The Sport Belt is an optional accessory for your PHLster Enigma or Enigma Express. It has a wider, stretchy back panel that improves all-day comfort. The Sport Belt replaces the plain nylon webbing belt that comes with the Enigma. Since the Sport Belt has different back panel sizes, a lot of folks wonder what size will be most comfortable for their concealed carry needs.
The sizing can be confusing, so let’s break it down so you can figure out exactly what size Sport Belt you need!
How does the sizing work?
The Sport Belt is sized by measuring around your back. It consists of a 3″ tall elastic back panel, which is attached to narrower 1.5″ nylon webbing. The wider back panel goes around your back, and the nylon webbing attaches to your Enigma in front. The nylon webbing can be trimmed to fit, but the back panel cannot. Since the back panel comes in multiple sizes, it’s important to choose the correct one.
You want the Sport Belt’s back panel to wrap around your back, with the ends resting around 9:00 and 3:00 on your body. You don’t want the elastic panel to go all the way around to the front, because only the narrower webbing part of the Sport Belt can pass through your Enigma buckles. So if your Sport Belt is too long, you’ll run out of adjustment, and you won’t be able to get your Enigma tight enough.
The Sport Belt works best when the back panel doesn’t wrap past the 9:00 and 3:00 hip positions. Measure around your back between 9:00 and 3:00 and round down to select your size.
Available in 5 sizes:
- XS: 10” panel (36” total)
- S: 14” panel (41” total)
- M: 18” panel (45” total)
- L: 25” panel (51” total)
- XL: 30” panel (64” total)
Following the sizing instructions, select the appropriate back panel size. The belt tails are adjustable if your waist is not the maximum size of the belt. Choose based on back panel size, per the sizing video, not the total belt length.
Can I just use my waist size or pants size?
We don’t recommend using your waist or pants size to order a Sport Belt. Clothing sizes vary between brands and are often inaccurate. Just because you wear a 33″ pant doesn’t necessarily mean your true waist measurement is actually 33 inches.
Additionally, many users do not wear the Enigma at the same level as their pants, or at their natural waist. The other reason we don’t recommend using waist size is because it’s not always a good representation of where the Sport Belt will actually lie on your body.
The best way to make sure you get the right size Sport Belt is to measure around your back. Measure at the level you plan to wear your Enigma, keeping in mind the Enigma is independent of your clothing, so you can place it on the best spot on your body regardless of where your pants end up.
If you’re not sure yet where you want to carry it, measure the smallest part of your waist, and use that number. You can use a smaller Sport Belt with a larger waist, but not the other way around. So measuring the smallest spot will ensure you can wear your Enigma at any height.
How to measure
To measure for your Sport Belt, use a soft measuring tape or a piece of string. Measure around your back, from side to side (from 9:00 to 3:00 on your body). Watch the sizing video for more details.
If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can use a piece of string. Put the string around your back, and mark the distance. Then lay the string flat and measure it with a ruler or tape measure.
Should I size up or down?
If you’re close to the size cutoff, we recommend sizing down. Only the 1.5″ nylon webbing portion of the Sport Belt will pass through the Enigma buckles. So if your back panel is too long, you’ll run out of space to adjust, and you won’t be able to get your Enigma tight enough. Keep in mind that the back panel is elastic, and elastics tend to relax and lengthen over time. Make sure to factor that in so your Sport Belt doesn’t end up too long later down the line.
Some users want to intentionally upsize the sport belt so it will wrap further around their hips in the front, which is a little risky, and leads to a lot of returns. Generally speaking, the smaller you are, the riskier it is to upsize your Sport Belt. The Enigma faceplate itself can be around 10″ wide for the Express, and around 12″ for the OS. With smaller sizes especially, choosing a bigger back panel doesn’t leave much leeway for adjustment.
We recommend sizing down if you’re near the cutoff (yes, really!). However if you’re tempted to size up, you can try reverse measurement to guess if it will work for you.
To reverse measure, grab your measuring tape and mark out the closest back panel size, then put it around your back and see where the marks end up on your body, noting how much space you have left over in front. The only place you’ll be able to adjust your Enigma is the nylon webbing portion between the back panel and the Enigma faceplate. The faceplate itself takes up about 10″ for the Express or 12″ for the Enigma OS. Plus you’ll want to allow a few extra inches for the material to stretch and relax over time. When you reverse measure, make sure you have AT LEAST enough room for the Enigma faceplate, plus some extra for adjustment, plus some extra for stretch. Reverse measurement is not an exact science, and there’s no formula for how much space you’ll need for stretching and adjustment. It depends on your body type and how you wear your Enigma. That’s why we recommend following the regular sizing instructions and measuring from 9-3 around your back. If you want to intentionally upsize, you’re entering the realm of guesswork, so best of luck!
Sound too complicated? Then measure according to the size video and size down if you’re in doubt.
So to sum things up, the best way to get the correct Sport Belt size is to measure around your back, and size down to the closest back panel size!
Still have questions? Ask Phil, or consider these resources:
Basic Concealment Mechanics – learn how to find your Concealment Sweet Spot, and how to reach your maximum concealment potential with each gun you try. This foundation is crucial when you’re pushing the limits of what’s possible for you to conceal.
Concealed Carry Comfort – Pay careful attention to the “boundaries” chapter, as you’ll need to watch your boundaries to make a large gun comfortable.
Join the PHLster Concealment Workshop group on Facebook. Once you get in, do a group search for the keyword “EZ,” and you’ll see tons of examples of how other folks have made it work (or not). The Workshop is a large group, and you will see a lot of different body types represented.