Aegis Enhanced – an excellent new carry belt
Ares Gear has released their new Aegis Enhanced belt. It is the first in what will be an entire family of Aegis belts. Despite my initial misgivings this is now what I wear every day. It does everything I require a belt to do for concealed carry very well. Thus far I’ve found no drawbacks.
When I first received the belt about two months ago I’ll admit to wondering if it wasn’t too big for what I wanted; my first thoughts went immediately to the satellite dish size rodeo buckles one often sees in my neck of the woods. That’s an exaggerated comparison, of course (the rodeo buckles could serve a short guy as a scutum at need, while Aegis Enhanced buckle is less than 2″ tall). It did give me pause though, particularly one ill founded concern that the buckle might ‘print’ if revealed by a cover garment open at the front.
Any doubts were quickly allayed after just a couple of days getting used to it. It is comfortable, easy to don and doff and spreadloads everything I carry admirably. My EDC varies depending upon what I’m doing. This includes not just choice of weapon but also the accouterments that go with it. On a “big loadout day” I may have an OWB holster with a light-mounted Glock 19, 2 OWB magazines, an OWB flashlight, a TQ and a Coye Ridgeback fixed blade mounted laterally. Another day might see me wearing a just an IWB M&P 9mm or Glock 19 (no light)/ Glock 26 in appendix carry with a potentially different array of accessories. That’s a lot of gear to put on a limited amount of real estate (though the amount of belt I have available seems to be increasing the longer I’m retired).
The Enhanced Aegis is probably the best support system for a good fighting load carriage I’ve worn thus far – I actually like it much better than my Ares Gear Ranger or 5.11 Apex Gunner’s Belt. Other than the occasional wear of my Advanced Outfitters Khyber (which is not intended to support a weapon) the Enhanced Aegis is now what I wear every day, no matter whether in shorts at the store or slacks and a jacket for church. I have drawn from it, conducted reloads from it and (using snap caps) used it as a support surface from which to practice strong- and support-side one hand malfunction drills. Their 1.5″ scuba webbing style material (sewn in 2 layers) does not roll or “taco”, it doesn’t move slide up or down once secured and it’s easy to thread. More importantly it’s wide enough to prevent binding or discomfort without being so wide you can’t slide it easily through the belt loops on a typical pair of jeans.
If you were ever a Boy Scout, you’ll be familiar with the style and function of the Aegis Enhanced buckle. It’s bead blasted machined stainless steel, weighs in at 4oz., has rounded edges and radiused corners and presented me with no printing issues. I suppose it’s possible that someone with 6-pack abs and a tight t-shirt worn with an open cover garment might see some printing, but since this isn’t a Cobra or other “tactical” buckle I don’t think that would be an issue anyway. That and the ability to wear this belt openly with shirt tucked is a great nod to the buckle’s low profile design. While I anticipated that the buckle might slip somewhat during a long day (particularly when supporting a load) that has yet to happen. We’ll see if it wears down at all with continued use.
I myself have a pony keg instead of a 6-pack and wear my shirts somewhat baggy, so it presented me with zero issues. In fairness, even if there was some printing it wouldn’t be too much of an issue. The buckle does not have the overtly “tactical” look of a Cobra or Raptor buckle, nor does it bear any default gun-related logo on it.
This segues nicely into another great feature of the buckle. The front is flat, so if you do want to engrave an emblem, unit or sports logo upon it (perhaps one like this one from DARK Angel Medical) you’ll easily be able to do so.
Unfortunately, this initial run of Aegis Enhanced belts is extremely limited. The first buckles, for the T&E period (which I’m grateful to have been a part of) and those for sale, are all machined. There won’t be any available after this batch until probably sometime in early 2014, when the Metal Injection Molded production buckles become available.
The belts are available in black, urban gray, coyote, sand, ranger green, desert digi, multicam and woodland (total of 8 choices). Note that they don’t require the same overlap as the Ares Gear Ranger belts, so they recommend purchasing one based on overall length (including how much ‘tail’, if any, you want left over past the buckle).
The Aegis Enhanced retail cost begins at $109.00. Purchase yours here.
“… and among them went bright-eyed Athene, holding the precious aegis which is ageless and immortal: a hundred tassels of pure gold hang fluttering from it, tight-woven each of them, and each the worth of a hundred oxen.” Homer