Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gear Review: 5.11 Tactical Stryke pants with Flex-Tac

When I think of tactical pants, I pretty much only think of pants from 5.11 Tactical; they are versatile, durable, and I can go anywhere in them and use them for anything. I am no stranger to the other 5.11 brand products. I used the 5.11 Select Carry pack as my LUCC (Locked Unloaded Concealed Carry)* bag until it was stolen and I regularly wear a pair of the less “tactical” and more streamlined 5.11 pants to go to semi-formal events like church, work or even weddings. All of these clothing items have been nothing but exemplary in quality and they fulfilled their designated roles quite well. But after trying out the new Stryke pants, the same can be said for them!


(Please excuse the wrinkles, I just took them off when this photo was taken)

When I first got my pair of Stryke Flex-Tacs, I was rather impressed with the quality of construction and materials. All the seams are double stitched, there aren’t any rough stitching spots that could annoy one’s skin and the fabric is a low-maintenance rip-stop fabric consisting of 41% Flex-Tac® polyester, 24% polyester and 35% cotton (don’t quite know what Flex-Tac® is myself but it seems to work well!). As many people already know, a poly/cotton blend doesn’t require ironing (if hung straight away from the dryer) and doesn’t require extra work to eliminate tougher stains like oil. Add on the ability for polyester cotton blends to stretch, dry quickly and respire, and you get a pair of pants that can be used for just about anything.


Pocket flap detail


When I tested them out for a few hours just around the house, I noticed several very cool features that aren’t typically seen on run-of-the mill pants, at least in my experience. For one, I noticed that I didn’t have to adjust my nether anatomy quite as much, if at all (one of my greater annoyances). I came to find out that is because instead of a normal crotch where the seam runs the entire middle of the pant, the Stryke pant is “gusseted,” which adds breadth to the fabric and breaks up the seam, making the garment just… well, fit better. You will notice in the photo below what I am talking about. This might not be a completely revolutionary idea but it is something I haven’t come across at all in all my clothes and it makes the fit really, really comfortable.


Another thing that got me stoked about these pants are the pockets. The back pockets are deep and practical and are attached with Velcro, making access quicker than normal buttons and more comfortable than snaps. The leg pockets have Velcro closures as well and have internal pockets or dividers for tidily holding important objects like magazines and cell phones. There are even pockets in the front for magazines. If someone were to get frisky enough to need it, you can literally pack six 30rd magazines in these pants, with two in each leg and two in the front. Of course, at over one pound per loaded magazine, things could get annoying rather quickly. Trust me, I drove 60 miles and went to a shooting range with four fully-loaded 30rd AR-15 magazines in my leg pockets and while I accomplished it in relative comfort, it was interesting slinging around that much weight on the legs for a few hours. I think it is safe to say that these pants aren’t necessarily for long-term transport of magazines; for tactical drills or real-life scenarios, it would be just fine. The side pockets are standard fare but there is a reinforced area for knife clips in the lower corner, which is always appreciated for those that use knives with the “wave” feature like the Spyderco Endura 4 Wave or some of the Emerson blades.


A hidden but welcome feature of these pants is the pair of hidden kneepad insert pockets. Being hidden, you can’t get to them from the outside so you have to turn the pant leg inside-out to gain access these pockets. I didn’t have a chance to utilize this feature during my review but for those that kneel or slide around a lot, I can see this feature as being really convenient and even necessary. What I appreciate most about them though is that there isn’t a zipper or other unseemly fastener to cause irritation in the knee area.


Like my “dressy” 5.11 Tactical pants, the Stryke pants have a sort of elastic harness system that fits the pants to your waist. Seeing as how every once in a while I do go off the caloric deep-end and binge (my garden has been quite prolific so I have been experimenting), the stretch feature is really nice for giving a bit room for weight variation that tends to occur in normal day-to-day life. The only downside to this elastic feature is that sometimes your undergarments can show through the side pockets so keeping your weight to the lighter end of the spectrum and your waist closer to your true size will prove to be more comfortable.

Some other small features of these pants that I appreciated are the bilateral badge holder slots (I used my EMT badge for pictorial purposes), the wide belt loops (up to 1.75” belt!) and the sturdy snap for front closure. The belt used below is my Simply Rugged Real Man's Belt (1.5" wide)


Overall opinion: These pants are well-made, comfortable, and above all, very functional, practical and easy to maintain. I haven’t owned these pants long enough to say anything about their durability but being a 5.11 Tactical product it is backed by an excellent reputation so I cannot imagine anything these pants as being less than durable.

Click here to see some tactical pants

Click here to see more tactical gear.



*For the uninitiated, LUCC is a concept that is, as far as I know, unique to California. It basically allows us peons to carry a firearm with us anywhere a firearm isn’t otherwise prohibited as long as it is unloaded and in a locked case.


strat said...

I think they will fir and will look goof with me.
ported barrels

Female Body Armor said...

it's better actually to be paired with a tactical vest, right?


John Laura said...

Open carry of loaded firearms has been illegal in California since Governor Reagan banned it back in 1968.

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