It’s been five years since I was a member of a SWAT team. Just this past December, I decided that 26 years of being a Police Academy Commander and Instructor was long enough. So while I still teach full-time and work as a street officer part-time, I have found myself gravitating less and less toward wearing “tactical” clothing (particularly trousers) on a daily basis. That change includes moving away from wearing ballistic nylon trouser belts, which I once wore almost exclusively, even with blue jeans.

With my shift to a more “civilian casual” style of dress, I’ve found myself wearing an original CrossBreed “Instructor” belt most of the time. Made from American tanned Herman Oak top grain cowhide and lined with premium hard-rolled leather, the original Instructor belt featured pre-cut buckle holes and a hidden hook catch for adjustment. This style of belt has held up for three or more years of continuous use and still shows no signs of wearing out, even though I regularly use it with belt-mounted OWB holsters with handguns of various sizes. It should be noted that this original style Instructor belt is no longer available from CrossBreed, and has been replaced by an updated Velcro backed design.

Any type of belt that relies on buckle holes for adjustment prevents the belt from fitting perfectly since it can’t be “infinitely” adjusted within its range of size. Even at its best fit, the type of belt is either slightly too loose or slightly too tight. Most of the time, this lack of perfect fit capability isn’t a real issue. However, it is a more critical issue when wearing a handgun of any substantial weight for an extended period of time.

CrossBreed has just introduced a new trouser gun belt that is infinitely adjustable by teaming with Ares Gear (, a company that manufactures the Aegis line of tactical belts. This partnership has resulted in a hybrid tactical/casual trouser gun belt known as the Crossover. The Crossover hybrid belt truly combines the best elements of both the tactical and casual worlds.

Before I describe the belt further, let me explain the “trouser gun belt” for those of you not familiar with the concept. A trouser gun belt, by my definition, is a 1.5-inch-wide leather (or nylon) belt designed to easily loop through standard trouser belt loops (such as are found on most blue jeans). The trouser gun belt is twice the thickness of a standard off-the-rack casual belt, and the doubled thickness is designed to support the weight of a handgun carried in an OWB holster without sagging and allowing the gun to tilt away from the carrier’s body. Unfortunately, a good quality trouser gun belt is often overlooked by many new to concealed firearms carry.

The Crossover belt starts with hand-selected cowhide that is of such high quality that no stiffening insert is needed between the outer portion of the belt and the liner. The leather portion of the Crossover is designed to provide many years of service. The leather can be obtained in brown or black, while the stitching thread is available in four colors: black, gunmetal gray, brown, or bronze. These four thread choices allow the owner to select colors that contrast best with the buckle.

The Aegis buckle is the “tactical” component of the Crossover belt, and I like it a lot. It is a “tension locking” style buckle. Tension locking is what allows infinite adjustment across the length of the belt, within its size range. As a kid, I had a way cool “army” uniform that came with a web belt with tension locking buckle, just like the military belts of the period. Later, as a Cub and Boy Scout, I also wore the same type of buckle with those uniforms, and they worked very well. If you are not familiar with this system, tension buckles have a sliding bar inside. When you run the belt tab and belt through the buckle, you push the tension bar to a friction locking point which holds the belt in place anywhere along the length of the belt. Pushing the tension bar back the opposite direction releases the belt when you want to take it off.

The Ares Aegis Buckle is made from 4 ounces of bead-blasted 17-4PH Stainless Steel, and will last a lifetime. It has a raised “frame” running around the plain flat center and is just slightly wider than the belt itself. This gives the Crossover belt more of a casual or even dress appearance, yet it is of “mil-spec” type quality and functionality. The buckle is available in the tested matte stainless finish, black, or bronze. Bronze is not yet available as of this writing.

I have been wearing my sample Crossover belt for two weeks and love it. It holds its position, looks great with jeans and khakis (and yes, with tactical pants), and is quite comfortable. The leather is stiff when the belt is new, yet is easy to work with after a few hours of wear.

The Crossover is a custom-made belt. CrossBreed advises in big red letters on its website that that the Crossover has no warranty or two-week trial period, and it can’t be returned for refund. Don’t let the lack of a warranty throw you, nothing is going to go wrong with this belt.

The Crossover is the best trouser gun belt that I have tried to date. Solid and unique, its hand crafted nature complements the CrossBreed holster line. Price is $89.95, which, considering the nature of its construction, is very reasonable. For more information, go to: