Gun Belts: Beat the Sag with Choices from Wright, Bigfoot

We tested a drawer full of leather and nylon belts to find sturdy enough models that will hold up a full-size 1911 and extra ammo.


When you make the decision to carry a holstered handgun in the field or in concealed carry, you need a proper gun belt. A standard dress belt will allow the holstered handgun to sag on the trousers. A poor belt is a huge problem for concealed-carry permit holders. Choosing the proper belt isn’t that difficult, but even raters who have used good gear for many years had pause when attempting to explain what makes a good gun belt. We needed a selection process and test procedure, particularly with the new breed of nylon types. We tested a box full of belts and came away with a good understanding of what makes a good gun belt. Classic leather is still good, but the modern types are well designed and workmanlike and may even fit modern fashion better.

A belt is made of the strap, buckle, loop, and a prong that fits notches in the belt. Each part may affect function. The size of the frame that holds the prong affects function as well, and some modern belts use latches instead of a prong and notch. Buckles may be stitched, screwed on, clamped, pressed, or anchored. Chain-store belts are not gun belts, but then they are not designed to be. A proper gun belt is a solid piece of leather and is properly glued or stitched together. A loose-fitting belt won’t cinch up tightly and will bunch up the trousers.

To test belts, we used several criteria. While fit and finish are important, the performance of the belt is more important. The belt should be rigid. The stronger the belt, the more comfortable it is. A rigid gun belt is wide enough to keep the holstered handgun from sagging. It is a nuisance to keep adjusting the belt and attempting to cinch the belt tighter, which really just makes you uncomfortable, and the holster still drags. The belt must mate firmly to the holster. Be certain the holster is tightly fitted to the belt. Stitching is important. Poor stitching is a sign of a cheaply-made belt.

We ordered the gun belts in 1.5-inch width. During the testing, we used several guns and holsters, but the one we used most was the Bullard Leather Defender. This holster uses three belt loops to attach to the belt. The gun used was a Government Model 1911 45 ACP. Because the Defender holster also holds a spare magazine, the weight of the holster, gun, and magazine was more than 50 ounces. This is a hefty weight and a good test of the belt’s performance.

We also tested the belts with a Galco Stow-N-Go holster and a Glock 43 9mm for those belts designed for lightweight casual carry, with a weight of more than 30 ounces for the loaded handgun and holster. We added a Galco Phoenix and Smith & Wesson Combat Magnum later in the test to be certain crossdraw worked well. We should mention that all of the web-type holsters demanded the male component of the Cobra buckle be removed to thread the holster onto the belt, unless you were using a clip-on type inside-the-waistband holster. We did not discount this extra work, but neither did we rate the belt down on this factor. Keep it in mind, however.

Wright Leather Works Bullhide Belt, $52

The Wright Leather Works Bullhide Belt is specially treated for long wear and is plenty thick to spread the gun’s weight out on the belt. It helps carry a heavy load comfortably, we found.

This is available from This is a slightly different 0.25-inch-thick belt. The primary difference is the dark finish. All that is said concerning the Old World Belt is true of the Bullhide Belt. This is a credible choice, and, frankly, unless you are a connoisseur of pasting and waxing, this belt is the better buy.


Wright Leather Works Old World Gun Belt, $75

The Wright Leather Works Old World belt is nicely turned out and proved comfortable in our testing.

The Old World Gun Belt is thick at 0.25 inch and is, according to Wright, treated with oils and tallows for longevity. This treatment, often called waxing, is an overlooked feature. Edging is competently executed. The finish is intended to display an aged or distressed look when new and is designed to acquire a finished patina over time. You may choose either a standard or roller buckle attached with Chicago screws. This isn’t the flashiest belt, but it is one that will provide good service. The belt illustrated is new, but it is shown after weeks of testing. The raters have on hand a six-year-old example as well that still looks great.


Bigfoot Gunbelt, $74

Among the most impressive gun belts is the Bigfoot, a 0.28-inch-thick belt made from English bridle leather.

Check for this at This is a sturdy belt at 0.28-inch thick. The belt isn’t made from a bigfoot’s hide, but is rather made from English bridle leather. Under close examination, you can see the edges are burnished and beveled. Stitching is good, and the belt loop is double stitched. The notches are tight, with a reverse bevel that is secure and attractive. The Bigfoot belt is a little stiff to handle because it features a flexible steel inner lining. This is great belt for those carrying heavy firearms, even a pair of 45s.


Crossbreed Cobra, $70

We like the Crossbreed Cobra lightweight nylon belt. The Cobra-style belt buckle is secure and offers rapid-on-and-off features.

This is available from We found this belt at a discount off MSRP. Shop around for a good price. The Crossbreed nylon belt holster is thin at only 0.14 inch thick. The Rigger belt is heavier, so the Cobra is designed as a lightweight option that makes it difficult to criticize on that point. We flexed the Cobra buckle by slapping the belt as hard as possible, and the buckle never failed or jammed shut. The level of adjustment is good. This is a good choice for those using a lighter handgun, such as the Glock 43, and that is exactly what it was designed to do, so we rated it an A on that count. When tested with the Government Model 45 and rated on that count, it would have come in with a B.


Crossbreed Executive Gun Belt, $75

Stitching, fit, finish, and lock prong and loop integrity of the Crossbreed Executive are excellent. The Crossbreed Execu-tive is rated high on utility and was among the best-looking belts.

