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battle belt setup

Battle Belt Setup 101: How To Set Up a War Belt?

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Battle belts (also known as war belts) are an excellent way to carry all your necessary equipment while still being able to move quickly and efficiently. The benefits of battle belts include having a setup that is easily customizable, allowing for quick access to gear in case of an emergency, and can be worn comfortably around your waist without interfering with other gear you might need.

However, many people don’t know how to set up battle belts correctly and end up carrying too much unnecessary weight. In this blog post, we will teach you exactly how to do it and how to end up with the best battle belt setup tailored for your specific needs.

What Are Battle Belts And What Are They Used For?

Battle belts offer a great way to wear all your necessary equipment while still being able to move quickly and efficiently.

They feature a variety of pouches and attachments which allow you to customize what you carry.

They are primarily used by military personnel, law enforcement officers, survivalists, security contractors, EMTs, etc. for quick access to gear in case of emergency or combat scenario.

There are lots of benefits to wearing a battle belt. Some of the most notable benefits include:

Quick access to critical gear 

The first benefit is that it allows for quick access to critical gear in case of an emergency. As a hunter, law enforcement officer, or soldier you want to be able to draw your firearm and ammunition as quickly as possible when it’s needed most.

Every second on the field can be the difference between life and death. You never know when or where an emergency may occur, so having easy access to everything on you can come in handy!

Load distribution

Every hunter, law enforcement officer, or soldier knows the pain of having to carry a heavy pack all day long on their back. It isn’t just uncomfortable but it can also lead to huge posture problems in the future if you don’t take care when choosing your equipment and clothing (which is why we recommend using our equipment and clothing).

Load distribution is essential in any profession where you have to carry a heavy pack or bag on your back.

A battle belt helps with load distribution by keeping the weight close to your body, reducing pressure points that can cause you discomfort. 

It’s an additional place to carry gear

Battle belt setups are an excellent way to carry additional gear while still keeping you mobile. That way you can get rid of your bulky backpack and have more freedom of movement. This is really helpful for hunters, law enforcement officers, soldiers, or any other profession where they need a lot of equipment but don’t want the traditional backpacks with heavy weights on their backs.

They are easily customizable for your specific needs.

Battle belt setups are so versatile. You can customize them to be the perfect setup for your specific needs, whether you’re a hunter, law enforcement officer, or soldier.

And to go even further you can set them up according to your task mission or environment, whether you’re going to be working in the woods, desert area, or even an urban area.

They are easy and fast to make adjustments to when needed so that’s even better!

Battle belt front view
Battle belt setup front view

Battle Belt Setup Essentials!

Now that we know what battle belts are and why they’re beneficial, we should talk about how to set up a battle belt. There are many different ways to set up your battle belt but the main key points:

  • Battle belts are for making and plugging holes – Which means that your battle belt setup should primarily focus on your fighting gear (your sidearm and magazines) and your medical gear (IFAK, tourniquet, etc.).
  • Organization – The most important part of setting up a battle belt is to have everything properly organized. This makes it much easier to find what you’re looking for and will allow for faster access if needed. So as long as your gear is well-organized, the next key point should be fairly easy!
  • Think about your mission or task – Set up your battle belt so that it has all the essentials for whatever task you’re going to be doing. If you’re going to be doing a lot of room clearing, then your battle belt should include the essentials for that (extra mags, shotgun shells) as well as breaching charges and other task-specific gear. If you are going to use it in a shooting range then it should focus on the gear and essentials you need to use there. And so on.

    Every situation is different so your battle belt setup should be able to adjust according to the task mission or environment.
  • Keep it simple – The number one guideline is to keep it as simple and streamlined as possible. Simplicity in your kit will not only make it more manageable but also easier to use. So you should always opt for a minimalist battle belt setup!
  • You want everything on your belt to serve a purpose – if they don’t then take them off because less is always better when it comes down to simplicity with gear setups.

    This means that you can get rid of all those bulky pouches that are just taking up space and dragging you down and concentrate on mission-critical gear.
  • Everything in your battle belt setup has to be accessible – All of your gear on the belt should be easy to reach and accessible as fast as possible. This is especially important for your fighting and medical gear. Ideally, all of your critical and most important gear should be reachable with both hands. Also, one piece of gear shouldn’t interfere with accessing another and etc.
  • Weight – Your battle belt setup should be as light and compact as possible. This will make it easier to move around, while also being able to carry more equipment in the long run. Just try not to overdo it, if the belt gets too heavy you will need to add suspenders to the mix.
  • Balance the weight out – The most common mistake in the battle belt setup is placing all of the weight on one side, which will cause an imbalance and make movement difficult going forward or backward. It also puts more strain on your leg and hip muscles.
Battle belt setup

How To Choose a Battle Belt For Your War Belt Setup?

