Warhog belt in initial configuration. MOLLE system allows for easy reconfiguration as needed.
I have resisted the "battle belt" or "first line belt" or "padded war belt" or "MOLLE belt" for quite some time. In large part this is due to my belief that for the majority of shooters the handgun is the primary weapon and that all training should be done with the carry method that you use daily. In other words, putting a 5"+ barrel handgun in a drop-leg holster on a padded war belt for training and competition when you carry a 4" handgun in an inside the waistband (IWB) holster every day is not only counter-productive but could even have negative repercussions. It is this bad idea that led to my rejection of the concept of a training-specific rig. I also had previously attempted the concept, prior to the proliferation of the modern padded-sleeve-MOLLE belt, with an Eagle Industries LE duty belt with a padded liner and 1.75"-looped accessories with a Blade-Tech Drop and Offset Holster with 1.75" Stingray loops all set up for a 1911 pistol and provisions for AR15 magazines and a dump pouch. That setup was, for me, painfully uncomfortable and horribly insecure and unsteady after only a few three-hour-long training sessions. To say that I approached the current concept of the first-line belt for my purposes with a great amount of negative bias would be an understatement.
I was persuaded to at least try to change my mind when Blue Force Gear offered me a T&E of their SOC-C belt system to which I added a Raven Concealment holster attached by flattening the belt loops in the oven and attaching through the MOLLE of the belt, and various magazine, tool and dump pouches. Using this system I found ways to address my concerns about training with different carriage systems but also identified a few shortcomings in the system, not the least of which that it is very difficult to keep a belt like this in place on my narrow frame.
After having US Grunt Gear make the chest-rig portion of my Make Holes, Prevent Holes, Patch Holes rig and a few other subsequent projects they, too, offered me one of their MOLLE system belts to try out. US Grunt Gear makes several different Tactical Padded MOLLE Belts: the Infidel, the Warhog, and the SRT. The common thread in all three is that they are designed with a Velcro loop lining to the padded belt that mates to a Velcro hook pants belt worn through the loops of the pants. In addition, whereas most MOLLE belt systems on the market are in fact padded sleeves that are wrapped around a 1.75" wide duty belt the USGG versions are actually a padded belt, around which un-padded MOLLE sleeves are added as needed (more about that to follow). The Warhog was the model that I was most familiar with having seen them on other students in classes, and the contoured nature of the back of the belt was also intriguing to me as it is something one cannot accomplish when simply wrapping a duty belt with a padded sleeve. USGG therefore provided a Warhog belt, a liner pants belt, and a MOLLE sleeve for the support side.
As mentioned, the USGG systems differ from others on the market in that in truth you have a padded belt to which you add un-padded MOLLE sleeves to the sides. The back portion of the belt is covered by 2 rows of 8 columns of MOLLE (PHOTO 01). Each side is made up of 1.75" wide, double-layer, reinforced webbing stitched to the padding in 3" intervals for a total of 9" (PHOTO 02). Having this 1.75" webbing system means that holsters and accessories to not have to be MOLLE-specific. Blade-Tech Tek-Lock as well as Raven Concealment and Peters Custom loops and attachment methods can be attached directly to the webbing provided they are sized for a 1.75" belt. There is not, however, a method for threading on any looped holster or accessory pouch that does not have removable or open-able loops. The buckle of the belt is a 1.75" plastic Fastex buckle (PHOTO 03), but USGG is now offering Cobra buckles at an increased cost for those that desire them.
Back of Warhog belt showing MOLLE system and attachment points for suspenders
1.75" double webbing that makes up the left and right side of the belt. Stitching on 3" centers.
Buckle at the front of the belt. Left side of photo shows unsecured belt ends, right side shows end secured in loop.
Remaining material on right side can be tucked under the MOLLE sleeve.
Over these 1.75" webbing-covered padded side panels the shooter can slide MOLLE-covered sleeves as needed. The sleeve is covered in 2 rows by 6 columns of MOLLE (PHOTO 04). The belt is lined with loop material, and the MOLLE sleeve is lined on the inside with hook material which keeps the MOLLE system from rolling around on the liner belt. The sleeve also replicates the loop material on the body side so that the interface with the hook-covered pants belt is maintained (PHOTO 05). By keeping the loop portion on the padded belt the shooter can choose to forgo the pants belt if desired. My sample came with one support-side MOLLE sleeve as I intended to attach regular belt-mounted holster and accessories on the strong side and MOLLE-attached pouches and accessories on the rear and support side.
Top shows right side of belt with 1.75" webbing, bottom shows MOLLE sleeve over left side of belt.
Inside of belt. Top shows pants/liner belt separate from Warhog, bottom shows liner belt attached.
