Battle Belt, War Belt, Bat Belt, Gucci Belt…whatever you choose to call them, MOLLE equipped belts have become a staple of tactical fashion. While these belts were originally intended for a lower-profile way of carrying the bare essentials of first- or second-line gear, many of today’s belts are anything but “low-pro”. A padded belt with three or four rows of webbing is hardly discreet. A number of manufacturers have undertaken the quest to return the bat belt to its roots and reduce the platform’s overall footprint. Grey Ghost Gear recently brought their answer to market: The UGF Belt.
The Unicorn Gunfighter belt is intended to strike the balance between adequate load carriage and adequately small size. My test sample actually came to me not from GGG, but from a close friend, former soldier and fellow industry professional. The CEO and lead instructor for Once Chance Tactical Solutions, based in western Washington State, got his mitts on an early production sample. After he showed it to me, I made several strategic comments about how I’m not normally a bat belt guy, but I’ve spent years looking for that goldilocks-just-right belt. My battle buddy thought maybe this was the holy grail I’d been looking for and, after checking with the folks at Grey Ghost, he let me take it for a spin on behalf of Black Sheep Warrior.
On initial inspection, the UGF Belt seems to take some design cues from competition belts – a wise move. It’s a two-part system consisting of a 1.5” inner belt with closed-cell padding and loop side pile tape around then entire outside of it. The outer belt is 2” SCUBA webbing with corresponding hook tape running the length of its underside. The inner belt secures around the waist by a hook-side Velcro tail. The outer belt clicks on with a cobra buckle. There are two rows of MOLLE webbing running end to end along the outside of the outer belt – which leads me to my biggest problem with this belt. The two rows of MOLLE loops are stacked one on top of the other. Traditional MOLLE platforms, like packs and plate carriers, leave about an inch between each row of loops. That space allows the pouches and attachments to be “woven”, alternating between the loops on the platform and the loops on the pouch itself. This weaving technique lends an incredible amount of security and stability to whatever you’re mounting.
The loops on the UGF belt, because they are so close together, do not allow you to weave. You must simply run your pouches through the two rows of loop and then snap or clip them closed on the bottom. While I understand the intent of keeping the belt low profile, there was noticeable bounce and wobble with some of my pouches. My holster, even though it is designed to ride on MOLLE platforms, had to be secured with four zip ties to keep it from wobbling around on the belt. If the MOLLE loops were just a little smaller, or spaced just a little wider, they might be able to alleviate this problem entirely.
Speaking of mounting things to my UGF Belt, what exactly did I put on mine? I was fortunate enough to be able to field-test this gear on a deployment overseas. What I found was that my configuration evolved throughout the course of my trip. The belt that came back home did not look the same as the belt I took over with me.
Here’s what I started with…
-A suite of HSGI’s ubiquitous TACO mag pouches so that I could utilize this belt with multiple weapons systems and not have to swap pouches.
-I also received one of their M3T (Multi-Mission Medical TACO) IFAK pouches, which I secured on the small of my back for ambidextrous access. The M3T has a pull-out tray that can be loaded with medical supplies. While not purpose-built for horizontal mounting, the M3T product page on HSGI’s website has a short video from NOLATAC that discusses some excellent impromptu methods for securing this pouch lengthwise on a belt or hanging underneath a plate carrier.
-A holster from Ares Tactical. It attaches through MALICE clips and can accommodate my TMT Tactical Glock 19 with Surefire light attached, as well as the OEM Glock 17, with same light, that I use on duty.
Here’s what I came home with…
-All my mag pouches remained intact. The only change was that, in each of the pistol TACOs, I placed a single 8-dot LEGO brick in the bottom so that my mags would stand higher out of the pouch.
-I had to switch off of the M3T. While it is a good pouch, it did not fit my needs. I do a lot of sitting at desks or in vehicles and the M3T, mounted at the small of my back, was just too boxy. I couldn’t sit properly anywhere. So I switched to the flatter Viper LE-A1 from SOTech (Read the Viper IFAK review here) . They’ve been producing nylon for real-world shooters for quite some time. I found the Viper’s thin profile to be much more conducive to seated work of any kind while still allowing me to have a full trauma kit with ambidextrous access similar to the M3T. The pull-out tray in the Viper is well designed and can accommodate enough medical gear to administer self-aid or buddy-aid for battlefield trauma.
-I added a small carabiner to hang my work gloves from, as well as a knife sheath from CB Kydex Holsters for my fixed blade utility knife.
-My pistol holster from Ares also remained intact. Once I secured it with the aforementioned zip ties, it held rock solid and performed well. I love that this holster has a natural offset to it. It kicks the butt of your pistol away from your body at a very shallow angle, reminiscent of the cowboy gunfighter holsters that you see in some western movies. The draw is quick and smooth, and the three-screw adjustable retention allows you the level of security that you want. My single complaint about this holster is that the hood goes all the way up to the rear sight. This seems entirely unnecessary to me. It forces my elbow unnaturally high during the draw, inhibits my re-holster and makes this rig a no-go for anybody who wants to run a slide-mounted red dot. Though I don’t agree with this particular design feature the fit, finish and quality of this holster are all good to go.
Aside from the aforementioned loop-spacing, what did I think of it? The construction is just about bomb proof. All the stitching is high quality, reinforced, and I had no issues with fraying or unraveling. The cobra buckle is quick to open but totally secure when closed. I experienced no digging or chafing whatsoever. Even when fully loaded, the belt did not sag my pants, so long as I cinched it properly. The inner belt provides a nice buffer without being bulky or encumbering. It too, functioned fine with or without the outer belt attached. The UGF also integrated well with my body armor. Transitions and reloads—off either platform—were unaffected when worn together.
With all the pouches and gear attached, it can make some of your pants pockets completely inaccessible. Particularly if you’re wearing jeans, those high-cut front pockets are going to be hard to get into with mag pouches and holsters sitting right over top of them.
For me, personally, I’m not 100% sold on the battle belt concept. My normal first line is just a 1.5” scuba-webbing belt with kydex belt holsters for my knife, pistol and mags. The gloves and trauma gear I carry in the cargo pockets of my 5.11’s. So I have to admit that, except for the rifle mags, the UGF did not provide me any extra load carriage over a pair of cargo pants. But if a MOLLE belt is in your future the Grey Ghost UGF is a sturdy, low profile choice. It’s available direct from Grey Ghost right here for $175.
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