A belt is a belt, no? No. While picking a belt for concealed carry isn’t nearly as much as choosing an EDC pistol, it is no-less important. NexBelt is a radically new design to a rather timeless object and is ideal as a concealed carry belt.
NexBelt Concealed Carry Belt
The version I’m reviewing is black leather with a rather plain looking buckle. It seems simple enough. Most men I know don’t give a second thought to their dress belts, but this one is different. From the outside, there’s nothing that gives away its unique design. It is urban camouflage.
Under the hood, though, this is a different beast. The leather is backed with nylon webbing. The combination of the two materials makes it more rigid than leather, alone. As such, this one should hold its shape long into the future (just be sure to take care of the leather).
The buckle, though, is where the magic happens. Like most belts, the NexBelt connects at the rear of the buckle. Rather than using traditional clasps, or Chicago screws, the NexBelt has a lock-down clasp and two small screws that hold the buckle firmly to the belt. And the buckle itself is built like a tank.
On the other side of the belt is what catches everyone’s attention. The buckle has a small claw-type-ratchet (for lack of a better description). The inside of the belt itself has a red polymer track. The teeth on this track catch the ratchet hook. While most belt holes are ¾” to 1” apart, this can be dialed in at closer to ¼” intervals.
To release the belt, a lever pulls up the hook and lets the tail slide free. It is almost like a wide zip-tie that you cinch in place around your waist. Yet you can loosen it much more easily.
The benefit of this system is easy to see. Once it is clasped in place, this belt doesn’t move. For those carrying heavy guns, this is a real benefit, as the weight isn’t working against you. And you can dial in the perfect fit so there’s no slack (or so it isn’t too tight).
Working on losing weight? No problem. It will still fit. Eating a massive Thanksgiving feast? No worries—the belt will expand as needed. These everyday adjustments that are crucial to every day carry—the NexBelt is ideal for them.
Other Concealed Carry Belt Designs
Other belt designs have tried in other ways to combat the fit and slip problems. One of my favorite designs is the cobra buckle. This is my go-to for outside the waistband carry. For a full-sized gun, this is hard to beat. But they’re hardly easy to use. Once they’re set, you’re set—but getting them on and off is work.
If I know I’m going someplace where I have to have the very best and most secure fit, this is the belt I wear. It is too wide, though, for most of the belt loops on my pants, so I have to plan ahead. And the belt makes me look like a gun guy, which I try to avoid when I’m carrying concealed.
Mean Gene Leather Concealed Carry Belts
For my EDC, I typically use this belt from Mean Gene. It is leather with a nylon inner core. It has held up amazingly well, even though I’ve lost a Chicago screw. The roller buckle grabs the leather well. I’ve never had it slip, and I can keep it sized perfectly. One benefit it has over the NexBelt is that the concept is hardly revolutionary. This belt works just like my Scout belt did when I was a kid, even though the design is more radical.
More traditional belts, like this plain leather belt, leave more to be desired. When you are putting a gun in your waistband, you need more belt. That means buying a bigger belt and maybe wearing an awkwardly long belt if you aren’t carrying.
The benefit is that your belt doesn’t draw any attention to itself. And the design has been around for thousands of years, so it must be doing something right. Just remember to buy one big enough to wrap around your waist and your holster.
5.11 Nylon Concealed Carry Belts
Simple nylon belts, like this one from 5.11, are light, easy to use, and finicky. I wore this one on a hike this weekend. The sweatier I got, the more the belt slipped loose. I keep this one with my get-home-gun, just in case. It works fine, but it isn’t my favorite.
The benefit, though, is that it fits my fat ass, and my wife’s much narrower waist, and even my son’s. One belt to rule them all. Almost. Sort of. But it is very adjustable. And it is wider, too, which is better for my OWB holster.
NexBelt Parting Shots
All told, you need something you can rely on. The NexBelt is solid and holds tight. Inside the belt, there are numerous markings that help you to determine how long it needs to be. The lines even help you keep your cuts straight.
Try it with a variety of holsters. If you have an OWB and IWB for the same gun, try on both. See how much extra might be needed in order to accommodate both.
The main thing is that you cut the belt long enough to allow you to really maximize the use of the red track below the tail. If you run out of track because you have left the belt too long, it will not work as intended.
In the end, what impresses me most about NexBelt is the strength of the buckle. Instead of using traditional pins to hold the buckle to the belt, this one relies on screws. Where there would be pins to hold the buckle’s moving parts, there are screws. This is a beast. And there are numerous buckle designs, too, that doesn’t look at all tactical.
Prices vary, of course. The MSRP on this one here is $62.99. That’s not bad for a belt that will last forever (as long as you continue to care for it). And don’t worry, NexBelts makes brown belts as well.