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Old July 22, 2008, 01:43 PM   #1
Don Gwinn
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Where Would You Look for a Good Belt/Holster?

Winning the trip to Blackwater made me realize I don't really have a good option for CCW. I have a fanny pack and I have a Maxpedition Jumbo Versipack, but I use those because my state requires it, not because I like them. I'd really like to use this trip as an excuse to get a good belt/holster combo.

Unfortunately, I'm a big fat guy, and I'd like to carry IWB. I have an old Galco IWB given me by a good friend a long time ago, so maybe I don't need the holster, but we'll see what you recommend. I am going to need a long belt--probably 50 inches if I use IWB.

Who would you call?
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Old July 22, 2008, 01:50 PM   #2
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You could do much worse.
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Old July 22, 2008, 03:03 PM   #3
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Well I'm going to assume that you don't have the six months to wait for a Milt Sparks VMII and belt. If you do I think it's worth it. If not, well I'm not an expert but I do have a 46" gunbelt. I find that a small 1911 in a Nick Mathews' #2 works very well for me. Nick's #2 lets the pistol sit extra deep and with extra cant that really does a good job of hiding the grip even with my size. The only thing is that it's not a reinforced mouth design so you need to use a bit of extra care putting it on just like you would with Milt Sparks' Watch Six. Still I find that Nick's #2 is better at concealing a small 1911 on my frame than the VMII, and I like Nick's mag pouches much better. Note that both the Sparks and Mathews belt loops are intended for stiff but very thin belts. I find it an absolute bear to snap either's 1-1/2" loops over my ultra heavy 1-1/2" Hellwig gunbelt.

It doesn't sit quite as deep as a Mathews but because I can adjust in a bit of extra cant I also find the Minotaur MTAC a good choice for short grip double stacks like the compact M&Ps. I find it very comfortable and durable and delivery is very quick. Note I like the standard loops. You could pair it with a Beltman belt, or Crossbreed or any of the other quality gunbelts.

Do note the throughly confusing belt sizing instructions at each site.
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Old July 22, 2008, 08:24 PM   #4
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I don't find IWB comfortable, for the best OWB holster I have found is the Bianchi Carry Loc. Check them out you won't be sorry.

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Carry ON!!
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Old July 22, 2008, 10:09 PM   #5
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Don Mernickle for a belt. His belts are thick and good quality. And he makes 'em in "big boy" sizes too. Give him and/or his wife a call and they should be able to fix you up.

Next, I'd call Lightning Arms for a holster. You may pay a bit more but the stock holsters from Alessi, Del Fatti, Galco, and Milt Sparks. If what you want is in stock, you can have it in a few days.

For OWB, the cheapest holster I can recommend (though it might not pass Blackwater's standards) is the Galco Matrix series. The M7X is shown below. This thermoplastic snap-on holster is secure, hugs the gun tight to the body, doesn't rot or scuff the gun and it's about $25.

Advice: If you'll carry IWB, be sure to get a holster with a body shield if you have any kind of sizeable "love handles". This will make wearing the gun more comfortable if the hammer and extended safety isn't digging in all the time.
BillCA in CA (Unfortunately)
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Old July 23, 2008, 12:04 AM   #6
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I can recommend the Rafter S. Black Shark if you can wait 10 weeks and a holster from K&D Leather if you can wait 16 weeks. They are worth the wait.
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Old July 23, 2008, 09:15 AM   #7
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I bought my last couple belts from the police/fireman uniform outlet. Very stiff servicable belts that last for years supporting a 39 oz pistol + acc. Saved a bunch over buying a trueblue gunbelt too.

I've been eyeing the belts at my local shoe repair lately. they look just as good as the others and only 20 bucks there. I see no reason to pay more for a belt jus cause it's attached to a big name gun accessory maker.
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Old July 23, 2008, 02:33 PM   #8
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thoughts from another big fat guy....


Just a few thoughts from another big fat guy. The thing you need first is a belt. Not just any belt but a belt solid enough to stand up to the task of carrying. Beltman (sorry dont know how to do the link thing) probably makes the very best in this regard. If youre not ready to go with beltman or if the wait is too long I suggest a solid leather belt thats 1-1/2 inches wide. It doesnt have to be expensive just thick solid leather. Anything less than 1-1/2 inches doesnt seem to hold my holsters well and anything more only seem to fit my jeans.

I have a couple of suggestions when in comes to IWB holsters. The first is find a holster where the belt loops are spaced away from the frame of the gun. Keeping the loops away from the frame is not only more comfortable for me but seems to give me a more stable platform. I still recommend HBE leathers COM 3. I know Eric and his company have gotten beaten up in the forums but I have yet to find a more comfortable/durable IWB holster.

My next suggestion when it comes to IWB holsters is dont do it. While IWB holsters are easier to conceal, OWB holsters are much more comfortable for us larger folk. Not to mention that reholstering your weapon can be done with one hand using an OWB holster and most IWB holsters require two hands.

I hope this helps but as always YMMV.

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Old July 23, 2008, 06:11 PM   #9
N-frame Smith
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As a fellow fat guy I also recommend the Beltman for a top quality belt for a fair price. However, if you're in a hurry or on a budget, I've had good luck with Triple K 's #333 Detective belt. It's lined and heavy duty and also available in big sizes, for quite a bit less than the Beltman's product and they usually deliver pretty quick.

I carry IWB most of the time when I conceal carry, and if you get a good quality, properly made holster you should have no problems with comfort or reholstering. I'm sorry to say that whatever Galco holster you have probably won't fit the bill. As EricN suggested, a design with offset loops is best and if you get one with a reinforced mouth you shouldn't need two hands to reholster. His suggestion of HBE Leatherworks is an excellent one for two reasons: he makes great holsters and right now he's got the shortest delivery times of any custom maker. I've seen reports recently on other forums of getting custom made holsters from him in about 2 weeks! That's impossible to beat for gear of that quality.

Best of luck to you.
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