Odds are, whether you’re a shooter, competitor, or adventurer, you’ve either purchased or considered tactical clothing. Why? Because it suits what you do. Add in those who work in law enforcement, EMS, fire, or tactical operations and these types of garments are a must. The name 5.11 has long been at the top of the market, but also atop the list of priciest gear. Guns.com finds out if they’re worth the buck.
The 5.11 company is based out of Modesto, California and in recent years their innovative apparel has been setting the standard for emergency workers, shooters, and tacticians alike. While the company gears their wares toward public safety professionals, they also cater to shooters with built in features for daily carry and operations.
They also offer what the company calls the “Right Fit Guarantee,” meaning free shipping and free returns if your garments don’t fit correctly. Their warranty reads as follows: “5.11, Inc.warrants each product sold by 5.11 or its authorized dealers to be free of defects in materials or workmanship for as long as you own the Product, or for the maximum period allowed by the laws of your jurisdiction, if less.”
Ordering through their website is easy enough, and their most popular garments are available at big-box outdoor stores like Gander, Cabelas, and Scheels as well.
Stryke pants for both men and women
Guns.com took the opportunity to test both the male and female cut versions of the Stryke pants. Both genders get pants made of 6.76 oz Flex-Tac ripstop fabric with gusseted construction, articulated kneepad-ready knees, bartacking at major seams and stress points, a Teflon finish, YKK zippers, and Prym snaps. Both feature 12 pockets, though the mens are double-deep cargo pockets where the women’s are standard size. Likewise, the men’s pants have a self-adjusting tunnel waistband where the women’s is fixed.
We both appreciated the double-thick pocket area where a knife would clip and eventually wear through normal pants. Interior sub-pockets work well for smartphones, backup CCW, handcuffs, or anything that should remain close to the body. The features are nice, but the proof, in this case, is in the fit.
Cut on the men’s duds is on par with other tactical clothing, and fit is true to size. If you’re on the fence between lengths, however, best choose the longer, as the men’s lengths seem to run about a half-inch shorter than sized. Male waist sizes run from 28-54 and come in ten subdued colors.
While the men’s pants are available in inseams from 30 to 36 or unhemmed, the ladies have a choice of regular or long. Ladies who wear longer than a 32 inch inseam would be well advised to order the long. Women’s sizes run from 0-20 and are available in six colors. The women’s pants fit just slightly lower than many, making them flattering on the figure without being too low for active moving, bending and working. We would recommend, however, that women order one size up from normal, and this has been verified not just in our single test, but by my full EMS department of gals who now wear 5.11.
MSRP on the Stryke pants sounds steep at $74.99, but our black test pants have held up for almost daily wear over six months with very frequent washing for the sake of the test. Even an earlier pair that I’ve been wearing regularly in EMS over a year-and-a-half still looks like new, even with in the dark navy color, which has noticeably faded in other brands. The cut of the pants really does allow a full range of motion. Especially important in EMS and LE work, the Teflon finish repels water, fluids, and staining better than most any other uniform workwear I’ve tried.
Women’s Glacier Half-Zip fleece
Also in the test is the women’s Glacier Half-Zip fleece. Built of 6.3 ounce, 94 percent polyester and 6 percent spandex fleece knit, the textured inner fabric is both soft and heat-retaining. This is a performance type pullover that works as well dressed up for an outer layer as it does dressed down as a workout top. Gusseted construction grants a full range of motion, while the zipper pocket at the left chest offers secure storage for smaller items.
Overall, it fits true to size, if not even a little generous. It’s fitted enough to be flattering to a woman’s figure while also being ideal for tac ops or workouts. There’s enough length to keep the top from riding up, without sacrificing looks. Sizes run from XS-XL and fit a true wide range. The five colors are mostly bright and suitable for dressier wear more than tactical. MSRP on the Glacier Half-Zip is $74.99.
Though it seems like $74.99 is the going rate for all 5.11 garments these days, I’d normally hesitate to say any clothing is worth that price. But in this case, they really earn their keep. The durability, fit, and purpose-driven design are spot-on. Whether you’re heading to the range for a day of shooting or for a shift in emergency services, 5.11 Stryke pants are a ready companion prepared to work, perform and allowing users to function at their best.