1st Line Gear
1st line gear usually consists of the bare essentials:
what's carried in your BDU pockets and belt kit (pistol, spare mags, survival equipment).


EMDOM-MM Battle Suspenders

6/18/08 - These are the EMDOM USA/MM Battle Suspenders - a project that has been in work and development since the end of 2006. I'm always looking to improve upon existing designs, and while I was collaborating with EMDOM on other projects I saw elements of EMDOM's other products that I felt could be used to create a pretty good suspender, so Ken and I put our heads together on this one as well. The goal of this project was to make the best, most comfortable set of suspenders that we could, for pistol/combat belts that would be comfortable and low profile for under armour. I wanted more comfort than webbing-only suspenders while remaining less bulky than a fully padded harnesses/LBE. I also wanted it to be comfortable with heavier loads, simplify the attachment method, use lower profile hardware and eliminate the possibility of the shoulder straps slipping off the shoulders.

Key Features -

  • Low profile, Drilex padded shoulder pads - These are based off the EMDOM shoulder pad/strap design that that strikes a balance between padding and a low profile. When I first saw them, I thought "hey, these would make great suspender shoulder pads." They are 2" wide, and utilize Drilex on the inside to provide a low profile layer of padding and comfort. Drilex is used on Kifaru packs and is a very abrasion-resistant fabric - much more so than Coolmax, which tends to pill. The Drilex also helps keep the pads from slipping off slick fabrics. The shoulder pads do not chafe, cut nor dig into your shoulders. The front and back straps are one piece, sewn to the shoulder straps with bartacks every 1.5".
  • All metal hardware is used throughout - Thirteen colour-matched ITW Ghillietex metal sliders are used instead of plastic hardware for the lowest profile possible. These are stronger and much flatter than the equivalent plastic hardware. They also have more 'bite' on the webbing and will not slip along it.
  • Fixed X-configuration - The rear of the suspenders cross in the back. The position of the X is fixed with a non-glare black rivet and plated washer. This allows the angle between the straps to be adjusted but not slide with respect to each other. Having a fixed X results in a more stable harness and less chance of the shoulder pads slipping off the shoulders.
  • Simple attachment - The suspender straps are 1" webbing and wrap around the belt and secure with the two metal sliders. The lower metal slider keeps it tight around the belt, and the upper one secures excess length and the loose end. One metal slider can be used instead of two if there isn't much excess strap to secure. No ladder locs, buckles or elastic. The straps can also be attached to D-rings or molle webbing on belts as well.
  • Velcro keeper loops - Four belt keeper loops are supplied for use with velcro-lined belts. These form small loops for the suspender straps to pass through, and will keep the straps from sliding along the belt.
  • Adjustable/removable sternum and upper back straps - To fully ensure that there is absolutely NO chance of the suspenders slipping off all shoulder types, sternum and back straps have been provided. These attach to the suspenders at the 1" webbing slots on the shoulder straps and can be moved anywhere up or down the slots. Either one (or both) can be removed if desired. ITW metal slides are used, as the lowest-profile hardware available. The sternum strap has a snap instead of a plastic SR buckle, also for the lowest profile possible, and enables easy donning and doffing.
  • Available in EMDOM's Coyote and Sewer Green (pictured here), Black and Foliage green.


E-MM Battle Suspenders


Rear X

Velcro keeper loops

Front sternum snap

Keeper loops installed on riggers belt

Drilex padding on shoulders


Sizing - The EMDOM Suspenders come in two sizes: S/M and L/XL. On the S/M, the front and back 1" straps are 24" long and the shoulder pads are 18" long (see pic below for clarification). On the L/XL suspenders, the front and back straps are 32" long and the shoulder pads are 21" long. Here are some recommended notes on sizing:

S/M - Fits up to 5' 8" in height, with a rigger belt. If you're wrapping the strap around a very wide 4" or more wide MOLLE belt instead of attaching it to a D-ring or PALS strap, the L/XL size is recommended. Excess strap can be cut off or just routed a couple of times through the metal sliders.

L/XL - will fit 5' 8" and above. The straps are supplied extra long, so any excess can be cut off. This size should accomodate most people with any kind of belt - conventional or MOLLE.

These sizing recommendations are meant as a guide; use a tape measure and measure your exact setup if you're in doubt, or in-between sizes. Allow and inch and a half at each end for securing the ends through the metal sliders.

Adjustment - The Battle Suspenders are meant to be pre-adjusted, then worn; not adjusted on the fly. The Suspenders are attached to the belt, using only the lower metal sliders so they can be adjusted easily. The upper ones are left in place. The strap can either wrap around the entire belt, or attach to D-rings if provided. The length of each strap is adjusted for support the belt equally. The sternum and upper back straps are then moved up or down in their slots depending on the user's preference. I prefer the sternum strap on the upper part of my chest and the upper back strap just below my neck. The rear strap usually ends up above the neckline of body armour. The width of the sternum and upper back straps are adjusted just so the shoulder pads don't fall off on the shoulders - there doesn't need to be any tension in the straps pulling the shoulder straps together.

