To coincide with the release of their latest and greatest pistol, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, Smith & Wesson launched a new line of apparel to compliment the philosophy behind the gun. While we may be preaching to the choir here, the purpose of carrying concealed is so nobody knows you’re carrying. And that’s the brilliance behind Smith & Wesson’s new line. It’s a tactical jacket that doesn’t look tactical.
Since Smith & Wesson is known more for its smithing than stitching, it looked to Wild Things Gear, an outdoors clothing line. In a press release Wild Things, the apparel licensee, said they decided upon this style of not-so-tactical tactical because of a growing demand for “street style’ clothes. And one that fits, first, the gun enthusiasts but also a wider range of consumers, meaning the jacket will just as easily fit a cell phone or iPod in addition to a handgun.
The line consists of three styles: the Shooting Jacket, Range Jacket and Tracking Jacket. Granted the Tracking Jacket is a little more sporty, the other two certainly pass as a typical winter coat. Besides the appearance they all have features that prove beneficial if you’re packing heat.
Of course the outside pockets are deep enough and wide enough to comfortably store a pistol, there are two pockets on the inside of the coat (one on either side) that are also deep enough to comfortably store a compact handgun. The pocket is actually lined with a rubbery material that prevents the gun from bouncing around while you’re moving. In addition, after a few tests and experiments we found that the pocket is also easy to draw from. The mouth of the pocket seems to expand with the very movements it takes to draw the gun.
Wild Things sent over a Range Jacket for me to try out and, well, if you’re offered clothes from a gun manufacturer I suggest you take it. High quality stuff.
This particular jacket is made from a nylon canvas, which I’ll admit is a bit stiff, but breaks-in with time. It’s very durable and stands up well against wind (it did against November Wisconsin wind, at least). However, if you get one be sure to order the right size. These are designed more or less to hug your body. I have a large and it fits nicely, but I would probably fit better in an X-L.
Lastly, to the untrained eye this jacket doesn’t exactly scream gun. There’s a small Smith & Wesson emblem on the back just behind the collar, and that’s about it. A spokesman at Smith & Wesson said they just wanted this to be a regular looking coat; one that blends in. However, there are small details that the trained eye should be able to pick up on like revolver hammers used for zippers, or the gun schematic lining.
If you’re concealed carrier or not, I think these coats would make a nice Christmas present. Again, gun manufacturer equals quality stuff. They available in both men and women sizes and MSRP is $250 to $280.
(Note: As I checked the Wild Things website today they’re actually having a sale right now for 20 percent off.)