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Vantage Point on Gear: Särmä TST Shooter’s Belt

Särmä TST Shooter's Belt with a Ghost holster and my Armscor

My old and faithful CR-Speed IPSC belt started to deteriorate after 17 years of use (and occasional abuse), so I needed a new belt for my competitive shooting. After a quick check on what’s available, I decided to buy something that would allow me to have a single rig for both IPSC and its reservist oriented cousin SRA as well as potential 2-gun brutality matches. Being an ethical chap who likes to ride on a very high horse, I decided that I want something  that is local, or at least made in a country that has some basic respect for human rights and workers conditions.

I saw that Varusteleka had just released a Shooter’s Belt into their Särmä TST line of combat equipment. I’ve had some good experiences with their clothing, such as the merino hoodies and sweaters and with my wife absolutely loving their windproof jacket, I felt rather confident to try out their belt, that is designed in Finland and manufactured in Germany. The price isn’t cheap, but you can’t really compete with the far east made products with European labor these days.

Varusteleka has rather distinctive and very cool packages.

I placed the order without measuring my self. I have a well built waistline, so thought that going for the biggest size would be a safe bet. When the packet arrived 3 days later, I noticed that I should have paid a closer attention to their sizing guide as the minimum length of the belt is really that. So I had to sent it back to get the shorter size. Return process went smoothly and by the next Monday I got the correct size and proceeded to unpack it.

The initial impression of the belt could be summed up into one word: solid. You can actually grab one end of it and the rest will stay perfectly level. The workmanship is good, with all of the stitching being uniform and the molle channels are evenly cut. The velcro is very grippy, but the inner belt, that I also purchased removes without excessive force.

Stiff as an English upper lip

I built a quick test rig in order to do some dry practice runs in my garage and backyard. Fixing the ghost holster was easy as it screws on perfectly. There is absolutely no play between the hanger and the belt when the screws are set. Fixing a set of molle magazine pouches into the channels was a bit more tricky, but not much harder than putting the same pouches to a British issue battlebelt.

I dropped my slightly modified Armscor Hicap 1911 into the holster and did some practice draws. So far so good, no difference in time compared to the CR-Speed and the whole set up felt secure. A couple of Kassarda Drills later the setup was still secure and but I did remember that my molle mag pouches still suck and I really need to get better ones especially for pistol magazines.

I really need a model for reviews, but here is the rig on the author.

The only real gripe I have with the Särmä TST Shooter’s belt is that it’s a buckled design. While it’s sharper looking and more secure than the tradition velcro only IPSC belts, it’s also a bit more tricky to put on and get all of the holsters and pouches oriented properly. This is amplified if you have to slip the rig on while wearing a jacket etc. And even this complaint probably has more to with my 17 years of experience with a velcro only rig and a year from now I probably have forgotten the whole issue. And the buckle on this belt is a rock solid one and I really can't think of a better one for this kind of use.

So beyond actual long term durability, it looks like I got what I wanted: A solid European made belt to build a rig for my various dynamic shooting and reservist activity needs. They also ship worldwide with rather reasonable flat rate shipping costs.

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Varusteleka, they did not sponsor me or this review in anyway and all of the gear shown in the pictures was purchased with my own money.


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