Your police duty belt setup is a crucial element of your uniform. It is your toolbox, stocked with the items you will need to keep you and others safe. What you choose to include on your police officer duty belt is a critical decision. And once the equipment is chosen, you must then figure out where to place each item for easiest access.
Your police academy will likely give you recommendations for these decisions, but in the end, organizing your duty belt is up to you. It is often a trial-and-error process with adjustments being made as you determine what you reach for most often and how the belt wears most comfortably.
However, our vast experience enables us to help get you started on the right track. Here is our guide on the best police duty belt setup and how to wear a duty belt.
How to Choose Your Equipment
The first question you need to address is how to wear a duty belt. There are three basic options from which to choose. You can thread your duty belt through each piece of equipment and the belt loops in your pants. This gives an extremely clean appearance; however, it does take a lot of time and effort to thread the belt.
Another option is called the belt keeper system. With this, an outer police officer duty belt is worn over an inner leather belt. It is attached by snaps or Velcro and is easier to take on and off.
Finally, the Velcro double-belt method works by wearing an inner and outer belt attached by Velcro. This system is quite popular because of the ability to quickly put it on and take it off.
Now that you’ve chosen your go-to method of how to wear a duty belt you can begin to choose your equipment. Start with the duty holster. Duty holsters are designated by their retention level – levels 1-3 – with level 3 having the most built-in safety features. A level 3 duty holster is required by most departments for patrol officers.
Complementing your duty holster and sidearm is the taser. Wear your sidearm on your dominant-hand side and the taser on your weak-hand side.
The next pieces of equipment for your police officer duty belt are handcuffs and handcuff cases. You will find that often in the line of duty, two sets of handcuffs are required, as when you are dealing with a fight between two individuals.
Other fundamental pieces of equipment to carry include pepper spray, radio, magazine pouches with extra magazines, and an expandable baton. Additional equipment to consider would be a flashlight, multitool, batteries, gloves, and a window punch.
Nail the basics and you can adjust accordingly as you gain experience and learn what equipment is right for your circumstances and duties.
How to Position Your Belt
As no two police officers are the same in terms of body composition, shape, and size, how to position your belt is an individual decision. The key factor to guide you is balancing functionality with comfort. You must be able to draw equipment when needed by simply reacting. You also want to ensure that as you spend much of your day in a squad car, your belt sits comfortably, without equipment digging into you.
Try to distribute the weight of the items on your belt equally so that it balances.
Testing Out Your Duty Belt
As a police officer, you know how important preparation and training are when it comes to firearm preparedness and other duties. The same should be applied to your duty belt. Once you’ve configured the belt, test it by wearing it to the practice range and while doing other training procedures. Make sure it fits well and comfortable and provides the access you need for drawing a weapon or handcuffs.