I discovered 5.11 Tactical 3 years ago and I have been a fan ever since. So much so that it has become a gold standard by which I measure all other brands, from design to practicality.
Before 5.11, I was the guy who tries on a pair of jean’s and goes into a deep knee bend, throws a few side kicks to make sure the pants have enough room or stretch for me to be “combat ready”. I know some may think I am a joker or paranoid, while others will totally get it. Like 5.11’s motto, one of mine is also to “Always Be Ready”. I’d do the same with any form-fitting jackets I’d buy, by alternating checking my wingspan to giving myself a big hug, for arms mobility.
With 5.11 Tactical apparel, I have no such concerns. From their slightly stretchy TDU Ripstop fabric (little weaves that prevent tears and slight Teflon coated fabric), to their ergonomically placed seams and pockets, like iPhone pockets that are seamlessly integrated into the front of the pants, no pleat, leaving room in the actual pocket for normal “stuff”, or side seams/pockets in their shorts that allow you to hide and forget your phone, which is great for running or walking unlike most shorts and cargo pants, where objects hit the side of your leg annoyingly.
I am not a member of any law enforcement, but I can appreciate the stealthy designs that “civilians” like myself do not need, but that officers of the law find essential: convenient magazine/ammo clip pockets, multi-directional belt loops for badge holding, front-zippered concealed carry pockets in their button-down shirts (which I use as air vents). I even wear some pants to the gym, whether I train clients of myself. The Traverse pants is one such style. The Stryke pants have a great reinforced area of fabric in the front pocket to clip your EDC (everyday carry) knife (which 5.11 offers a nice selection of in their accessories) and a pen hole to slide your pen without having to open up the side cargo pocket. They even have -pictured- a Zombie apocalypse knife called the KOLD: Knife Of the Living Dead!
My current personal choice, and CEO Tom Davin’s favorite, is the Ridgeline: a simple no pleat straight pants, it offers the flexibility of karate pants with the style of regular khakis so you can be ready, yet inconspicuous.
5.11 also has an extensive line of training clothes called the Recon line: form fitting and/or ventilated tops, MMA-style fighting Vandal shorts which can double up as board shorts (I am a surfer…) or regular training shorts with pockets.
Of course, no training gear is complete without good shoes, and that, they have, not only in “tactical” colors like their versions of tan, green, brown or other, but also bright orange (or Turquoise for ladies). I love their minimalist lace-up Recon trainers: lose the insole and you’re practically on the ground, barefoot.
I wear so many of their items that one time, a friend of mine, who was working undercover with other officers, had invited me to lunch across from a certain consulate, and asked me to NOT wear 5.11 apparel, because he was afraid it would give him away! (like the crew cuts, stiff posture and bulges around the waist where their guns were, despite the casual attire they tried to sport, were not enough of a giveaway). Apparently, I have a reputation, but this is honestly about just enjoying a great line of products that are durable, designed with functionality in mind, not just looks. Check them out!