Whether you’re carrying guns and gear, or just trying to keep your pants up, this re-designed rigger’s belt gets the job done. Introducing the Grey Ghost Gear Paladin Belt.
One of the pieces of gear I always wore day in and day out during my time in the boat teams was my last resort belt. It is also commonly referred to a riggers belt. A riggers belt can come in all shapes and sizes with different materials and hardware, however they all have a hard or soft point to accommodate the attachment of a carabineer. This allows the wearer to clip onto a rescue line or rope using a variety of different methods. I still have the riggers belt I was issued back in 1997 hanging in my closet. Other than being a little worn she is in good shape. During my time as a SWCC I never had to use it beyond keeping my pants up and carrying my gear. I never had to be extracted using the belt and for that I am grateful. That being said, it did give me peace of mind knowing I had the ability built into my belt should the need ever arise.
A buddy who I would often climb and repel with tried it out on a repel. Apparently he had bigger balls than me, or maybe I just had more brains, but whatever the reason, he clipped into his belt and figure eight, then repelled down the face of the cliff… using 550 cord. Ok, maybe I had more brains in that situation. It was a nail biter, but he lived to tell about it. After that demonstration, it gave me confidence that the belt would hold a full grown man in a last ditch effort to extract. I also had a new respect for 550 cord.
Fast forward a decade and a half, the riggers belt lives on. Technology has also kept up with stronger and lighter materials. Lately, I have been wearing the Grey Ghost Gear Paladin Belt for most everyday range work and casual attire. The Paladin may look like a typical riggers belt, but it has some tricks up its sleeve.
The belt is made from two pieces of high strength mil-spec webbing. The webbing is not rigid and should not be mistaken with belts made of rigid SCUBA material. The Paladin will fold and twist as it is very flexible. It is 1-3/4” high in profile and will fit through most BDU and standard belt loops. I have yet to find a pair of jeans or shorts where it doesn’t work. Some dress slacks or khakis that have smaller loops may not work, however when dressed in that attire my shirt is usually tucked in and a dress belt is used. Other than that, the belt should work with most britches.
The webbing is stitched in such a way that there are open “slots” or “channels” between the layers of webbing. These slots are designed to attach standard modular pouches using MALICE clips or other similar hardware. This makes for a quick way to attach a mag pouch or mid kit for a range session. If you are one of those guys or gals who likes to wear a standalone battle belt, the Paladin will lay nice and flat and not get bunched when you strap on your battle belt of choice over it.
The webbing also has generous loop made of a folded over section of webbing. This is a soft point for attaching a carabineer should the need arise. Simply attach the carabineer to the belt and figure eight or rescue line, close the gate, lock it and away you go. Again, I wouldn’t use it unless absolutely necessary. Remember, these are also known as “last resort belts.” MAKE SURE YOU ARE TRAINED UP ON HOW TO USE THIS EQUIPMENT SHOULD YOU DECIDED TO USE YOUR BELT IN THIS MANNER! DON’T BE FOOLISH.
The buckle that holds the belt together, keeps you pants up and your ass from falling is the Cobra Belt Buckle made by Austrialpin. This is a quick release buckle made of 7075 aluminum alloy with stainless steel and solid brass internal release mechanisms. As far as I know, this is the strongest quick release buckle you can buy. It is CNC milled to precise specifications and will not open under stress. It is resistant to sweat, dust and saltwater. Oh, and it is rated to 9KN. That’s 9 Kilonewtons of force. What does that mean? Well for folks like me on the imperial system it breaks down like this. A single KN equates to 224.808943 pounds of force. So doing the math, a buckle rated to 9KN will hold up to 2,023 lbs of force. I would say that is enough strength to hold a fairly beefy guy even if he is being restrained from a fall. Or, you can just use it to lift a Smart Car with two decent sized passengers inside, impressive to say the least.
The belt is easily adjusted by a simple hook and loop fastening system. Simply run the end of the belt into and back through the male end of the Cobra Buckle, connect the buckle and cinch the belt down to the desired tightness. Then secure the end of the belt to itself with the hook and loop. It should be noted that even if the hook and loop should become disengaged the belt will not come off. The Cobra Buckle has a built in locking bar that will prevent the belt from coming off.
Over all I enjoy wearing this belt. It is very comfortable to wear and extremely well made. If I had to change a few things it would be the following: I would like to see a small hook and loop strap added next to the carbineer soft point. Adding this feature would allow the user to wear the belt with a carabineer installed and lashed to the side of the belt to prevent it from moving. This would keep the carabineer always on the operator and close at hand. The last thing that needs to happen in an emergency extract is having to play the “Where is the Carabineer?” game. Second, I would like to see a rigid version of this belt made while keeping the same built in “channels.” This would permit the installation of heavier modular pouches and holsters while maintaining good rigidity and shape.
The belt can be had in various sizes from X-Small to X-Large so there should be something for everyone. Typically I wear a medium with similar style belts, however the Paladin small ended up working for my 34” waist. The belt comes in a variety of colors to include Coyote Tan, Black or Multicam. Cost is $74.95 and can be ordered direct from Grey Ghost Gear or one of their authorized dealers.