Range belts are typically something that will polarize shooters and having half of you with pitchforks and torches yelling to burn the mall ninjas to death. I want to go through a few different setups about range belts. Whether it’s a minimalist carry belt or a full range belt, it really depends on your preferences. Range belts can be a great aid for training at the range efficiently with less time at the bench and more time at the range.
Deciding What’s Best For You
The biggest issue with range belts for most people is the fact they seem too busy for some shooters. Not everyone wants a designated belt to have everything you need on it. I may not necessarily agree with this and think medical should be on your belt or at least have the medical knowledge in case of something unfortunate happens. Shooters love to practice at the range and try to hone their skills but sometimes without a proper belt set up, they may not get the full time to practice skills if they are at the bench reloading or looking for magazines. Personally, having what you need on your person helps manage time and drills way easier than constantly looking for ammo and tools in between sets. A minimalist approach isn’t a bad option if you’re looking to just work on your fundamentals at the range.
Typically I run this set up on a stiff shooting belt with an OWB holster on my right side and two magazine carriers on my left hip. If you don’t have any medical on your body when shooting it’s always smart to know exactly where your medical kit is at all times. Things start to get tougher when you start adding rifle magazines into the mix. When people start to add rifle and pistol training into the equation it’s still possible to run a simple setup but it tends to get really heavy with the added weight. The belt starts to get busy from adding more items onto a system that goes inside the belt loops of your pants. It’s possible for sure but when you start to add 2-3 AR Magazines onto your loadout, it may be time to think about an actual range belt.
Picking a Range or “Battle” Belt
There are an absolute ton of choices when it comes to picking out a designated shooting belt. There are several companies making rubber lined belts and those aren’t a terrible option. I ran an HSGI Sure-Grip Padded Belt and it worked well for the time I ran it. The main issue with the HSGI belt is when I started to sweat and move it would sometimes shift on me. The current belt I’m running is an older version of the Ronin Tactics Shuto belt. This belt has a double Velcro system where an inner belt goes into the belt loop of your pants. The outer belt sticks to the inner belt and creates a really stable system and gives you more support for a heavier loadout.
Setting Up Your Gear
Setting up a “battle” or range belt is a ton of trial and error. Having the mindset to fill the belt isn’t a smart one, you’ll usually just end up tearing most of it off. With a belt, the phrase less is more really does apply. Try to keep the belt low on weight and running only essentials. I usually will have my pistol in an RTI holster with a G-Code mount on my right side. I have nothing above my holster on the belt and it’s always best to leave this space clear so your draw is unaffected by gear. Right now I have a smaller fixed blade knife on my belt, but it doesn’t affect my draw so make sure you’re paying attention to what’s above or around that handgun
Weak Side Set Up
My left hip has two pistol mag carriers from HSGI in the front with two single rifle mag carriers behind the pistol mags. It’s way easier to kneel down and move with the pistol magazines up front instead of rifle magazines going into your stomach every time you bend over to pick something up. Another mistake that’s fairly common is buying double rifle magazine pouches and running them on the belt.
Medical and Behind The Back
This adds a ton of bulk and slows most shooters down, so a single mag carrier is a much better option. Medical is up to the shooter. I tend to run one on my belt or If I want a lighter set up I will have my med kit in my range bag. Usually, anything like med kits, tourniquets, or dump pouches will go onto the back of your belt so its tucked away but still accessible. As tempting as it may be, try to keep things like water bottles and excess attachments off the belt. Often times, people start putting too much on the back of their belt and it starts to sag from the weight, so keep it simple.
In the end, if you have a way to holster your gun and hold ammo, it comes down to preference for how you want to set it up. I prefer keeping things lighter and only essentials I need. I love having the ability to throw on a belt that’s already set up and ready to go over putting everything on my belt every time. Belts can be a huge benefit for training at the range. It decreases down time and lets you get out and train. Let me know what you prefer to use when shooting at the range. If you have questions feel free to message me on my Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there.