5.11 Tactical (pronounced “five-eleven tactical”) is an American apparel brand of outdoor clothing, footwear, uniforms, and tactical equipment, primarily targeting the market of the military, law enforcement, and public safety personnel. The company is based in Irvine, California, and also operates a chain of retail stores, with 82 locations as of July 2021.
As of September 2020, 5.11 Tactical operates a chain of 82 retail stores across 27 states in the United States, as well as overseas branches in Germany, Australia, Mainland China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Ireland, and Japan. Additionally, the flagship store was established in Finland in August 2020. In 2021, they have continued their announced plan to open new stores with multiple locations under development.
Anyone who has been interested in the great outdoors, the military, or law enforcement should be familiar with 5.11 tactical pants. The original 5.11 tactical pant was developed in 1992. Their offerings have expanded significantly and now offer clothing options for military, law enforcement, outdoors, and athletics. The technology that now goes into their garments makes them more adaptable to today’s users.
THE PRODUCT LINE
5.11 Tactical Pro pant
There are a few features you should look for in tactical pants.
The pants fit fine. Would be wrong to call these an athletic fit, meaning they are a little baggy in the crotch. Squatting down wasn’t difficult; however, the reinforced knees would catch a little on the skin during extreme dynamic movements. The front pockets have a reinforced section for holding up items that clip to pockets like knives and lights. As these are tactical pants, they need to hold a wide variety of duty items. While they have a lot of pockets, all your tactical goodies will just get jumbled up since there aren’t any internal sub-pockets to organize your goodies. It is also true that in the summer heat they had a tendency to get a little warm. They are a little heavier in order to stand up to more abuse, but they sacrifice some of the breathability that one would want in hot environments. It would not be wrong to say that these pants are good. They build upon and improve the legacy pant, but don’t make any leaps and bounds in style or features. Also, you will stick out like a sore thumb in the civilian world.
5.11 Apex tactical pant
The APEX is an extremely lightweight and flexible pant made from 6.4 oz. of Flex-Tac mechanical stretch canvas. It has a comfortable waistband, articulated knees, reinforced belt loops, and gusseted construction. Like the TACLITE PRO, it also features deep pockets, a reinforced knife clip area, and the water-resistant Teflon treatment to resist staining and water. The APEX has a more modern take on pocket design over the TACLITE PRO. It has a hidden waistband pocket for a handcuff key. The cargo pockets have sub-load space that will accommodate two AR15 magazines, a cell phone, or other small items. Cargo pockets are secured with YKK zipper hardware and open by pulling the zipper forward. The APEX pants fit great with an athletic cut. As mentioned, before they are extremely flexible and hold up to every type of movement. You can run in them, lift in them, do calisthenics in them, hike with them and even sleep in them. All this can be done in 85+ degree weather. They take it all and breathe fairly well. These pants are right at home on the gun range, police beat, or backwoods. As noted, the cargo pockets will support two AR15 mags aside. They will print like crazy, but it would work in a pinch. Also, the forward motion to unzip the cargo seems counter-intuitive to me. Bottom line, if you want modern style, functionality, and comfort, the APEX is a winner.
5.11 Stryke tactical pant
The 5.11 STRYKE Pant is a mid-weight flexible pant that is kind of a cross between the TACLITE PRO and the APEX. It features heavier construction similar to the TACLITE PRO, but with more flexibility like the APEX, but utilizing heavier 6.76 oz. of Flex-Tec rip-stop fabric. It feels more rugged than the APEX and features a wide assortment of pockets including two front upper thigh pockets for smaller EDC items, two rear, two cargo, and two deep front pockets. Like the APEX, the cargo pockets feature sub-load compartments large enough for two AR-15 mags. Each cargo pocket and rear pocket is secured with a heavy flap with loop and hook fastening. The flap also has a small opening at the top for coms wiring or a pen. The front two pockets feature an aggressively reinforced knife clip area. The belt loops are heavy and the waistband has a compartment for flex cuffs.
The STRYKE fit great. The weight is noticeably heavier than the APEX but the flex is just as noticeably better than the TACLITE PRO. The STRYKE is basically the result of a love affair between the TACLITE PRO and the APEX. These pants do great on the trail and were plenty rugged to take a beating. They heat up more than the APEX which makes the hot summer days a little uncomfortable; however, moving around in the pants is great. These pants would be a perfect go-to for a fall hike where there is a bit of bite in the air. They flex any direction you want and you never feel restricted in movement. Like the APEX, the sub-loads in the cargo pocket areas are welcomed, allowing some organization within the pockets instead of one big jumbled mess. Also, like the APEX, the STRYKE would be at home in both urban and rural environments. They are a bit more Tactical in appearance than the APEX but not as iconic as the TACLITE PRO.