I recently got a new battle belt setup to replace the one I was issued, and as luck would have it, everything arrived prior to me going to Jordan for nearly a month. Even though I've only had it for a short time, I did wear it for multiple hours nearly every day I was out there, so I feel I have a decent initial understanding of its benefits and limitations. To start things off, let's take a look at my current setup:
Outer belt: Coyote Velocity Systems Operators Utility Belt - I believe it is a Gen 1 model, but it wasn't specified on U.S. Elite Gear's website
Inner Belt: Tan/Coyote First Spear Assaulters' Gun Belt with Cobra Buckle
From Left to Right: Safariland 6004 M9 drop-leg holster, Blackhawk (I think) pistol lanyard, Tactical Tailor Fight Light dump pouch, Tactical Tailor Fight Light double pistol mag pouch
Operators’ Utility Belt
The main reason why I was drawn to the OUB was its light weight and ventilated design. According to Velocity Systems, "The Operators's Utility Belt was designed with a "less is more" approach. The OUB is narrower than other belts allowing for greater operator mobility while maintaining ample real estate to mount additional pouches and equipment. Its skeletonized insert ensures passive cooling and allows the belt to be at least 25% lighter than other comparable belts." Being just a couple hours away from 29 palms and Yuma, apparently my unit has a massive boner for doing things like ITX and WTI in the middle of the desert on a regular basis, and with the upcoming trip to Jordan, I figured there was no time like the present to update my battle belt rig with something that would transfer heat a little better and not be as bulky or heavy as what the Corps was able to buy on the cheap. Another benefit I saw to the design of the belt is that on the ends of the belt the outer molle/mesh sections are separate from each other and designed so you can weave the internal belt in and out as need be to support a holster, or something incompatible with molle. With my old battle belt, the only way I could get my holster to work with it was to loop it over the padded belt itself, which wasn't all that secure or comfortable, but now I know my holster doesn’t have the ability to slide forward or backward and I don’t have to feel the strap of the holster get pressed into my side by the rest of the belt like before. Additional colors are multicam, black, ranger green, and desert digital.
Assaulters Gun Belt
My reasoning for this belt was fairly simple, price. It does everything I need it to do and comes with the security of an authentic AustriAlpin Cobra Buckle for just under $60. This is a very basic belt – it doesn’t come with a v-ring or anything like that – but that was exactly what I needed. Something like a riggers belt with added rings or loops to dangle from a helo in some emergency extract (a situation which is beyond unlikely due to my MOS) would just get in the way and contribute unnecessarily added weight and bulk. If I really need to get hoisted to safety, I have a climbing-rated locking carabineer on my flack, and a riggers belt with a v-ring holding my pants up, I’m sure either will suffice in an emergency. Another nice feature of the AGB is that it comes lined with loop Velcro. It also comes in multicam and black if the tan/coyote brown color scheme isn’t your thing.
To go with the new belt, I ordered a couple new pouches from Tactical Tailor since they were doing their “Founders’ Sale” and everything was around 33% off. This allowed me to get new Fight Light dump pouch and dual pistol mag pouch from them for about $35 before shipping. The mag pouch arrived in short order, and is designed well. It easily holds M9 mags, and in addition to the Velcro flaps that pull down (a feature that I feel should be standard on all flapped mag pouches for pistol or rifle), each pouch contains a small magnet as an added layer of retention to give you peace of mind. I tried shaking the pouch upside-down with the mags inserted and didn’t notice any movement. As for the dump pouch, I’d like to say something about it one way or the other, but it just arrived because they were out of stock when I placed the order. And by just arrived, I mean fedex dropped it off less than 15 hours ago. What I can say about it is it’s much more compact on my belt than the issue one is (I’ll try to get a comparison pic later) and it is noticeably lighter. It’s also much easier to release from its folded up state than the issue drop pouch which had a very odd combination of snaps. Hopefully at some point in the future, I’ll have more to say about the Fight Light dump pouch. The coyote color of the mag and dump pouches did compliment the color of the OUB perfectly as well, which was a nice surprise.
I had also ordered a G-Code XST RTI holster along with a MULE rig to replace my Safariland 6004 drop-leg holster for my M9, but as of now, I am still waiting for it to arrive. This is unfortunate, but the nature of the beast since they recently secured a contract with the army to provide all their M9 holsters. I just wish the estimated wait time would have been displayed a little more prominently on their website so I could have had a better idea of how long it would take prior to buying it. That being said, I’m looking forward to having a holster that rides up a little higher on my leg, and the retention release system looks pretty quick compared to the hood retention on the 6004 I’m currently using. The XST holster itself looks less bulky than the safariland, but that’s just a guess on my part.
True to the advertising, the OUB was much more comfortable than the issue one due to its contoured design, materials used, and its slimmer shape and weight. I’d estimate it’s less than half the weight of the one CIF gave me, and I don’t get a band of sweat going around my back while it’s on during the heat of the day. The only concern I have about it is regarding how well the mesh will hold up over time and under much heavier use. Hopefully over the next 6-12 months I’ll be able to provide an update after a range or two, a few field ops, and possibly some tactical competition shooting. The AGB’s minimalist design is perfect for being used internally on a battle belt, and prevents unnecessary weight or bulk. The Cobra buckle holds the belt securely, and fastens with a satisfying click, yet easily unbuckles in no time, which is helpful if your Styrofoam plates have melted into the food you’re eating and you subsequently have the runs… trust me.
If I was to make any changes to the gear, it might be to add some Velcro to the inside of the OUB to better secure the internal belt. The AGB didn’t shift around much, but if you aren’t careful when donning or doffing the system, the internal belt might shift around as much as ¼- ½”. That never affected the usefulness of the system, but it would play all sorts of hell with my military alignment OCD that the Corps has beaten into me over the years. Besides that, there isn’t much else I’d want to modify on the gear itself.
In the near future, I would like to get an ITW FastMag or two so I can keep at least a rifle mag or two on me if I ever am separated from my flack for some reason. I’m looking at the fastmags because they are supposedly able to keep rifle mags secure even when mounted facing down, and there isn’t enough room between my plate carrier and the battle belt for something like a HSGI TACO to work correctly.
If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them. Thanks for reading guys.