From an anonymous Fb friend who builds wonderful holsters, belts, and other leatherwork:
“I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut online, well and in person;) But for instance, I was over on a forum I frequent and someone posts about a ‘new gunbelt’ which is single layer 12oz hide. Nothing wrong with that, but dual layer cross grain laminated, preferably with a stiffener will make a longer lasting better gunbelt. This belt isn’t bad, it isn’t badly made with poor materials or workmanship. It’s just not really well designed for carrying a firearm. It’s a fine belt for holding up your pants and in a pinch will carry a firearm well at first and less well over time as the hide breaks down.
“Now I could post all of that, but a lot of people would say something or think something to the effect of ‘he just wants to sell his belts’, and sure I don’t mind building belts for guys. But I’ve learned a fair bit over the years of why things are built a certain way. Sometimes long standing traditions are wrong, sometimes there is wisdom in the way things have been done. But not being able to really share that information when it’s important to the conversation without bringing my business into the equation is frustrating.”
My friend is right. Closer to home for me, it is exquisitely frustrating for an instructor to get involved in an online conversation with people giving truly horrible advice to each other about how to improve their shooting. Often, it would take just a few minutes of working with the guy or gal in person to figure out what’s happening and how to correct it — but boy howdy does it bring out the crazies when a firearms instructor suggests that the best solution would be to go take a class from a qualified teacher who can diagnose the problem in person.
It’s even more weird when you give that advice to someone clear on the other side of the country, someone who will never ever give you a dime anyway because you’re not in their market and don’t intend to travel there anytime soon, but somehow the fact that you get paid (by other people) to teach (other people) means that suggesting to them that they should maybe take a class means you’re just trying to make money off them.
As if “I do this thing so well that people pay me to do it” is actually a recommendation against listening to what a person has to say on a subject. It’s very weird.
Back to belts. On that subject, my friend added:
“Also little known fact the thickness of the hide has very little to do with the cost per foot. IE I could make a ‘gunbelt’ as thick as I want without really effecting my cost to build it much if any. So the choice to use say two layers instead of one is purely for function rather than ‘cost savings’ by using two layers of thinner hide. The reality is two layers nearly doubles the cost of leather in the belt, and the time involved in laminating the two layers together and stitching costs significantly more time and material than a single layer belt. I could probably make oh maybe 10 or 20 single layer belts in the time it takes to make a good gunbelt, of course if they weren’t stitched.”
So there you have it. Buy a good belt and don’t buy hype.