The Best IPSC Competition Gun Belts: Kore, CR Speed, Double Alpha, Ghost, & Safariland

What is the best IPSC Belt - Top five belts tested and reviewed

Having the right equipment plays a huge role in shooting sports like IPSC, USPSA, and 3-Gun matches. Other than the obvious things like the type of guns you’re shooting, a crucial piece of that equipment is the shooting belt. After all, the belt is literally the platform for attaching your gun and all your ammo.

This article is designed to help you find the best competition shooting belt for your needs. We’ll be examining and comparing five leading IPSC/USPSA shooting belts currently on the market, in the order of my personal preference:

  • Kore Essentials IPSC Competition Belt

  • CR Speed ULTRA Belt

  • Double Alpha Premium Belt

  • Ghost Elite Belt

  • Safariland ELS Belt

I tend to get a little long-winded in reviews – there’s usually so much info to pack into them, so feel free to skip around and find the specific information you’re looking for today. The general talking points will be construction, stiffness, ease of use, thickness, adjustability, durability, and price.

It’s important to note that while Kore Essentials has generously provided all 5 belts for this review, and I am an authorized dealer for Kore products, this will not sway the fairness of my review – Kore’s belts stand out very well all on their own, in my opinion.

My Own Competitive Shooting Experience

SGT Jeremy Steffel Military Shooting award images from 2014-2016

As for my personal competitive shooting experience, I shot on the Virginia National Guard’s state shooting team and the All-Guard international shooting team from 2014 – 2016. I earned both the Distinguished Pistol and Distinguished Rifle badges in 2015 – the highest authorized awards in the military for excellence in marksmanship competitions. (Basically, you have to place in the top few percent in several state, regional, and national matches to earn one of these badges.)

During the various shooting matches that I competed in, the gear I used was either military-issued or something I bought on my own dime that was still more on the military end of the spectrum versus a dedicated competitive shooting setup. I never used anything even remotely as nice as the belts I’m covering in this article. (Typical for the Army, right?)

That being said, I have a lot of range time with different types of gear. After leaving the military in 2017, I was a firearms instructor at Panthera Training in West Virginia, training law enforcement, government agencies, and various military units.

One quick side note – in the video for this comparison review, I made some references to Lena Miculek, Bob Vogel, and Jerry Miculek. Let me be clear, I have IMMENSE respect for each of these individuals and their abilities. They are incredibly talented shooters, and I look up to each one of them very much. However, they all actively use the Safariland ELS belt, which is my least favorite belt of the five I tested for this review. Each of these professionals has a lifetime more experience than I do, and the Safariland ELS has clearly worked for them. Notably though, Jerry and Lena Miculek have both modified their belts with a ratchet binding to significantly upgrade the belt from the way it comes stock – I’ll talk more about this great idea in the dedicated Safariland section of this article. 

What is IPSC, USPSA, 3-Gun...What Is The Difference?

Before we get into the specifics of each belt, let’s quickly cover the various primary shooting sports and why a specialized belt is such an important piece of gear for shooting competitions.

IPSC (International Practical Shooting Confederation)

IPSC is an international organization, active in more than 90 countries, providing a shooting competition platform that emphasizes speed, accuracy, and power. Competitors utilize semi-automatic pistols, rifles, shotguns and action air disciplines to complete ‘stages,’ or simulated scenarios, as fast as possible, while accurately hitting targets. 

  • IPSC organizes various fast-paced matches, which are set up to challenge the competitors unexpectedly with multiple, moving, or reactive targets.

  • Obstacles and competitive strategies are added to matches to keep the competitors engaged and the spectators entertained.

  • The minimum pistol caliber allowed in IPSC competition is 9mm or larger.

IPSC demands a very high level of skill and accuracy, thus requiring dedicated shooting gear to enhance performance. Specifically, shooting belts are essential for carrying the firearm and additional equipment, facilitating quick and efficient movement during the competition.

USPSA (United States Practical Shooting Association)

USPSA is the American affiliate of IPSC and follows similar rules and regulations. 

