I'm a cost conscious person, when I started USPSA I bought the least expensive equipment that got me into the sport. That meant an inexpensive rig consisting of:
- Safariland Model 775 Slimline Open Top Triple Magazine Pouch
- Bladetech Dropped Offset Holster hanger and holster
- A generic velcro USPSA belt from Amazon
The whole rig cost around $100 at the time (had a large discount on the holster) and it was fine for starting out in the sport.
The first thing I replaced was the magazine pouch, mainly because I wanted to look the part of a USPSA shooter. They didn't make me any faster, but I looked like the cool kids. The next thing I replaced was the holster hanger. The Bladetech DOH hanger is really quite awful, it tends to flop around and has a weird angle to it. I bought a Ghost holster to replace it but it also flopped a bit and dug into my leg. I replaced it something more rigid, a Ben Stoeger Pro Shop BOSS DOH Holster Hanger. I'm not sure if the BOSS hanger was the first to offer a rigid holster mount but it was the only option at the time. Now there are several rigid hangers to choose from:
The final piece I replaced is the belt. The no name belt from Amazon has been OK for the most part but it started to bend and flex quite a bit. I replaced it with a Double Alpha Academy (DAA) Nylon Competition Double Belt 1-1/2". There are similar belts by CR Speed, Ghost, Guga Ribas/Ernie Hill Speed Option and Bladetech but the Double Alpha belt seems to be the most popular. The Guga Ribas does seem interesting because it has a metal insert that makes it stiff.
So why all the interest in stiffness and rigidity? When you are shooting, splits and target transitions are subsecond. That means that your draw and moving to the next position take the most time. Having a rigid platform for the holster makes the draw smoother and faster. If the gun binds in the holster because the hanger or the belt flexes, then that adds to your draw time. This is doubly true in 3 gun where you're manipulating shotgun shells from your belt. Dual loading became much easier when I switched from a no name velcro belt with Techlock attachments to a Safariland ELS belt.
If you're upgrading your gear piecemeal, focus on building a rigid platform starting with the belt and holster hanger. You can save the flashy mag pouches for later.