A question was asked in another thread about where you could learn about legacy systems of LBE, such as "pistol belts" and such. Well, I was thinking "right here" but then I realized there are several threads that are actually in other areas, other than "Second Line Gear". There was a good thread about jungle kit, which included "second line", or what I like to refer to as "belt kit", because that is my primary system. There are also a couple of threads in 3d Line Gear which touched on these things. So maybe to help guys out who didn't participate in those threads, we could re-cap some stuff here. Where you normally might go to find this info.
So to kick this off, I will start with belts. Legacy systems of load bearing equipment used belts to carry the majority of your fighting load. Various other systems, such as chest rigs, ammo vests, and "flak jackets" were used in conjunction with them, but the main method of carry was the belt. About the mid-90's this started to change. "Flak jackets" were upgraded to protect against pistol and rifle fire. Then some guy (or probably a committee) decided it would be a good idea to hang all sorts of shit on these new "armor carriers", and then "plate carriers". So we saw a shift from the main fighting load, from the belt to the "armor carrier". The belt now usually carried pistol kit, and not much else.
While this is a valid way of doing things, for certain terrain and situation, I would also submit that returning to belts, as the main method of carry, is also a very valid way of doing things. Lots of variables here, and reasons why for doing things certain ways; I will just say, if you determine that using a "belt kit" is something that supports your mission statement, then there are many subject matter experts here, with lots of experience, that can help you out in procuring, building, and using this method of LBE.
I will give you some of my preferences; hopefully the other guys will chime in as well. I like a lightly padded belt base. By that I mean less than 1/4" of padding. I have found that the leaner I am, with less fat layers around my hips, the less padding I really need. I presently use a 3" wide belt base (although I am experimenting with the Brit "hippo" belt at 8". Yeah 8 fucking inches! But it has it's own peculiar charm, especially when combined with a rucksack). Next I like lightly padded shoulder straps, in a "H" harness format, like UW or Velocity/Mayflower gear. I like a 4-point attachment, although I am experimenting with the Brit 6-point styles.
I wear the belt kit cinched up against my hips, so that when I humping a ruck, the belt will act as a hip belt and soak up some of the weight. I mention this because another technique is to "free float" the belt, on the suspenders, because it's more comfortable. I've done that before when just wearing the belt kit, after dumping the ruck. An adjustable buckle, like a Cobra two-way, facilitates this.
I wear the pouches "low carry" or Brit style, which is flush with the top of the belt. The reason for this is to create a shelf in the back for the ruck to rest on. I also happen to think all the pouches ride better this way, even the mag pouches on the sides, which btw, are kept behind your hip point, so you can take a knee, or prone out. Yes, they will bounce a bit more when moving rapidly, so one technique is to use a small bungee cord to connect all the pouches together. Issue Brit pouches have a web loop on the back just for this purpose.