  • Types of competition include Production, Revolver, Single-Stack, Limited 10, and Open divisions. (“Production” is an additional division that restricts modifications to the firearm and features, so they are more like factory firearms). 
  • There are seven skill levels to compete in – Grand Master, Master, A, B, C, D, and non-classified.
  • The atmosphere at USPSA matches is more “game-like,” focusing less on practical shooting and more on the enjoyment and challenge of the sport.

The unique aspects of USPSA necessitate the use of dedicated shooting belts that allow competitors to quickly draw and holster their firearms, optimizing speed and efficiency during the competition.

3-Gun (Pistol, Rifle, & Shotgun)

Three-Gun is a thrilling and fast-paced shooting sport that derives its name from the fact that competitors use 3 types of firearms: pistol, a modern sporting rifle (MSR, which is essentially a semi-automatic version of the military’s M16 or M4 Carbine), and a shotgun (usually a semi-automatic but pump-action shotguns are also allowed). The challenges, known as “stages,” in a 3-Gun competition are designed to test a shooter’s skills across a broad spectrum of shooting disciplines. Stages can involve moving through complicated courses, utilizing all three guns, as well as switching between the different firearms, reloading under pressure, and engaging targets at varying distances and angles. The sport places a heavy emphasis on speed and accuracy, making it a dynamic and exciting competition. Scoring combines the competitor’s total time plus any penalties incurred for missed targets, procedures, or safety violations.

Like IPSC and USPSA, 3-Gun requires a specialized shooting belt to carry the various firearms and additional equipment, ensuring competitors can transition smoothly and efficiently between different sections of the course.

IDPA (International Defensive Pistol Association)

IDPA aims to test the shooting-related skills and abilities of individuals in competitions that involve practical CCW (Concealed Carry Weapons) and duty equipment that is used on a daily basis. The idea behind IDPA versus the other sports mentioned is that it’s focused specifically on concealed carry and practical defensive shooting, where the other sports are all about speed and accuracy. IDPA requires tactics to come into play like reloading from behind cover and using belts that are threaded through your pant loops. Therefore, most of the belts covered in this comparison are not ideal for IDPA. However, the Kore IPSC belt could be used if you just wore the outer belt through your belt loops. Alternatively, a 1.5″ EDC gun belt from Kore is another great option.

IDPA competitions simulate real-world confrontations that require competitors to change firing points and shoot from awkward positions behind cover. However, you don’t need to be in phenomenal physical condition to participate in IDPA, making matches more accessible for all legal firearm owners. There are self-defense scenarios and standard exercises to test specific shooting and handling skills.

Each shooting discipline, while similar in some aspects, contains distinct differences and demands that necessitate the use of gear, specifically designed to optimize performance within their unique rule sets and stage layouts. Shooting belts, such as those from Kore Essentials, CR Speed, Double Alpha, Ghost, and Safariland, are an integral part of that essential gear, if you plan on being competitive.

Magazine Carriers and Holsters Used For The Comparison

Shooting competition magazine carriers and holsters used in IPSC and USPSA matches

For this review, Kore Essentials provided several different sizes of magazine pouches and holsters from various suppliers that are relevant to the competition shooting market:

I also used a couple of products that I had previously purchased:

These are a very small sample size of the options for shooting gear available. Our goal was to get several different styles of magazine pouches and holsters that are in common use and compare them with each of the five belts. The only two belts that didn’t work with every accessory were the Double Alpha because of it’s thickness and the Safariland ELS because of how wide (tall) it is. All of the other belts are 1.5″ tall, while the Safariland ELS is 1.75″, which was too tall for a couple of the magazine carriers.

What Is The Difference Between A Battle Belt & A Shooting Belt?

What is the difference between a battle belt and a competition belt - Ronin Taskforce battle belt with Double Alpha DAA Shooting Belt

Battle belts are designed for military and police use. They typically have MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) webbing sewn on the outside for mounting various pouches and mission-specific gear, and they will always have some type of buckle. Competition belts are typically “slick” (no MOLLE webbing) and are much stiffer than typical battle belts. They also tend to be velcro-only closure systems so that the front of the belt can be used for quick access reloads.

