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Sometimes good enough stops being good enough. We want the best, price no object. Hence Rolex, Ferrari, and Ares Gear. I bought one of Ares Gear’s $80 Ranger belts recently. By recently, I mean two months ago. I finally received the belt a few days ago, after a bunch of tailor gnomes finished sewing it together. It was the first time I’d commissioned custom clothing. It was worth the wait. The Ranger belt is the finest belt I own. Of course, my criteria for a tactical belt are a little extreme . . .

First, I want a tactical belt with an infinitely variable size. Conventional belts with eye-holes and a pin to retain tension don’t do it for me. One of those sizes will be a bit too large, and another will be a bit too small. I might get lucky and find a size that’s perfect at the point of purchase, but my weight fluctuates. What was good then is not necessarily good now.

Second, I wanted a tactical belt that would not warp or fray. That removed leather, cloth, and other natural fibers from contention, and led me to belts made out of webbing material with a friction buckle.

Third, the belt has to work, and work hard. I put a lot of weight, as much as ten pounds, on my belts. A firearm, some extra ammo, holster, and magazine carriers are not light; they weigh almost 10 pounds.

The first thing I noticed: the Ranger’s Cobra buckle is a monster, larger and bulkier than anything I’ve ever owned. If someone is determined, they can wiggle the buckle through their pants’ belt loops. Otherwise, you have to take the buckle off to put the belt on or take it off.

The Ranger belt consists of two layers of 1.5″ scuba webbing with a thin 1″ layer of webbing on the outside. Ares Gear offers the belt in camouflage (for the thin webbing layer) with a standard black for the scuba webbing. Since I do not wear clothing that meshes with coyote or multicam, I went with black on black.

I have a leather belt from Galco and a webbing belt from 5.11 Tactical. The Galco belt has uniform thickness, but it is not very stiff. The 5.11 belt is stiffer but only on right side. It is just as flimsy as any other belt on the left side. The Ranger has uniform thickness throughout. The Ranger’s thick, stiff webbing supports the weight that hangs off the belt.

The thin webbing layer loops through the buckle when the belt is worn. The main challenge when putting the belt on through belt loops or equipments’ loops: the end of the webbing itself.

That’s the backside of the webbing. The scuba webbing layer pulls through the loops. Ares’ tactical elves have stitched the end extremely well, but there’s still a small part that doesn’t stay down all the way. When the belt is worn, the end of the webbing has to pass through the equipments’ loops. Over time, the stress on this part might pull the stitching loose. I have heard nothing about this particular problem from other owners of the Ranger Belt. Yet.

When you remove the Ares Ranger, the end of the belt’s thin webbing isn’t as much of a problem. The belt pulls off easily. Alternatively, you can switching to different belt loops on the Kydex gear. Raven Concealment makes belt-soft Kevlar loops with snaps you can attach after the belt is in place.

Putting on the belt is . . . involved. With other belts, I can get my belt and gear on in less than a minute. The Ranger requires a three to five minute commitment, depending on whether or not the thin webbing layer wants to play along. The belt is stiff is enough that it can be pushed through, not just pulled. Thank God.

As you might have guessed, the Ranger isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for a belt to keep your pants up and hang your phone, the Ranger is overkill. If you carry a firearm on a regular basis, the Ranger is better than anything else on the commercial market—provided you’re willing to take the time needed to use it.

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  1. I find the 1 3/4″ 5.11 tactical operator’s belt very stiff and I can put it on or take it off in a minute or two. The metal buckle and velcro positioning work very well with both my Galco IWB holster and Blackhawk Serpa paddle holster, both for my Sig P220 (not a real light gun). Have you tried the 5.11 tactical operator belt? Maybe they will send you a sample.

  2. I’ve tried out a variety of belts before getting the Ares belt. In terms of quality for a CCW lifestyle, I would rank 5.11 above Galco.

    The minor flaw in both Galco’s and 5.11’s design is the buckle area. There’s no belt material behind the buckle, and there is about 1″ of belt length around the buckle area before both sides of the belt material is stitched together. What you have is a good stiff belt everywhere except right around the buckle. Ares’s design is that there is stiff material through out the entirety of the belt length; the buckle actually sits in front of the stiff material (see first photo). Due to the way the belt loops around the waistline, there is more stiff material around the buckle area than either Galco’s or 5.11’s design.

  3. What kind of mag carrier is that?

    By the way, very nice review. I’m planning on ordering one in coyote/black tomorrow. The wait time is only 4 weeks now, so that is encouraging.

  4. I wear an Ares Gear belt everyday. It is the finest belt I have owned. It supports a fullsize pistol with a light, a mag pouch, a handcuff pouch, a flashlight, and a cellphone. The belt carries the load comfortably all day long. Anybody who is serious about carrying a gun should buy an Ares Gear belt.

  5. RE: “Over time, the stress on this part might pull the stitching loose. I have heard nothing about this particular problem from other owners of the Ranger Belt. Yet.”

    I’ve had mine for over 2 years. I wear it just about every day, and the stitching is rock solid.

    Also, I’ve found that using holsters and carriers that have loops that need to be slid on the belt take a lot of time, but I use (alternately, depending on weather, weight fluctuations, etc) a Comp-Tac Minotaur Hybrid IWB holster and a FOBUS paddle holster for my 1911. Both slip over the belt so no problems there.

    All in all, it’s a rock-solid belt, and I would wear it with a suit if my wife would let me get away with it…

  6. Great review, I have been wearing the Ranger belt for almost a year now and have no regrets or complaints.

  7. Just bought an Ares Ranger in Nov. Way too time consuming to put on compared to the Wilderness Titanium belt I normally use. Not enough benefits to justify the time and effort to use it.

  8. I’ve owned a lot of belts in the quest for the best carry belt, and folks, you can stop with all the “What about brand…..???”

    5.11, The Wilderness w/CSM (their stiffest option…), Hell even an arc’teryx LEAF H150 riggers belt, costs 120 bucks!!!, They are all incredibly inferior to the Ares Gear Ranger belt.

    Stop looking around, stop asking, “what about….” and buy the damn thing. You can thank me later. If you can’t wait, I know that WeaponOutfitters, LaRue, and The Sig Pro Shop (you have to call, not on line) at their training facilities all stock them in multiple sizes. I bought mine from WeaponOutfitters, they gave me excellent customer service, I’m not getting anything out of this from anyone, and I have no interest in any of these businesses. Buy the damn Ares, or you’ll be wondering why you didn’t and spending money that should have gone to it. I’m on my way over to get something special and custom…..check out their facebook page for crazy options not on their site.

    • I totally agree. The Ares Gear Ranger is by far my favorite belt for concealed carry. Excellent materials and construction, easy-to-adjust metal quick release buckle, and no damn velcro. I have a 34″ waist and wear their XL size (36-42″) which has enough room for inside waist band carry of a large handgun and 2 extra mags. Bought mine from and received good service.

  9. I bought the Ares Ranger belt recently, I like it so much I’m now shopping for another belt in a different color. One comment, I’ve seen several people write that you must remove one side of buckle in order to thread it from your belt loops. I was doing that too, when it dawned on me if I removed the thinner (one inch) tape from the right-side buckle and left the buckle attached to its left hand mate, I could remove the belt from my pants with no difficulty. Otherwise I’d concur with with your review.


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