Loren asked in comments below on the Pistol Belt praxis:
How were things secured before the ALICE clips? You mentioned grommets, but I'm sure others are curious about how it all worked.
Sorry, I should have explained.
Note the picture of the World War II GI above and how the first aid pouch and the canteen hang from the belt? Each pouch is provided with a stout metal hook that, believe me, is a pain in the fingers to attach but once there will stay on. Here's a picture of the back of a WWII canteen cover:
Here is the back of an M1916 holster for the M1911 .45 pistol, showing the metal hook for attachment to the M1912, M1936, M1956 and LC-1 & 2 pistol belts. The slots below the hook are for using the holster with a leather belt.
You have to insert one end of the hook into a grommet, then twist and fold the belt to align the second grommet. You've got to work the belt a bit, loosening it up. Use needle-nose pliers if necessary.
Hope that helps.