The Gear You Need

Having the latest and greatest is all well and good.  If you’re skilled enough that a CR Speed Belt, which keeps your gear in place time and time again so you don’t have to worry about those 1/10″ differences that may add 1/10 a second to your score then there’s nothing more for you in this post, but if you’re looking to shave two seconds off your time instead of two tenths then you should spend that money on something like ammo rather than buying the CR Speed Belt, the Ghost Holster and a set of CR Speed Versa Pouches.

So many people obsess needlessly over their gear, when all you really need is a good kydex holster, such as a Blackhawk CQC (non-serpa), a Blade-Tech, a Comp-Tac like Caleb’s or something equivalent and a couple mag pouches of the same variety.  You’ll also need a good belt; Comp-Tac makes a reinforced gunbelt that’s perfect for IDPA.  There are plenty of people at my local range that run the leagues with fairly average gear, I myself have been known to show up with an IWB Galco.  One particular shooter of ours shows up every week to our matches and to some of larger local area matches when they are hosted with his carry gear: a Kramer holster and one of his several 1911s.  No, he can’t beat the high-speed semi-professional and professional IPSC and USPSA shooters, but he gets a lot of practice in and spends his money shooting lots of matches and buying lots of ammo and reloading gear rather than on speed gear that won’t improve his shooting.

Nobody should rely on their gear to shoot for them, for most of us it won’t make much of a difference.  If you have the money to spend don’t let me stop you but if you have a “guns and ammo budget” like most people do consider spending it where it will improve your shooting rather than wasting it on gear you don’t need.


  1. Dear lord yes on the magazine pouches. I showed up for my first IDPA match with my speedloaders in my pants pockets. Had to be the most painfully slow thing to watch ever.

  2. Thanks for the well thought out post. I’ve been longing for a CR Speed belt, but keep putting it off, in favor of more ammo and match fees. I think I can stick with my leather belt and Comp-Tac holster for a while longer.

    I DO think I’d be well served by replacing the Uncle Mike’s double mag holders with single holders I could place better. Or maybe that’s more “shiny bauble” talk.

  3. I have been using the mag pouch and holster that came with my XD and I have been doing just fine. I spent money on a dummy barrel from 5.11 and some dummy rounds. I like to practice my draws and reloads with the gear I have rather than enter the race for the greatest gear on earth.

  4. I agree 95%. The other 5% is “… but make sure what you have works safely and reliably.”

    I started out USPSA with a Fobus paddle holster for my CZ75, and it had the annoying habit of not releasing my pistol when called upon to do so.

    I swapped that out for a BladeTech dropped offset holster and (yes, I’ll admit it) a CR Speed belt; hot because it’ll make me go super-duper fast, but because it’s handy to have your mag pouches and holster right there on the outer belt, ready to take to the range.

    1. I do need a CR Speed Belt for USPSA and ICORE competition, I’ve finally (hooray!) reached the level where the minute amount of time it saves me will be an improvement.

  5. Quality gear can make a difference in speed and safety. Buy quality the first time, and chances are there will be no need of a change unless the game you’re shooting changes. Money spent on crap has to be spent again. Money spent on quality isn’t wasted. Do your research and fill your needs by getting good kit, then use it for a very long time.

    1. This is what I go by. I definitely fall into the “should buy training and ammo over gear” camp, but sometimes buying the right gear the first time and once, is well…nice.

  6. + eleventy to “should buy training and ammo over gear”
    and I would add IN THAT ORDER. Training is much harder to obtain and retain than ammo and gear. Focus on the weapon between your ears *before* the one on your belt.

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