I liked the construction of my Wilderness Tactical Frequent Flyer belt (read my review from October 2010), but I hated how thick the buckle rings were. I employ appendix inside the waistband carry with my pistols, and the thickness of the buckle made me worry about printing.
I ordered the original Wilderness Tactical Instructors belt directly from Wilderness Tactical just over a month ago, and here’s my quick comparison.
The Frequent Flyer belt buckle (foreground) is made out of two rings; the Instructor belt is a V-buckle.
First things first, the belt itself is identical to the Frequent Flyer belt I already own. Please read my review of the Frequent Flyer belt for more information about the belt, how I use it, and my overall assessment of the product. TL, DR: I liked the belt so much I bought it again with a different buckle!
Okay, so the classic Instructor belt has a carbon steel V-buckle on it that looks like a chevron turned on its side. The belt was originally designed for rappelling instructors; if things went sideways the belt could double as an emergency harness.
The Instructor buckle is definitely thinner than the Frequent Flyer buckle, despite being more durable. According to Wilderness Tactical, the buckle can hold a minimum of 5900 pounds. That’s a lot of 9mm.
Cinched around my waist with a Glock 19 and a Glock 26 at the 11 o’clock and 1 o’clock positions, the Instructor belt buckle protrudes 1.09″ from my pants at the thickest point. The Frequent Flyer belt protrudes 1.41.” That’s … a shitload of difference. The problem is the stacked ring design — carrying at the 1 o’clock pushes the stack forward. The Instructor belt’s V buckle is a single stack, and so it isn’t pushed forward nearly as much.
At this point, I strongly recommend you buy the classic Instructor belt. The only reason to buy the Frequent Flyer belt is if you pass through a lot of metal detectors and don’t want to remove your belt.
Wilderness Tactical Instructor belt: strongly recommended.