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Ratcheting EDC Belts Compared, Blackbeard VS Kore Essentials

A solid gun belt is important in carrying comfortably and confidently.

When I tell people that a good belt can make carrying a gun more comfortable they often dismiss it. But one of the things that makes carrying uncomfortable is when the holster moves or sags.

Once this happens your gun will inevitably find the most uncomfortable place on your body and bug you. So the solution is to tighten the belt so the holster can’t move and this makes you uncomfortable. 

Gun belts are primarily are made of leather or nylon, and each has pros and cons. Leather lasts a long long time, but is heavy, whereas nylon is a lighter material that is more subject to wearing or fraying.

Nylon belts often use Velcro or a clip instead of a buckle that goes through a specific hole so you are not stuck to the 1/2″ adjustment holes. For me, this is what’s driven me to wear a nylon belt like 90% of the time.

I have two ratcheting-type gun belts to review.

gun belts

These gun belts from Blackbeard Belts and Kore Essentials use a ratcheting type mechanism that allows you to dial in exactly how tight you want the belt.

The first one is the peacekeeper from Blackbeard Belts. I wasn’t familiar with the company until I was put in contact with them about evaluating their belt design.

Getting around their website is easy and I found they make a couple of different designs of belts and holsters as well. They are located in Oklahoma and their belts are sold in a couple of gun shops across the country.

The second belt is from Kore Essentials. I saw an ad for their belt a long time ago and remember thinking they were just a fashion company that happened to sell an interesting belt design, but not something that would be substantial enough for everyday carry.

Searching around their website you will see they sell some other neat products besides belts, including a slick little wallet. The company is located in La Mesa, California which I know well from working as a police officer in the neighboring city of El Cajon. 

Even though the belts both use a ratcheting design, they are actually quite different.

The Peacekeeper gun belt uses a familiar ratcheting design similar to tie-downs that you may have used when securing cargo.

The peacekeeper looks a lot like it is made of leather but it is actually a polymer-coated nylon material. This makes the belt surprisingly light and durable. It comes in black and brown. It’s the standard, inch and a half wide which means it will fit most all pant belt loops.

The buckle part that does the ratcheting works much like the ratcheting tie-downs that you may have used to secure stuff in a truck. The belt is super strong and doesn’t have any roll or sag. These are actually the two things to look for in a good gun belt.

What I mean is that you don't want the top edge of the belt to roll toward the bottom under pressure. If it does, you will quickly find your belt losing its rigidity from everyday use. The tracks that allow the adjustments are on the outside and allow for quarter-inch adjustments.

The benefit in this design is that the small adjustments allow you to dial in how tight you want the belt without over-tightening. Additionally, it will not gradually stretch or loosen up over time. I found myself liking the ratcheting buckle far more than I thought I would.

The Peacekeeper is a solid gun belt, comfortable and great for EDC or the range.

I was a bit skeptical about the belt from Kore because the company seemed to be more of a men’s high-end fashion store than a gun gear type store. Even the packaging looks elegant and refined. But I was shocked that the belt looks good but actually is a solid gun belt. You can get the Kore belt in OD green, tan, and of course black. There are several different styles of buckles in different finishes.

I have the X5 style which I think looks nice. And you can choose between either leather or nylon material. I evaluated the nylon belt. Good nylon gun belts are surprisingly stiff. Kore sandwiched what they call a ‘power core’ into the nylon, which you can see in the photo. Like the peacekeeper, the Kore belt doesn’t sag or roll because of this insert. The Kore belt isn't really a true ratcheting system, so I'll explain.

The Kore gun belt is stylish, streamlined and performs great as a gun belt. Like the Peacekeeper, the ratcheting design doesn't force you to pick adjustment holes that may be slightly too loose or too tight.

Unlike the true ratcheting mechanism of the Peacekeeper, where a lever is pulled to tighten the belt, the Kore belt is tightened by pushing the running end through the buckle. There is a tab inside the buckle that locks onto tracks built into the belt.

