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Old 08-05-2017, 02:24 PM
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Smile Buying a gun belt -

Guys -

I need some help in buying a gun belt. I think I know what brand I want, but I can't figure out if I should add 2 inches or 4 inches to my waist size for the belt.

I'm looking at bigfootgunbelts.com for a black leather gun belt for my S&W Model 629. Holster type is irrelevant for this thread but I have a good one. That belt supplier suggests adding 4 inches, but I'm concerned it will be too much.

Would appreciate all opinions - and thank you.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:39 PM
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I usually follow their instructions after all it is their business.

Every maker is a little different. Call them and tell them what you plan to carry.

Also if they offer mores holes get them. I always take seven holes over five, gives me wiggle room for expansion and contraction.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:42 PM
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I'm not familiar with Bigfoot Gun Belts, so I checked out their sizing recommendations. The method you mentioned, adding 4 inches to your pant size, is not the method they recommend, just a quick way to approximate the size if you can't do either of their recommended methods. The best method is their Method 1, which is to wear a belt you already have with the gear you plan on wearing so that it's comfortable, then measure as instructed.

I recommend always following the manufacturer's instructions for belt sizing.

Belt Sizing Guide

Also, holster type is very important when selecting a good gun belt as the difference between OWB and IWB carry can be significant, especially with a N-frame.
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Old 08-05-2017, 02:50 PM
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Default Belt Size -

If you use their auto calculator, it comes up with a belt size 4 inches more than your pants' waist size.

In the "Method 1" on that website, it's a bit confusing because first it tells you to measure to the middle belt hole and then to measure to the hole you use the most. Wait . . . What?
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Old 08-05-2017, 03:53 PM
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I'm partial to Bianchi belts, they're well made and last a long time. When ordering their belts it depends what my usage is. If you are wearing the belt on your trousers their calculator works fine, if wearing on the outside of clothing like a coat or heavy gear when hunting it gets a bit more difficult.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:00 PM
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Also if you are wearing IWB as well as OWB
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:04 PM
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If the belt is too long, you can always punch, or get punched, a hole or two more to make it right. Plus, you can always say you lost weight.

If your current belt is a thin standard belt, you'll generally have to bump up at least one size to compensate for the thicker leather of a gun belt. Tandy leather has the tools, a hole punch is a reasonable investment. The only other things you need is a block of hard wood and a hammer.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WR Moore View Post
If your current belt is a thin standard belt, you'll generally have to bump up at least one size to compensate for the thicker leather of a gun belt.
My belts must be a foot thick with all the sizes I have had to bump up over the years! It's that thick leather.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 6518John View Post
My belts must be a foot thick with all the sizes I have had to bump up over the years! It's that thick leather.
Naw, leather shrinks if you ignore it. Otherwise the Sam Browne I bought 50 years ago would still fit.

Last edited by WR Moore; 08-05-2017 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImDrRichard View Post
If you use their auto calculator, it comes up with a belt size 4 inches more than your pants' waist size.

In the "Method 1" on that website, it's a bit confusing because first it tells you to measure to the middle belt hole and then to measure to the hole you use the most. Wait . . . What?
I think you're confusing the picture with the instructions. The instructions don't actually say to use the middle hole. When you measure yourself, you're using the hole you normally use. When the belt is made, that measurement will be the middle hole on the new belt. Does that help?
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:44 PM
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Whichever you choose, open the original packaging carefully, try the new belt & holster combination carefully, and if it's not right, exchange it. As long as it comes back in saleable condition, your OK.
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Old 08-05-2017, 05:55 PM
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Sizing on belts varies even with the same manufacturer.

The holster can make a great deal of difference.

Go up two inches and buy a seven hole belt.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:03 PM
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I would go for 4 extra inches.....it`s easier to gain weight than to loose weight
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:30 PM
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My daily CCW gun belt is an all leather 1.75" garrison belt
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:07 PM
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Default Have you considered an Amish made belt?

Free shipping and returns: Hanks Concealed Carry Gun Belts - #1 Leather Gun Belt
I don't own one, but the look pretty nice.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Florida Guy View Post
Free shipping and returns: Hanks Concealed Carry Gun Belts - #1 Leather Gun Belt
I don't own one, but the look pretty nice.
I own several; can't recommend them highly enough. Great fit, great quality, great customer service.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:41 PM
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I tell people to take a belt that fits and measure from the inside of the buckle to their favorite hole.


If they're measuring a double layer gun belt and they want a double layer gun belt, I use that measurement.
If they're measuring a regular "hold my pants up" belt, I add 'bout an inch for a double layer belt.
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Old 08-05-2017, 08:47 PM
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Holster type is very revelant....IWB holster must make allowance for the gun and holster all inside your pants.
OWB the holster simply hangs on the outside.
If you want a proper reply , the details matter.
My rule of thumb is I can shorten a belt too long but making them longer is a lot tougher.
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:04 PM
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I have 2 from Hank's, went with their sizing guidelines. Perfect fit & great belts.
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Old 08-05-2017, 11:06 PM
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Default Hank's

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Originally Posted by jimwilkes View Post
I have 2 from Hank's, went with their sizing guidelines. Perfect fit & great belts.
They do look nice . . . .
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Old 08-06-2017, 12:57 AM
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Lots of good info posted for you here.

