Having not written anything for a while I thought I’d finally get around to talking about one of the pieces of kit that I’ve been using extensively at work both in the UK and overseas. Being in the British Army means that belt kits are an essential part of your loadout to invest in, as chest rigs are rarely allowed and the VIRTUS carrier doesn’t lend itself too well to carrying anything other than a PRR and some slate cards.
I first bought the HSGI Suregrip shortly after arriving at my unit several years ago, and it has been a staple part of my kit ever since. The core elements of its design make it very versatile, which is useful in today’s Army that can’t seem to decide if it is leaning more towards “Fight Light” or conventional, carry your life around your waist warfare.
The backbone feature of the belt that sets it above the rest is the neoprene lining, similar to that found on the T-Rex Arms Orion. I have found that this has enough grip to provide a stable platform for low to medium weight setups without the need for suspenders. Another advantage of this is that it keeps the belt centred during rapid movement and crawling which makes indexing magazines and other essential pieces of equipment easier as they are always in the same place. After years of abuse I have found that the neoprene is beginning to degrade around the seams, and especially on the spot where the pistol grip of my rifle is often tucked in for hands-free carriage without a sling.
Another useful but for more common feature are the pass through slots on the underside of the belt for attaching holsters and lanyards. Unfortunately I do not get to use this feature as much as I’d like, as the issued and totally outdated drop leg panel is still forced down our necks by the old blood who think that the SLR would be more useful than a C8 in modern warfare. When used with the velcro lined HSGI cobra belt the holster is held very securely.
The overall construction throughout is of a very high standard, and has stood up well to the test of time, with the only real signs of wear and tear being the aforementioned ripping in the lining. The use of jaquard webbing throughout while not pretty, makes for a very hardwearing MOLLE base, that I have every confidence will hold even under a full load. Also the unbroken, 20 column MOLLE field means that you have free reign over what you mount and where, unlike some that have joins over the hips limiting what you can carry (Crye’s Blast and Modular Rigger’s belts for example). Finally the design is topped off with 4 low profile “O” rings to attach a yoke/suspenders. These are very well suited to such a versatile belt as they do not tend to get in the way when suspenders aren’t used.
Overall the HSGI Suregrip Battle Belt is very well suited to the real world duties carried out by today’s soldier. It’s versatility and function over form design give it excellent value for money and it’s hardiness means that you wont be constantly having to repair or replace, and you never have to worry about the load it’s carrying. I always recommend this to any of my colleagues looking to get a lighter setup, and I have always had positive feedback regarding it.
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