In a perfect world it should be possible to acquire something to suit a need -and use or wear it secure in the knowledge it was a well considered and satisfactory purchase.
Certainly that was my thought when I bought a Wilderness Tactical Web Belt at a local gunshow one bright spring day many moons ago. (Only gunshows or gun shops have them because Macy’s, Sears and JC Penney have yet to stock their shelves with anything remotely similar)
The belt, in functional terms, has certainly met or exceeded every expectation. After 10 years of reasonably heavy wear it does not have the rundown shopworn look all my previous leather belts achieved in just six months.
In fact, except for some scuffs on the buckle it could pass as a nearly new belt in almost every situation I can imagine. (Okay, I might not wear it to a White House dinner, but I doubt any invitations will be in the mail anytime soon)
But the Wilderness Tactical Belt does come with some peculiar 21st Century baggage.
To wit: there are at least two groups of people who seem determined to comment on my choice of apparel whether or not I ask their thoughts on the matter.
In one corner self selected members of the (Sarah) Brady Bunch seem determined to notify me such belts are only worn by evil gunowners who are determined to destroy the country and probably have a number of other character flaws and hidden personality defects.
When I point out my belt was made entirely without the slaughter of a single NylonWebian and I thought we are all supposed to renounce our use of animal products whenever possible, they usually color slightly and walk away with their lips pursued tightly together as though they had just sucked a lemon dry.
Even more baffling to me in the polar opposite corner of the 21st Century Universe are self selected members of the NRA Fudd Community who hasten tell me such belts as mine are worn exclusively by ATAS Poseurs who have never spent so much as a day on the downwind side of a drill instructor at boot camp.
Really, when a perfect stranger sidled up to me at a gun shop to advise me thus, I made the mistake of rebuttal by wisecrack.
“Of course you realize the Coast Guard may need to extricate me from the roiling waters of a storm tossed sea when my cruise ship sinks and this belt will be the only thing strong enough to attach me to the helicopter hoist after I have bravely surrendered my lifeboat seat to the woman and children on board?”
Honest, he looked as though I had just peed on his boots. He completely ignored my jocular riposte’.
“Why, that is the most dangerous thing you could do, your back will break and you will be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life if you ever try such a stunt!”
I was speechless. I thanked him for his comments and advised him he was the first to ever tell me of the danger and then I paid for my ammo and got the heck out of that shop.
Truth be told, in the ten years I have worn this belt I have never been with miles of a cruise ship or Coast Guard Helicopter or any other aerial extrication hoist. Maybe it will happen someday and maybe it will not. In the meantime, I intend to wear the belt because it does what I need it to do.
I tell you all this, gentle reader, so you appreciate how tickled I was to discover
Frank Fred over at Guns And Coffee recently tested a similar belt- The Blackhawk CQB Rigger Belt- with actual mountain climbing gear. CLICK LINK HERE
I cannot authoritatively compare the Blackhawk and the Wilderness Tactical Belt, but the fact someone, somewhere, actually used a nylon belt to rappel down the side of a cliff may make my life much easier in future encounters of the NRA Fudd Variety.
Fred’s Helmet Cam Video: