Do you know the difference between a battle belt vs chest rig? You may favor one over the other significantly, or you may be unsure which is the right choice for your situation. To make that decision, you need some information.
What is a Battle Belt?
A battle belt is what it sounds like. It’s a belt that adapted over time to do more than just hold up your pants. For centuries it held battle tools of old but as the times, tools, technology, and battle strategies change so must a belt design. They also changed names and are sometimes called tactical belts, war belts, or even the fun-loving Batman belt.
Battle belts evolved over time to include more modularity to allow for more usage options. Some older models used a simple strip of sewn cotton to hold tools in place. Other options popped up over time; such as chest rigs.
Advantages of a Battle Belt
A battle belt offers several great benefits. These include:
- Easy access to your gear. This is often one of the most important reasons to use these belts because they keep your sidearm, first aid kit, magazines, and anything else easily within reach.
- Flexibility. Battle belts can allow for a good deal of flexibility while stooping, bending, twisting, running, jumping or fighting. It’s limitations are with the equipment you add to the belt. The more you add the more restrictive or bulkier it can become.
- No rifle handling restrictions. The battle belt should be positioned tightly across the body if worn properly. Done like this, it does not interfere with the movement of your rifle or your handling of it.
- Customizable. Depending on which you choose, a battle belt is a customizable option that makes it ideal for those who want more flexibility to experiment in a way that works for your needs. Numerous configuration options make it an excellent choice.
- Easily fitted. It only takes a few seconds to put a battle belt on or take it off, which can help those who have limited time to become battle ready.
Disadvantage of Battle Belts
Before choosing the battle belt, consider a few of the most common disadvantages of them:
- Need a slimmer build. The battle belt works a little better for athletic built people. Someone with a bigger build, may find it hard to keep it positioned properly. If not positioned well, it can slip out of place, causing concerns for equipment security or retention.
- Restricted space. The amount of equipment you can comfortably & conveniently carry directly relates to your waist or belt size. The smaller your waist the less space on your belt you have to fit various tools or pouches. The larger your waist the more space you have to gear up!
- Ground positions or sitting. There can be a bit of a learning curve when you are wearing a battle belt and are sitting or laying down. Equipment carried on your belt in the small of your back can create difficulties while recovering from being on your back while on the ground. It can also create comfort issues while seated. So many people will leave the small of the back empty of any equipment to prevent this or practice recovering from ground or seated positions.
Situations to Use a Battle Belt
Use a battle belt when:
- Transitioning between competition stages
- Violent or emergency situations that require quick access to your defense or medical gear.
- While wearing a plate carrier
- You prefer the weight of your equipment to be distributed onto your hips rather than back.
What is a Chest Rig?
A chest rig is a type of load bearing rig designed to support the needs of those who want to carry tactical gear on their chest. The earliest models of them were crude pouches sewn together to hold equipment. They did not have a lot of modularity to them. Rather, pouches were positioned without a lot of options to move or shift them. Over time, new solutions were developed, especially once MOLLE & PALS webbing were developed. This created more options for attaching gear to a chest rig in various positions or angles. Although a chest rig can be used in conjunction with armor a chest rig is predominantly intended to carry equipment.
Advantages of a Chest Rig
There are some good reasons to choose a chest rig:
- They are versatile. They are an overall versatile option for carrying all your gear right on your chest. They offer room for a good amount of gear, including ammo pouches, kits, and radios.
- Weight distribution. The x-straps on these rigs help to distribute the weight more evenly on your body, allowing for more comfort and less fatigue when using them.
- Wear over your clothing. You can use chest rigs in various ways, including over your clothing, jackets, and body armor.
- Nothing on the back. Because the back of this design is open, you can easily carry a backpack with it.
Disadvantages of Chest Rigs
There are some disadvantages of chest rings to consider:
- Front heavy. Because of their design, they are front heavy, which can be uncomfortable for some as they place more pressure on the lower back.
- Harder to get low. If you are laying in the prone position attempting to line up your sights, it can be harder to get low with these due to the chest rig adding additional space between you and the ground.
- Limited space. When compared to a plate carrier with MOLLE, you still have very little actual space to carry gear with a chest rig.
- Sling & long gun use. While using a long gun with a sling a chest rig can cause additional learning curves to get familiar with. For instance, your sling can get caught on magazines, knife handles, or other gear attached to your chest rig. So, navigating a long gun and sling around your chest rig can be something to add to your training regimen.
Situations to Use a Chest Rig
Use a chest rig for:
- You prefer the weight of your equipment to be distributed onto your back rather than hips.
- You plan to do a lot of driving.
- You need to wear bulkier clothing.
Battle Belt vs Chest Rig: Which Should I Choose?
One is not better than the others, but rather each offers an important level of versatility that is appreciated by users. The correct answer to this question may not be to choose one but to use both. Combine the two to gain a higher level of functionality and more ability to customize your fit to carry all of the tactical gear you want and need. A Battle belt and chest rig can give you ample freedom and the ability to carry everything you need.