After all the adjustments are complete, the loose strap ends are routed through the upper metal slides, and back down to the lower metal slides if there's a lot of excess. The upper metal slides can be positioned at any height - whatever is needed to take up the loose ends, illustrated below:

Since late 2006, I've been using the different iterations of the prototypes - each time refining the design here and there until the production version was finalized. The idea of elastic was eliminated early on as it was found to be unnecessary, as tension on the straps to keep them on the shoulders wasn't needed. Bending or squatting down didn't affect the position of the belt. Without elastic, the suspenders distributed the load better between the hips and the shoulders with no sagging of the belt and less shifting of the load. There was also a consistent distribution of load between the shoulders and the hips without elastic, as elastic stretches the more you load it up and the length changes.

The Battle Suspenders worked very well during the activities I wore them for (shooting and running around on a range). I didn't feel any restriction of movement or discomfort, and they stayed put on my shoulders. The Drilex padding on the shoulders were instrumental in adding comfort. I also wore them under a plate carrier and they're practically unnoticeable. The sternum and rear straps don't interfere with vests or plate carriers, nor can I feel the rivet in the middle of the X.

I used the suspenders with a few different setups. One with an Original SOE Cobra belt with EMDOM 6o4 pouch, MM Dump pouch and handgun, and also heavier loadouts with the Crye Blast belt and SOE Tapered War Belt Sleeve shown below. I wore these under a DBT FAPC and BH STRIKE rig and they were comfortable under both. We also sent out a set more than a year ago to a beta tester and received very positive feedback (thanks - you know who you are). It unfortunately took longer than expected, with other projects in the works, but they're finally here and I'm very pleased with how they turned out.

The manufacturing cost due to labour time on these is higher than most other suspenders - much of it coming from the fabrication of the shoulder straps. Instead of simply cutting some webbing to length, the shoulder straps need to be cut to shape, the Drilex cut and sewn, and the 1" webbing bartacked. The other small details add up, like the velcro belt keepers made from scratch, and assembly of the sternum and rear straps. But, the goal was to make the best suspenders we could, not the cheapest, and I do feel that the extra expense was worth it for the comfort and utility they provide.


Sewer green S/M with SOE rigger belt

Coyote L/XL with Crye Blast belt

S/M with SOE sleeve

Worn under DBT AW-FAPC


7/22/08 - CTOMS (Canadian Tactical & Operational Medical Solutions, Inc) is a company dedicated to providing training and equipment for the medic and soldier, LE officer and paramedic, SAR technician, first responder and health care professionals that go into harms way and those that provide medical care in remote and dangerous places. Besides specialized tactical medicine equipment, CTOMS also makes Rescue and Extrication equipment, like their X-Belt™ PS featured here, which might be the most technical battle belt I've seen yet.

The X-Belt PS (Padding System) consists of CTOMS's X-Belt QR, padded molle sections, and removable suspenders.

X-Belt QR - At first glance, the X-Belt QR (Quick Release) might look like a traditional riggers belt, but a closer examination reveals some differences. Instead of being lined with loop velcro on the inside, the X-Belt QR is instead covered completely with loop velcro on the outside, to adhere to a duty belt placed over it. It has the familiar V-ring loop secured by a velcro tab at the front of the belt, with a notable exception - it's sewn to a 3" extension which 'pops out' and extends the V-ring from the belt to clear load bearing equipment, body armour or other equipment that might otherwise hamper access to the V-ring. In addition to the velcro tab that goes through the V-ring to secure it to the belt, the extension also has velcro on the back side to 'quick secure' it flat to the belt.
There is an additional 'mobile' drop down V-ring for rear attachment during rescue drags and as a quick attach point. This rear V-ring slides on the belt and is removable.
The X-Belt QR uses a black Austrialpin Cobra buckle for convenient donning and doffing - a feature that I prefer to the traditional rigger's belt with friction buckle. It also eliminates the wear on the running end of the velcro that other riggers belts can suffer from over time. The X-Belt is constructed of double thickness webbing with a plastic stiffener insert to prevent buckling and folding when loads are hung from the belt.


X-Belt PS

X-Belt QR removed


Padding System - Now this is a pretty unique design. The X-Belt PS padding system is not just a sleeve through which the X-Belt QR (inner belt) is threaded through. It's actually made up of four separate pieces. Due to the photos on my site being used as a reference by overseas manufacturers who steal other people's designs/intellectual property and sell the counterfeit gear on rip-off sites, I have decided not to illustrate the design in too much detail here. Sorry to those who want to see more detailed photos, but I do want to protect unique designs as much as possible. Fight the rip-off gear manufacturers by not buying their products.

Side panels/pads (2) - The two side pads wrap around the hips at the front and extend around to the small of the back. They are fully padded and are lined with a wicking mesh material which looks like Drilex. A rigid plastic stiffening insert is sandwiched between the X-Belt QR and pad to prevent any buckling or sagging of the belt under load. The center stitch also prevents rolling and slipping of the pad relative to the X-Belt QR or outer portion and creates a small 'breathing channel'. Normally, padded belt sleeves have a channel where the inner belt goes through, with the outer portion sewn down at the top and bottom, with some openings on the bottom for attaching stuff to the inner belt. The X-Belt PS sleeve is completely open at the bottom, and the outer portion is more of a 'flap' than a 'sleeve'. The outer portion folds over the inner belt, leaving it open at the bottom so you're not restricted to a single place along the inner belt to hang a load from. The inner belt is threaded through some belt loops sewn to the pad, which has a single row of molle webbing at the bottom. The outer 'flap' secures to the pad with velcro and a snap tab at the front of the belt. The outer flap has 10 columns and 3 rows of molle webbing on it.
There are two suspender attach points (one with a D-ring) on each side pad (more on that later). An ITW web dominator clip is supplied and mounted on the left flap to provide a means of securing the X-Belt QR V-ring on the extender.

