The folks at Exos, who make the tactical backpack I reviewed a while back, also vend a leather gun belt. Since the pack is still going strong with a year of regular use, I jumped at the chance to review the company’s new belt.
The Exos Gear gun belt is made in the USA of 14-ounce leather, cut 1.5 inches wide. It’s available in chestnut brown and black. The sample in this test is brown. Exos calls it “English bridle leather,” though the material is thick, like the sweat flap of an English saddle or latigo on a Western saddle.
Contrasting white stitching makes this traditional-style belt stand out in a crowd. Edges are meticulously finished and dyed. The color is consistent throughout.
Holes are punched and finished at ¾-inch increments. They’re consistently spaced and centered.
A stainless steel roller buckle secures the belt. It’s solid, and doesn’t rattle when buckled. The buckle is removable via a two-screw attachment if the wearer wants a change. Note the attachment is screws, not snaps, making the belt stronger than it needs to be.
Hidden inside the buckle attachment, invisible when worn, is a simple “Exos Gear” stamp. I love it when companies don’t force customers to be walking billboards.
The keeper is a single-ply loop of matching leather, and appears to be removable when the buckle attachment is unscrewed. This is the only part of the belt that isn’t made like a Sherman tank. But it need not be in order to do its job.
Off we go to the range and town
Most of my time spent wearing the belt has been spent using to hold my inside-the-waistband concealment gun in place. As a rule, that’s at the one o’clock position between my navel and right hip bone. This proved comfortable, though the belt is thicker than the one I normally wear. It’s shown no tendency to get an ugly dent at the rear midline where pressure is put on the belt when I bend over, though over time that will surely become a broken-in flex point.
The buckle isn’t bulky, but it’s not exactly slim either. As with all belts worn as part of my EDC, I rotate the buckle to the 11 o’clock position. Voila, no more mysterious pointy thing protruding from my navel.
Borrowing a Spetzgear suede IWB holster positioned at four o’clock, I tried the belt packing a Glock 23. Though it’s much larger than my EDC gun, the belt remained level and was comfortable for the very brief trial. Drawing the gun did not affect the belt-holster system and things stayed in place as they should.
Pleased with the way the belt performed with compact and subcompact guns, carried IWB, with and without direct contact between holster and belt, it was time to take the load to the outside. The OWB arrangement included a duty-size gun, Serpa-style belt loop holster (I’m aware of the risks, thank you), and belt-mounted double mag pouch. The belt continued its rock-solid performance. The smooth leather is even a little easier to slide gear onto than tactical nylon/Velcro. Four all-day range excursions, including dozens of draws and shooting from prone with no mat, put no obvious wear on this sturdy but flexible belt. What a pleasant experience.
Two hooves up
In addition to being a shooter, I’ve been an equestrian most of my life, so being a leather connoisseur is inevitable. This belt has the same quality of stitching, dye, and material as the finest tack. Just like the leather on a good saddle, the belt is solid yet flexible, and resistant to undesirable twists and dents at pressure points. I suspect the leather is sourced from the United States or Europe. It doesn’t have the slightly acrid smell of less expensive, urine-tanned, Indian leather. Assuming the owner exercises even a minimal degree of leather maintenance, I would be surprised if it cracks with age.
Sizes range from 32 to 50 inches. The price on Amazon is $45. Too bad I’m writing this review in the spring and not before Christmas, because this belt would make a perfect, long-lasting gift for a gun-toting friend.