Unless you’re looking to ankle or pocket carry, carrying a gun is going to require the use of a concealed carry belt. Since waistband carry (either inside or outside) is the most popular method, a solid gun belt is going to be required.
Function is first and foremost. No matter what, a concealed carry belt has to perform the task of holding a pistol and holster where the carrier has positioned it. Form, on the other hand, can be somewhat subjective, but is likewise still important.
First, A CCW Belt Must Hold
The first and last function of a gun belt is that it has to hold a pistol and holster where it’s secured, and a CCW belt is no different. That is its most important job. If it does nothing else, it’s still doing the most basic thing a gun belt is supposed to do.
The reason why concealed carriers aren’t supposed to employ a department store or other fashion belt is that they aren’t built strong enough to carry a gun, or at least not for long.
Granted, a holster and a pistol don’t add an enormous amount of weight; usually just an extra couple pounds. However, this addition is still more than the typical belt can handle. You’ll notice the belt will start to sag where you holster the pistol, and eventually it will warp as the belt material has been stressed beyond its tolerances. Even if unencumbered by a gun, the belt will never wear correctly again.
Gun belt sag means your holster and pistol are less secure. They can “peek” and show people that you’re carrying, or worse, your gun could potentially fall out of the holster.
Concealed Carry Belts Should Be Inconspicuous
The problem with a lot of gun belts is that they’re kind of obvious. The average John or Jane Q. Public wearing what is obviously a duty belt or tactical belt will tend to stick out to some observers.
Is that to say wearing a nylon or other web belt will get you spotted anywhere and everywhere you go? Not at all. In fact, many nylon or tactical gun belts are every bit as strong (in fact, some are more so) than their leather counterparts.
However, there is an advantage conferred by a leather gun belt. The largest is that almost everyone wears leather belts to begin with. Nothing sticks out about them, even if made from thicker leather than many other leather belts. No one will know, and that inconspicuousness is an asset to the concealed carrier.
So in short, a good concealed carry belt holds a pistol and holster where it should, and doesn’t telegraph that the carrier is armed.