The Best Concealed-Carry Belt Gets an Upgrade

NexBelt's latest offering impresses but cheaper competitors still entice

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I've been a proponent of ratcheting belts ever since NexBelt sent me some review samples back in early 2016.

The ratcheting system allows for a perfect fit in a way that is simply impossible to achieve with traditional leather belts. They're far more fashionable and have turned out to be just as durable as most nylon belts. And they even make a wonderful A-10-Warthog-esque sound with each ¼ inch you tighten the belt.

They're thick and sturdy enough to hold up any gun rig and they're stylish enough to be worn with any pair of jeans, khakis, or suit pants.

NexBelt has now taken the best concealed-carry belt on the market and made it even better.

The main improvements, in my opinion, come in the way the buckle now secures to the belt strap. NexBelts are a choose-your-size affair. The box comes with a buckle and a belt strap. You cut the strap to fit your size and then you attach the buckle.

Old vs new / Stephen Gutowski

  • Up until now, the buckle has attached by simply sliding the cut end of the belt into the buckle and closing a hinge that contains metal teeth onto the strap. That's a system that works well for the most part but can lead to some problems. For instance, my Nylon Nexbelt has begun to show some wobble from wear at the point where the buckle attaches to the belt.

Nexbelt has addressed this issue by adding two screws to the design of the buckle. Now, after you sink the metal teeth into the belt strap you also add two screws to either side of the teeth in order to ensure there's no chance for wobble to come in down the line. There's even some blue loctite applied to the screws to keep them from walking out of their holes over time. That's a nice touch.

Worn attachment point on the old Nexbelt / Stephen Gutowski

The belt's ratchet and teeth have also been strengthened a bit to improve durability and strength. They've replaced the pins that used to hold the buckle together with stronger screws that eliminate the chance that one might back out and cause all kinds of problems. The sample belt they sent me was also, interestingly, leather on the outside and nylon on the inside, which is intended to preserve the look of leather and the grip of nylon. I'm not sure if those upgrades will make a huge difference for somebody like me who carries a single-stack 9mm pistol mounted to an inside-the-waistband holster. But they may be something that comes in handy for those with heavier loadouts—something like a full-size double-stack in an outside-the-waistband holster with an extra magazine holster as well.

The Nexbelt has undoubtedly gotten better. It is the best concealed-carry belt. Or, at least, it will be when it goes on sale next month.

But the question of whether that's good enough to make them a better buy than some of the cheap alternatives remains.

That was the calculation that kept me from buying additional Nexbelts after my initial review. The everyday carry (EDC) Nexbelts run anywhere from $50 to $65 on the company's website. That's honestly not terrible for a good gun belt—some of which can retail for $100 or more. And the quality of their buckles and belt straps, especially when it comes to the thickness of the leather used, is far better than most of the cheaper ratcheting belts out there. Trust me, I've tried a bunch of them.

However, a company called Mio Marino makes ratcheting belts that are at least as good as Nexbelt's current offerings AND sells them for $25 a pop on Amazon. They don't have nearly as many buckle options as Nexbelt but they've got a good selection of stylish options. They also don't have the new upgrades Nexbelt will soon be offering.

Once the upgraded Nexbelt hits the market next month, everyone will have to decide whether they want to go with the cheaper, but still great, Marino belts or if they're willing to pay a little more for Nexbelt's new offering that's clearly the best out there.

Stephen Gutowski   Email Stephen | Full Bio | RSS
Stephen Gutowski is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He founded his own site as a junior in college and has been writing about news and politics since that time. He spent 4 years with the Media Research Center and was most recently with the Capitol City Project. His email address is Gutowski@FreeBeacon.com. His twitter handle is @StephenGutowski.

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