This year marks my 21st as a competitive shooter, and during that time I have amassed a large collection of various competition belts. I have all kinds of different belts hanging on hooks that are all in various conditions of wear. Nearly all of them are the two-piece competition style that many of us use these days. Several are past due to pull the holsters and mag pouches off and toss, because they are separating and are no longer rigid enough. Usually they start to separate from putting them on and taking them off, as well as separating around the holster area, especially if you are performing a lot of dry fire and repetitive draws.
Shooters Connection Ultimate Competition Belt ($39.95). (Photo by Jake Martens)
Many of the different brands of two-piece belts I purchased were from Shooters Connection. After decades of being a reseller of most of the different brands of belts as well as their years of competitive shooting experience, the folks at Shooters Connection decided it was time to bring the Ultimate Competition Belt ($39.95) to market.
Chuck Bradley, owner of Shooters Connection, was not only a top competitor in the sport, but is also engaged in the market for the needs of competitive shooters. He applied that experience as a shooter to come up with the best compromise on rigidity and ease of use for a two-piece competition belt. The belts are 1½ inches wide, and come in two pieces—the inner and the outer belt. These two pieces have to work together to make the entire belt effective for the competitive shooter.
Five colors are available—red, silver, black, pink and blue.
First, the inner belt itself needs to have good hook and loop fasteners to do its job. The hooks (the rough side) and loops (the soft side) need to mate up, and there needs to be enough adhesion to get a secure connection to hold the inner belt tight. The company’s inner belt has just the right amount of thickness and is sturdy, with 8½ inches of hooks to attach the loop part to hold the inner belt tight. Having this part tight is not only important to keep your pants up, but it serves as the base layer of the two-part system to aid in the rigidity of the belt. Having a slim, non-sturdy inner belt allows the outer belt where all the weight is to move around and become loose during a match. In addition, the inner belt has a pointed end to help guide it through the pant loops.
The outer belt of the Shooters Connection two-piece system is designed and to last. The hook part of the fastener on the inner side of the belt is sewn in, with the heavy nylon material rolled over the top and bottom edge to keep it in place and keep it from separating away from the material. On several other belts, this is where they start to come apart, the hook part of the fastener starts to peel off when taking the belts on and off. The design of rolling the heavy nylon material over will ensure the hooks of the outer belt don’t peel and separate. The other part, where the loop material is sewn onto the heavy nylon, is 8½ inches, which allows for the outer belt to connect and stay together. The hard upper and lower edges of the outer belt material are smooth, which aids in sliding your holster and magazine pouches onto the belt. At the 1½-inch width, it is also easier to get all your gear on the belt. Once it is all together, Shooters Connection provides a branded belt keeper as a final layer of security for the two-piece Ultimate Competition Belt.