To release the tension you press a lever on the bottom of the buckle, which unlocks the tab from the tracks. With the peacekeeper you can feed as much of the belt you want to through the buckle before making the small adjustments by pulling a small, ratcheting lever. To release tension with the Peacekeeper, you pull up on a lever in the center of the buckle and it releases the mechanism.

They both are strong and were able to hold my full weight when I hung from my basketball hoop. It is difficult to say which design is better. It really is a personal preference mainly due to the look of the buckle.

When you see the peacekeepers buckle in pictures it looks gigantic, and it is a little thicker than your typical belt, but not nearly as much as it looks. I measured it's thickness at about one and three-eighths inches, compared to the 1 inch Kore buckle. I thought the thicker buckle would be getting caught on things but it didn't.

A concern I had was that it would snag my shirt when I was drawing. While anything that extends out from your waist has the potential to catch clothing when drawing, I performed many draws and did not experience any issues with this.  I carry appendix, and I typically move my belt buckle off to the side as it is so this may mitigate some of those issues.

The mechanism in the Kore belt doesn't have any levers to tighten the belt. Rather you feed the belt through the interchangeable buckle.

As mentioned, Kore Essentials put the adjustment tracks on the inside, whereas on the peacekeeper, they are visible. Which one is better? I honestly don’t know nor do I think it makes a big difference outside of a couple of points I noticed.

The tracks being on the outside make the peacekeeper look more tactical or like a gun belt. Whereas the Kore belt looks more like your average fashion belt. You may think ‘unless I tuck my shirt in, what the belt looks like doesn't really matter.'

You would be correct, both belts are solid when it comes to stiffness, keeping the holster snug and staying tight. The difference really lies in the appearance which is truly a personal preference thing.

The second thing I noticed is when removing the Peacekeeper the part where the tracks fasten to the belt, can sometimes catch on the belt loops and snag up. It really isn’t a big deal to me, it just may be an issue with pants with smaller belt loops.

The white ‘power core' in the Kore belt gives it surprising structure and strength.

The materials are different, and here's the thing: I mentioned that the peacekeeper looks more gun belt-ish, but the fact that it looks like leather does make it appear to be a little dressier.

The peacekeeper retails for $89.99 and it also comes in brown. It's the same belt, just a different color and they call it the warfighter. They also make non-ratcheting belts and holsters that are competitively priced.

Kore's nylon belts are only 59.95 and the leather ones are 10 bucks more. They have 4 different styles of buckles and you can just swap them out.

Kore makes these Velcro belt keepers that keep the free end of the belt from sticking out. I almost always forget to put the belt keeper on before I feed my belt through the belt loops so making them with Velcro allows them to be put on afterward, which is great for someone who forgets to do it first. 

Both companies are staffed with super nice people. I like to include this in my reviews because I find that given two similar products, I will go with the company that provides better customer service even if it is a bit more expensive.

strong gun belts

The mechanism on both belts is solid. They were able to hold my full weight without loosening up.

Blackbeard belts offer a lifetime warranty on their belt. Kore Essentials will give you 30 days money-back and then a 1-year warranty.

I find that I almost can’t have too many gun belts. Depending on the type of pants I'm wearing or the gun I am carrying or how dressy I have to be or if I am on the range or not. All these things factor into what belt I decide to wear.

You may not have that issue, because you wear a uniform or always dress a certain way for work, but options are a good thing, especially when you want to carry comfortably.

What it really boils down to is your personal preference with the style. Both belts are solid EDC and range belts. Your best bet may be to get one of each.

For me, I will likely use the peacekeeper on the range or EDC with casual clothes. The material is easier to clean than the nylon Kore, and it does a great job of holding the holster or mag pouches etc. I would use the Kore more as my EDC when I am wearing ‘dressier' clothing, or when I may be tucking my shirt in.

I own a couple of non-ratcheting, nylon gun belts that can be adjusted very precisely because they fasten with Velcro. I didn’t know if a ratcheting design that gave me 1/4” adjustments would really make a big difference from using Velcro. But while I wore these belts over the last month, I realized that I would sometimes tighten my belt up throughout the day.