Rear panel - The rear panel is non-padded, and overlaps and connects the two side panels in the rear. At each end of the rear panel is a molle connector, which secures the ends to the side panels. The rear panel can be attached anywhere along the molle webbing on the side panels, thus providing girth adjustability. The inner belt runs through two belt loops on the inside of the rear panel. There are 12 columns of 3 rows of molle webbing on the rear panel. Also on the rear panel are four suspender attach points, the two rear with D-rings.

Rear pad - The rear pad slides over the inner belt and is centered between the two side pads. The pad is lined with non-slip material.

Suspenders - There are eight attach points on the X-Belt PS for suspenders; four of them have plastic D-rings. The others are webbing loops. Why so many? To better support a loaded belt. Eight support points provide a more even load distribution than four. The suspenders have only four straps, so this is accomplished by elastic shock cord between the attach points. The suspenders themselves are constructed completely of webbing and have no adjustability; ending in loops at the ends of the straps. The shock cord passes through the end loops and the suspender straps end up somewhere in-between each attach point. I like the idea of a more evenly supported belt, but I feel that the elastic shock cord isn't the best solution, the way it's set up like this. The elastic shock cords provide the only means of adjusting the length of the straps. A tall person will have much longer shock cord loops than a short person. As the length of the shock cord changes, so does the amount it stretches. Shorter lengths stretch less. To adjust the suspenders, you have to adjust the length of the shock cord. Being a short person, I had a lot of excess shock cord left sticking out, so I cut it off. This means that I cannot lengthen the straps once adjusted, unless I leave some excess sticking out. Adjustments requiring loosening and re-tightening the shock cord. I'd like to see the main adjustability incorporated into the suspender straps with triglides instead of relying on the shock cord only (I've mentioned this to CTOMS).

One of the issues I've had with too much elastic on suspenders is that the more load you add, the more the elastic stretches. So, it's not a consistent distribution of weight between the shoulders and the hips. Granted, elastic on the rear may help prevent the belt from riding up when bending down, sitting or squatting, but suspenders are designed to offload weight when your'e standing up, and should be optimized as such. After trying the X-Belt PS loaded up and playing around with the adjustments, I replaced the front shock cord loops with 550 cord for a more solid offload (no stretching in front). This is just personal preference/opinion, and once adjusted, the CTOMS suspender setup might work just fine for others.


X-Belt QR

Front V-ring

Suspender attachment


The workmanship and quality of the X-Belt PS is excellent, and it's actually manufactured in the U.S. for CTOMS. I find it very comfortable, whether I'm standing, moving or kneeling/squatting, as it's only 3 rows of molle webbing tall. It's streamlined enough not to dig into your sides or belly as some wider belts can. The CTOMS X-Belt PS is a great choice for those wanting a first line molle platform duty belt with recsue and extrication capability built in.


Crosstac D-Belt Urban Tactical Belt

3/28/08 - If you want an every day wear web belt to hold up your pants that is stiffer than a thin BDU web belt, but don't need the thickness or features of a riggers belt, the D-Belt Urban Tactical Belt from Crosstac might be your answer. The D-Belt is somewhere in-between the two, providing enough support and stiffness for carrying a concealed weapon or other EDC items on your waist.

The D-Belt uses Mil-spec Type 7R 1.75" wide webbing for the outer layer and is available in tan/khaki (they call it coyote), black and foliage green. It gets its stiffness from a polyethylene insert that prevents rollover from heavy items, but is thin enough to flex and contour to your body and not feel like you're wearing a piece of cardboard around your waist. The poly insert has a scalloped "D" shaped cutout in the back on the top of the belt (curved side down - red shaded area in the photo below), which creates a crush area in the top area of the belt against the loop at the small of the back and eliminates the bowing in and out of the belt in the middle of your back that many vertically stiff belts suffer from. The belt won't bow out and catch on stuff or bow inwards and poke you in the back. The insert is sandwiched between the outer webbing and the inner black webbing/lining (Mil-spec Type 12U 1.75" webbing) for comfort. The main portion of the belt is less than 1/8" thick, and I found it perfectly compatible with different kydex holster clips I had, which a riggers belt was too thick for.

The D-Belt utilizes a dark grey Bourdon Forge buckle for infinite adjustability (which some prefer over pre-spaced holes in the belt). Note that while the D-Belt is solidly built, it's not meant to be used as a safety belt or attach point, like a riggers belt. The belt tongue (loose end) is secured with velcro, and is angle-cut so it's easier to thread and less likely to catch on clothing or your hand brushing by. The tongue also has 'speed bumps' - vertical stitches which are meant to prevent the tongue from unthreading through the buckle when taking your pants on and off. I found these weren't needed, actually; the patch of velcro on the tongue is more effective and stops the tongue from passing through the buckle. It's something to consider if you're in a public restroom loosening your pants to go 'number 2' and the loose end of your belt slides off a loop, dumping your cell phone or pager (or heavier metallic item) on the ground.

