03 January 2014

FBC Tactical 3-Speed Belt System

I have a love-hate relationship with gear. While I believe that the right gear will prevent a lot of frustration, much like having the right tools in the kitchen make for better food, it can be confusing to figure out what's worth the (sometimes lots of) money. Last month, I said on Facebook that I only recommend products I personally have evaluated or use. That's one of the reasons I will only explore sponsorship relationships with companies that I believe make good gear - companies like Brilliant Backstraps and PHLster, both of whom make some of the custom gear I've been using and abusing for over a year. In 2014, I'm happy to announce a new sponsor: FBC Tactical. Since FBC is a fairly new player on the market and I'm using a very nearly stock version of their 3-Speed belt system, I wanted to introduce you to it. The only difference between my belt and the standard is that I've opted to go with the "hook" side of the Velcro on the inner belt instead of the outer because I wanted the softer, "loop" side facing towards my body (and all of the shirts I ruin otherwise). Note - you can see bigger versions of all of these photos in the Picasa album.

Oh, and I did get a little custom embroidery. The purple, though? That's a completely stock color. And even if it wasn't, FBC is happy to work with customers on specific requests. 

My first impression of the 3-Speed was that it's built like a tank. Take a look at all of the extra stitching holding just the inner belt together, let alone what's usually a bit of an afterthought, the belt keepers:


For comparison, here's a couple pictures of the CR Speed belt I've been using for a bit over a year:

I feel that the edges of the FBC are much more nicely finished so they won't fray like my CR Speed has, and I can say for certain that the outer belt is much stiffer and a bit thicker. It does fit through my belt loops so I can use it solo for IDPA, but it's much harder to thread the belt through holster/mag carrier loops. In fact, I had to remove the modifications I made to one of my mag carriers so that it would fit on the FBC outer belt at all, and can't do the carrier loop / belt loop / carrier loop threading I used to do with the CR Speed belt. The FBC is heavy duty enough that my 1.5" injection molded clips and Tek Lok are hanging on solidly with no modifications. They slide back and forth a bit on the bare belt, but not when attached to the inner belt (and definitely not with a belt keepers in place)

The neatest part of the 3-Speed, though? The overlapping closure. It's mentioned on the FBC site, but here's a couple shots to help you see it better:

You Velcro one side over the other as usual, but then there's an extra flap to hold down the outer side. It's simple and works great, with the caveat that you really must be honest with yourself when measuring for the belt. If you get the belt a bit large, you can close the belt with the "middle" of the sandwich above on the inside instead, and the flap will attach itself to the new outside of the belt, but the end will stick out a bit because it's so stiff. When using just the outer belt through belt loops as I would for IDPA, the belt is a bit big for me, but one of the belt keepers ratchets down that end just fine. If you get the belt too small, the overlap system won't work as well although you do have some play there. 

Want your own or want to check out FBC's other products? Check out their website or Facebook page. They'll get back to you quickly if you have any questions or custom requests.