Disclaimer: I was given one of these items to review for free.
Pouches shown with the belt were not supplied by BRITTAC.
You can get it here: https://www.britishtactical.com/hl-50mm-shooters-belt/
It’s no secret that here at KitPest we’re big fans of British Tactical. There’s a number of homegrown companies operating in the kit manufacturing sphere, many of them excellent, and many of them offer their own version of what people refer to as a “shooter’s belt”. Plenty of these are very good. However, to my mind for innovation and sheer quality, you’d be hard pressed to beat BRITTAC. Since they teamed up with Flimmuur Tactical and jointly created the Horizon Laminate range, they’ve pushed out some seriously smart and innovative products, and you’d be hard pressed to beat them this side of the pond – or across, for that matter.
Shooter’s belts, which first appeared on the market as used by High Speed, Low Drag types and then became popularised by 2 and 3-gun competition shooters, are now a favourite with many soldiers who have fully embraced the “Fight Light” doctrine – can’t overload it if you can’t fit stuff on it!
Obviously they’re great for ranges, since that’s pretty much what they’re designed for, and expect to see plenty of them at Bisley and other shooting meets. Additionally, given the current operational environment they have proven extremely popular on Op Tours such as SHADER and TORAL, where the requirement for operating almost exclusively out of vehicles and only for short periods of time has meant that individuals have eschewed traditional belt kit as impractical.
Finally, they’re great in the urban environment, where a slimmer profile means you can move more agilely across killing areas and slip through doorways and windows with ease. However, they’re really not suitable for “conventional” soldiering, as any optimist who’s tried to survive out of one and a daysack on a “green” ex in a temperate-cold climate will tell you (I just about managed in Kenya with the addition of a chest rig because I didn’t need wet/warm kit, but it was touch and go).
Because a Shooter’s Belt has fewer applications than conventional Belt Kit, it’s understandable that other than your most dedicated kit pests, people might be reluctant to drop £120 (current price for the full-fat Horizon Laminate Micro PALS laser-cut belt) on something they might not use all the time.
Enter the Horizon Laminate 50mm Shooter Belt (“budget” belt.)
To be honest, I’m not sure what’s budget about it. Priced at a very competitive £65 (few alternatives at this price point will come with lasercut PALS, which look smarter and are a lot easier to mount pouches on), the belt presents a neat, clean appearance and looks and feels like a premium product. It comes as standard with a plastic ITW Cobra buckle, but the metal AustriAlpin one is also available for a small surcharge. The main body of the belt is a thick olive webbing rather than Multicam, but as most of it is covered with genuine Multicam 500D laminate, this is hardly noticeable. The stitching throughout is immaculate, and it’s easy to adjust the belt within a couple belt sizes (BRITTAC ask you to size yourself before you order, so even at the budget price point you’re still getting a semi-bespoke product). The excess webbing then folds away under a sleeve of Multicam elastic – again, a premium touch at a budget price point.
Mounting pouches is, as mentioned, extremely easy thanks to the laser-cut PALS which make it easier to slide MOLLE straps into, but once they are mounted they are very secure (provided you don’t go OTT and mount a standard webbing water bottle pouch on there, or something). If you’re like me and you like tweaking your rig every now and then, then the ease of mounting (on non-laser cut belts, I’ve had to drag the straps through with Leatherman pincers) is a definite plus.
The belt also comes with an inner G-hook Velcro belt (same as the HL premium belt), which the Shooter’s Belt Velcros onto, for stability. The G-hook buckle is both slimline and very practical to use (no fouling!). The inner belt is solid colour, but again, Multicam Velcro is available for a small surcharge. The interior of the Shooter’s Belt is lined with Uni-Tape, which I am told is both hook AND loop in one (witchcraft!) which means you can use a loop OR hook inner belt. It also won’t be as harsh on clothing, so you won’t end up with your UBACS looking like the dog got at them after a few days of wear. In terms of grip, the Velcro is great. went for a multi-mile run with the belt fully loaded up with rifle and pistol mags (bombed up) med kit, helmet counterweight, HMNVS and pistol, and it did not shift in the slightest the entire time – I’ve had other versions sag at the back and come unstuck when similarly loaded.
When it comes to durability, I also have zero complaints. I wore the shooter’s belt every day for a 3-week range package, and then again for a multi-day blank exercise. I climbed through a bunch of windows, crawled across plenty of hard surfaces, and squeezed through a lot of mouseholes. The belt was scraped, caught, and pulled, as well as soaked with sweat and rain. It was also hit with sim rounds at a range where they punctured tough NYCO polycotton, and the paint just wiped off the Cordura with no damage.
My only real quibble with the belt is aesthetic – I personally don’t like the look of the plastic ITW Cobra Buckle, although it clearly works great – it was jammed up with sand and gunk at one point and still operated smoothly. However, that’s a personal nitpick and plenty of people love it, plus for a small extra you can have a metal one put on if that’s your thing. As I said before, this feels like a premium product. I have no doubt it will continue to hold up to extended use in austere environments. I would recommend it unhesitatingly to anyone.
For £65, you’re getting a semi-bespoke, laser-cut, Multicam laminate belt from a British manufacturer, with every bit of care and attention put into it as they do to their top of the line products. For the price point, it’s hard to beat.
Value for Money: 5/5
Ease of Use: 4/5
NOTE ON PRICING:
Polymer Buckle, Belt Only – £65.00
Cobra Buckle, Belt Only – £70.00
Single Layer 50mm inner Belt (Solid Colour) – £6.00
G-Hook Inner or Overlap Belt (MC) – £12.50
This Kit Pest Review was written by, Tom Roke Hopefully you enjoyed it and if you have any thoughts or comments related to this article then please leave a comment!