Battle Belts

A battle belt is engineered primarily for high-intensity environments, such as combat zones or military operations. They are designed to carry a lot of different types of gear – ammunition, first aid equipment, radios, etc. – that are essential during high-stakes situations. Higher-end models may have a D-ring for attaching safety lanyards in helicopters for air operations, etc.

Design-wise, a tactical battle belt (war belt, first-line gear, shooting kit, etc) is almost always a two-belt system, offering ample width and strength for weight distribution under a significant weight load. These belts are customizable to meet user-specific needs, thanks to the MOLLE system that enables extensive configuration and attachment of pouches and equipment.

Shooting Competition Belts

the top five best shooting competition belts stacked up and compared

On the other hand, a competition shooting belt is primarily designed for sport and competitive situations, so these have a more streamlined design. While both styles of belts need to provide quick and easy access to firearms and ammunition, simultaneously offering comfort and support, competition belts tend to be more rigid because competitors want their magazines further away from their body to create space for faster reloads. Of course, fast reloads are crucial for military personnel in battle belts too, but due to other important factors, battle belt setups are maintained closer to the body.

Both types of belts provide a secure, accessible platform for carrying equipment; however, the crucial difference lies in their intended environments and the variety and volume of equipment they’re designed to carry. In essence, a tactical battle belt is versatile and designed for an intense, life-dependent scenario, while a competition shooting belt is specialized for sporting and competitive contexts.

Kore Essentials IPSC Competition Belt

One of the newest additions to the Kore Essentials patented and groundbreaking belt designs is their IPSC Competition Belt. This belt is specifically designed for maximum rigidity and adjustability for shooting competitions across multiple disciplines. What sets the Kore competition belt apart from all other dedicated shooting belts on the market is the incredible adjustability of its Trakline™ system and how it has three PowerCores™.

The PowerCore is a purpose-built polymer reinforcement that is inside all of Kore’s gun belts. It’s allegedly stronger than steel in the same dimensions, but I haven’t personally tested that claim yet. What I can say for sure is that I’ve stacked cinderblocks on top of an EDC carry belt with zero deformation or collapsing of the belt – only one tiny surface indention in the outer material. The fact that this new competition belt has TWO PowerCores in the outer belt and another one in the inner belt makes it a super strong belt system.

The inner belt has a thin, laminated nylon, hex-grid pattern at the front center of the belt (or wherever you want to place the buckle – you can easily wear this belt backward, if you want to have completely open space at the 12 o’clock position for mag pouches, etc). Otherwise, the outside of the inner belt uses traditional soft velcro. The adjustability of the belt system is based on that hex-grid patterned material, which is designed to be easily and subtly manipulated under the buckle, as you loosen and tighten the outer belt with it’s ratchet style trackline system.

There really isn’t any other belt system that can compete with the comfort, adjustability, and quality of the Kore IPSC – the inner belt and the outer belt. The finishing of both is expertly crafted with great attention to detail and quality of life features, from its rounded edges and the velcro keeper that is attached to the belt with velcro, to the little lever under the buckle that allows quick, seamless access for adjustments of the trackline.

Most of the other belts I tested are still good options, particularly if you’re on a tighter budget. All of the others (CR Speed, Double Alpha, Ghost, & Safariland) have multiple regional, national, and international titles won by shooters wearing these belts. However, what the Kore competition belt brings to the table over the others is the Trakline™ adjustability and triple PowerCore™ construction that goes into the two-belt system.

The Kore IPSC belt has a total of 20 possible sizing positions in 1/4″ increments. Why is that better than the theoretically infinite adjustability of Velcro, you might ask?

When you have your belt loaded down with a holster, magazines, a shot timer, it can be difficult to dial in exactly how tight you need or want your belt at any given time. For example, it might be fine while you’re standing around, waiting for your match to start; but if you sit down to have a bite to eat or if sitting is part of a stage, you may find that your belt is either too tight or too loose. Neither are ideal when matches are won and lost based on hundredths of a second.

When competition shooting belts are fully loaded, they are very stiff, and adjusting the traditional options can be a pretty big chore, especially for the Safariland ELS belt – I’ll say more about this one in a bit.

