Product Review: Belly Band

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Product Reviews
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This is a review of the 5″ belly band elastic holster, purchased from WRB Concealment.

I wanted to get at least six months of wear time from one unit over multiple seasons and using multiple handguns before posting a review.  I began wearing the BB last summer with a Glock 31 on hikes, road trips, and general outdoor activities.  Earlier this year, I switched to full-time use of the band with my XDS in .45 ACP.  Here is a picture of the XDS in the product.

xds

This is, of course, the first consideration with the product as the bands are not designed to fit any one specific or even a range of firearms.  When actually worn, the XDS sits just slightly lower than show above.  As an aside, that’s tennis grip tape I have wrapped around the grip (a familiar feel, but kind of a hack until the Pachmayr grip sleeve arrives).

The BB is highly adjustable, both in terms of how high it can be worn on the torso, to the exact position of the gun.  For very deep concealment under a tight tennis jacket, I can easily shift the XDS to more of a 1-o’clock position so that the end of the +2 mag sits right underneath the right-hand jacket pocket.  Even with the tight jacket fit and an extended mag, there is no print.

Several of my pants do not accommodate belts.  Tennis shorts, for example, do not work well with a clip holster.  The Belly Band, however, works equally well for all my clothing.  It’s also very convenient for long road trips when I have to ‘take care of business’ in a public restroom.  It’s nice to know that my carry always remains in the exact same (concealed) position regardless of my activities during a road trip.

The thinness of the material keeps the firearm very close to the body, which allows for a variety of deep-conceal options.  The mag carrier is handy and the BB has a separate gun/mag carrier on the opposite side for backup.  I like being able to carry two backup mags around the waistline.

So, are there any negatives?

I believe the two biggest considerations in choosing a BB are the specific firearm and your body type.  A one-size-fits all product always fits some products well and others not so well. Also understand that prolonged use will stretch the material and generally affect fit and function over time.  After over six months of use, I’m getting close to purchasing a new model.

Since the BB naturally places the handgun very close to the body, this affects the draw.  I personally believe it’s a bit slower than an IWB holster specifically designed for a particular firearm because getting the thumb around the grip is kind of a two-stage process.  After a few days of practice, I found it quite easy to draw, but your mileage may vary.  Check it out with your exact firearm at a gun show (WRB Concealment usually has display models that you can try out).

Personal build can affect the utility of a BB.  The closer the gun is pressed to the body, the closer it is to clothing.  The tighter the band is to the body and the more weight we carry around the middle, the greater the probability that something will interfere with the draw.  Women may also have an issue if the band is worn too low with it riding up during the day.

There is only one way to find out and that’s try one with your particular firearm.  Most gun shows have one or more vendors that sell this product.  It’s very cheap relative to custom IWB holsters and offers a wide variety of carry options, but it’s not a viable option for everyone.

I hope you found this information helpful.  The next review will cover a different type of holster – an offering from a new vendor at the north Texas shows – the sticky holster.

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