About 10 months ago at SHOT Show 2011, I happened to stop by the Blade-Tech booth. Mainly because they had boatloads of really cool stuff on display. Holsters, magazine carriers, flashlight holsters, Taser holsters, and a whole assortment of tactical things designed to carry other tactical things safely and securely.
After discussing a Sting Ray Belt holster (which is IDPA approved) for a Beretta PX4 which is near and dear to my heart, I happened to notice a retail display of leather gun belts – and I was in need. You see, living in South Carolina, where steam is infused into the atmosphere nine months out of the year by massive Solyndra photo-electic humidity generators, leather belts tends to get bendy and mushy. By the way, while ‘bendy’ and ‘mushy’ are desirable features for the beer belly crowd, these are not welcome features for a belt designed to support a couple of pounds of gun, ammo, and holster.
So I asked what was so special about the Blade-Tech Looper Gun Belts on display. Turns out that this belt is really not a belt, but more like a kydex sandwich. While not particularly appetizing, it is functional – especially with extra mayo. The inner kydex lining is covered on both sides by sturdy leather. This combination results in a belt that won’t flex, bend, or stretch over time – kind of like a competition speed shooting belt that you can wear with business casual attire. You can wear it to the office or fight virtual combat battles against the clock!
The Blade-Tech folks working the booth made it very clear to me that this belt was not built for comfort, but for utility. While I don’t remember the exact words, the conversation went something like this:
Me: “So this belt seems really rigid. Will it stay that way? What will happen after a few gallons of sweat and a daily treatment of superheated South Carolina steam?”
Blade-Tech Marketing Person: “It will stay that way. This belt will not break in. It is NOT going to get soft over time.”
Me: “Awesome. All my other gun belts went south of al-dente months after I got them.”
Blade-Tech Marketing Person: “No I don’t think you understand. This belt will not get softer. It’s going to be like this forever. You realize that right?”
Me: “Yup. Exactly what I’m looking for.”
Blade-Tech Marketing Person: “OK, fine. As long as you realize that this belt won’t break in like a normal belt. It’s going to stay rigid like this. Are you sure you’re OK with that?”
After their unnecessarily apologetic disclaimer, I talked the marketing person into selling me both black and brown belts off the trade show floor.
The Looper belt uses a cowhide leather covering over the kydex interior support. The belts use a sturdy brass buckle with the brown belt version showing a raw brass finish and the black belt version featuring a silver plate over the brass for a sporty black / silver color combination. Belts are available in two widths to match most standard holster loop sizes: 1.5 inches and 1.75 inches. I opted for the 1.5 inch version as these belts were to be used with business casual attire and inside the waistband holsters. The 1.75 inch belts would make great options for outside the waistband carry.
I’ve been wearing one of the two belts in our lowcountry rain forest daily for the past 300+ days – toting either a Glock 32, Beretta PX4 full size in .40 Smith & Wesson, or Beretta 92. No featherweights for sure. I’ve also used the brown one as a double duty competition belt for IDPA and Steel Challenge with outside the waistband holster setups and lots of spare mag pouches mounted on the opposite side. Results? A little normal scuffing where I‘ve mounted holsters and that’s it. Both belts are as rigid as they day I bought them.
The Blade-Tech folks were right. It’s still not broken in. And that’s good.