If you’ve been to a few matches already, you’ve probably had little fights with your gear for all kinds of reasons. Maybe a mag pouch wasn’t mounted exactly where you wanted it, or your belt was just digging into your sides because you had to cinch it down JUST tight enough so you would still get blood flow to your legs. With the Kore belt, however, you can easily make adjustments when it’s being worn, even during a match, if needed.

With the solidity of the Kore shooting rig, it offers a stable platform for your accessories to be locked in place and not move around at all as you run and gun – everything stays exactly where you placed it, and it basically becomes part of your entire shooting system.

Another positive attribute of the Kore belt over the other options I reviewed for this list is the fact that it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. The traditional routine of measuring, double checking, and then figuring out if the company determines size by waist size, pants size, or moon phase, in order to make sure the belt will fit correctly, can get confusing.

All of Kore’s belts are designed to be cut to each individual user’s preference. This means you won’t have to wonder if you ordered the right sized belt or have to mess with the return/exchange process if you ordered the wrong size.

The new C1 Buckle that comes with the Kore competition belt is the thinnest Trakline buckle that Kore currently offers, coming in at 40mm wide. The previous smallest buckle is the X7, which was specifically designed for appendix carry EDC belts at 42mm wide.

Before you ask, Kore’s interchangeable X series buckles will NOT work with the competition belt. I tested a couple of the X series buckles just to make sure, but the competition belt is slightly wider than the EDC belts because of the double PowerCore™ design for added rigidity.

Kore Essentials IPSC Belt Pros & Cons


  • Highest Quality: Both the inner and outer belt set a new standard for the belts in this lineup with excellent attention to detail and extra quality of life features that were exceptionally manufactured.

  • Reinforced Edges: The edges of this belt are reinforced for added durability and strength.

  • Unmatched Adjustability: The Trackline™ system offers a total of 20 possible sizing positions in 1/4″ increments, enabling a perfect fit regardless of loadout.

  • Incredible Strength: The inclusion of two PowerCores™ in the outer belt and another one in the inner belt makes this one very strong belt system, capable of carrying a substantial load without deformation. (The official weight limit of this belt is 15 pounds, according to Kore’s website. I imagine that’s laughably understated, basically like saying a Ferrari can go 60 miles an hour.)

  • Easy to Adjust: Even when fully loaded, the Kore belt can be easily adjusted on the fly, ensuring comfort and functionality in varying conditions.

  • One-Size-Fits-All: Kore’s belts are designed to be cut to the user’s preference, eliminating the guesswork in possibly ordering the wrong size. The Kore belt will fit waists from 24″-48″.

  • Inner Belt For CCW: The inner belt can be worn independently for concealed carry, when you aren’t actively competing in a shooting match.


  • Price: The Kore competition belt is the most expensive belt in this list, but for good reason – the adjustability and strength of the belt make it the best overall choice.

  • Requires Cutting to Size: While this allows for custom sizing, it does mean that users need to cut the belt to the right size themselves, which could be a potential drawback for some. (I had to use a set of industrial sheers from Milwaukee to cut mine, and it took a few difficult cuts to accomplish.)

  • Only Available In Black: The Kore competition belt is currently only available in black. That isn’t an issue for me at all, but if you’re a fan of colorful gear, the Kore belt might not match your other accessories.

Kore IPSC Belt Specifications

Price: $129.95

Width: 1.5″

Available Colors: Black

Thickness 6mm

Load Rating: 15+ lbs. / Competition Use

Size Range: Fits 24″ – 48″ (No need to measure anything before ordering, just cut it to size when you receive it.)

Buckle Material / Finish Zinc Alloy / Powder Coat

Buckle Size / Weight 2.5” x 1.75” / 4.4 oz.

Adjustable Track Provides 20 – ¼” Size Positions

Belt Reinforcement: Double Power-Core™ Center for Added Stiffness and Support; Virtually Indestructible

Outer Belt Material: Scuba Webbing

Tip Keeper: Included

CR Speed ULTRA Belt

If you asked me to choose between all of the belts on this list other than Kore, the CR Speed ULTRA belt would be my personal choice. My first impression of this belt was that it is very well made and is extremely strong.

