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April 11, 2018

While uniforms are necessary to portray a professional appearance, they also need to be practical. A tactical uniform presents the image that an officer is ready for whatever comes their way. Additionally, the gear needs of the police officer have changed over the years.

In today’s society, a police officer may need a few extra items on their person that will prove critical in life-saving circumstances. For instance, an officer may not have needed to carry a tourniquet 20 years ago, but by doing so now, they may be able to survive a gunshot wound.

At first glance you can mistake a pair of tactical pants for everyday cargo pants. While they are similar in appearance, a tactical pant is so much more than just a cargo.

Originally, tactical pants were designed for the outdoorsmen – mountain climbers to be specific – by Royal Robbins, who realized the pants he wore for mountain climbing were not suitable. His boot and clothing company then began manufacturing tactical pants, and it wasn’t long before the FBI realized these pants were practical. The rest as they say is history.

Tactical pants offer a better fit and more range of motion than jeans, and are constructed from durable fabrics with reinforced seams that resist tears. Tactical pants are designed to withstand heavy-duty wear, and some pants even offer the ability to insert kneepads or drawstrings at the ankles to keep out water, dirt, and bugs.

The fabrics used in tactical pants are intended to stand up to harsh environments and keep you from overheating (or freezing). Choosing a fabric that wicks away moisture will keep you feeling comfortable throughout your shift.

Ultimately, tactical pants offer a large amount of pocket storage including hidden compartments perfect for items an officer may prefer to keep concealed. Using multiple pockets can also help evenly distribute the weight of your gear.

If water resistance is necessary, be sure to choose a fabric with Teflon as it seals out the water causing it to bead and roll off of the surface. It is important to note that it doesn’t necessarily provide ultimate protection from complete submersion.

An alternative to pants, tactical shorts are a reliable option for officers who work in warmer climates. They are ideal for light duty and cross training, and are made from the same material as tactical pants ensuring their durability. They may have less pockets and storage areas, but they will be more than suitable for active duty situations.

Remember, the style of the ideal tactical pant comes down to personal preference. Your typical climate will play a role in determining pants versus shorts, and the standard tactical pant will provide storage, weather resistance and protection, ease of movement, and durability.

In addition to preference, your department may require you to conform to certain class requirements. Class A uniforms are often called the “dress uniform” and not used for everyday wear. With only 4 – 5 pockets, they aren’t really ideal for tactical use.

Class B uniforms are more casual with a relaxed fit, but may be interchangeable with Class A uniforms. These are designed for a little more rough wear and do have some tactical features such as cargo pockets.

Finally, BDU uniforms are classified as Class C style. They are less tailored and focus more on durability and comfort for more intense tactical situations.

The most common brands for tactical pants and shorts include 5.11 Tactical, Propper, Under Armour, Tru-Spec and BLACKHAWK! At CHIEF, we offer a wide range of tactical pants and shorts for both men and women, so check out the guide below and we’ll help you choose a pair that meet your needs.

5.11 Tactical Stryke Pant

What’s cool and interesting about the newest 5.11 Tactical Stryke Pant is its proprietary fabric with built-in stretch – lending to not only durability, but extreme comfort as well.

This new proprietary fabric is called Flex-Tac™ and it uses a special blend of fibers that lets the fabric stretch and recover without the need for spandex. This results in superior breathability, durability and color retention in the pant.

To further ensure comfort, this pant has a self-adjusting waist which they have redesigned with a lower profile look, so that the pant offers maximum comfort without sacrificing style.

The 5.11 Tactical Stryke Pant checks all the marks of a strong, tough, durable, and comfortable tactical pant. It comes in men’s and women’s in a variety of colors and sizes, as well as a shorts option.


BLACKHAWK has a stellar reputation when it comes to high-quality tactical gear and clothing. Their goal with the TacLife Pant was to make create a highly functional tactical pant without the tactical look.

The highly functional component comes in the form of seven multi-purpose pockets, with each cargo pocket boasting three interior AR magazine compartments. Also, the double front belt loops can equip your clips and badges.

The BLACKHAWK TacLife pant is the perfect choice for those who want the function of a tactical pant, but the look for a casual pair of pants.

5.11 Taclite Pro Pants

A tactical pant’s tactical pant, the 5.11 Taclite Pro Pant is tough and durable, yet thanks to its construction, remains lightweight and easy to wear. A gusseted crotch adds the comfort factor and ensure a full range of motion in any tactical situation, while a wide array of pockets ensure room for a cell phone, knife, magazines, and anything else you need to carry.

Once again, 5.11 Tactical does a fantastic job of offering a number of colors for both men and women, as well as a shorts version of the Taclite Pro.

Propper Lightweight Tactical Pants

If you love pockets, then you’re really going to love the Propper Lightweight Tactical Pants, which feature 11 pockets, including two wallet pocket-in-a-pockets.

What’s more, the Propper Lightweight Tactical Pant can stand up to just about anything you can throw at it due to its DuPont™ Teflon® fabric protector which repels liquids and stains, plus is fade and wrinkle-resistant.

This pant comes in a wide assortment of colors and sizes for both men and women, as well as a special “Summerweight” version that does a great job wicking away moisture so you stay cool and dry, even in the most extreme conditions.

A good pair of tactical pants should not only be tough, durable, and functional, but comfortable as well. We’re confident we have the right pair of tactical pants to suit your needs and style.

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