The first thing to do before getting to the setup itself is to make sure you are using the best battle belt for the job.

There are a lot of different battle belts out there, and choosing the right one will make your setup so much more efficient. So let’s take a closer look at what to consider when choosing a battle belt.

  • The type of the battle belt – There are essentially two types of battle belts:
    • One-piece belts – These belts will be one solid piece of webbing with a buckle, which can either take up all or most of your waistline
    • Two-piece belts – The other option is two separate pieces. You have your outer wider molle sleeve and a tactical belt that your can thread through the sleeve.
  • The size – The next thing to consider is the sizing of your chosen belt. There are many different sizes available, so make sure it fits comfortably around you before buying anything else for your setup.
  • Comfort – This is a really important factor to consider when purchasing your belt. You want the belt to be comfortable as possible.
  • Capacity – The capacity of the belt is one more thing to think about. Your battle belt should be able to fit everything you need for a day on deployment, but without being too heavy or bulky that it takes away from your mobility.
  • Width of the belt – You have a few options when choosing a belt for your setup. You can go with a slimmer belt like the Condor Outdoor LCS Cobra Tactical Belt or you can use a wider one like the Viking Tactics Skirmish Belt.
  • Buckle system – The buckle system is another thing to consider. You have a few options, including the quick-release style or the more traditional belt buckle that doesn’t come off easily.
  • Durability and quality – You will be wearing your battle belt for an extended period of time and it needs to last. They need to hold up against the elements, dirt, water, sweat, scratches, and anything else you can think of.


How To Set Up A Battle Belt – What To Put On It?

How to setup a battle belt by Garand Thumb

Now let’s get to the fun part: what equipment, pouches, and accessories should you put on your battle belt setup.


The holster for your sidearm/ pistol is the most essential piece of equipment in your battle belt setup. It is the one thing that you need to have on your side at all times, literally and figuratively. It’s your lifeline, your insurance policy, and the one thing that can save your life when things get hairy. So choosing the right holster for your sidearm is crucial.

So for the first thing, you should consider what type of holster you’re looking for. There are many different types of holsters, and it’s important to know what you need before purchasing one. We like to categorize them like this:

  • On belt holster – This is the most common type of holster. These types of holsters are mounted directly on your battle belt and you can wear them in just about any position on your hip.
  • Drop leg holster – This type of holster is worn on the side of your hip. It is mounted on a belt with straps. It runs down from your belt to your thigh where it’s secured to your leg with one or two straps.
  • Quarter drop leg holster – This is a mix of the classic belt-mounted holster and the drop leg (and actually my personal favorite type). It usually sits just below your belt line (just where your hand naturally sits) and the holster is mounted on a strap that drapes over your leg.

A very important aspect of choosing the right holster for your battle belt setup is what other tactical gear are you wearing? Are you wearing bulky body armor with shelling protection or are you wearing a slick plate carrier?

If you’re wearing bulky armor, then it might be best to go with a drop-leg holster. Because it might be difficult to access a directly belt-mounted one.

Also, think about the environment you’ll be operating in. If you are working in environments where you have to walk or run for longer distances or need to be as mobile as possible a drop leg holster might not be the best idea. Because it can get in your way while trying to squeeze through tight spaces and also wearing one for longer periods of time (especially when moving around) can be quite taxing on your leg.

One thing that you should be sure to take into account before purchasing a new holster for your battle belt, especially if you are an officer or department with strict uniform regulations, is whether or not they will need approval from their chain of command before wearing it in service.

Some agencies prohibit officers from modifying any part of their uniforms without prior written authorization. So make sure that when choosing a sidearm/ pistol setup for law enforcement professionals, always check first with officials at your agency!

The correct holster placement for a battle belt setup:

For a right-handed shooter, the holster should be mounted on the right side at about 3 o’clock or where your hand naturally sits. For a left-handed shooter, the holster should be mounted on the right side at about 11 o’clock or where your hand naturally sits.

It’s very important to keep the surrounding space on your battle belt around your holster as clean as possible and you should avoid adding bulky pouches near or next to your holster. Because you have to be able to draw your gun out of the holster without any hassle and interference and as quickly as possible


Magazine pouches

Your magazine pouches are one of the most important parts of your battle belt setup. While on the field you can almost never have ammunition. Choosing the right kind of magazine pouches and placing them correctly is crucial. It will definitely increase your reload speed and your chances of survival in a combat situation.

How many magazines should you carry?

Let’s start with the basics here. You should carry at least one magazine for your primary weapon and a minimum of two extra magazines for the secondary weapon.

