Friday, 15 March 2013

Belt Pouches

There are a variety of belt pouches available on the police market in any number of different sizes, shapes, colours (mainly black) and materials and all at different price points.  Today I will talk about different belt pouch materials first and then move onto some of the different belt pouch brands and also look at some of the product specific pouches for batons, handcuffs, torches etc. in later articles.

The 4 main types of materials used for the majority of belt pouches are:

  1. Polyester
  2. Nylon
  3. Cordura
  4. Leather
Polyester is probably the most commonly used material for most belt pouches, however even within the polyester category there are a number of different "Deniers" or "weights" of fabric.  For belt pouches anything between 600 and 1500 is used with most manufacturers opting for something around the 900-1200 mark.  Lower than 900 seems to be the cheaper end of the market an the products are generally accepted to be less durable though of course lighter in weight, over 1200 is generally overkill for a pouch as it is not usually going to hold that much weight, heavier Deniers are more commonly used in kit bags rather than pouches.  Polyester is probably the cheapest material available, but that does not mean it is not fit for purpose, though some more picky users complain that the "black" you get with polyester belt pouches is not true enough.

Nylon for all intents and purposes looks and feels much like polyester, and again you can get nylon belt pouches in a variety of different Deniers. A lot of users report nylon to have a much better "black" than polyester.  Nylon is slightly more expensive than polyester

Cordura is in fact a special type of Nylon which has been trademarked by DuPont.  Famed for its durability and widely used in rucksacks, commercial luggage, motorcycle clothing and military belt pouches.  Cordura has become synonymous with quality products and is often specified in military or police tender documents when purchasing belt pouches or other fabric equipment.

Leather is more popular for police belt pouches than military due to the shiny black finish providing a neat and professional uniform appearance but not being suitable for "cam and concealment" in military roles.  In terms of durability leather is generally the most durable material for belt pouch construction  but it is heavier than polyester, nylon or Cordura.

There is a new material just hitting the market for belt pouches which promises to have all the durability and shape retention of leather but with the weight advantages of Cordura called Sentinex. Now as you can imagine a product that make such promises comes at a price, however initial feedback from sentinex belt pouch users is very positive.

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