Find this at This is a nicely fitted and finished gun belt. Stitching, fit, and finish are good. The belt is 0.24-inch thick and is suited for 1.5-inch-loop holsters. The belt buckle, prong, and loop are well designed. The notches have a similar treatment to the Bigfoot belt. We like the Crossbreed, a strong belt well made in the classic fashion. The beveled cut on the end of the belt strap provides a touch of style.


Lobo Gunleather B8 Belt, $95 as tested

The Lobo gun belt has endured a grueling test period of more than eight years. It has held up well and is rigid enough to support a heavy handgun. It features excellent stitching.

This belt is a nicely stitched model featuring two leather straps. The belt tapers from 1.5 to 1.0 inch at the end of the strap as it approaches the buckle. This is a stylish concept, and a classy detective-style belt. These types are no longer as common as they once were, but they work very well in practice. We ordered the optional oxford-style brass buckle. Nickle and square-shaped buckles are options. This belt is 0.22-inch thick tapering to 0.12 inch on the forward component. It is very comfortable, and the thinner forward section is lighter against the abdomen. The belt tested is at least eight years old as of this writing and has lost none of its integrity. There is some degrading of the finish.


Bullard Leather Double Thick Gun Belt, $90

We feel that the Bullard Leather Gun Belt offers first-class double stitching. A nice touch is a double-stitched belt loop. The Bullard Leather belt loop and buckle attachment are well designed and executed.

Find this at This belt is practically a showcase for leather. The 0.25-inch-thick belt is double stitched on each side. Even the belt loop is double stitched, a nice and unusual touch. On the order form, we checked the box that says “Loctite Chicago screws,” a good option. In constant wear, Chicago screws come loose. This is a robust square-buckled belt that will carry a heavy handgun in comfort. The workmanship is well worth the extra price, and along with good looks, its double stitching equates to strength and long wear.


Galco EDC Belt, $64

Galco’s EDC belt has many advantages. It is the top-rated nylon belt.

We found ours at This is a nylon belt with what is known as “scuba web” construction. It is undeniably strong. Thickness is 0.24 to 0.30 inch, depending on where you measure. Resistance to rot and mildew is an advantage. A hook-and-loop adjustable strap allows the company to sell the belt in a few sizes to cover a myriad of folks. The L, as an example, covers 38- to 42-inch waists. The holster features a quick-release cobra-style buckle. We ordered the flat-earth color. Interestingly, our lone female rater liked this belt the best, and so did our military intelligence officer, a major at 35, our youngest rater. Older raters are used to a standard leather belt.

The Galco EDC looks right with modern clothing and certainly has a wide range of adjustment. That there is no belt strap in the way of appendix carry is another advantage.


Crossbreed Riggers Belt, $35

The Crossbreed Rigger is affordable and offers good features. Some did not like the Crossbreed Rigger attachment system, while others liked it very much.

This belt is about the same width as the Cobra, but it has a different type of belt attachment. It uses an adjustable loop. There is a lot of adjustment in this belt, up to 46 inches. We don’t like it as well as some of the heavier belts, and we don’t like the belt attachments as well as the Cobra buckle. But you pay more for those features. Just the same, it is fine for lighter handguns.


1791 Gunleather Steer Hide Belt, $59

As far as finish goes, the 1791 leather belt exhibits a credible treatment.

Order this one at This belt appears to be made out of a single piece of 0.21-inch-thick leather without stitching. We found the first notch was not fully cut to accept the prong. One rater noted this is sometimes done for looks, and the other notches were for actual use. However, there was a serious problem. The belt strap would not fit into the belt loop. Hard as we tried, the loop simply would not accept the belt strap. A rater with some experience in leather modified the belt and managed to test it. It worked afterward. The belt loop apparently was not checked at the factory. We rated the belt down for this problem and the uncut first belt notch.

The belt loop would not accept the belt strap—a serious shortcoming.



  1. Leather belts for carry: I gave up on these long ago. Why? In a hot climate they sweat stain pants and creak. The latter nice for “western” ambience but not so much for “concealment”. And then just a belt? All that weight of pants and hardware pressing down at the waist? Not for me. My belt carry rig for some years now is quiet, sweat tolerant and distributes the load well. What is it? The Wilderness Instructor Belt, 5-stitch model. with load assist from Perry side clip suspenders which clip under the belt not to the pants. My two cents: leather, for fashion not for carry.

  2. I was surprised at your recommendation of the Wright Leather belt. I own 2 of their fine holsters and their Barfly wallet is in my pocket daily but their belt did not work for me. I was carrying a 1911 commander or a 4″ S&W 686 and the belt would sag way too much, when I contacted Wright (Randy I believe) I was told that I should get a heavier belt that was made to carry a large handgun. I am now on my second belt that I purchased from The Beltman, I have the bison belts, one black and one brown, the cool thing about Beltman is that you can order in odd sizes, I have a 39″ and a 41″, with the holes on 3/4″ spacing the fit is great, the quality is second to none.

  3. I was hoping GT might have tested Nexbelt belts with their ratchet system. I am using these belts and have had decent performance using them. They are so easy to adjust for a perfect fit as opposed to the inadequate spacing found on most standard belts. Nexbelts are strong/heavy enough to carry a medium size & weight firearm.

  4. I use Amish Made belts. I use the ccw max thickness bull hide and the steel core belt. I carry 1911/Sig/K2 and several others at different times. I do not believe there is a belt any better than either one of the Amish made belts that I use.


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