The inner belt of the CR Speed is not as sturdy as some of the other offerings – as in second to last in terms of rigidity (based on my non-scientific testing), but the overall build quality is good and looks professional.

The included velcro belt keeper has a branded PVC patch that loops around the belt, so you won’t accidentally lose it, unlike Double Alpha and Ghost. The CR Speed logo is also present and repeated along the inside of the inner belt but not in an overly intrusive way. The working end of the inner belt has been cut to a tapered, rounded edge and is also double-stitched at the end.

The outer belt was manufactured well. The cut end is chamfered on the corners and has a clean look. Branding on the outer belt is simple with a CR Speed black and white fabric tag and the red CR Speed PVC patch for the belt keeper.

One extra feature of the CR Speed is the inclusion of a nylon band sewn on the outside of the belt with highly reflective thread. Think of the reflective fabric you see on some camping supplies and accessories. It’s an aesthetic touch that would help you find your belt, if you put it down in the dark and were using a flashlight to find it. Tactically speaking, it’s a no-go; but this is for competition, so no harm no foul.

CR Speed has been a big name in the competitive shooting world for several years, and their entire product line is dedicated to shooting sports. The plus side to this is that you can get a complete competition-ready belt, holster, mag pouches, and more, all from CR Speed.

CR Speed ULTRA Belt Pros & Cons


  • Very Affordable: The CR Speed belt is actually the cheapest belt in this lineup but also one of the best built in terms of quality (behind Kore).

  • Quality Construction: The quality is good, from the clean cut ends to the double-stitched finish.

  • Reinforced Edges: The edges of this belt are reinforced for added durability and strength.

  • Customization Option: The inclusion of a reflective nylon band not only adds a unique aesthetic element but also improves visibility in low-light conditions.

  • Complete Competition Package: As part of CR Speed’s dedicated shooting sports line, the belt can be paired with compatible holsters, mag pouches, and other accessories for a complete competition-ready setup from a single source.

  • Brand Reputation: CR Speed has a strong reputation in the competitive shooting world, instilling confidence in the belt’s performance and durability.

  • Secure Belt Keeper: The included velcro belt keeper, complete with a CR Speed branded PVC patch, loops around the belt to prevent accidental loss.

  • Different Colors: The nylon band around the belt comes in black, blue, pink, or red.


  • Inner Belt Rigidity: The inner belt is not as robust as offerings from other brands (second to last in rigidity, based on my non-scientific testing), which may impact stability when carrying heavy equipment.

  • All Velcro Design: Because there isn’t a way to micro-adjust the belt while you’re wearing it, getting the exact tightness for your belt can be challenging, especially with a fully loaded belt.

CR Speed Belt Specifications

Price: $49.00

Width: 1.5″

Available Colors: Black, Blue, Pink, Red

Double Alpha Premium Shooting Belt

Double Alpha Academy is arguably the biggest name in the competitive shooting space, and they have achieved world titles across just about all of the shooting disciplines from shooters using their belts. The Double Alpha competition belt that I compared in this review gave me one impression instantly: this thing is THICK.

And by thick, I mean this belt is the widest of all the belts in this review lineup. It’s also the strongest out of all of them (based on my highly calibrated and scientifically certified squeeze test). Okay, the science part is iffy, but this thing is seriously rock solid.

Double Alpha Premium Competition shooting belt on white background

Here’s a quote from the product description on Double Alpha’s page about the thickness, “Please note: The DAA Premium belt is designed stiffer and thicker than most, as we believe that improves its performance. It is a perfect fit for the DAA Pouches and Holsters, but may be difficult to use with other brands of pouches or holsters. CR Speed pouches are an extremely tight fit on our belts. Other brands of gear may not fit at all. It will not work with Tek-Lok and Comp-Tac PLM attachments. “

The thicker girth of the belt means you might have issues if you’re running anything but Double Alpha’s own line of magazine pouches and holsters. It’s just something to be aware of, if you have a drawer full of mix-and-match accessories you’ve acquired over the years. It would not be fun to order this one just to find out that none of your pouches work with it.

The inner belt is slightly more flexible than the others but still fairly sturdy.

