Friday, May 28, 2021

Cowardly, violent anti-gun bigots don't realize that the right to own and to carry weapons of war (actual weapons of war, not just the AR15s they lie about) will still exist with or without the 2nd Amendment. Nothing can change that.

Craft Holster Breathable Belly Band review

Recently my friends at 
Craft Holsters sent me another holster to review. This one is their Breathable Belly Band. Actually, they sent me two of them: one of their old style which they have discontinued, and the new version which replaced it.

I put both to the test to compare them. This review took longer than usual to conduct, and is longer to read, since there were two holsters.

Some background: I used to wear a belly band all the time. For years. Of course, back then I was carrying guns not well-suited to carrying, so that was where my only problems lay. No more of that! I remember now what I liked so much about belly bands, even under less than optimal circumstances.

First, here's the older version (which has been discontinued).

Belly band holsters obviously aren't as pretty as the fine leather holsters Craft Holsters has sent me. But they aren't meant to be. Functional is good, too.

I got the medium length, and it is 3.5" wide. Besides the gun pocket, it has two magazine pockets and a hook & loop-closure ("velcro") pocket on the back for hidden money or papers. If you need to get into that pocket during the day, you might want a trusted friend to access it for you. (Years ago, I traveled around for 6 months or so and kept thousands of dollars in such a pocket on a belly band-- but one that didn't seem as secure, so I loosely stitched it shut every morning if I needed to get money out-- and only transferred to my wallet what I thought I would need that day. So it's not really necessary to get into it during the day except in an emergency.)

This belly band fit me really well, and retained my Sig Sauer P365 perfectly-- at least when I wore it right. It has an elastic band with a tab to hold the firearm in place. It worked as designed. It does seem to be breathable-- I didn't get the slightest bit extra sweaty under it. This is a big improvement over the old styles I've tried over the years that felt a little like wrapping a strip of blanket around your belly. You can actually see through the band at the lighter stripes in the pictures; that's where air can circulate. 

As with all belly bands, it takes a bit of trial and error to get the holster positioned correctly. If you don't, it can be less comfortable and less secure. One day near the beginning of my test I had it positioned so poorly my pistol fell out. Twice! At least I was able to keep it from falling out of my vest (and wasn't around nosey people anyway), but it was a warning to pay more attention to how the band was positioned. I never had any issue with losing the gun after that one day.

The one and only issue I continued to have was that the odd-shaped P365 magazines kept working their way out of their pockets. P365 magazines are pretty slick and tapered a lot near the feed lips, making the whole thing nearly wedge-shaped. (A less-refined person might compare the magazine shape to a turd.) Putting them upside down into the magazine pockets meant they were always wanting to "squirt" out over time as I moved. These are the only magazines I have with this shape, and I don't think others would have the same problem. (I tested a Ruger P95 DC magazine, which has a similar but less pronounced shape, and it didn't try to fall out.) I found a "velcro" strap with a snap in a drawer and I installed it on the belly band (and only carried one spare mag thereafter) and I had no more trouble at all. You can see what I did below.

I wore this belly band holster for nearly a month and loved it more every day. I almost didn't want to put it away to try the other one. But I made a deal, so...

I switched over to try the new style Breathable Belly Band. 

This one is significantly wider than the other-- 4.75"-- which I've found is usually better for comfort than narrower bands. This one is comfortable, but not noticeably more comfortable than the 3.5" band. Maybe after a certain width, additional width doesn't make much difference.

On the new style, the elastic loop pistol retention has been replaced with a "velcro" elastic strap. It feels much more secure, but it is also a bit harder to draw from. The strap can be stretched over the back of the pistol fairly easily (replacing the pistol into the pocket while wearing the belly band is a different story on both styles-- you've got to take a little care to do so correctly). One thing is for sure: this one isn't going to let the pistol fall out even if the belly band isn't positioned well!

Instead of the money pocket, the new version has a pouch which has a hook & loop strap closure. I'm guessing this is to hold a wallet, as well as whatever else you think of. It's not on the back, but on the left front, which makes it easier to access. I tucked the strap inside when not in use. One of the magazine pockets is beside it, on the left side of your body,, more toward the front/center. 

This belly band is almost covered with pockets, from end to end. Only lacking them on one end and where the logo patch is positioned. I kind of like that versatility.

I still had issues with the P365 magazines wanting to work up and out of the magazine pockets in this belly band, too. It didn't seem quite as bad as with the older style band because you can seat them a little deeper (due to the extra width), but it's still not something you want to happen. I tried the Ruger P95 DC magazine again, carrying it all day, with no problems. I switched to the P365 magazine and it fell out within 30 minutes-- different shape; different result. Exactly how the band is worn does make a difference; how high and exactly which position. But it's really hard to replicate exactly from one time to the next. I just don't think P365 mags are going to stay in place without something over the top holding them in. I can fix that. 

And I did. With velcro straps again. No snaps this time, I just stitched the end of the hook side inside the magazine pocket and stitched a little rectangle of the loop side on the front of the belly band and didn't have any more issues. I fixed two magazine pockets this way and carried two spare magazines with no problems from that point on. I only had white velcro so it's not as attractive-looking, so I won't be sharing pictures of that modification.

Closing thoughts-- Both were really good (other than the magazine problem) and comfortable. It is easy to adjust them to find your sweet spot. They were breathable as advertised and didn't give me any problems, even during some long walks/hikes.

If you like belly bands-- and why wouldn't you?-- I think you'll like the Breathable Belly Band holsters from Craft Holsters.

I'm going to have a hard time deciding which type of holster to use as my daily wear now. It's a good "problem" to have. Options are good, and good options are even better.

Thanks again, Craft Holsters!


Thank you for helping support
Get a Time's Up flag or two