T3 Gear Python Belt: Letting the Belt Carry The Weight

Recently developed by Trident Tactical Technical (T3) Gear as a new means to improve user comfort while wearing heavy plate carriers, the Python Belt brings together traditional belt design with a new means of weight distribution.

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Made from an overall 500D solution-dyed Cordura, the Python Belt is a two-part system that involves a semi-rigid duty belt and a padded outer belt.

The inner duty belt is 1.75” wide and made from Type 13 parachute webbing. It is secured using a 2” Raptor Buckle from American Direct Fabrication (ADF). While the Type 13 belt has a tensile strength of 7,000 pounds, the Raptor Buckle is made from 7075 Aluminum and has a tensile strength of 2,000 pounds. The buckle also meets NFPA 1983 certification for safety and MIL-STD-810F for corrosion resistance. Included in the inner duty belt is a tie-in point for attaching carabiner clips or other retention accessories.

The outer padded belt is where the new design and weight distribution come into play. It uses a closed-cell foam pad enclosed in a 500D Cordura sleeve that allows the inner duty belt to pass through a channel the length of the belt. This channel is comprised of reinforced panels with two bands of MOLLE webbing on each, and are segmented to allow the belt to either weave over, or under them. This design aspect allows for full customization of pouches, holsters, and other gear.

Along the interior of the outer padded belt is a continuous band of hook-and-loop (female) material that will be used in conjunction with an additional belt (released separately soon) that is run through the trousers’ belt loops for added security and rapid donning.

But the unique aspect to the Python belt is its foam band that runs along the top edge, of the outer padded belt. This foam is approximately 2” wide, and enclosed in a nylon sleeve with an adjustment cord through it with cinch tabs.

What Does It Do?

What this padded design aspect accomplishes is something found nowhere else currently on any belt. When used in conjunction with a plate carrier or vest, the smart design fills the intervening space between the belt and the bottom of the carrier. Its padded tube supports the carrier, while allowing the user to decide on distributing the carrier’s weight to the user’s shoulders or hip and attain the greatest level of comfort and use.

Specifications:

  • Small:…………28″ outer belt w/12 MOLLE rows
  • Medium:……..32″ outer belt w/16 MOLLE rows
  • Large:…………36″ outer belt w/20 MOLLE rows
  • Extra Large:..44″ outer belt w/24 MOLLE rows

The Python Belt is available in Multicam (featured), and in sizes Small through XLarge.

Editor’s Note: The Python Belt appears in this review with associated T3 pouches to evaluate it based on its performance as a field belt. The pouches do not influence the overall scoring of the belt itself.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostExcellent (5/5): At an opening cost of approximately $170 the Python Belt brings together traditional nylon materials with an innovative design to help provide added comfort to those wearing protective plates. The belt includes a two-part design to help users provide an immediate way to don a belt fit for any situation that accepts any MOLLE-compatible pouch or accessory.  In contrast, other comparative belt systems include the Padded AGB Sleeve w/Gun Belt ($185) by First Spear, the Sure-Grip (Slotted) Padded Belt w/Rigger Belt ($220), or Tactical Tailor’s Fight Light Battle Belt w/Riggers Belt ($260). But it should be noted none of these alternatives include the unique supportive tube design that helps mitigate some of the added weight of a plate carrier. As such, for its design and innovation, the Python Belt offers users an excellent price point.
  • Comfort Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect the Python did a very good job of remaining comfortable around the hips, even despite the added weight of a plate carrier. With its wide padded sleeve and tubular support system, the Python was able to broadly distribute the belt’s weight, and that of and pouches and a plate carrier evenly around the hips and alleviate some of the strain on the upper shoulders and back. This was mainly notable when standing, and thus would be ideal for those on sentry duty or have stationary/guard roles. While walking this support was still present, but to a lesser extent due to the rotation of the hips and back movement. The Raptor buckle provided a smooth and reliable function, while the inner duty belt was flexible enough so as not to be excessively rigid and contoured to the waist appropriately.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): Extensive double-line threading, X-pattern, and bartack was noted throughout the Python belt at key stress points that added to its overall longevity. The specialized support tube was also encased in a Cordura nylon sleeve that ensured abrasion resistance encountered from plate carrier friction while in dynamic movements. The support tube even had plastic tubing and grommets to help ensure the system did not become compromised, but users should still exercise caution at over-tightening it. Elsewhere the inner belt, being made from Type 13 webbing, was very durable given its greater tensile strength that (combined with the Raptor buckle’s aluminum body) gave it a very strong inner/outer belt system.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): The key behind the Python’s overall function was its ability to reduce the dead load factor on the upper torso while wearing a fully loaded plate carrier. In evaluations the Python was worn in a variety of dynamic movements, walking, and static and determined that indeed the system did perform to mitigate that weight on the shoulders and upper/lower back. The extent of that offset varied depending on what the wearer was doing; with static/standing activity having the greatest level of transference, and running having the least. This would make the Python ideal for those who stand guard duty for extended periods. Perhaps the only notable recommendation for T3 to consider would be the inclusion of an elastic/rubberized retention band on the inner belt, as excess material easily let the Raptor buckle slide unnecessarily.
  • Weight Average (3/5): Weighing in at 21.1 ounces (9.7 ounces for inner belt, 11.4 for outer) the Python (Size Large) had an appropriate (or average) weight for the volume and qualities of the material involved. As more pouches were added, and the weight of a plate carrier resting on the support tube did as intended, the Python evenly distributed the weight around the hips and into the legs. This did avoid excess fatigue in the upper torso as is common to most plate carriers used in conjunction with minimalist or low-profile belts. In contrast, other similar belt systems like the Padded AGB Sleeve w/Gun Belt (17.8 ounces), the Sure-Grip (Slotted) Padded Belt w/Rigger Belt (18 ounces), or the Fight Light Battle Belt w/Riggers Belt (26.6 ounces) all illustrate that while the Python is near the upper range of weight, this is due to the use of traditional nylons that are typically heavier and gave the belt an appropriate (or average) scoring.

Overall Rating – Good (21/25)

Product Link: https://www.t3gear.com

IMG_2889_TackenbergI am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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