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Special Forces Battle Belt Setup

Special Forces Battle Belt Setup: What Should Be on It?

The mission always dictates what kit should be on your special forces battle belt setup. You’ll need different kit for your battle belt depending on whether you’re in maritime or land warfare operations.

There are many battle belt variations worn by special forces units all over the world. In this article, we’ll cover mainly what a U.S. Navy SEAL (Sea Air Land) may wear on tactical missions.

Keep in mind that maritime operations require more waterproof pouches. Saltwater quickly degrades gear.

Table of Contents

What Battle Belt Do Navy SEALs Use?

Navy SEALs have some flexibility in the gear they choose to wear during missions. Each SEAL team member can wear a different belt during a mission.

One belt that comes up repeatedly and is sort of revered by Navy SEALs is the Blue Alpha Battle Belt by Blue Alpha Gear in Atlanta, Georgia.

This is a two-belt system. The inner belt is 1.5″ wide and goes through the belt loops on your pants.

The outer belt fastens to the inner belt with strong Velcro, locking it tightly to the inner belt.  The outer belt is 1.75″ in width and carries the pouches.

This belt may use PALS webbing for MOLLE on it or not. The cobra style buckle is the preferred style.

Note – battle belts are also called war belts and duty belts.

Special forces soldiers with battle belt setups

Special Forces Battle Belt Setup

Because there is limited space on your battle belt, it’s always a good idea to use pouches that can be used for a multitude of things because it is easy to attach smaller pouches on top of them.

The evolution of battle belts for Navy SEALS is moving toward putting more stuff on your plate carrier instead of the battle belt. Gear is more accessible on the plate carrier and it’s a good idea to keep as much weight off your hips as possible because otherwise you’ll fatigue quicker.

Pistol Magazines

Though SEALs may keep most mag pouches on their plate carrier vests they usually add a couple to their battle belts too in a very convenient location around the front center of the belt.

Utility Pouch

Utility pouches can be of various sizes and shapes and can hold hundreds of different items. We will list some of the more common items SEALs store in them below.

  • bags for retaining items you need to pull off someone
  • flash crashes (flash-bang grenades)
  • 40mm grenades
  • shotgun shells for breaching
  • chemlights
  • paracord
  • energy bars

Flotation Devices

These also have a variety of styles and can be held in a small pouch on either side of your war belt toward the back and still be accessible when you need them.

Flotation devices are small auto-inflating tubes or rings that can help you support the load in the water.

Canteen With Utility Pouch

Canteens for water can serve a double purpose because they’re fairly large as far as pouches go. Another smaller pouch can be easily connected by MOLLE on top of the canteen pouch, effectively adding another layer to your kit.

Medical Pouch

Some SEALs have two medical kits. The main one is worn on their plate carrier or vest, and the other on their special forces battle belt setup. The smaller kit on their utility belt may hold tourniquets, tape, bandages, tweezers, scissors, or other necessities.

Weapons Retention

Needed on sensitive items so you don’t lose them. Used mostly with maritime operations on the water. It consists of rubber and plastic-covered coiled cord that wraps around your pistol or other vital items so you don’t lose them, aka dummy cord.

Flex Cuffs

Plastic handcuffs that fold up and are very flexible can be fitted directly into the battle belt setup or into an auxiliary pouch already existing on another item.

Drop Leg Holster Setup

Adding a backup pistol high on the leg on the favored side and attached to the battle belt is a common setup. The strap going around the leg has two functions. It holds the pistol closer to the body and it holds the seam of the pants up high to make it easier to climb over obstacles.

Adjustable Catch

An adjustable catch is basically a thick belt loop with Velcro to adjust the length to make it snugger. Catches can hold heavy items like a 40mm grenade launcher or a short shotgun to breach doors.

Some catches have space to add a 40 lb. rare earth magnet to help secure your weapon.

Escape and Evasion Kit

Depending on the mission, SEALS may add some of the following to their escape and evasion kit.

A signaling mirror with a hole in the center you can look through to aim the sun’s glare. A small water filter tube or pills to purify water. An extra map is a good idea as are multiple tools to start a fire.

SEALS sometimes carry money they can use in the area they are in or simply have some gold or silver coins.

Fixed Blade Knife

SEALs almost always carry a knife, no matter the mission. Contrary to popular opinion, it isn’t always for taking care of bad guys, a knife has many other uses.

You can get a knife pouch with an extra pouch attached to the front and stick a backup multi-purpose tool in there. SEALS often carry two of these tools, the other in a pouch of its own.

Key Takeaways

Kit is chosen to support the mission. If it isn’t essential, it isn’t brought along.

That’s how it’s supposed to be. There is a lot of leeway in what Navy SEALs are allowed to take with them. SEALs answer ultimately to themselves and others on their team. 

As you can see in the list of pouches carried by SEALs, they can carry a lot of different kit on their special forces battle belt setup at the same time.

Vern Lovic

Written by Vern Lovic

Vern Lovic is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Stationed at Hickam Air Force Base where he served in the heart of the Pacific (PACAF) on Oahu, Hawaii. For the last twenty years he’s done hard time in Thailand jungles teaching visitors and locals how to manage their deadly venomous snake population. Read bio!

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