It was really convenient to be able to just pull a lever or push it one click to tighten it up without drawing a lot of attention to my waist.

Either belt is suitable for EDC and it ultimately boils down to the look you want.

If you're looking for more recommendations for a gun belt, check out my top three picks!

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23 Responses to Ratcheting EDC Belts Compared, Blackbeard VS Kore Essentials

  1. samcolt July 25, 2019 at 10:10 pm #

    I do have to say, I wear a belt made by BladeTech that is almost identical to the Kore Essentials belt. Even if I didn’t carry concealed I would recommend this for the incremental adjustments that make the comfort level of this type of belt to be worth more than I paid.

    • Shawn August 3, 2019 at 1:12 pm #

      The main difference is the Kore tactical is stiffer and won’t sag at all. You can see several comparisons on YouTube that demonstrate this fact. Thanks.

    • Brian Swanson October 12, 2021 at 5:39 pm #

      My Nexbelt sagged a lot and started to kink up. It got bad so I bought a kore belt to try and its is much more supportive and all the buckles interchange.

  2. Ryan July 27, 2019 at 7:31 pm #

    I’m currently rocking a Blue Alpha Gear low profile, but I’ve been thinking about moving over to Kore.

    • Matthew Maruster August 2, 2019 at 4:51 pm #

      I have both the BAG low-profile and the Kore belt, and like each of them for different reasons. I am not a super big fashion dude, but I do appreciate the different looks that both belts provide. You absolutely won’t regret getting a Kore belt though.

    • Max Yi Smith July 28, 2022 at 6:58 pm #

      My Kore belt is made in China. I am looking at some US made with steel core and leather.
      My first kore belt ratchet release could not be pressed to release after tightening unless unless tension on ratchet were reduced by tightening further so mechanism could be pressed. Always something not right

  3. David July 28, 2019 at 4:20 pm #

    I have the Kore Essentials belt and the Blade Tech belt. I found the Kore belt was thicker and square at the leading end and was irritatingly difficult to feed through belt loops everyday. The Blade Tech belt edge is rounded and thinner and much easier to put on, so I found I use it exclusively now.

    • Kore Essentials August 2, 2019 at 10:53 am #

      KORE gun belt are actually tapered at the end – you may be talking about one of our fashion (non-gun belts) and KORE gun belts are it’s thicker so they don’t roll or sag like that other belt.

  4. Dan July 29, 2019 at 7:35 pm #

    In my world I have to say Kore is the best belt I have ever owned. Holds my gun exactly were I want it. Keeps it in place when I draw. The ability to simply push the belt to make it tighter if needed and click a lever to loosen is outstanding. As you said it adjusts in 1/4” increments eliminating the belt being to tight or to lose. Is very very comfortable. An added bonus is the belt looks great with any attire.

  5. Daniel Morthland July 30, 2019 at 11:10 am #

    In my world I have to say Kore is the best belt I have ever owned. Holds my gun exactly were I want it. Keeps it in place when I draw. The ability to simply push the belt to make it tighter if needed and click a lever to loosen is outstanding. As you said it adjusts in 1/4” increments eliminating the belt being to tight or to lose. Is very very comfortable. An added bonus is the belt looks great with any attire.

  6. William Theriault August 1, 2019 at 8:06 pm #

    Got a Kore belt and put all my duty gear on it with no sag. Beyond that its easy to adjust and looks great. Couldn’t ask for more.

  7. David Adams August 2, 2019 at 1:34 pm #

    I agree Kore gun belts don’t sag, like some belts, and very easily adjustable and holds its shape no matter what your doing. Makes concealing really easy and comfortable. I recommend Kore’s product to my friends.

  8. Michael Grimes August 3, 2019 at 9:04 am #

    I’ve gone thru several gun belts in the past but my Kore belt is the best! Adjusts like no other and is very strong. It gives me the need the added stiffness to support my rig.