Double Alpha Premium Shooting Belt Trop down view to show how thick it is

The outer belt has a transparent window sewn on the outside that allows you to add your name and contact info – nice aspect.

The DAA outer belt feels like I could drive a truck over it before it would collapse, which may have been tried by someone out there…

The included nylon/velcro keeper with branded PVC patch is not attached to the belt, so that could lead to it getting lost at some point. This isn’t a deal breaker, but it is something that sets the Kore and CR Speed belts apart with their attached keeper designs.

The inner belt has three layers to it, a fairly thin and flexible nylon backing with the Double Alpha logo, a plastic or polymer type inner portion that provides some structure for the belt, and the loop velcro sewn on the outside. The working end of the inner belt has a rounded tip, and the cut end is cut straight across and stitched. The inner belt of the Double Alpha is the second strongest behind Kore and stronger than the inner belts of Ghost, CR Speed, and Safariland in that order.

Double Alpha Academy is probably the biggest name in the competitive shooting gear space. They make everything from belts to holsters, mag pouches, shot timers, targets, chronographs, and more. They are definitely a one-stop-shop for anything and everything competition shooting-related.

Double Alpha Competition Belt Pros & Cons


  • Thick, Sturdy Construction: The Double Alpha Premium Shooting Belt is built to withstand heavy use, making it a durable option for competitive shooting.

  • Reinforced Edges: The edges of this belt are reinforced for added durability and strength.

  • Brand Reputation: As one of the most well-known names in the competitive shooting world, Double Alpha Academy instills confidence in the quality and performance of their products.

  • Customization Options: The belt features a window for adding personal contact information, as well as the ability to add your own patches and decals for a personalized touch.

  • Compatible with Double Alpha Gear: The sturdier build of the belt makes it ideal for pairing with other Double Alpha gear, providing a complete and reliable competition setup.

  • Color Options: If you like to shoot with all the colors of the wind, Double Alpha offers the largest assortment of colors out of all the belts on this list. They also have country flag designs for those high-profile world and Olympic-level matches.


  • Limited Compatibility with Non-Double Alpha Gear: Due to its thick design, the Double Alpha belt may not be compatible with gear from other brands, which could limit options for shooters who already have a mix of accessories.

  • All Velcro Design: Similarly to the CR Speed, there is no micro-adjustment feature with this belt, making it difficult to get the exact tightness desired while wearing it.

Double Alpha Belt Specifications

Price: $69.95

Width: 1.5″

Available Colors: Black, Red, Blue, Silver, Orange

Ghost Elite Shooting Belt

My first impression of this belt is that they’ve been copying Double Alpha’s homework (or vice versa, since I don’t know which one came out first). Both belts are VERY similar – so much so that I marked them before testing to make sure I didn’t get them mixed up along the way. However, at a closer look, I found the Ghost to be the lowest quality of the all velcro rigs in this lineup. Don’t get me wrong – it’s still a decent belt, but the others just set a higher standard, moving up from here to Double Alpha, CR Speed, and especially Kore.

The inner belt of the Ghost tapers to a rounded working end and has a straight cut on the other end. It does not have the same reinforced stitching as the Double Alpha or CR Speed. It features the Ghost logo in the weave of the nylon with red thread and has a fairly thin plastic or polymer inner portion. It is not as rigid as the Double Alpha or Kore, but it is stronger than the CR Speed and Safariland inner belts.

Ghost Elite competition shooting belt on a white background

The Ghost Elite outer belt feels very strong and rigid overall. Just like the Double Alpha, the Ghost has a small windowed pouch for your name or whatever other information you’d like to display, and the velcro keeper is also like that of the Double Alpha, branded PVC patch style, but with black and grey coloring.

The main differences I can spot between Ghost and Double Alpha is that the nylon weave is slightly different, and the Ghost belt uses a pleather material for the ID window, while the quality of the Double Alpha’s stronger nylon material is better. Both inner belts are each branded similarly with colored thread.

I would guess that Double Alpha has been around longer than Ghost, so it seems to me that Ghost straight-up copied DAA. I could be wrong, but something is fishy about the similarities. (If you have more information about this, please leave a comment about it, and I will amend this article as more info comes to light.)