I've actually been using a D-Belt since last September, when Crosstac was still working out the sizing details, which included the length of the tongue, velcro etc. It's not as easy as it may seem, and each size has to be proportionally adjusted (it's not just a matter of making the main portion shorter). One belt had too short a tongue and didn't engage the velcro patch and the other had too long a tongue (which made it extend too far along the side). The latest belt I was sent is spot on, I'm happy to report. It's available in five sizes which fit a range of waist measurements. The sizes are a bit confusing, as they run from XS to XL, but don't correspond with BDU/trouser sizing. I'm a medium in my pant size, but an XS in the D-belt. I've asked them to simply mark the belts with the range of waist sizes they fit (33"-35" etc) instead of 'XS' for example, so we'll see what happens. The measurement is based off your true waist size over your pants, not your pant size.

So, for the past 6 months I've been using the first version I got (only difference was length), and it's a very comfortable belt. I like the added stiffness even if I'm not carrying anything on it because it just seems to support my pants better than a plain thin web BDU belt. I also tried it out with a full size 1911 and two mags on the opposite side, and didn't have any complaints about it at all, for the few times I wore it. Quality and stitching is excellent. So, if you're looking for such an in-between belt, the D-Belt is one to consider.


Foliage green and Coyote

Buckle/tongue details

"Crush area" shaded in red


Original SOE Gear Trouser Belts

12/31/07 - Another item from John Willis, the original owner of SOE (Special Operation Equipment) and owner of Original SOE Gear is the Trouser Belt. The Trouser Belt is an excellent daily belt or travel belt due to its metal-free construction. The Trouser belt is available in plain colours, or with camouflage wrap (MultiCam shown here), and in two variants.

The Trouser belts come in even waist sizes, and are 1.5" wide. Instead of a buckle, there's a single ITW triglide. The belt end has to be threaded through the triglide each time. When donning or doffing there's actually enough length to leave it on the pants and not unthread the end through the triglide every time. A length of velcro is sewn to the end and to the belt to secure the loose end.

The other variant has a hidden zipper compartment on the inside of the belt - meant to be used as a money belt. It will hold folded bills or pieces of paper in the compartment. Just a very simple, low profile, practical trouser belt with the typical OSOE bomb-proof construction.


MultiCam Trouser belt

Belt with zipper

Zipper detail


Original SOE Gear Riggers Belts

12/10/06 - John Willis, the original owner of SOE (Special Operation Equipment) is back to doing what he does best - making bomb-proof, overbuilt nylon gear. His new company is Original SOE Gear and he's been busy doing custom work. One thing that hasn't changed is the attention to detail, quality and workmanship that customers of the original SOE were used to.

MultiCam Riggers Belt - John put together this Crye MultiCam Rigger belt, for those who really can't live without a perfectly matching belt for their Crye MultiCams pants. He took 1000D MultiCam Cordura and wrapped it around the 1.75" Type 7R MIL-W-4088 webbing. It's a fully functional Riggers belt, and has a forged steel camlock buckle and parachute hardware V-ring attach point. While I've never used a rigger's belt for rappelling, I've used one of John's original SOE belts for years, occasionally as a safety line hookup when working at heights, and also as a pistol belt.

It's lined inside with loop velcro and the V-ring retaining tab is made out of MultiCam cordura. As you can see below, it's a perfect match for the Crye pants.

MultiCam riggers belt


Front view

Quick-Release Riggers Belt - The only drawback to riggers belts is that to undo them, you've got to unthread the loose end through the buckle. More of a matter of inconvenience than anything else. I bought a couple of Austrialpin Cobra quick release buckles from Paragear - they're typically used for para/hang gliding and are the slickest looking buckles out there. They're available in anodized tan and green. Not cheap at $30 per buckle, but unique-looking and very functional. They require both latches to be depressed before releasing and will not release even if one latch has been pressed. I sent them to John, and he made up these two riggers belts.

I asked John to make the tan one without the steel V-ring. Just a simple, stiff, shooter's belt. The OD Green has the V-ring. Both are lined with loop velcro and are of double-thickness 1.75" wide type 7R webbing. The section that goes through the Cobra buckles is a single thickness of webbing as a double thickness won't go through the Cobra buckle.


Tan and OD

Austrialpin buckles

Shown below are the Cobra belts worn. Note that the buckle won't pass through most belt loops, so the male buckle is removed from the loose end of the belt, the loose end threaded through the belt loops (like a regular riggers belt) and the buckle re-attached. But once adjusted, you don't have to unthread and re-adjust the belt everytime you drop your pants or put them back on.

John liked the buckles so much and got overwhelming response from the people he showed the belts to that he now keeps buckles in stock and offers his riggers belts with them as an option for about $60 per belt. They can be set up any way you want - with or without V-ring. John's contact info is on his website, so give him a holler if you want one (or two).


With Crye khakis

With PCU L5 pants


OSOE 4 to 3 Row Tapered War Belt Sleeve

2/22/08 - Here is Original SOE Gear's Tapered War Belt Sleeve, which is a padded MOLLE belt sleeve. Last year, John Willis sent me one of his Modular War Belt sleeves, shown below in the far left photo. It's a sleeve for use over a rigger's or duty belt that provides MOLLE webbing for pouches and padding for comfort. It has four rows of MOLLE/PALS webbing and is internally lined with velcro to interface with an inner belt. However, at 5.5" tall for its entire length, it was better suited to taller guys than me. I'm only 5' 7" with a short torso, and the width of the belt got in the way of my mobility when kneeling, squatting, bending at the waist etc. A taller, bigger guy would probably have no issues. I told John "y'know, I'm just too short to use it" and he asked me what I'd like to see in a lower profile war belt sleeve.

