Barcode Scanners, Holsters

5 Tips for First-Timers Wearing a Belt and Holster at Work


You have just landed a new job in retail, manufacturing, or logistics and your primary tool is a handheld barcode scanner. All-day, you will be beeping tags, entering information, and generally keeping track of stuff that needs scanning. But when you’re not holding your barcode scanner, your boss has indicated it should be in your belt holster.

One problem: You don’t wear a belt. Like most practical people below the age of 50, you probably wear stretch-capable modern fabrics. Whether you’re wearing skinny jeans or modern slacks, most business casual wear doesn’t include the kind of sturdy waistline and wide belt loops necessary to actually carry a holstered scanner on a belt all day. What do you do?

1. Wear the Belt Without Loops Like a Cowboy

On that first day, you just might not have the right pants or belt loops for your belted holster. If you have a spare belt, simply loop it around your waist without belt loops like a cowboy. It’s okay if your barcode scanner and holster sag to one side, at least for one day. While this may not be the right ergonomic balance for months of scanner carrying, an unlooped belt holster is definitely better than no belt at all.

2. How to Wear a Belted Holster

There are two ways to put your barcode scanner holster onto the belt, and it depends on the kind of clip you have.

Clip Holsters: Wear the Belt, Clip the Holster

Clip holsters have a small metal clip that slides down from the top onto the belt. These are the easiest to put on and rely on gravity plus clamping power to stay on the belt. With it, you can put on your belt, then simply slide the holster onto the side of your choice.

Loop Holster: Thread In the Holster as You Loop the Belt

If your holster has a loop fastener, you will need to thread it onto the belt as you put the belt on. Loop the belt around yourself until you reach the hip where you want to hang it. Then, between belt loops, thread the holster, and then complete looping and fastening the belt.

3. Utility Belt Wearing Tips

Never Skip a Belt Loop

Take it from pros who have worn more than a few toolbelts; never skip a belt loop. These are strategically placed to distribute weight over your hips to prevent pain, discomfort, or uneven holster support. Skipping just one loop is more unpleasant than you’d think.

Secure One Notch Tight

When securing a belt to use for utility and holster support, fasten it one notch tighter than usual. Pull one setting further than a comfortable pants tightness to provide support for the weight of your barcode scanner and holster.

Pull back, then forward to secure.

4. Invest in a Few Pairs of Sturdy Work Pants – and Belts

It is very normal to start your first real warehouse, retail, or logistics job without the right pants. Few people realize that belt loops are a career prerequisite, and most young professionals are not in the habit of wearing heavy pants with a sturdy belt. They just make everyday pants that hold on better these days.

So you may need to invest in two or three new pairs of pants with wide-sturdy belt loops and belts to go with them. Definitely try a few on to find pants-and-belts combinations you can wear comfortably all day with a barcode scanner holster at your hip.

5. Try the Holster on Your Left and Right Side

Finally, don’t forget to test your most comfortable position. You may find that you prefer it on either the left or the right side. This can relate to your dominant hand, keeping it out of your way, and building a workflow. Some even prefer the back holster approach, centering the scanner weight in the small of their back, while others mix it up completely with a chest holster instead.

If you are starting your first job wearing a belt and holster, don’t worry. You’ll get used to the belt and the weight at your hip soon enough and focused on rocking your new role.