Belts, even gun belts, are both completely commoditized but also intensely personal. Their utility is the commodity. We need to them to hold up our pants, secure our holsters and sheaths, and keep things in place and not sliding around. Pretty simple. But the personal component comes to bear in color, material, ornamentation, buckles, etc.
Blackbeard Belts, out of Oklahoma, has been making 100% USA made belts for only a couple of years, but the founder, Michael Moreno, has many years in the tactical industry. You may have heard about their Peacekeeper belt (reviewed elsewhere here on SpotterUp) with its unusual ratcheting system primarily used by competition shooters. BTW, Blackbeard takes its name from Michael himself, not because he’s a pirate (well, I guess he could be, I don’t know), but because he has a jet black beard.
For this trial, I received the Romeo Gun Belt, in black with brushed stainless buckle and keeper. I work in a business casual environment, so anything uber tactical will just be out of place, so I was excited to take a look at Blackbeard’s Romeo offering and compare it to the leather gun belts that have been my standard EDC for years.
The stats from Blackbeard’s website:
- 1.5” Width
- Water, oil, blood, chemical resistant
- 4500 lbs tensile strength
- SOLID Stainless Steel Buckle
- SOLID Stainless Steel Belt Keeper
- 2 Steel Chicago Screws & Posts
- Precision Cut for high quality
The belt has 9, 3/4″ spaced oval holes and is made from a Polymer coated nylon material. Blackbeard declares the belt to be near indestructible and made to ensure no roll over or folding, zero stretch, and impermeable to all weather conditions, unlike natural leather belts. It resists water, sweat, dirt, chemicals, blood, and most other liquids and substances. Cleaning only requires mild soap and water.
Blackbeard clearly enjoys putting their packaging together. My belt came tightly rolled, tied with jute in a branded ziplock bag. Included with it though were several items of SWAG, including stickers, a beer coozy and even a toy soldier (yup, just like the ones we had as kids).
Apparent from the first time I picked it up, this belt was not like the other gun belts I have. It looks like tooled leather, but definitely feels like synthetic material. Heavy duty and very grippy, it stayed curled and even after a few weeks it still curls when hanging.
The belt fits well, though it only comes in even numbered sizes and per their measuring system, I would be an odd numbered length. As a result I went up a size and thus ended up with a belt slightly too big. In retrospect I should have gone down a size and would still have had plenty of room.
Wearing the belt for several days, it carried everything I needed to (usually a G19 or Sig 229, extra mag and a knife) without sagging or stretching. Once placed, nothing moved either. It’s a little on the large size for a slightly upscale business casual environment as well (my wife said it looked like I was wearing a biker belt.) As mentioned before, it was heavy. Weighing in at 10 ounces (most of my leather belts came in at 6 or 7 ounces) substantially heavier and I noticed it every time I took it off and put it on.
I suspect Blackbeard’s claims of indestructibility are likely correct (or nearly so). The belt feels like it is indestructible. I do wonder how it would handle extreme heat/fire. Would it melt? I like my belts with a little more finesse and style though, something my leather belts often deliver, aging well with a nice patina.
Lastly, when putting the belt on, I noticed it would have a tendency to twist as I ran it through the belt loops, as the belt would stay naturally curled. Easily enough undone, but an annoyance nonetheless. And something I’ve never had a leather belt do.
Cost – List price for the belt is $90, but Blackbeard currently has it marked down to $70. I’d give this a 3.5 as that is close to the pricing of its competitors.
Comfort – Too heavy, 40% heavier than a similar leather belt. Doesn’t have the feel or flexibilty of leather. 3
Durability – Extremely robust and well made, an easy 5.
Functionality – Very functional, does what you need it to. 5
Weight – Comparable to it’s peer group. 3
Overall rating – 19.5 out of 25.
For what a gun belt is supposed to do (hold up pants, securely hold your weapon/holster, etc), the Blackbeard Romeo fits the bill.
This belt will be right for many. It’s just not right for me. It is too heavy, slightly too bulky for my work environment, and frankly, I like the feel of leather much better (there is no way to say that without smirking).
But, if you want a big, synthetic, bombproof belt, this may be the one for you.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.
*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.