Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Predator Review: 5.11 Stryke Pant with Flex-Tac

5.11 Stryke Pant with Flex-Tac
The guys over at 5.11 sent us their latest Tactical Pants to give a quick test drive and see what we thought. They are manufactured with 5.11's new proprietary Flex-Tac™ fabric which is a Poly/Cotton blend with a Ripstop weave, which promises a lightweight and breathable material.

My immediate thought was, "Lets see how great these work in the middle of August outdoor furnace of Phoenix." It turns out that I was just finishing a "fun" paver project in my backyard. This is an ingenious project in the middle of the Summer, since even an early 6 A.M. start gives you 91 Degree temps. At any rate, the climate and strenuous activity is just right for outdoor pant testing. 

I have worn the Stryke Pant over the past week including a couple outdoor adventures and have a good feel for what these pants can offer the LEO community. I also ran them through the wash three times to see how they hold up. Plus, I had to clean them up for some photos, since I neglected to take some shots prior to trying them out. I am quite impressed with the design, pocket layout, and overall comfort provided for everyday wear. 

Utility Pocket - Old Timer Knife
Stryke Front Utility Pocket - Droid X
What first caught my eye was the massive utility pockets on each side right below the hip. The front facing position and deep design give many great snug storage options for small tools you want to be immediately at hand.Namely my massive Droid X phone with a 4.3" screen.

The smartphone fit perfectly in the pocket with just slight peek out of the top. This was also the case with my old timer knife in a leather sheath, which stuck out a bit more, but was held tight. Neither item gave any indication of flopping out onto the ground when bent over. You can also fit two 15-round 9MM Mags or a 20-round AR-15 Magazine. I was pushing it with the 30-Round Mag, which hung out quite a bit.
Two 15-Round 9MM Mags
AR-15 20-Round Mag
Functionally your ammo is better suited for storage in the Cargo Pockets at the mid-thigh which have two smaller organizational sections and a large compartment for each pocket. These pockets have a generous sized closed flap that is secured with a Velcro patch on each side. This same flap enclosure is also carried over to the rear pockets. I also found a dual purpose for the mag organizer which snugly secures a 12 Ounce frosty beverage for easy access while manning the Barbecue.

Two-Beer Cargo Pocket
There are also reinforced knees with built in side insert knee pad pockets. I didn't even know they there till I read the product description and gave further investigation, which gives good credence to them not adding any agitation when the pads are not in use. 

Going into the comfort aspects brings out more of the attention to detail with the final design of the Stryke Tactical Pants.  5.11 has integrated a tunnel waistband which stretches when any stress is placed on it. So if you are bending down, stretching, or tend to have a fluctuating waist line, then these pants will expand as needed to give some leeway on forces placed against it.  

Stryke Pant Cargo Pocket, 20 & 30-round Mags 
I worked outdoors for several hours without any movement causing me to notice the pants. They breathed well, but at 105+ Degree weather, there was plenty of sweat build up at the legs after about 10 minutes. Obviously this is an extreme environment for year-round use and shorts are the norm for me year round.

I can vouch that the comfort was noticed upon re-entering my house and the pants dried up superbly. Normally this heat could cause for swampy pants for the rest of the day no matter how much A/C you throw at them. 

5.11 points out that the Flex-Tac™ fabric is fade and stain resistant. While I only washed them three times, I can vouch that no fading or wear was present at the seams or with any of the stitching. I did happen to get some oil on the pants while moving a vibratory plate tamper, without giving it any immediate treatment. There was some staining present after two washes. They did clean up well after being blasted with muddy water from a table saw as I chopped pavers for proper fit my project.

Obviously there are certain fluids that will permeate any material and black oil is one of them, so I guess if I had to be critical on one factor, this would be it. Then again they sent me the khaki version and their black option probably would have best fit my messy habits. The other downside I can see with these pants is the limited color selection with just khaki and black. Hopefully they will have a quick expansion to the quintessential Dark Navy, Coyote, and other tactical colors such as with their Taclite Pro Pants. I am sure different departments would want the wide array of choices once police officers get word of this great pant design.

These Stryke tactical pants are pretty true to fit, but may fit big for some depending on what you are accustomed to. I am used to a 32-34 inch waist. and 30-32 inch length at 6'4". I had them send out a 34X32 as I would prefer some room for error than cutting off circulation. They turned out a bit large in the waist, but not to the point of falling down. I am sure a 32 waist would have been the perfect selection, especially with the easy stretch waistband. The length is perfect as the leg cuff sits right at the top of the mid-foot without shoes on.

The belt loops easily fit wide belts, which quickly solved the slight over estimate on the waist measurement. Badge holders are present on each side at the front belt loop for a secure professional placement on the pants. The pant also has a Genuine YKK Zipper and Prym snap for a secure fail safe closure.

The Stryke Flex-Tac Pant retails for $74.99 at, which carries a decent premium compared to their other selection. However, with all the comforts and functional storage, I can easily see many officers opting to pick up the latest and greatest Tactical pants from 5.11.