This is the feedback I sent John:
- 4.5" in the back instead of the current 5.5", and tapered down to 3.5" in the front. Taper from bottom to top (so the top is straight). Start the taper at the rear of the side openings. So, for the same size War belt I was sent, the back 10 columns of PALS would have 4 rows, and the front/side 6 columns would have 3 rows of PALS.
- Instead of lining the whole belt internally with velcro, only put the velcro for about 6" in the front on both sides, and leave the rest un-velcroed. It'll make sliding the internal belt in and out easier, and would still be as secure.
- Line the inside of the belt with drilex or mesh instead of cordura.
- The front suspender D-rings should be moved back about 1.5 to 2" so they're placed where they support the most weight. A bit further back, and it'd be able to support the side pouches and the holster a bit better.

A little while later, a War belt sleeve showed up exactly as I had imagined and requested. That's the thing about John - he'll make exaclty what you want and do a great job at it.

Here's the rundown of the new 4 to 3 row Tapered War Belt Sleeve:

  • Made to size - you order your waist/pant size and use your own duty or rigger's belt. Note that you need at least an extra 2-3" of length on your current belt to accomodate the added padding of the sleeve.
  • A velcro-lined duty or riggers 2" wide belt is recommend for use with the Tapered War Belt sleeve; prefereably one with a front buckle for on/off convenience. I used an OSOE Cobra rigger's belt. You use your own belt; it's not included with the sleeve.
  • Belt is 4.5" tall in the back and 3.5" tall on the sides. The number of columns of PALS webbing will depend on the size of the belt. My waist is about 33", and the belt sleeve is 38" (it's supposed to be worn on the hips, not around the waist). Seems like it'd be too long, but it's not - it works out perfectly.
  • For the size shown here, the front/side 6 columns of PALS are 3 rows tall and in the back, there are 10 columns of 4 rows. These are full rows of webbing - there is no empty space between them. This allows you to go one row up or down in the 4 rows in the back, and mount pouches higher or lower. The full rows of webbing also accomodate pouches that rely on attachments for 2" wide belts.
  • There are two slots/openings on the bottom of the sides, about 4.5" long, to allow access to the inner duty belt for non-MOLLE holsters or thigh rigs. A drop holster can be attached to either the inner belt or MOLLE webbing on the sides.
  • The inside tunnel of the sleeve is lined with velcro until the rear of the bottom slots, making inserting and adjusting the inner belt easier.
  • The inside surface of the belt is fully lined with Coolmax.
  • 5 suspender D-rings are provided for either H or Y-style harnesses/suspenders.
  • Available in colour-matched MultiCam webbing or solid colours.

Modular War Belt Sleeve

Tapered War Belt

Side slot


I used my OSOE Cobra rigger's belt with the Tapered War Belt Sleeve, and I think that a belt with some kind of buckle in front should be used. If a regular riggers belt is used, you'd have to find somewhere to engage and tuck the loose end of the belt, which is difficult because the belt sleeve covers pretty much everything but the buckle. The Tapered sleeve works exactly as I had imagined. The lower profile gives me full range of motion and it's still wide/thick enough to provide padding where it's needed. I also recommend using suspenders for comfort. Personally, I like to wear the belt a bit looser around the hips (snug, but not too tight), and offload some of the weight with suspenders. The Tapered War Belt Sleeve is shown below with a selection of pouches (both MOLLE and 2" velcro strap types). I've got my MAXPEDITION MM dump pouch behind my right hip, an EMDOM 6o4 pistol mag pouch with 4 M&P mags, a small TAD Gear BC4 Batuca battery case to the right of my buckle, a TAD Gear iCOMM pouch to the left of the buckle, a home-modified TT MOLLE panel/thigh rig with a home-modified/attached Serpa holster for my M&P (it was one of the only holsters that'd fit the M&P when it first came out - I know it's got a controversial reputation but if it fails, I'll just replace it. I'm not depending on it with my life - it'll never be used anywhere but the range), and a prototype EMDOM compact digital camera case. There are still 7 columns of PALS left over in the back.

The belt wears comfortably, and is a very stable platform for what I've attached to it. No sagging or pulling away from the inner belt. It's also not too bulky for a padded belt sleeve, which I like. As usual, it's overbuilt with OSOE's bomb-proof construction, and I've very happy with the way it turned out.