Ghost Elite competititon shooting belt top view to show thickness on a white background

Ghost Elite Shooting Belt Pros & Cons


  • Reinforced Edges: The edges of this belt are reinforced for added durability and strength.

  • Personalization Options: Like the Double Alpha, the Ghost Elite offers a window for adding personal information and the ability to attach patches or decals.

  • Compatible with Other Ghost Gear: If you are already a fan of Ghost holsters and magazine pouches, this belt will integrate seamlessly into your setup.

  • Made in the USA: The Ghost Elite belt is the only belt in this comparison that is currently made in the United States. (Kore just finished construction of their first US-based factory and have already moved several EDC belts, battle belts, and duty belt manufacturing to the United States.)


  • All Velcro Design: Similar to both the CR Speed and Double Alpha belts, there is no way to adjust the tightness of this belt once it is on. It may take some trial and error to find the right fit every time you put on the rig.

Safariland ELS Competition Belt

The Safariland ELS belt stands out for its unique design. It utilizes two metal pegs that interact with holes in the belt, along with a short strip of velcro and loop for closure. However, I am not a fan of this belt at all. The closure system is very limiting in terms of adjustability.

Safariland ELS shooting belt on a white background

The metal rods aren’t effective at holding the belt securely, and there’s only about four inches of velcro for stability. The tightness of the included loop is both a pro and a con. While it prevents slipping, it makes it difficult to slide the belt through when trying to tighten it. Once you finally get everything tight and secured, the entire belt becomes quite wide at some points in the front, measuring over an inch thick (still not as thick as the DAA belt though).

Safariland ELS shooting belt metal pin closure system close up

The belt loop design of the Safariland severely restricts what mag pouches and accessories can be mounted on the front left side. It eliminates several inches of usable space. Even before wearing or trying the other belts, I could already tell that the Safariland ELS belt would be my least favorite.

Safariland suggests wearing the belt upside down or backward to have continuous mounting holes along the entire front. While theoretically possible, setting this belt up with your accessories and putting it on backward while keeping everything tight would take trial and error, not to mention it would likely be accompanied by some F-Bombs along the way. It’s annoying to say the least.

Safariland ELS Belt top down view of the two pin locking system

The main feature, and possibly the only reason to consider this belt, is its compatibility with Safariland’s ELS (Equipment Locking System). This system allows for quick movement of holsters and magazine pouches between different rigs without the need for screws or complicated attachments. This system is also commonly used on holsters, so you can move your duty holster to a car mount, bedside table, or different belt without having to mess with screws or anything more than simple clips. However, if you choose to use the ELS system, be prepared for a lot of time spent moving things around, screwing the plates down, and then moving them all over again.

Safariland ELS belt inner velcro and tag on white background

Many people modify their Safariland ELS belts by cutting off the standard two-pin attachment system and screwing on a snowboard binding for a strap and ratcheting buckle. This mod essentially turns your Safariland belt into a Kore belt with similar tightening capabilities, though the quality of the Kore is much better. The modification kit that most people tend to recommend is the Carbon Arms, now Stretch Precision – Belt Ratchet Kit.

Another very common option for modifying the Safariland ELS belt is the M2 Belt Kit, available on Amazon, as well as M2 Inc’s website. This is a buckle and strap ratchet kit specifically packaged for use with belts. The Amazon listing’s most common “frequently bought together” item is an ELS kit. M2 Inc is the same company behind the very effective and innovative RMT Tourniquet.

Safariland inner velcro belt on a white background

The quality of the Safariland ELS was the lowest of the belts in this comparison review. For example, the inner belt was as basic as it could possibly be – both ends are simply squared off (in a not really square kind of way), and there is an unsightly hole in one end, seemingly to accommodate the retail hanging tag… It seems like the entire inner belt is just nylon webbing with loop velcro sewn on the outside. But don’t worry, the inner belt isn’t even included with the outer belt, so you get to pay even more for it. It was definitely the least impressive of all five inner belts. For branding, there is a Safariland tag sewn into the inside of both belts. 

In general, I actually like Safariland as a brand. In fact, I love their holsters – I think they make one of the best locking holsters on the market, by far; but this ELS belt system is a solid no-go for me. There are plenty of better competition belt options available.

