I like battle belts. I found out a few years ago that by transferring load bearing duties from my chest to my hips, my back wasn’t so bad after a day on my feet. Out went chest rigs, in came the battle belt. I’ve been wearing the same belt for some time now. After briefly trying a new chest rig and realising nothing much had changed, I decided a belt upgrade was in order.
For this, I chose the FirstSpear Assaulter’s Gun Belt (AGB) and Padded AGB Sleeve. The AGB is the inner belt and the AGB Sleeve is the belt pad. Normally, the pad is where the MOLLE goes. But, with FirstSpear, we’re talking 21st century and their 6/12 system. You can read about that here. Suffice to say, the AGB Sleeve portion of the the 6/12 system is backwards-compatible with legacy attachment systems. That means all my existing pouches will fit the AGB Sleeve.
It also makes FirstSpear products extremely light. No MOLLE means no webbing and no stitching to hold it together. Instead, we have a single piece of 500D with laser-cut slots, through which attachments are threaded. The ends of each slot are radiused to ensure strength. And, indeed, these 6/12 slots are strong. They must be able to take the abuse of threading items with legacy attachment systems into the belt – not to mention the weight carried by the pouches.
A tour of the belt and my thoughts follow.
The AGB’s grey Austrialpin Cobra buckle. Cobra buckles are awesome. They can take a load of abuse and are rated to take ridiculously heavy loads. They are also quick release, so you can dump a load fast.
The AGB is 1.75″ wide.
Labels show this is a genuine FirstSpear product, made with care and attention in the US (aside from the Cobra which, of course, is made in Austria).
The AGB is composed of two lengths of beefy webbing, which sandwich a stiffener:
The inside of the AGB exhibits a strip of loop Velcro. This is presumably meant to interface with hook Velcro on the inside of a belt pad. The FirstSpear AGB Sleeve does not have hook Velcro on the inside. However, I prefer this lack of Velcro. (I briefly owned an HSGI SGPB. It was a pain in the arse to adjust the inner belt, because the hook and loop fastened the inner belt to the belt pad so effectively).
Velcro loop for AGB length adjustment is Multicam colour matched:
AGB and AGB Sleeve, laden, laid flat:
Lumbar pad. I’ve heard this is removable, but it fits me like a glove and I really appreciate it in use.
The spacing of the 6/12 channels is interesting. It’s not the same as MOLLE. Whereas all MOLLE channels are regularly and equally spaced, pairs of channels here are spaced like MOLLE and are arranged in segments (two channels per segment); but the space in between segments is wider than MOLLE. This means items which require more than two channels must either be bodged between segments, or the AGB needs to be fed outside a 6/12 segment to direct mount an item.
This isn’t the first belt pad which allows items to be mounted directly to the inner belt, but it’s still an awesome feature.
I’ve fed the AGB outside a segment for the dumper. It fits well and allows the dumper to sit slightly lower. My utility pouch, on the other hand, doesn’t fit on the exposed belt, but does just about fit on three channels.
The zip, which runs along the majority of the base of the AGB Sleeve:
This allows the user to install soft armour, or reconfigure the AGB’s inner layers (the padding and stiffener are removable). It also makes the integration of FirstSpear’s 6/12 pouches possible, and can help with the threading of a more traditional attachment system like 6/9.
It’s all about the details and the zip’s garage, composed of Hypalon, shows FirstSpear’s attention to the little things.
I wore my last belt relatively high, around my natural waist. FirstSpear’s AGB and AGB Sleeve works best for me slightly lower – overlapping hips and waist. But, it can be worn lower still, just as comfortably. In a lower position it would better complement most plate carriers.
I’ve worn the AGB and AGB Sleeve for a few hours so far. It’ll see some action on Sunday. It’s extremely comfortable and stays put, which is exactly what you want from a battle belt. It’s also extremely stiff and resistant to sagging and twisting under load. It doesn’t bob up and down when running, either. It’s very stable.
A word on sizing. I chose an inner belt which was one size larger than the sleeve I required. I went with a large AGB and a medium AGB Sleeve.
I ordered direct from FirstSpear. Optactical was a bit cheaper, but their USPS shipping service was about the same price as FirstSpear’s FedEx shipping service. FedEx>USPS/Parcel Force (USPS’ UK partner, which is particularly useless at speeding expedited parcels through customs).
This belt is impressive. It’s extremely well made and is of exceptional quality. I’m looking forward to giving it some abuse.