This is a product review, but first, let me throw out a few thoughts on the front end. The outlook I take into any product demo is one that aligns with the premise of this site: What does the product do for a new or relatively new gun owner?
In a previous article that covered gear in general, I mentioned the importance of a belt that can support the weight of a carry pistol. It’s also important that a belt used for this purpose be able to withstand the rigors of drawing and holstering a handgun.
That’s all true, right? However, the purpose of a belt, first and foremost, is to hold up one’s trousers. Anson Belt and Buckle don’t represent themselves specifically as a gun belt company. And that also aligns with the purpose of this site: we’re untactical!
Anson make what I refer to as a ratchet belt; that is, a belt without holes. Apparently, this isn’t a new concept. However, like the Ferree family before me, I have somehow managed to live my life unaware that there was such a thing as a ratchet belt. Having said that, I did attend military school and spend more than nine years in the U.S. Air Force, so I’m very familiar with web belts that are cut and sized to use with a small metal buckle with a clamp and clip.
The Anson belt and buckle system is very much like that, only updated and improved.
Let’s get to the review!
The belt I chose to try is from Anson's Complete Belt system. It's a simple system:
Next, I had the opportunity to pick the strap style. I chose the Concealed Carry strap style. Other choices include Canvas, Casual Leather, Formal Leather, Microfiber, Nylon, and Suede. In the Concealed Carry style, there are three choices: Black Leather, Black Nylon, and Graphite Nylon.
I planned on wearing the belt to work as well as to the range, so I chose Black Leather (I work in an office). In the picture at left, you can clearly see the ratchet "holes." inside the strap. Anson's belt specs confirm their belts feature a micro-adjustable design that offers over thirty sizing options spaced one-quarter of an inch apart.
I have to admit when I first unpacked the buckle, it was a little intimidating. This is because I had spent most of my life using standard 5-hole belts with a simple buckle that required me to put the center peg into one of the holes. The Anson buckle looked much more complex.
First impressions can be deceiving.
At right is an image of my belt "buckled." I could show you a picture of me wearing it, but I don't want to spoil the beauty of the belt!
The buckle - chosen in step 3 above - is Anson's Traditional buckle in Gunmetal.
There is one more thing about the Complete Belt system that is, ahem, completely different from a standard, 5-hole belt (basically most of the belts I've worn my entire life): out of the box, the strap is not sized. Anson states that all of their belts will fit up to size 50. Before I could wear this belt, I had to cut it with scissors! What if I did it wrong?
My first thought was, "I do not want to screw this up!"
After reading some very simple instructions, I put the belt on, measured the excess and cut it off with a normal pair of scissors. Afterward, I inserted the cut end into the clamp section of the buckle (the part with the Anson logo on the right of the buckle as seen in the image at left).
After my initial trepidation, I realized how easy it is to cut and size the strap so that it is just the right size. And because of the flexible sizing afforded by the ratchet system, the overlap can be as much or as little as I like.
In other words, the Anson Complete Belt is custom-fit!
The Good: Actually, this section could be labeled, "The Great." By about the second week, I was thinking to myself, "How in the world have I lived my life without this belt?" A lot of that sentiment comes down to the comfort of the Anson Complete Belt. Throughout the day, a standard belt can feel loose or tight based on a number of factors, not least of which is whether a person has eaten recently. With a 5-hole belt, with holes spaced an inch apart, it's difficult to find just the right fit. The belt is usually either a little too loose, or a little too tight.
With the Anson Complete Belt, that is never a problem. Belt feeling a little tight? Simply touch the small release lever on the bottom of the buckle and let out a little slack. Too loose? Push the strap in a notch or two. Remember, the ratchet holes are spaced in quarter-inch increments. In effect, you have four adjustment positions for every one on a standard belt. But, it feels like it's much more adjustable than that.
This belt is comfortable, durable, good-looking and serves well as both a dress belt and a gun belt; no easy feat.
The Bad: Frankly, I can't think of a bad thing to say about the Anson Complete Belt system. A couple of things that come to mind: The ratchet system takes a little getting used to. If, like me, you've always worn a standard belt, it's going to take a little time for you to get comfortable with the Anson belt. For me, after the second week, it was a non-issue.
I've only tried an outside-the-waistband (OWB) holster with the Anson belt so far. With my jeans, it's a little awkward threading the belt through one loop on the holster, then one loop on my pants, then through the second loop on the holster, and finally the next loop on my pants. I can imagine an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster would not have this problem.
Even with the above, once the holster is on and the belt is latched, both holster and belt are imminently comfortable, even carrying our Ruger 9E.
Final thoughts: The Anson Complete Belt system retails on the Anson web site for $49.99. That's a little more than I'm used to paying for a belt, but the quality, flexibility, and comfort of the Anson belt justify paying a little more. And, when compared to many other gun belt options on the market today, the Anson Complete Belt is actually a great bargain.
Anson has a large selection of straps and buckles, basically something for just about every taste and style. With Anson, you can buy one strap and several buckles, or one buckle and several straps, You can mix and match to you heart's content.
As an every day belt, as a dress belt for work or heading out on the town, as a gun belt - in fact, as all three - the Anson Complete Belt system is a winner.
Stay safe, thanks for reading, and God bless.