Pros: Materials, Overall Quality, Fit
The Blackhawk CQB/Rescue Belt (aka a rigger’s belt) is a “piece of equipment” more than it’s a “belt.” I couldn’t be happier! It greatly exceeded my expectations! With as much research, trial and effort as it took to find this item, in order to help anyone with similar needs considering purchasing it here are my thoughts and experiences: I’m a dog trainer by profession and as such do a lot of fieldwork. I was looking for a solid belt that wouldn’t loosen up or slip under lots of active movement while carrying a fair amount of gear. Depending on the actual job at hand and what I’m wearing I’ll typically either have stuff jammed into many pockets, in packs or pouches attached directly to the belt, or both! The CQB allows multiple ways to configure gear to fit any situation. I can and do wear this both as a “pants” belt (inside the belt loops) and at other times as an outer “holster” type rig. The belt expands enough to even use outside a jacket too, if need be. The V-ring is extremely useful for clipping a dog leash to! It’s outstanding when a “third hand” is needed for managing multiple dogs or even with just one dog, especially when picking up droppings. No more having to stand on or juggle the leash while doing that! I don’t see myself jumping out of helicopters or rappelling down buildings with it (although if I had to I would trust it completely!) but I’ve also not met the dog that could ever break this belt! While researching belts I read many comments about sizing with this one. I have a 32” waist and decided to go with a Medium. It turned out to be the perfect size for me and allows great flexibility with both adjustments and functionality. I’m really happy that I didn’t go with a size Small! When wearing as a “pants” belt the running end is a bit longer than other belts I’ve had. If this were a leather belt or non-Velcro web belt I’d probably cut a few inches off to keep it from flopping around but in this case it’s no big deal, in fact having it a bit longer is desirable since the designers were generous with the amount of hook and loop material provided and thus the tail secures all the way to the end! Not only no loose tail to flop about but that extra length actually helps to secure the belt against slippage. Be aware that this is a pretty thick, beefy belt (as well as wide at 1.75” so measure your belt loops before buying if you want to be sure it fits specific pants; this belt won’t work with many styles of blue jeans and chinos having narrow belt loops. Also unless your pants have full 2” loops don’t expect the belt tail to tuck underneath the belt loops along with the first run of the belt. Even with the 1.75” loops on some tac pants the tail will need to fasten down outside the belt loops- and that’s ok because there’s plenty of Velcro exposed between the loops to do that. In fact I’d do so anyway because that helps to keep the belt in place! The very generous amount of Velcro supplied also works to keep molle straps and other keepers in place. Also the little Velcro tab that secures the V ring when it’s not in use can be used to hold small things in place that have a lanyard or small strap. This belt has so many great features aside from its strength! As mentioned above the belt can also be used over a shirt or jacket. In that case I run another belt through the belt loops and use the CQB much like a duty belt. It easily and comfortably carries a large belt pack stuffed with gear, a 20’ training line and a bottle parka with full 1-liter Nalgene bottle no problem and with no rolling! (I can’t speak to how it would work to carry a heavy gun; I don’t carry one on this belt but I’m sure it would be fine for a light gun).This belt is firm enough to hold everything I use and not roll yet is also soft enough to be comfortable and not dig into my side no matter how I deploy it. As far as the buckle goes I’ve read some reviews by people who like the belt but state that one must get used to how the buckle “sticks out” in front. Well first, remember that this isn’t a fashion belt but rather is a utility/work belt with a darned heavy-duty buckle that nothing is going to destroy. It isn’t designed to lay flat (especially with the thick safety belt threaded through it) as would a decorative fashion buckle. One can though mitigate how far the buckle sticks out simply by wearing the belt correctly. I have yet to see a photograph in an advertisement where the model or mannequin is shown wearing this belt correctly! Most photos show the buckle centered over the fly with the V ring off to the side. Think about it; if you rappel down a building the rope and V-ring are going to be centered and the buckle will be slightly off to one side. Position the belt like that and the buckle will not stick out and will not create that weird bump underneath your shirt (plus, in an actual rappelling emergency, to avoid ripping a belt loop you want your weight distributed evenly around all your loops, not to be putting excessive pressure on a loop off to one side (assuming your belt loops are up to the task!)To sum up this is one of the best and most useful belts I’ve ever purchased! What makes it even better is that I found it at Knife Center, one of my favorite places to shop!