Gear Review: Propper has the summertime goods with tactical pants, shirt

Testing_Avidity_Arms__PD10_in_the_snag-free_polo.

Testing Avidity Arms’ PD10 in the snag-free polo. (Photo: Team HB)

In a previous review, I started a series of trials of Propper’s summerweight clothing line. This installment is a report on even more Propper summertime clothing—which stands out for performance and inclusion of women’s versions of each product.

The summerweight tactical pants ($49.99) arrived unhemmed. Getting a custom hem is a nice treat for those of us with legs on the odd-numbered inches spectrum. No high water look; no stepping on the back of the hem with every step.

The material is nylon with a little spandex for stretch. They’re quite professional-looking, and plenty nice to go from office to range if you work in a “dress casual” environment.

A_zippered_pocket_is_behind_each_flap_cargo_pocket._Note_the_reinforced_section_under_the_knife_clip.

A zippered pocket is behind each flap cargo pocket. Note the reinforced section under the knife clip. (Photo: Team HB)

Among other days on the range, I did Personal Defense Network’s carbine class in these pants. It entailed a lot of up/down, kneeling, sitting, and some supine shooting, not to mention a bit of running with the rifle. The pants got dirty, which is to say they had ground-in dust and dried weeds. A little faint bolt or ammo residue stain was also present by day’s end.

The flexibility of these pants is outstanding. They never impede movement. While the stain remains, it faded substantially and is only noticeable if I look for it. After 7 minutes on warm in the dryer, I take the pants out, hang them, and they finish drying looking neat and creased. Hooray for evasion of ironing!

This stain faded to being just faintly visible after washing. (Photo: Team HB)

This stain faded to being just faintly visible after washing. (Photo: Team HB)

There are eleven pockets, four with zipper closures, five with Velcro, and two front jeans-style pockets. They’re roomy where they need to be; I had no problem keeping a spare AR mag in the cargo pocket, and it stayed put throughout all the gymnastics of the carbine class. Clients have handed me cash on the range and the zippered hip pockets keep them safe and surprisingly, dry despite the heat. An unusual feature is a tiny rear pocket on the center, just below the belt. I keep forgetting it’s there; it’s really discreet.

Speaking of heat, these pants minimize its effects as well as any clothing can. They’re breathable and, unlike cotton pants, produce no uncomfortable and visible sweat marks. Propper says the material is UPF 50 as well. They’re priced well below most hiking brands’ pants with that feature.

The_button_is_attached_by_webbing._Why_did_I_have_to_wait_half_my_life_for_this_-question_mark-

The button is attached by webbing. Why did I have to wait half my life for this? (Photo: Team HB)

Being short-waisted and kind of short, period, I struggle with some tactical pants that have followed the low rise trend. Not these pants. The rise is high enough that I can secure my gun or battle belt around my actual waist, and wear gear all day without even a hint of painful hip blisters — I have a scar on my gun-side hip from lower-rise pants. Even though they’re a bit higher than most of their ilk, they’re not so high as to create the dreadful mom jeans look either. Every person has a unique build, and this particular fit is perfect for mine.

Summerweight_pants--totally_comfortable,_no_matter_what_I_was_doing,_including_using_a_tire_for_cover.

Summerweight pants–totally comfortable, no matter what I was doing, including using a tire for cover. (Photo: Team HB)

This summer I’ve discovered I’m far from the only concealed carrier who experiences contact dermatitis from metals. The slide of my gun and the insides of the rivets on my jeans are now coated with clear nail polish to minimize discomfort. There is no metal at all on Propper Summerweight pants, and it’s one of the reasons I find it hard not to wear them all the time! Other sans-metal pants usually feature a typical sewn-on button that’s guaranteed to come off when used under a range belt.  Not these. There’s an ingenious webbing attachment that’s both tough and merciful when I indulge in a post-range pizza binge.

Pen_slots_and_sunglass_loop_for_work;_a_collar_that_stay_up_for_sun.

Pen slots and sunglass loop for work; a collar that stay up for sun. (Photo: Team HB)

Topping off the summerweight pants is Propper’s snag-free polo shirt ($39.99). This is your basic, no shoulder seam polo. It’s cut very generously, with short sleeves that are wide and loose at the bottom. That’s a feature I normally don’t like, but have come to appreciate for the air flow. The button placket hides the buttons when they’re closed. There’s a sunglass loop on the placket and a pen slot on the left sleeve.

The shirt comes in seven colors; those looking for a Class B summer shirt should be able to find a match. Light blue, the color Propper sent as a test sample, is a great crossover shirt for civilians who like good rangewear but don’t want to look like cops.

After_a_week_in_the_suitcase,_a_washing_was_needed_to_get_the_wrinkles_out.

After a week in the suitcase, a washing was needed to get the wrinkles out. (Photo: Team HB)

In scorching desert weather, I like being able to wear the collar of this polo in 80s-style popped mode to keep the sun off my neck. It stays in place, and doesn’t rub. The tail is long enough to stay tucked no matter what I do.

When Propper says snag-free, they mean it. I’ve rolled around where there are grass burrs in this shirt, have carried splintery target frames at least six times, and have drawn my pistol while wearing it a few hundred times. Unlike another company’s women’s polo, there is no pilling from my pistol grip on this shirt, nor is there one snag from range activities.

These_clothes__sun-protecting_qualities_are_a_real_asset_outdoors._Rob_Pincus_photo.

These clothes’ sun-protecting qualities are a real asset outdoors. (Photo: Rob Pincus)

This polo looks best when washed and hung, not folded. It can get quite wrinkled when carried in a suitcase, and the wrinkles respond only moderately well to a spin in the dryer with damp clothes.  Unlike many other moisture-wicking synthetics, it washes up without any residual odor from long, sweaty days — a big plus! While it’s a less fitted and more casual look than some other Propper shirts, it’s definitely in the running for a durable, comfortable range or duty top.

For range, duty, hiking, or jobs that skip from the office to outdoors and back again, Propper’s summer clothing is a shortcut to looking good while still being able to do physical stuff.  I applaud the company for not charging higher prices for the same product in the women’s line as compared to men’s, though sales to females are surely fewer. I’m a fan.