To my belt I added the following:
Peters Custom Holsters Spada Holster for Glock 19 with Surefire X300 pistol light attached (link to my review of this holster)
Blue Force Gear Trauma Kit NOW! topped with Tourniquet NOW! Strap
EAG Tactical Dump Pouch
US Grunt Gear Gen 4 single AR/Glock magazine pouch
Eagle Industries Double Pistol Mag Pouch, FB MOLLE
Eagle Industries Leatherman Pouch from Polite Society, Inc.
Once the belt is properly outfitted it is easily modifiable on the support side as the "mission" dictates. Using the MOLLE system the shooter can change pouches as needed. Carbine class or match? Remove a pistol pouch and run an extra carbine magazine. USPSA match or pistol training class? Remove the carbine magazines and attach a full row of pistol magazine pouches. In fact, separate sleeves could be purchased and slid on and off as required. The Velcro lining would be a bit of an impediment to this, as it should be. Holster, dump pouch, tools, and trauma supplies are universal and may remain.
I still have some concerns about these belt systems as a whole and how they relate to, or deviate from, one's every day carry rig. Going to a belt system like this with a drop-leg holster means that you alter your vertical location (lower on the leg), horizontal location (further away from the body) and rotational location (position on the belt with the buckle being 12 o'clock). Moving the gun in all three axis like that is a very bad idea in my experience and in observing other shooters. In my case my everyday carry is a Glock 19 in a Raven Concealment Phantom carried inside the waistband on their Kydex overhooks. I carry just slightly behind the hip, or just aft of the vertical seam on a pair of jeans or khakis. I found that with the Warhog belt and the Peters Spada holster I was at least able to mimic two of the three dimensional locations (vertical and rotational) of my carry holster and magazines. The third, horizontal distance from the body, is at least minimized because of the 1.75" webbing being sewn direction to the padded belt as compared to other systems with padded sleeves. In addition, being able to attach the Spada directly to the 1.75" webbing means it is far more stable and secure than attaching to MOLLE webbing.
Having the MOLLE sleeve on the support-side also proved to be very secure and stable. Because of the Velcro system already lining the belt, and the corresponding Velcro on the sleeve, the MOLLE stays put. Foam in a MOLLE system results in give, and a foam sleeve that is not secured properly results in even more give. The Warhog belt and sleeve do not suffer from these problems. The MOLLE base is very stable and stays put, and does not roll and sag like it does with other systems.
I have used this belt now at several matches and local training nights, as well as over the course of a three day pistol/carbine class at Universal Tactical Academy (AAR here) and another one-day private training event at the same facility. I am supremely impressed with the belt design, especially when it comes to comfort and stability. To say that the utility of a belt system like this is obvious would be an understatement, and is in fact the trait that virtually all of the various MOLLE belt systems on the market share. It is in comfort and stability where they begin to deviate, and the Warhog has proven to me that it is both comfortable and stable. We fired over 2,200 pistol rounds in two, three, and four round drills in the UTA course, which means well over 500 presentations from the holster. The Warhog belt never moved, thanks in large part to the Velcro hook-covered pants belt. Additionally the belt system did not bruise or fatigue my hips at all over the course of the three days, and despite having a trauma kit and dump pouch attached to the rear the back of the belt did not sag.
It is important to be specific as to my needs and uses. If at all possible in training I greatly prefer to use (and strongly believe in using) my regular every day carry setup for my handgun regardless of whether I am training with the handgun or the carbine. I will build on that as needed (add another magazine, a flashlight, a carbine mag...) until I feel I reached the point that I'm carrying too much gear on a pants belt. Examples of other gear might include an excessive pistol magazine load-out (say 4 magazines or more), a dump pouch, Leatherman, BOK, etc. or combination thereof. At that point there is just too much load on the pants belt for me, but I want to mimic the locations as much as humanly possible while still carrying the extra kit I want or need for a training environment that won't otherwise cause negative training scars. This means that typically I'm wearing the Warhog belt 3-5 hours (a match) or three 8-10 hour days (training) and then I'm done. I can't, and won't, comment on how well this system would work day in, day out, in a combat zone, etc.
I am sold on the Warhog for my needs and purposes. With proper holster and accessory placement the negative impact to daily carry can be minimized, and the Warhog system helps to minimize that concern even further. In fact, I like the belt so much that I ordered a second Spada holster from Peters for the Glock 19 without the light attached and I will be ordering a second belt from US Grunt Gear to attach that holster and several USGG pistol magazine pouches to for use in local IPSC/USPSA matches and handgun-only training events.
Warhog belt in action during pistol portion of the course
note the lack of sag at the rear of the belt despite the load attached
Warhog belt in action during carbine portion of the course
Note the position of the handgun on the belt, behind the vertical seam of the pants, matching every-day carry.
US Grunt Gear pistol magazine pouch, two M4/Pistol pouches, EAG Tactical Dump Pouch, Blue Force Gear Trauma Kit NOW!, Peters Custom Holsters Spada.