Battle belts often called war belts or molle belts are specific belts that allow their user to easily wear their critical or supportive gear on their beltline.
Battle belts work great whit or without body armor such as a plate carrier. They allow the user to distribute their gear more over their body. And battle belts are excellent for making critical or essential gear more accessible.
The belts are usually padded and/ or reinforced and are lined with a molle webbing, that makes placing gear and equipment pouches on the belt simple and effective.
Minimalist Battle Belt
Sometimes less is more. This statement can also apply for tactical gear and of course battle belts setups.
Being prepared is generally a good thing, especially in the tactical or military world. Because the tactical world is quite unpredictable, anything can happen and anything can and most likely will go wrong.
But depending on your tactical needs and situation, it isn’t always the best or the smartest idea to carry too much extra load (weight) with you.
What is a minimalist battle belt? Well, a minimalist battle belt is a belt setup where you cut all the unnecessary or less important gear from your beltline and focus only on your critical gear.
So when putting together a minimalist battle belt a mission assessment or task assessment is crucial. You need to assess your task at hand to figure out what are the bare essential or critical pieces of equipment you need for your task. So basically what is the gear that you can’t go without!
Why is a minimalist setup good? Well, the answer depends a lot on the user, their personal needs and preferences. But overall the minimalist setups main good qualities are:
- Less weight to carry around.
- Your critical gear is more accessible.
- Less equipment to distract you.
- More room for mission-specific equipment.
Minimalist Battle Belt Setup
Before getting to the setup part, let’s take a quick look at what gear should go on a battle belt.
Well, the overall gear you but on your belt depends a lot on what you are going to use the belt for (your mission assessment) and on your personal preferences and needs.
But there are some essential or critical gear every battle belt setup should consist of.
I would categorize the essential or critical gear into three categories. First, you have your fighting gear, then your medical gear and finally your supportive gear.
1. Fighting Gear
So for the first category, we have our fighting gear. Fighting gear as the name suggests consists of everything that either is used to ”fight” or supports it in some way.
For example, your pistol would be your primary piece of fighting gear when a dump pouch would be supportive fighting gear.
- Pistol / Pistol Holster
- Magazines and Magazine Pouches
- Knives and/or other Self-defense equipment
- Dump Pouch
2. Medical Gear
Medical Gear, is everything that you might need to give efficient first aid/ medical aid in your tactical situation.
- An Individual First Aid Kit (IFAK)
- Extra Medical Gear
3. Support Gear
The support gear is the gear that is more or less your mission specific/ task-oriented equipment. It’s the equipment that is your mission specific, the gear that you might need on your task or environment.
For example, you might need an extra canteen of water or a belt-mounted radio and so on.
- Survival Kit
- Flash Light
- Canteen/ Hydration Kit
Basic Minimalist Setup
Now we can finally get to the setup part itself. We went over all the basics of the belt so the next thing is quite simple.
A basic minimalist battle belt setup should consist of the following:
You could also consider adding:
Your Handgun/ Sidearm
Your sidearm/ pistol is one of the most important pieces of equipment on a battle belt. Whether it is your main weapon or side arm, its still one of your main fighting and self-defense tools.
When placing a handgun on your battle belt the most important thing to keep in mind is accessibility.
If you cant access your side arm fast and efficiently it becomes basically a utterly useless piece of gear.
So the gun should be placed so you can draw it fast and effortlessly. And other pouches and equipment should be placed accordingly, so nothing would interfere or get in the way of drawing your pistol.
A good sidearm/ handgun magazine count for the minimalist battle belt would be anywhere between 2 to 4 magazines. This, of course, depends on your mission and personal needs.
For the magazine pouches, I would suggest using some kind of taco pouches, or open-top pouches. They allow for quicker access to your magazines. And are in general more comfortable to use.
If you are using an assault rifle or some other kind of a larger primary weapon. Then a battle belt is an excellent place to store a few extra magazines.
The rifle magazine count on your battle belt should be between 1 to 3. Depending on if you are wearing some kind of a plate carrier or a chest rig.
If you are only using a battle belt, you might want to opt for even more. Because firefights take a lot of ammunition.
Just like I recommended using open-top taco pouches for your sidearm magazines, I recommend using them for your rifle mags as well.
An IFAK is a medical or a first aid kit. The acronym IFAK means an individual first aid kit.
I think every battle belt setup should have some kind of a medical kit, or some kind of first aid supplies.
Whether its an complete IFAK, that has everything needed to deal with possible medical problems and injuries, or a small first aid kit compiled for your basic first aid needs, its always a good idea to have one ready and at hand.
To read more about IFAK’s and how to assemble your own, continue to my article IFAK 101: Everything You Need To Know About Assembling an IFAK Pouch
Dump pouches are pouches that are used for storing empty magazines between your reloads.
Now dump pouches definitely aren’t critical or must have pouches for battle belts. But they do give one a decent advantage when it comes to reloading and storing empty magazines.
They can offer a great substitute for utility pouches as well. When or if you would need to carry something on the go.
If you want to read more about dump pouches, continue to my article about dump pouches and why they are useful.
Just as I said about Dump Pouches, a utility knife or a tactical knife isn’t critical for a battle belt. Unless its necessary for your task or a critical piece of equipment for your mission.
That all said a knife can be a great addition to any battle belt. They offer a wide range of uses in any tactical situation.
From self-defense to a simple utility tool, knives are super useful tools to have in your battle belt setup.
Using a minimalist battle belt setup is great way to carry all of your critical and essential gear without carrying any unnecessary equipment around.
Using a minimalist setup means, that you will have to carry less weight around, there is less equipment, gear and pouches to distract you, making your critical gear more accessible and if necessary you have more room for mission specific gear.
Whether to use a minimalist setup or not depends on your own personal preferences and mission needs.
I actually use a few battle belts. and I run a minimalist battle belt setup (consisting of my handgun, 2 magazines a drop pouch and a small IFAK) whenever I have operations/ tasks that involve sitting in a vehicle or driving around.
Because having a lot of gear on the back end of the belt, while in a vehicle gets very uncomfortable fast. And can start to cause back issues.
If you want to read more about battle belts and the battle belt setup, in general, go check out my article: The Battle Belt Setup: Everything You Need To Know About Setting Your’s Up