Photo Credit: Way Of The Gun

In my never-ending quest to find quality gear to use while plainclothes at work and for my off-duty life, I’ve come across a lot of product worth mentioning, and quite a bit that has been readily discarded. Being a small guy, and also wanting to keep my equipment as minimalist as possible, I’ve gravitated towards companies that provide discrete carry solutions that work, work well, and won’t break the bank. These criteria have guided me towards companies that provide extremely minimalist and functional gear that use a minimum of material, have simple but effective carry solutions, and are designed by experienced designers that have real world experience to back up product design.

Way of the Gun, created and run by Frank Proctor, USPSA Grand Master and former SF veteran, fits the bill. I took my first Performance Pistol class with Frank back in 2014, and I’ve been hooked on his classes ever since: Frank is one of those unique instructors that has the natural ability to convey crucial information in simple, concise, and easily-generalizable terms to a very broad audience – and puts a smile on students’ faces at the same time.

http://bottlebreacher.com/

Needless to say, Frank’s products reflect his long experience in Special Forces, as well as his utilitarian and performance-focused experience in the USPSA circuit. Due to his exclusive pedigree and insight in the tactical and competition world, it’s no surprise that the gear he designed and created with WOTG works, and works well.

I have a buddy at work who purchased the Proctor Covert B.E.L.T. a few months back, and I was intrigued by the design. The B.E.L.T. is not what one would expect from an EDC belt. It is light, 1.5” wide, and is fastened using 2 simple plastic D-rings for the buckle, the tail is secured in place with hook and loop.

Most EDC or pistol belts that I own are usually 1.75” wide and reinforced to distribute the weight load of a pistol, extra mags, and whatever other tacticool accessories an individual chooses for their load-out. Cobra buckles have been a mainstay in the tactical belt product line across the board, and boast a high level of tensile and load-bearing strength.

Frank took a much different approach with his belt, and I was admittedly a bit concerned with the design. I have always been from the school of thought that the stiffer the belt, the better, as a stiffener will more effectively support the weight of a holstered handgun and keep it from sagging outward.

Second as mentioned above, Frank chose to go with two simple D-rings to adjust the length of the belt. Since the D-rings are plastic, it is magnetometer-neutral and you won’t have to take it off while going through a metal detector at the airport, or through security checkpoints, and it doesn’t require removing half of a buckle to thread accessories on…which brings us to the next, and best feature of the B.E.L.T.

Sturdily stitched to the exterior of the belt are six elastic loops. When not in use, the loops sit unobtrusively flush to the belt. The loops act as accessory stowage points. For right-handed shooters that thread the tail to the right, the 11 o’clock, 10 o’clock, 8 o’clock, and 4 o’clock loops are wide enough to accommodate a double-stack pistol mag, flashlight, tourniquet, or similarly-sized item. At the 7 o’clock and 5 o’clock positions, the loops are just large enough to stow a rifle mag. In between the elastic loops and the belt, hidden from view, is a grippy, almost rubberized strip of material that provides enough traction to retain the accessories, but not so much to hinder the draw.

At the 6 o’clock position, there is an approximately 3” wide hidden pocket with a narrow hook and loop enclosure; just large enough for some discretely-folded emergency currency bills, a handcuff key, or similarly-sized small item. Pretty slick.

The Rundown

I initially had 2 concerns with the belt:

  1. Retention wouldn’t be strong enough for the pistol mags, and I’d unceremoniously drops a mag while in line at the grocery store, or some otherwise inopportune moment.
  2. I would pop a round loose from a pistol mag, as the mag is exposed.

In my plainclothes capacity, I typically carry AIWB with one spare mag (Glock 19), and a flashlight (Streamlight Protac 2L or older Surefire Centurion). I did, for the purpose of this article, carry a G26 and a G19 interchangeably with an OWB belt holster from time to time as well, and discovered negligible outboard pistol sag issues. The holster in question was a Bianchi Black Widow, which has a 1.5” belt loop that matched the width dimensions of the belt, I did not try it with a belt holster with 1.75” loops.

Over the past 2 months, I experienced one instance where my spare mag slipped free of the loop. I diagnosed the issue as being due to the mag being mounted high in the loop, and I basically squeezed it out while seated in my truck when I leaned over to pick up my cellphone that I had dropped into the footwell – the mag pushed against the crease of my hip and squeezed the mag out. Since then, I’ve consciously seated the mag a little further down in the loop and have not experienced the issue again, even while running, sitting, squatting, and getting in and out of my truck multiple times throughout the day.

I have not once popped a round loose, nor have I noticed the top round come even partially unseated. This actually surprised me, as I initially believed me that this would be an inevitable failure of the belt system.

While on the range, the belt performed very well. Mags were where I wanted them on the reload, and I discovered that because the elastic webbing is so thin, I could index the mag very easily and even position the tip of my finger on the tip of the top round in the mag and still draw smoothly and effortlessly, allowing for my reloads to be bobble-free, as I didn’t have to adjust my grip – my finger broke contact with the top round minimally, sliding easily over the webbing for a brief instant on the draw.

Photo Credit: Chris Tran

Photo Credit: Chris Tran

Drawing a rifle mag was similarly effortless, however inserting a loaded rifle mag definitely takes effort and focus as the tolerances of the rifle mag sized loops are tight.

I found the hidden pocket for a left-handed shooter to be superfluous as the opening is on the bottom for a lefty-threaded belt, but that is a small detail that is not a deal-breaker for me.

Critiques

Other than the one time my mag slipped free, I have been exceedingly pleased with this belt.

I did find, however, that the lack of a stiffener definitely affects the rigidity of the belt at 6 o’clock: when sitting or squatting, the belt gets squeezed with the added tension against the belt loop. The 6 o’clock area of the belt would benefit from a little more stiffness, in my assessment.

Conclusion

This belt really can’t be beat for the price of $55.00. At a whopping 6 oz., it is lightweight, unobtrusive, and very sleek in its profile. I really like the fact that I can literally just stow and go: strap the belt on, slip in the gear I need to carry for the day, and I’m on my way. The belt grants the end-user flexibility in where to place their pistol mags, either in front of or behind the hip, which is useful depending on clothing choice or anticipated activity such as being seated in a vehicle for prolonged periods of time.

I’ve found that the elasticity of the loops allows my flashlight to move and contour to the curvature of my body, eliminating hotspots and the flashlight digging into my waist or midsection, making every day carry quite comfortable.

Prospective buyers. Please. Go to the Way of The Gun website and MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW sizing directions. Not only are there written instructions, but Frank thoughtfully provided a sizing video:

I would definitely recommend this belt for the average EDCer, not only does it work, but it works well at a price point that won’t break the bank.

Want to learn more about Way of the Gun? Check Frank and his team out on the Internet:

http://www.wayofthegun.us/

Chris Tran is a police officer for a large municipality in the Pacific Northwest. He writes equipment reviews aimed towards the everyday user with a focus on functionality, durability, and cost effectiveness.

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