  9. Geoff August 6, 2019 at 5:29 pm #

    I’ve been using the kore belt for a few weeks now and it’s great. I wear it to work under my duty belt and it’s very comfortable and sturdy. I also wear it off duty and with the same results. What makes it great is that you can basically adjust it to perfection due to the notches. There are so many notches that you essentially get a custom fit. You can also tighten or untighten it with ease without taking it off due to a small lever on the buckle if you must (e.g., standing or sitting for a long time, running around, even after a big meal).

  10. Barry Patterson August 27, 2019 at 8:07 pm #

    I now have 2 Kore belts the black leather dressier one which works very well and new tactical belt which is stronger. The tactical style is my every day belt and I love the ratcheting system it works perfectly

  11. Lee Horton October 5, 2019 at 9:52 am #

    I actually use a Kore tactical belt as my off duty cc belt. Very high quality piece of gear and I also have one for on-duty in leather. It supports my firearms so well I forget my firearm is even there! So yes, I would recommend it.

    • Liberty or Death February 21, 2020 at 10:40 am #

      I have 2 kore belts one leather (I haven’t worn this one yet) and one nylon. I love the way you can fine tune them. I had a high end leather gun belt that I thought at the time could not be beat. I wore it every day with an xds for 3 years. I paid over a$100 for it. I ordered the Kore belts about 6 months ago and have used the nylon daily since then. They are high quality and I can see them lasting for years. I am very impressed in the rigidity of the nylon. The leather gun belt that I used was a beefy belt that had kydex sewn in between 2 layers of leather which made it very rigid. After 3 years the kydex did break in half in one spot. I was happy with it holding up for 3 years of heavy use as I work construction. The Kore has some kind of nylon stiffener sandwiched btwn the outer nylon/leather. I don’t see how that will ever break like the kydex and I think it makes the belt just as rigid. I paid around $100 for both of the Kore belts. The only thing Kore could do in my opinion to make a better belt would be to offer velcro lined belts for the velcro v-clips. I have carried iwb for years with the velcro v-clips. I tuck my shirts in and don’t have to worry about having someone ask about the standard clips that in my opinion stick out like a sore thumb. I have never had anyone say a word.

  12. Terre July 1, 2020 at 4:55 pm #

    This article must be a re-run since it’s dated in 2019, but I just now saw it. I have three Kore Essential belts. My first belt was a Blue Alpha with the Cobra buckle. I thought it was a very good belt until I got my first Kore. There’s just no comparison because of how easy it is to adjust. I bought their leather belt first then I bought a black nylon. I liked it so much, that I reviewed it on you tube, and what happened next was almost unbelievable. I received a free brown nylon belt from Kore for giving them such a good review. I was not asked to review it by them; I was just so impressed that I thought I should let others know. So I bought the leather one and the black nylon and was given the tan nylon for free. I gave the Blue Alpha belt to a friend. They have a life-long customer in me.

  13. Tim McCoy April 7, 2021 at 7:13 pm #

    Bought Kore’s 2 gun belt bundle and received very fast. Maybe 2-3 days. Leather gun belt very nice and great feel. Nylon belt very stiff. Buckles hold tight and look great. Carried Sig Nightmare.45 on both belts w no sag. Stayed up high and comfy. Think I need one in brown too! 😎

  14. James Dickison October 16, 2021 at 11:41 am #

    My name is James Dickison I live in Lafayette Indiana, I purchased one of your belts and a buckle. Love it but above the bottom stitching the belt has started to split in one area. Do you guarantee these belts from this kind of splitting. Please let me know if you do and if you do let me know what I need to do. Thanks for your help.

    • Matthew Maruster October 16, 2021 at 1:28 pm #

      Hi James. We don’t make the belts or sell them. This is just a review. I’m not sure which brand belt you have, but I’m sure if you call the company they will be able to help sort things out.

      • Jay August 24, 2022 at 5:24 pm #

        I returned my black beard belt. TBH it was too thick and having that large track on the outside looked kinda strange and my wife said it drew attention to itself. Its more of a range belt.
        I needed a belt could wear around town and prefer the grey man concept so I did get a kore belt and its perfect for my needs.

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