LIGER™ Gun Belt

6/23/05 - LIGER PRODUCTS (LIGHTWEIGHT EXTREME RESISTANT) has introduced a new belt designed for concealed CCW or everyday wear: the LIGER gun belt. LIGER Products is owned by Cliff Oak Inc., the parent company of MAXPEDITION Hard-Use Gear. The LIGER belt is made from a synthetic developed for LIGER PRODCUTS, dubbed 'Ligerthane', and is a composite of a high-strength polyester fabric core embedded in a resin with polyurethane coating, which makes it waterproof, mildew, rot and solvent resistant. It has a slightly rubberized feel to it, and will not slip on the waistband, which also aids in locating a holster or pouches. The belt is smooth on the interior and the exterior has a 'Ligerderm™' pattern, which gives it a look and feel of textured leather. The belt is 1.45" wide, and is stiff along its width to prevent roll over. The material is 1/8" thick. The attractive LIGER logo is heatstamped on the inside near the buckle end. It's a picture of a Liger, of course, the hybrid offspring of a male Lion and female Tiger, and the largest non-naturally occuring member of the cat family.
The solid aluminum buckle and integral hook is machined out of a billet of T6-6061 aluminum and Type III anodized. The hook is not a separate piece that is welded on. The belt is riveted to the buckle using two 3/16" stainless steel rivets. The buckle comes standard in anodized black or grey finishes. A custom/limited run of a dark green finish with logo was done for the Usual Suspects Network. The buckle is a simple, clean design with a flat front (perfect for custom engraving).
Determining the proper size is done by using a tape measure and measuring around the pants you're going to wear the belt with, through the belt loops, NOT your pants waist size. If you wear a handgun inside the waistband, measure WITH the gun and holster there. The belt is then cut to size and the measurment you supply will be to the middle hole. Two additional holes on either side are punched with 1" spacing. A leather hole punch can also be used to create additional holes, in-between existing ones if necessary.
The belts come in Black, Green and Khaki. The green is sort-of OD. Comparing it to a Vltor green modstock, the belt has a bit more brown in it. The Khaki is actually closer to coyote, and is almost an exact match to the Simonich Gunner Grips shown below.

Black, Green and Khaki belts


Heat stamped LIGER logo

OD belt compared to MultiCam and Vltor stock

Khaki belt and Gunner Grips
To don the LIGER belt, you simply thread it through the belt loops and engage any one of the holes with the buckle hook. There is no belt guide or keeper on the back of the buckle, but the overlapped portion doesn't seem to need it. It's unlikely the hook will accidentally slip out of the hole - based on the tightness and angle. At 1.45", it's not a very wide belt, but its resistance to rollover makes up for it. It's stiff enough to support a holster mounted to the outside, and definintely inside-the-waistband types. I compared it to a 1.5" wide leather gun belt I have, which is also about twice the thickness in material, and the LIGER belt is just as stiff. It's also stiffer along its width than a rigger belt that I have.
I've been wearing one for a while, and the Liger belt starts to conform more to my hips/waist. Even if you don't carry a concealed handgun, it's a very smart-looking belt for BDU, jeans or dress wear.


Black on black

Khaki belt on desert MARPAT pants

Green belt

With Colt Officer's

With SOB holster and Govt 1911
Update 12/11/05 - LIGER PRODUCTS has introduced the Gen II version of their LIGER gun belt buckle, as shown below. The buckle has been smoothed/rounded out a bit, which results in a more 'aerodynamic' look, and more pleasing aesthetically than the Gen I version (which I thought looked fine as well). Curves have been put on the front and back vertical edges of the buckle, with the original corner radii kept the same (1/2" in front, 1/8" at the back). A 1/32" chamfer has also been added all the way around on both the front and rear edges of the buckle, making it less sharp than the original. The belt is also offered in a new colour now - brown. It looks just like a nice leather belt and is my new favourite colour for casual wear with jeans. A brown belt with black buckle is dubbed the Nightfall™. The chamfers on the edge make it slghtly more comfortable to buckle and unbuckle, but nothing else has really changed functionally beside the look of the buckle. A nice refinement of the design.


Gen I (khaki) and Gen II (brown) buckles

New brown belt

Black with new buckle
Update 1/28/06 - LIGER PRODUCTS has added the Army's Foliage Green colour to the Liger belt lineup to match the new ACU colours. Seen below with SOF-PCU Level 5 pants. It's a medium/dark grey-green.


Gen I OD green and new Foliage Green

Worn with SOF-PCU level 5 pant

TAD Gear Rapid Deploy Dump Pods

5/15/08 - Another cool offering from TAD Gear is the RDDP (Rapid Deploy Dump Pod), available in two sizes: small (Sz1) and large (Sz2). Like the Maxpedition Rollypoly (MM Folding Dump Pouch), the TAD Gear RDDP is a folding dump pod/pouch meant to provide a quick means of additional storage on the belt or rig for magazines or other items at a moment's notice. However, the way it's designed and folds up is completely different from the Rollypoly (it was actually designed in part by a buddy of mine who has the initials 'MM' coincidentally).

The RDDPs consist of a 420D oxford nylon dump pouch that is sewn to and enclosed by a 1000D cordura clamshell pouch with a YKK coil zipper going round the top and both sides of the clamshell. There are two zipper pulls and pulling on the pull tab at the top front of the pouch pulls the zippers apart from the top and opens the clamshell and allows the dump pouch to unfold and deploy. The dump pouch doesn't have to be folded up - it can just be scrunched up as the 420D nylon is thin enough not to be too bulky. The 420D pouch material is responsible for the very compact size of the closed RDDPs.

The clamshell portion has TAD's 2TAC webbing straps at the back for attachment to any MOLLE-compatible platform. The Sz1 pouch as a single strap and the Sz2 has two. The dimensions for the two sizes as as follows:
Sz1 - 1" deep x 5" tall x 2.5" wide (closed). 10.5" tall x 4.5" diameter dump pouch (open).
Sz2 - 1" deep x 5" tall x 3.5" wide (closed). 10.5" tall x 6" diameter dump pouch (open).

