In early 2011 I had Michael, of Michael's Custom Holster's fame, made me a custom race rig for IDPA. I ended up shooting USPSA instead so the holster has been mostly relegated to occasional concealed carry use but the belt has become a daily wear item. That's not to say I haven't used and don't love my holster. I do. But that belt has been really put through it's paces and I wanted to give a long term write up on it as it nears 3 years of virtually continuous use.
I'm old fashioned. I tuck in my shirts and wear a belt with every pair of pants I own except for sweats. And jammies of course. If I thought Lu wouldn't kick me out of the marriage bed I'd wear one with them as well. When I first got that belt I figured it would stay with the rig and only get used when I competed. Then I went USPSA and, well you know the rest. The more I looked at that belt the more it struck me that it was just too fine a piece of leather accoutrement to leave it in my gear bag. So I started wearing it around.
It started out slowly. I mean the thing is an absolute work of art and the last thing I wanted to do was ruin it. See, I'm a little absent minded. Lu laughs at me for constantly finding myself hip deep in a project, having completely forgotten that I'm wearing my good clothes. Laughing may be the wrong word. Sighing is probably closer. So I was careful. Then one day I was doing another of those labor intensive and clothing destroying projects I keep getting roped into when I realized I had my good belt on. My Michael's that I swore I wouldn't screw up. I was aghast. Then I realized that the thing was taking everything I could throw it, yawning and asking me if that was the best I could do. It may have called me a sissy at one point but I was distracted from nailing my hand to a 2x4 so I can't be absolutely positive about that. Anyway. I started wearing it every day, everywhere and doing everything. From concrete to home remodel to USPSA. Yep, it finally got to compete.
So how's it look all these years and hard miles later? Like this;
Now, that is clearly a well used belt and yet it shows only reasonable cosmetic wear. Here's where the holster rides. That's nearly 3 years of constant carry and even competition wear mind you. And remember, this is a custom basketweave finish. Still looks great.
The belt has lost none of it's thickness and structural rigidity.
Oh, it's gotten softer and more pliable from wear but I'd risk my life
to it's strength any day. I'm pretty sure I could tow my truck with it. It has become so comfortable, like an old and trusted friend.
The lining and buckle holes. And remember, I'm pretty active and a diehard DIYer so this belt gets a lot of very hard use. Know how those thinner leather belts get all stretched and the holes elongated from trying to suck in your gut and over tighten your belt when the women folks are around? No? Just me? Well, not with this belt. It just says "You go ahead and eat that cow big guy. I've got this."
The buckle shows very little wear and no looseness at all. Again, I'd trust my life to this piece of equipment in a hot second. Bond like, hanging from a chopper by a rope attached to my belt, shooting Zombies one handed and uttering memorable quips to a beautiful woman. Well, maybe trading sarcastic remarks with Car Guy.
Overall the belt is stylish, well crafted and about as sturdy as anything I've ever wrapped around my waist. I'll never gird my loins (or whatever one girds) with anything lesser ever, ever again. You couldn't pry this one out of my hands with a winch. A wench maybe but not a winch. And only if it's Lu 'cause she knows where I sleep. I anticipate wearing this belt for misadventures and ill thought out projects for many years to come. And that's not something you can say about many products out there these days.
Michael is also a joy to work with. Talk about customer service. Heck, based on just the one purchase I feel as if I've made a friend for life. Though I'm pretty sure he should buy me a beer should we ever meet.
Now all this may sound like Michael saved my life back in 'Nam in '65, carrying me out through the trackless jungles on his back and I'm just trying to pay him back. Nothing could be further from the truth. I bought this belt with my very own dear coin and I will do so again. He has no idea I was going to write this and, truth to tell, will probably be just a bit embarrassed by my gushing. I just feel that great folks providing great stuff should be celebrated and the word passed. I recommend Michael and his stuff unreservedly. If it can pass the Six 3 year test it can handle pretty much anything.
If this review has whetted your appetite you can go to Michael's site linked above or visit his Best Belt site directly here. I love this belt. In case I was being a little too subtle.