Now the actual number of mags will vary from person to person and will heavily depend on your mission and what you are using the battle belt setup for in the first place. For example, if you need more mags for your rifle then you might want to include two or even three extra mags on your belt.

But if you don’t run a rifle and your main weapon is your trusty pistol then you will have a lot more space for your pistol mags and you might want or need to use three to four extra mags. The same goes if you don’t have a sidearm and are using only a rifle. Just keep in mind not to overdo it. Remember that each magazine you add will add a lot of weight

Where to place the magazines?

You want to place your magazine pouches in a location that is easy and quick for you to access. For most shooters, the best way to do this is on opposite sides of the body. That means if you’re right-handed, one pouch should be at around 11 o’clock on the left side of your battle belt setup, while the other will be placed at about 12 o’clock or so on the right side.

Usually, your sidearm magazine pouches will be right next to the buckle of your battle belt setup and after those your rifle/ main weapon magazines.

If you need to carry more magazines but are lacking room on your “magazine side” of the battle belt setup then you can add a backup magazine to your pistol side as well. But make sure it won’t interfere with accessing and reaching your sidearm.

What kind of magazine pouches to choose?

There are many different magazine pouches out there for both rifles and pistols. Now just like with everything, the right type will depend on your specific needs and the environment you are working in.

We’ve made it easy. Check out our review on the 5 best magazine pouches for battle belts!

For example, if you are in a desert or swampy area you might want to consider magazine pouches that can be fully closed to avoid getting dirt in them. Or if you need to change your position a lot you might want magazine pouches with some kind of extra security strap to avoid losing your magazines.

Overall we recommend choosing a pouch that has an open top for quick reloads during firing drills or in combat situations where you need it least! Our favorite magazine pouches are the High-Speed Gear Taco Mag Pouches. They are well made and have a nice balance of quick access and security for everyday use.


An IFAK pouch

An IFAK (individual first aid kit) or a med pouch is a pouch that can be attached to the battle belt in order to quickly reach a first aid kit or other medical items. It’s a crucial part of any battle belt setup that is often overlooked by many.

Why keep an IFAK on your battle belt? An IFAK pouch is a vital part of your battle belt setup as it allows you to reach medical supplies while in the heat of combat. It’s also important because if someone gets injured on your team, then they will be more likely to survive if there are no additional delays before receiving proper treatment.

What should you include in your IFAK pouch? You should include items such as a tourniquet, pressure bandage, and at least one other medical item. The exact items will depend on your needs and what you feel will be most useful.

How to properly pack? Pack everything like how you would load magazines into magazine pouches – tight and compacted so nothing falls out when moving about or being jostled from enemy contact; only take what you need. Items such as medication can stay in their original packaging until needed but certain

Where to place the IFAK pouch on your battle belt setup? When placing the IFAK on your battle belt the most important thing to keep in mind is that it needs to be in easy reach. And you should be able to reach it with both of your hands.

Well, the most accessible and the best spot for your IFAK is on your front left side near or around where you would normally wear an ammo carrier. This location will allow easy access in case of emergencies while also not interfering with any gear you may be wearing that sits atop it.

But it’s not always that simple because we need to carry other (sometimes even more important gear) as well, such as magazines! So another good place for the IFAK would be directly at your back. When it’s directed at your back you will be able to access it with both of your hands.

Although if you keep it on the back you will have to use a tear-away or a rip-away style pouch. That you can simply just rip off the battle belt whenever you need its contents. A good example would be the Condor rip-away EMT lite pouch.



A good tactical knife is an extremely important tool to have on your person at all times. But why carry a knife on your battle belt? Well, because a knife is an essential weapon and a great tool that must be carried with you. You never know when you might need it. It could be to cut through something, or in self-defense.

We recommend using a shorter fixed blade tactical knife for your battle belt setup. This is because a long blade will just get in the way, and is a bit bulky on a battle belt

A fixed blade knife is also more reliable than its folding counterparts for self-defense purposes as it’s much easier to control. If you need to use your knife quickly, this would be preferred over a folder that could pinch or cut fingers while being drawn from an awkward position. A good example would be the Schrade SCHF14 which is a solid, strong knife with a sharp blade.

Attaching a knife to your battle belt setup

When it comes to mounting a knife to your battle belt there are two very important things to consider and think about. The first is where the blade will go on the belt and the second is how to attach it.

So where should the knife be? The most important thing to consider here is accessibility. You want to be able to reach your knife as quickly and effortlessly as possible. It would be even better if it would be accessible and reachable with both hands.