It will help you to know that a belt's 'size' marking, like a pants' size marking, is arbitrary. This means that, depending on how a belt maker 'thinks', the belt marking will vary among makers (i.e., does the maker think a 36" belt should measure 36", or a 36" should have a time-proven oversize actually measured into it, or you should add that oversize yourself, etc.).

I use a very, very simple system: my pants are marked 36" (yes, even in Oz) and my belt that fits me in those pants is my 36"; the other sizes then up and down from there. Works every time. So there is no math required by my customers.

Same with a true gunbelt; that is, one that is worn outside and below the trousers loops; i.e., not a pants belt that is called a gunbelt. I build the belt to fit me in my 36" marked trousers, then mark that belt as my 36", then go up and down from there. Now it doesn't matter what the belt measures on its own :-).

I doubt any other maker does it this way, it's too newfangled. To protect themselves from returns, instead most makers use the 'measure your belt as follows' and then make it your problem if it doesn't fit (much like the mythical 'standard break-in period' for holsters if THAT doesn't fit).
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Old 08-06-2017, 09:45 AM
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Default Sizing video Hanks Belts

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Old 08-06-2017, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmyj View Post
My daily CCW gun belt is an all leather 1.75" garrison belt
I remember those, and they worked well for carry with a pancake holster. That what was issued for concealed carry when wearing a blazer.

As far as belt size I have never had a problem no matter what the thickness of the belt. Inner belt size is pretty much waist size at belt loop level. Outer belt is usually 4 inches larger. IWB carry inner belt will be 4 inches larger.

Belts are measured from where the buckle connects to the leather. Depending on the buckle an extra inch or more of length is there to take up for extra thick belt. Go to a large rodeo buckle, and your going to gain 4 inches.

Last edited by Walkingwolf; 08-06-2017 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 08-06-2017, 05:45 PM
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Note #1: Do not miss Walkingwolf's comment (previous post) on how buckle dimensions affect belt fit! Good information there. "Standard buckles" (if there is such a thing) may have a throw length (distance from belt mounting of the buckle to the engagement with the belt tongue) of about 1.25" to 1.75" or so, but some buckles will have throw lengths of several inches, so if you intend to use your belt with a custom buckle your belt maker will need to know the throw length involved.

Much of the confusion over belt sizing can be explained by the clothing industry's long practice of "vanity sizing". In short, trouser waist sizes are not directly proportional to actual dimensions in inches; rather, they are intentionally understated as a means of pleasing customers' egos. Most people have no idea of their actual waist dimensions because of this practice.

I wear trousers with waist size 34, but my belts must measure 37" (from tip of buckle to tongue hole in use) to fit properly. This tells me that my size 34 waist is actually pretty close to 37" in diameter.

Mass produced belts will follow that general practice. A size 34 belt will usually fit a waist of 36" to 38" diameter, plus or minus an inch or so.

The common rule of thumb is to order your belts based upon stated trouser waist size, and that will usually work out OK. However, if you want to have a correct fit it is best to advise your belt maker of the actual diameter of your waist. This can best be determined by taking a belt you have been using satisfactorily and measuring from the tip of the buckle (where the buckle fastens to the belt tongue) to the tongue hole in use, which will be your actual waist diameter when properly clothed. With that information any belt maker worth the powder to blast him into eternity should be able to provide a proper fit.

Regardless of any old rule of thumb, there really is no standard. Many of my customers over the years reported differences between trouser waist size and belt size of !" to 5", which is way to wide a variance for any general rule to apply.

One layer belts, whether made of 8-9 oz. shoulder leather or 14-16 oz. skirting leather will always stretch out with use. Two layer belts (typically 2 layers of 6-7 oz. or similar) will stretch less over time and provide far longer useful life because laminating the leather layers (cemented and stitched in place) is similar to the processes for making plywood, with final strength exceeding that to be expected from a single layer of equal thickness.

Best regards.
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Old 08-16-2017, 06:56 PM
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Default The End of the Story -

I bought a belt from bigfoot gun belts and added the 4 inches. Got the 14 oz. I'm very happy with the results.

Thanks for all the great info guys!
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Old 08-16-2017, 08:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knigge View Post
I would go for 4 extra inches.....it`s easier to gain weight than to loose weight
Hold on a minute here. Are you telling us people actually can lose weight? Remember, you're talking to other guys here, no reason to lie to us.

So I had an unhappy problem with my belt a while back. I was on the very last hole and my buckle had worn an ugly black mark where it was. That would be the very last hole possible. So I did the manly thing and begged my wife to order me another Bianchi belt, the same model # except 2" longer. Well, I gave it to my youngest because he's pretty young (42) and he seemed to be happy at the shortest hole. It was the same size on me and would have required me to use the last hole again. So I dug around and found a Galco that I had given up as too long. Fits me just fine but its sized or marked as a 38. I then had her order up another Galco at 40, thinking I really should have ordered a 42. Its been sealed in its plastic bag for a few months now, and I can't face the dissapointment of another wrong size. It seems to me the Galco I'm wearing right now could handle another hole, but the hole punch I used in 4H 50 some odd years ago won't ever go through it. Yes, I need a hammer driven punch and I have some pretty big hammers (the largest is a 30# sledge).

And I always have a fall back position. Somewhere in the depths of my dungeon I have a genuine S&W sterling silver buckle. At least its marked Sterling. I think they used to execute folks in England for mismarking things like that. Dern it, when I buy shoes, I expect them to fit as my paws haven't changed in 50 years or more. I'm willing to consider the idea my waist has expanded a little over that much time.
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