance; but somehow, we all have to find the perfect equilibrium between concealability and the ability to draw our firearm quickly. Sometimes, that means that we end up struggling with our pants wanting to fall down. Maybe someday, someone will invent the perfect solution.
In the meantime, I’m glad I’ve got a good belt and don’t even mind what I had to pay for it. I’ve found it to be just as important as keeping my powder dry and my survival gear close at hand.