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Ares Armor has been making some serious waves in the tactical gear and firearms communities recently with their Gavel ambidextrous safety lever and 80% polymer AR-15 lower receivers. While these products don’t really affect the game of airsoft at all, their highly-praised Derma Plate Carrier does. Airsoft players – especially the more serious ones on the field, often times prefer to use real-world tactical gear and plate carriers in their games. These games can go for hours upon hours – sometimes days in the larger “MilSim” events, and the rugged quality of the products can make or break the game. So, Ares Armor’s Derma Plate Carrier was a product I personally wanted to review.

What makes the Derma Plate Carrier so special is its reliance on AustriAlpin COBRA buckles and triple bungee cord cummerbund system. Usually, plate carriers rely on velcro hook and loop systems to secure the cummerbund to the front panel area. Not only is this noisy, but opening up your front plate carrier panel can be a bit of a pain when you have it loaded up with magazines, pouches, and other MOLLE gear. With the COBRA buckles, putting the Derma Plate Carrier on or taking it off becomes almost effortless. In fact, you can keep your plate carrier all loaded up and still take it on and off with ease. Also, thanks to the bungee cords, you get a very nice, snug fit without being uncomfortable or feeling like you can’t catch your breath if running around the field from cover to cover. The bungee cords move with you and the effect it has on your play is undeniable. Often times, plate carriers bounce and thanks to this snugness, the Derma stays in place a lot better. This means maintaining better sound discipline, having easier access to your pouches, and experiencing better comfort.


While you may be thinking that you can’t mount MOLLE pouches to the sides of the triple bungee cummerbund, you are only partially correct. Each bungee is removable and adjustable, so that you can weave each cord through the back of a pouch or side plate carrier. If the pouch is too small, however, it definitely doesn’t stay in one place as well as attaching them to a traditional MOLLE cummerbund. Also, I found that magazine pouches sort of “pulled out” with the bungee when I tried removing or indexing a magazine. I think this is because the bungee cords have, by their design, a high level of elasticity. For side plate pouches or utility pouches, it worked a lot better. This could be a make or break factor in your decision to purchase the Derma Plate Carrier as some airsoft players take A LOT of stuff into the field – whether necessary or not. As an aside, my personal methodology is to loadout my kit based on the mission or game at-hand. If I am playing public games at SC Viper, my kit is going to be a little bit different than if I am playing a MilSim game up in the San Bernardino mountains. Something that I should note about the Ares Armor product line is that they sell a few different combat deployment packs which are designed to attach to the back of their plate carriers (some can also be worn as a backpack sans plate carrier). So, if you really need to take all that extra gear into a game, you may consider taking a look at the official website.

Also worth mentioning is that the Derma Plate Carrier features adjustable shoulder/neck straps as well as a “maritime release” that allows quick removal of the plate carrier in case of emergencies. Unlike most quick release solutions, which pull down from a cable near the top of the plate carrier, the Derma quick release system pulls down from either side of where the cummerbund meets the front panel. This makes removal very quick and easy.

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One thing that the real steel and tactical shooters out there should take note of is that the Derma Plate Carrier keeps your armor plates up high, where they belong, unlike some carriers which can droop. The Derma keeps the plates covering your center mass, internal organs. Also, while Ares Armor does not sell the carrier with plates, but it readily accepts SAPI/ESAPI plates of a variety of sizes. I tested this plate carrier out with some airsoft-grade SAPI plates in the 10×12 inch size and it fit perfectly. Now, because it sits a bit higher than other plate carriers might, you will probably want to consider getting a battle or tactical belt to carry some extra magazine pouches in. Personally, I even run my EMT glove pouch (which instead houses my “dead rag”) on my battle belt. Another cool feature for real steel shooters out there is that the front and rear panels feature a pocket separate from where the plate sits that is meant to hold a plate backer!


Overall, the Ares Armor Derma Plate Carrier is an exceptional piece of tactical gear that is not only well-constructed but also brilliantly designed. The usage of the three bungee cord and AustriAlpin COBRA buckle cummerbund makes playing airsoft while wearing it a breeze, and its comfort is something that has to be tried on to be believed. Both airsoft players and real steel shooters alike should make sure to check this one out. The Derma Plate Carrier retails for $292 dollars on their official website, although you might be able to find lower prices out there by shopping around a bit. We’d like to thank Ares Armor for sending us out a Derma plate carrier to use in this review.

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of