The dump pouch portions have a round bottom and a grommet drain hole. A single cord lock with shock cord cinches up the top opening.


Sz2 and Sz1

2TAC on the back


Top view

Side view


I've illustrated both Sz1 and Sz2 RDDPs below mounted to my OSOE tapered war belt sleeve. You can see how compact they are closed. A tug on the pull tab is all that's needed to deploy the pouch. Takes about a second. The 420D pouch material has its pros and cons. Because of its light weight and low bulk, it enables the RDDPs to have a very compact footprint when closed. However, it's more prone to swinging and moving due to the lack of stiffness. It'll definitely accomodate empty rifle mags, but they'll bang about a bit more than a 1000D cordura dump pouch. For this reason alone, I feel that the RDDPs are suited more as an emergency dump pouch/general purpose/evidence pouch rather than a dedicated pouch for empty rifle mags. The Sz1 will fit a Nalgene water bottle and if I were going to use one of them for rifle or pistol mags (or shotgun shells), it'd be the Sz1 just because it's easy to stuff too much in the Sz2. For general purpose and lighter weight/bulky stuff, the Sz2 is great, and it'll hold quite a lot.


Both mounted on a belt



Reccegear MM Dump Pouch (no longer available)

8/4/03 - After using the Eagle Duty Evidence Pouch for a while (since about 2001), I felt that a lot of improvements could be made to make it specifically for retaining spent magazines (more heavy duty, less flop, better flap closure, simpler method of folding, MOLLE compatible, etc) so I decided to re-design it from the ground up. Building on the concept of a fold-up pouch, I made a host of changes in features and dimensions and sent Jon Nelson from Reccegear a drawing to make it for me. We made a small tweak (added 1" to the flap to allow for thickness of material) and ended up with what's now commonly known as the RG MM dump pouch. It's constructed of 1000d cordura and has an elastic shock cord closure (like the MOLLE canteen pouch). It also has a velcro flap closure for more security, which can be secured inside the pouch. The pouch is sized for hold 7 M4 30-rnd mags, stacked either vertically or horizontally. The pouch folds up into a small 4x3.5x2" package and can be attached to a belt or PALS webbing via malice clips. Jon's workmanship is excellent. I've used it as a dump pouch or utility pouch for everything from shotgun shells to M4 magazines, pistol mags and tactical lights. Although the larger dedicated box-type dump pouches work well, I felt that they take up too much real estate on a belt or on your thigh. This one won't take up a lot of room on a belt, and doesn't swing much at all. Jon is no longer taking new orders due to time constraints.

Front/Back view showing velcro flap, and Malice clip attachment

Holds 7 M4 mags

Shown attached to LBT duty belt

MAXPEDITION MM Folding Dump Pouch (Rolypolly)

MAXPEDITION is now producing my MM Folding Dump pouch as their Rollypoly - full details here.

High Speed Gear Modular Shoulder Rig

11/19/04 - I put this rig in between 1st and 2nd line gear as it sort of falls in between, you might say. The High Speed Gear, Inc, Modular Shoulder Rig (MSR) is more than just a nylon shoulder holster for a pistol. It's meant for use in confined spaces, like drivers, helo gunners, tankers etc, or anywhere you don't need a full loadout of weapons and ammo. It's also for people who'd rather carry some of their load along their sides, keeping their front free.

The Modular Platform - This consists of two modular panels, a shoulder harness, chest, back, and waist straps. All the connecting straps can be disassembled either by triglides or snaps, which allow the modular panels to be mounted with the PALS webbing horizontal or vertical. At each corner of the panels is a D-ring, to which the straps attach. Behind each of the panels is a flat mesh compartment the size of the panel, with a snap closure (not shown). This is for stowing small, flat items like a map. The 1.5" wide shoulder harness crosses in the back, with a self-adjusting plastic divider keeping the 'X' in place, much like the HSGI HSLD suspenders. Keeping tension on the back strap, the chest and waist straps in front keep the rig very stable, with none of the swinging that most shoulder holsters have. The angle of the panels can also be adjusted via the straps, to sit horizontally or at a slant, if desired. Optional belt tiedowns are available on request.

Modular Holster - The modular holster attaches to the panel with Malice clips. It's intended to be mounted horizontally instead of vertically, as it isn't a break-front, but it's up to the user. This one is sized to fit a Sig P226. IT's very well made and stiff with a rigid sight channel, and will not collapse, making holstering the weapon easier. The weapon is retained by an adjustable thumb break. The secondary retention visible in the photos consists of a loop of shock cord (adjusted in length by a cord-lock) that goes over the butt of the pistol, and a web strap that covers the magazine floor plate. Besides providing secondary retention for the weapon, the web strap prevents the magazine from falling out should the magazine release button be pressed by accident. As with any horizontally mounted shoulder holster, extra care should be taken during the draw to keep that finger off the trigger as a negligent discharge won't be into the ground.

Modular Pouches - The MSR will accept any molle compatible pouches. Shown below are HSGI's single and dougle modular pistol magazine pouches. The double (and triple) mag pouches are connected via the PALS webbing on the back. This was designed that way so it's possible to use a heat knife to cut the webbing and seperate a triple or double mag pouch into singles if desired. The pistol mag pouches will fit 2 single stack 1911 .45 mags, a high-cap double stack mag, or an extended .45 10-rnd mag. The lid is secured with velcro and a SR buckle. A flap covers the velcro if it's not needed.