You have 3 options here:

  • Having the knife at the front of your belt – Keeping the knife in front of the battle belt will let you access it effortlessly with both of your hands. You can keep it on either side of the belt buckle.
  • Having it on your right side – Having it on your right side next to your holster is another good option. You won’t be able to access it as easily with both hands but you can access it a lot faster with your main hand.
  • Keeping it behind your back – This option is not recommended because it will take you a lot more time to access your knife. You also have the risk of losing your balance and falling over when trying to reach for it with only one hand.

Also, you should think about if you want to mount the blade vertically or horizontally. A vertically mounted blade is a bit faster to draw. But it can often be quite uncomfortable when you need to bend yourself from the waist. Because when the knife is too long you might “stab” yourself with the handle while bending over.

For the mounting itself:

You can use paracord to lace it on the molle webbing of your battle belt – Using paracord to secure it to your belt is a great and very simple idea. It’s quick, easy, and secure but can be a pain to undo if you need to take the knife off.

You can also use a sheath that attaches with one of those plastic clips – Those plastic clips are easy to use and cheap but can be a pain to undo when you need it off.


What more to include in your battle belt setup?

So we went through the essential pieces of gear a battle belt setup should include, but that’s not all. Depending on your mission or task, you might want or even need to consider other pieces of gear such as:

  • A dump pouch – A dump pouch is a pouch that is worn on the battle belt and it’s meant for dumping your empty magazines in. Think of it as a dump bin for your empty magazines.
  • Flashlight – A flashlight is a must-have for any operator. You will need to find one that is both bright and can stand up to the elements.
  • Tourniquet – One of the most important pieces of gear that every operator should carry.
  • Radio/radio pouch – Most of the time battlefield communications will happen over radio signals as opposed to voice comms, which means that having a good communication setup is crucial. It should allow two-way conversations for both short-distance and long distances so you never miss out on an important event or conversation happening elsewhere in the world.
  • Map/GPS system – Maps can help orient yourself when navigating unfamiliar territory while GPS systems also provide directions with just enough information about where something is located without giving away vital details like how many people
  • Compass – A compass should be included because it will help keep you from getting lost when navigating through unfamiliar terrain or over long distances.
  • Multitool – A multipurpose tool can make all the difference during an emergency situation, whether you need to cut something or tighten bolts. A multitool can be a life-saver when you’re in need of any type of tool for changing out the battery on your flashlight or unraveling some fishing wire, and having one attached to your battle belt means it will always be within reach.
  • Carabiner – A carabiner can be used to secure a variety of items, like your tactical gloves or a water bottle.
  • Binoculars or night vision goggles – Night vision goggles are particularly useful for anyone who spends a lot of time out at night, but binoculars can be helpful in any situation where you’ll need to see something far away.
  • Water system – Whether you’re in the military or a police officer, having access to water is crucial for staying hydrated. This also includes items like purification tablets and any other means of carrying water that may be necessary. Your best options are either a water bladder or a canteen.
  • Utility pouch – The utility pouch is the perfect place to store any smaller items that you may need throughout your missions. This includes things like a field knife or other survival gear, but it also makes for an excellent tool on its own when performing tasks that require more than one hand.
  • Survival kit – A survival kit is a set of items that will help you stay alive in the event that your mission leaves you stranded. This includes things like matches, flares, and other tools for staying warm or getting rescued which may be necessary.
  • Rope – Paracord rope is the most practical type of rope for a battle belt setup. This will help you do everything from securing your load to building shelter and can be stored in one small place on your waist.
  • Tomahawk, axe, or a machete – These are all bigger tools to help you combat the environment around you.
  • Other mission and task-oriented gear – This is any kind of equipment that you may need for your mission or task such as handcuffs, a baton, night vision goggles, extra ammunition and etc.

Test Your Battle Belt Setup Out!

When you have your battle belt all set up, it’s important to test the system before you head out on your mission or task. First, take some time and go through all of the pockets, zippers, straps, etc. until you are confident that everything is secure and in place for a successful set-up.

Try it on and see how it feels. Is it comfortable? Can you move whith it? Is it too bulky? Also, focus on the weight. Is it too much? Is it distributed evenly? And etc.

After that actually test out if you can access all of your gear and how effectively you can do it. Try to draw your side weapon a few times. Look for any faults and pouches that might interfere with it. Try to access your magazines and reload your weapon and also try to reach your IFAK.

Just go through all the steps and really take your time. If you feel like something is off with your battle belt setup, then re-think your approach and change it up until it’s a perfect fit for you!

What to put on a battle belt - Complete battle belt setup infographic
An infographic showing what to put on a battle belt

In Conclusion

The key to maximizing your battle belt setup’s potential is making sure you have the right tools for the job. This article walked you through how to set up your battle belt and included some of the key points to keep in mind when setting up your combat belt. 

If you have any other questions about how to set up your battle belt or about different setups, feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help!

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