How to wear a duty belt

Written by brian connolly
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How to wear a duty belt
Police officers in full duty belt attire. (police image by Horticulture from

A police duty belt, or Sam Browne belt, is a common accessory among police and security professionals. Though traditionally designed to carry a minimum of supplies, modern duty belts are used to carry anything from flashlights, keys, handcuffs, pepper spray, batons, pistols, and other duty weapons. As most belts regularly carry 4.54 to 6.8 Kilogram of equipment, duty belts are generally constructed of ballistic nylon or durable leather material, and average 2 1/2 inches in width. With practice and repetition, and a careful eye for detail, practically anyone can learn to quickly wear and assemble a duty belt.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Duty belt
  • Police or security uniform
  • Mirror
  • Pistol holster and other belt attachments (optional)
  • Belt suspender (optional)

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  1. 1

    Position yourself in front of a mirror so that you are clearly able to see your waist and upper torso. Put on your normal police or security uniform attire, tucking in any shirts and looping your trouser belt as required.

  2. 2

    Unbuckle the duty belt and grab each end of the three-way buckle system. The belt buckle will look and operate similar to common trouser belt buckles, but with the additional locking feature of a "cop lock," or release button, for added security. Position the belt so that the frame clip or "female end" of the buckle is held in your right hand with the inserting buckle end in your left. Position both ends of the buckle just beneath your navel, with the rest of the belt wrapped around your waist.

  3. 3

    Insert the buckle end into the buckle clip until the mechanism securely clicks in place. Run your hand along the buckle face and ensure that the small release button, or cop lock, is protruding. Most cop locks are 3 to 4 centimetres wide and engage automatically once the belt is buckled.

  4. 4

    Loosen the belt by pulling the right portion of your buckle outward (toward the mirror). Practice placing the buckle above or below your trouser belt as you test which area feels more comfortable, and secure your everyday clothing. Tighten the belt by pulling on the loose strap and placing it along the inside layer of the belt, connecting the Velcro sections if present.

  5. 5

    Attach any belt suspender or shoulder strap that may have come with the duty belt by connecting the hook of the suspender to its corresponding loop on the front of the duty belt. Rest the strap on your desired shoulder and connect the remaining hook on the opposite loop of your duty belt. Loosen your duty belt as necessary to redistribute weight from the lower back.

  6. 6

    Insert gun holsters, flashlights, handcuffs, baton holsters, and other tools to their designated loops and attachment positions on the belt.

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