The folks at Bravobelt were kind enough and suicidal enough to send me a sample of their product for review and I thank them for the opportunity
First right out of the bat, you will notice it is what we old folks call a belly band holster. I know, stop pinching your noses in disgust ya bunch of prissies and read my review before heaving at the idea.
If you have carried for any length of time, you know by now that is no universal solution to carry a sidearm, only solutions for certain moments, locations and timeframes. And the Bravobelt is not the magic bullet (pun intended) for carrying but fits a niche or at least a niche I have. Now, the following explanations and descriptions are based in my physical limitations, idiosyncrasies and personal preferences. Your millage may vary, but I hope it helps.
I have a bad back. Most of the times, a simply overtight cheap belt will make me go into fits of pain after a couple of hours of usage. I will confess I had low expectation for Bravobelt and figured after 10 minutes, I would have to rip it off and toss it back in the box it came. I initially wore it without any gun or accessory, and it actually felt comfortable. Compared to similar products, it is thicker and possibly wider which helps with the compression distribution. The funny thing with this initial usage was I was fixing things around the house, and I ended up using it as a light tools’ belt carrying screwdrivers, pliers and the sort. Maybe this is something Bravobelt should look into developing?
Before I forget: I can’t stand most anything that is not cotton or very soft fabrics against my skin for long periods of time. It simply drives me nuts, in good part is because I am hirsute all over. The Bravobelt was also impossible for me to wear in contact with the skin for more than 10-15 minutes but wearing it a top of a t-shirt was no problem at all. That obviously meant a cover garment was needed in order to carry concealed. Again, no issue for me there.
Next step was carrying a gun. Bad news? If you are planning on carrying a micro pistol, you can forget about it, the elastic holster just swallows it and is a pain in the ass to retrieve. My Remington RM380 pretty much disappeared and had to be fished out which is a safety risk. More on safety a bit down the page.
How about full-size guns? The next one was my FN FP9 and it fit nicely and the strap secured it without issues. I did the IDPA upside-down shake down test and the gun remained in place. Now allow me to address a security issue: This is not a normal holster which means the holstering of a gun presents a rather nasty problem: You will need two hands and no matter how you slice it; you will sweep several parts of your anatomy with a loaded gun if you try to holster a gun while wearing the Bravobelt. The solution is simple yet annoying but safe: Holster the gun while NOT wearing the Bravobelt and then put whole thing on. We simply do not risk safety for the sake of being lazy.
Bravobelt comes with a “magazine pouch” mounted in a hook-an-loop patch to be placed where you find it most convenient for your particular manual of arms. I would love to have two, but I don’t see in their website that you can order the belt with 2 or more or that spares are available for buying.
And being a wide belt wrapped around your body, you can move it to wear the gun in the position you want. From any of the clock locations to an Appendix area, Crossdraw and if you are dumb enough, small of the back.
I found out that my most comfortable set up is the one in the photo above: Kahr CW9, spare mag, card folder for IDs and some cash, Swiss Army knife and keys including (not visible) the truck’s FOB. That was worn above a t-shirt and covered with a hoodie before I went out to the world.
With the exception of certain duties that required me dressing a certain business-like way, I used this set up for a week in and outside of the house wearing sweatpants, t shirts and a hoodie. From shopping at the big orange hardware store to the supermarket and even 3 days’ worth of gym, this specific combination of clothing and gear worked very nicely. Will I wear this as regular carry combo? No, I still like a regular holster with a good belt in regular pants as standard platform, but Bravobelt does have its very useful applications, especially if it means carrying at home and having to suddenly go to the nearest store for milk and bread while dressed as a Russian mobster or just a potato couch. It is definitely superior than pocket carry and by far.
PS: allow me to insist once again in the off-body holstering of the weapon with Bravobelt.