Battle belt 2.0 — the Coronavirus edition

In my humble opinion, your gear should be ever changing. It should morph. When something better comes along, or something you think might perform better, it should be tested. If it works, it should be added to your kit.

It’s been about three years since I updated my battle belt, and I definitely have time on my hands now — who doesn’t — so I spent a few days upgrading and testing my battle belt.

I prefer a battle belt over other options such as a chest rig or a plate carrier for several reasons:

One — I never want to wear body armor again.

Two — A battle belt is more flexible and modular. Gear can be switched out much easier.

Three — The way a battle belt evenly distributes the load on your hips and shoulders — as long as it’s set up right — is hard to beat. In a word, it’s comfortable, especially if worn for long periods of time.

Four — It’s quick to doff and don. I can put on my battle belt and grab my carbine in around three seconds. When something goes bump in the middle of the night, it’s awful comforting to have both a handgun and an AR and two spare mags for each.

Some advice for future battle-belters: Don’t skimp on the main components — the belt and the suspenders. Buy quality American-made components.

I chose the SIDEWINDER™ Adaptive MOLLE Battle Belt and the Cobra Riggers Belt from Elite Survival Systems.

In my humble opinion, Elite Survival Systems makes some of the best tactical gear on the planet. I chose their system because, unlike other MOLLE-only belts, the SIDEWINDER™ Adaptive MOLLE Battle Belt has slots cut that allow access to the pistol belt.

Since Elite does not sell suspenders, I purchased a pair from Tactical Tailor, another high-quality American tactical gear firm. 

They’re the core of the system.

My holster, pistol mag pouches and AR mag pouches were all made by BlackPoint Tactical. Their gear is used by the Tier One guys, yet it’s competitively priced.

The think I like most about their mag pouches is that they can all be linked together, what they call their M.A.P. — Modular Accessory Pouch system.

The mag pouches become one unit on your belt so they don’t shift around. When you go to grab a mag for a speed reload, you won’t have to hunt around for it. It will be right where you expect. This creates fantastic muscle memory. Two days at the range proved this to be true. Besides, once connected the unit has a curve, which hugs your body and is very comfortable.

BlackPoint Tactical was kind enough to send me a massive box of gear to try. I first experimented with their holster that was designed to mount to the MOLLE on my belt, but at the range I found this had too much movement. I used another mounting system and now the holster is affixed to the rigger’s belt. There’s no movement at all. It’s rock solid.

I saved a bit of money on the dump pouch and tourniquet holder. They’re off brand but have proven reliable so far.

Note: if you wear a tourniquet — and everyone should — wear it in the middle of your back so you can grab it with either hand if needed.

The last piece of kit on the belt is a Nitecore IR Signal Light, the NUO5 MI, which is attached to my front left suspender. It is rechargeable and comes with a USB cord.

Why an IR strobe? It’s another contingency that meshes well with my wife’s night-vision monocular.

If the bad man comes and I have to leave the room, she’ll be able to differentiate between me and the villains. At least that’s the theory. It could prevent blue-on-blue or, as I call it, a no-lawyer divorce.

What’s not on the belt? Well, I’m not a fan of the BFK. I prefer a small folding knife — something light.

Additional lights? Perhaps someday, but for now both my weapons have lights attached.

Less-than-lethal weapons? Well, I’ve heard the theories that homeowners should be prepared for a less-than-lethal encounter as well as a lethal one. I’m not there yet. I can’t fathom the scenario where I’d use impact weapons or OC spray inside my home. Besides, bad guys become pretty compliant when they’ve been shot a bunch of times.

One last thing: your gear is just that — your gear. Don’t let anyone tell you how to wear it, but make sure you test it. Wear it to the range. Wear it to a tactical class. Better you find out that something doesn’t work during training than during a deadly force encounter.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found this helpful.


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. THANK YOU(!) for presenting a practical – and well explained – alternative to the usual “full loadout” vests and rigs. Like you, I also prefer a more versatile and waist-oriented setup, coupled with a lighter Level III armor vest option instead of the full ceramic Level IV rigs. They certainly have their place, but for a home defense (or SHTF bugout) situation, this belt orientation is much better, IMO.

    I also like the IR flasher. That’s a very good suggestion. I’ll check out the links.

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