The universal rifle mag pouch is just that - universal. It will hold 6 M4 mags, or 4 AK or FAL mags. I haven't come across any other universal pouches that work as well - I'll admit that I was a bit skeptical at first. There is an internal divider that staggers the inner magazine slightly higher than the one in front, for faster access. With M4 mags, you can place one or two high, and the others low, as the divider has enough slack to go either way. Elastic shock cord with adjustable tension provides retention of the mags when the lid is open. The lid can be secured with velcro for quick closure and the side-release buckle. The velcro, like the pistol mags, has a flap to disable it. PALS webbing on either side of the mag pouches provide attach points for single pistol mags pouches.

My inital impression is that this rig can be configured for quite a few different applications. SAW ammo pouches, medical pouches, mag pouches - whatever is practical can be used. With all the straps snugged, the rig does not move, and is very secure. It's less apt to become unbalanced and shift like conventional shoulder holsters, due to the chest and waist straps. One thing I noticed is that the panels are rectangular, not square, so turning them 90° changes the relative distance between the chest and waist straps. Not a biggie, but the straps will then be a a slight angle if one panel is vertical and the other horizontal. I've suggest to Gene to make the panels square, which won't adversly affect their function. Mounted horizontally on the weak side, the universal rifle mag pouch is a bit bulky (for me, since I'm not a big fella), as the mags can't follow the curvature of the body. The lids can be tucked behind the panel, with the mags under elastic retention, for quicker access to the mags. Mounted vertically, it does conform better to the body, but should be mounted on the strong side or else drawing mags out can be difficult. The pistol mag pouches are easy to access on either the strong or weak side. Mounted under the holster on the strong side, I attached them upside down, which worked well to dump a mag into my hand. I find it more comfortable than carrying an equivalent load on my belt. As I mentioned above, it can be configured in a variety of ways for different applications. It's up to the user's imagination to decide how it suits them best.

Modular shoulder rig components

Rear view of modular holster

Holster showing retention method

Single and double pistol mag pouches

Pistol mag pouches

Universal rifle mag pouch

2 AK and 3 M4 mags

2 FAL and 2 M4 mags

Shown below are some possible different configurations of the MSR.

Front view

Rear view

Quarter view

Pistol and 3 mag pouches

Cross draw

Pistol mag access

Pistol mags mounted under holster

Universal rifle mag pouch on strong side

To the left are two photos I took when I visited the Imperial War Museum in London. They had a very informative section on the SAS and a display of the actual CRW kit used in the 1980 assault on the Iranian Embassy at Princes Gate.

SAS CRW belt kit - Paul Evers/Holsters International

Paul Evers Holsters (marketed under Holsters International - I'll refer to it as 'HI' from now on) handcraft military and law enforcement equipment in their workshops in the UK. They have 30 years of industry experience and are well known for using only the finest English bridle leathers. HI produces a wide variety of products, including all kinds of holsters and rigs, accessories, and custom weapons carriers to fit unusual weapons. HI does not and will not name the organizations or units that it supplies equipment to for obvious reasons (they use the generic term 'Special Forces' and 'Law Enforcement'), however, looking through various SAS books and comparing them to the HI online catalog, one can plainly identify quite a few different HI products in the photos of SAS CRW and personal security teams.

Model 47 Special Forces Style buckle-less 2-1/4" wide gunbelt (shown below) - Rather than the traditonal buckle, the Model 47 has a stainless steel stud which fastens through holes which are punched throughout the length of the belt. A double-snapped keeper loop secures the belt to the stud. The loose end of the belt is retained by velcro lining, which interfaces with velcro at the front of the belt, and keeper loop slides over the end. The adjustment holes down the center of the belt can be used to fit a wide range of persons, and also to secure other accessories.

Model 4A Long Drop Tactical Holster - This holster, as well as the swivel version, the 10A are the ones most frequently featured in SAS books with black-clad CRW troopers assaulting buildings. The 4A I have was built to fit a SIG P226, which it does, like a glove. It has steel inserts throughout, which allow the user to adjust the inboard and outboard position of the pistol butt. The thumb break is also steel reinforced, and is secure until snapped open by the thumb. A surgical elastic leg tie down strap has a velcro closure with added 'fail safe' loop to prevent the end from accidentally opening. Since the position of the holster is fixed relative to the belt, wearing it with the leg strap slightly snug (but not too tight) will allow greater freedom of movement. HI also offers swivel holsters that move with the thigh, which might be more comfortable for intense activity. Presentation of the weapon is quick from the holster and the thumb break is easy to re-engage.

Both the belt and holster are made of thick leather with a non-glossy finish. Stitching and finishing of the edges is impeccable. These items are built to last. Contact Paul if you want the real deal gear. I'd also like to thank to Clinton at ArmourIndustries in Australia for hooking me up with Paul.

Update 2/18/06 - Sadly, Paul passed away in Dec, 2005. A true English gentleman and a humble and private person, RIP Paul.

Update 12/1/06 - Price Western Leather acquired Holsters International and now carries their products.

Mod 47 SF gunbelt

View showing buckle-less adjustment

Mod 4A tactical holster

Rear view of 4A - surgical elastic thigh strap

Close-up of thumb break

SIG P226 in holster

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