You only need to carry with a department store belt one time and then switch to a dedicated carry belt to understand the difference. You need a belt that is more rigid vertically which keeps short guns like the Shield that are top heavy from leaning away from your body and keeps a 40 ounce 1911 high and tight.
The Wilderness Original Instructor 5 Stitch Belts are made from dual-thickness, nylon web strap sewn together with five lateral stitch lines along the length of the belt. This prevents the belt from sagging and provides vertical stability and better load-bearing stiffness. All belts have a carbon steel “V” ring buckle. Overlap tongue is retained by Velcro hook and loop fastener and can be worn right or left facing. The belt was originally designed to clip into a secure system while “instructing” others in high places during mountain rescue training. The belt has been tested to withstand up to 8,000 pounds of weight. Five Stitch Instructor Belts are available in black and Coyote, 1.75 or 1.5 inch width. The 1.75 inch belt fits BDUs and jeans (please measure belt loops to be sure! We have found many off-brands have odd sizes that may not be correct). The 1.5 inch fits a variety of pants and shorts.
You can measure by laying your leather belt out flat on a table, and measure from the inside edge of the buckle away from the hinge to the hole that you currently use. If you regularly wear an IWB holster and mag carrier, we recommend you place them in your pants for measuring. Measure to the nearest single inch as shown. It is important that the inside length of the buckle be included in the measurement. Please do not assume the size shown on your current belt is correct. It is most common for a belt size to be 2″-3″ larger than a pants size. This is because a pants size is a measurement of you, while a belt size is a measurement of you with a layer of fabric (your pants) wrapped around you.