Safariland ELS shooting belt metal pin closure system close up different angle

Safariland ELS Belt Pros & Cons


  • Purpose Built For ELS Plates: The Safariland ELS belt is designed entirely around the idea of using multiple ELS (Equipment Locking System) receiver plates spread out around the belt. 
  • Stiffness: It feels very stiff and stable, once you get through the struggle of putting it on.
  • Significantly Better If You Modify It: If you cut off the trash-burger pins, replace them with a snowboard binding ratchet strap, and use a different inner belt, then the Safariland becomes the best ELS option, especially for 3 gunners when you need to swap gear between stages and weapons. (That’s why we actually sell the ELS belt too.)


  • Seriously Limited Adjustability: The belt is difficult to put on as it is with the metal rods having to interface with the holes in the belt, so your sizing options are limited to those hole positions.
  • The Metal Rod Closure System Is Trash: If you watched the video, you may have assumed that I was joking about how difficult it was to put on the Safariland belt… I wasn’t. However, I imagine it gets easier over time, when the holes are worn in more, but then how secure is the attachment?
  • Extra Cost For The Inner Belt: The ELS belt is sold separately from the inner belt, so you’ll have to shell out even more if you want to actually use the thing! The good news is that it will work with any velcro inner belt, so I would highly recommend the Kore inner belt, which would also give you a great concealed carry belt, as well.  
  • The Quality Of The Safariland Inner Belt is Very Low: The quality of the Safariland branded inner belt is about as bare bones as you can possibly get. Just put your money toward something better. 
  • Potentially Very Long Lead Times: If you order directly from Safariland, you may end up waiting a few weeks for the belt to arrive. We also stock them, so if they show as available, we can ship within a couple days. 

Safariland ELS Belt Specifications

Price: $68-$82, depending on the finish (price does not include the inner belt)

Width: 1.75″

Available Colors: Black, Flat Dark Earth, Red

Available Finishes: Plain, Basket Weave, Nylon Look

Potentially long lead time if you order directly from Safariland (up to 21 days)

Final Thoughts on The Best Shooting Competition Belt

The best shooting competition belts stacked up and compared on a white background

In conclusion, the right competition belt for you ultimately depends on your personal preferences and requirements. While the Kore belt stands out for its premium construction and adjustability, it may not be ideal for someone on a really tight budget. The Safariland ELS belt stands out for its unique design and compatibility with the ELS system; however, it is very annoying to put on and is completely limiting on adjustability (as it comes stock; unless you do the snowboard binding mod and get a different inner belt).

CR Speed, Double Alpha, and Ghost are all essentially the same belt with CR Speed being the highest quality of the three, as well as the most affordable of all five belts. If you like the styling or color options available from one of these brands, that can help you narrow down which one is right for you for now.

It’s good to consider the pros & cons of each belt, along with the price, width, and available colors or finishes. Invest in a belt that not only fits your budget but also enhances your performance in competitions.

Please leave a comment if you made it this far! What was your favorite part in the YouTube video review? ;)

2 thoughts on “The Best IPSC Competition Gun Belts: Kore, CR Speed, Double Alpha, Ghost, & Safariland”

  1. My black leather Korre belt is 2 yrs old and works great it is my favorite. This belt looks interesting considering I am going to take up competitive shooting.

    1. It’s an awesome competition belt for sure. If you’re not sure you’ll enjoy shooting matches, you might want to go with one of the cheaper options initially, just to have some extra cash for ammo, magazines, holster, etc. Ammo prices are going up again next year, so that might be worth looking into first. On the other hand, if you’ve got cash burning a hole in your pocket, all of our KORE inventory is 15% off until December 15th. :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Shopping Cart


Socal Links

Jump To...

The Warrior Solution Full Color Logo


Want 10% Off Your First Order?

If you like what you see and would like to be notified when we add new products, new shirt designs, and new videos on our YouTube channel, drop your email below!

By entering your name and email address, you agree to receive news and promotional material from The Warrior Solution. You can cancel this subscription at any time. We never sell personal information or send spam email blasts. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.