Setting aside that obvious fact that pretty much any denim worn during a tactical task could be considered “tactical”, what makes a good pair of tactical jeans? Do the S&S Precision 757 concealed carry jeans, Viktos Gunfighter pants, AdaptivX Rendition (Oxford jeans), Levi’s Defender, and other types of britches possess features that provide a tactical advantage? Or is dropping tactical into the name and throwing on a couple of extra pockets all there is to it? We look at different brands (Dynamis Alliance, S&S, Viktos, and more to come) to see how they hold up to that classification.
BLUF: What are the best tactical jeans?
An unofficial, unscientific, and partially inebriated poll of our contributors here puts the following denim jeans (from among those we’ve worn) as our team’s current Top 3. Your mileage may vary.
Additional options are reviewed below (scroll down).
“We were uniformed as every company selected, and strange grotesque costumes now filled the camp. Ours, Co. A, 2nd Regiment, made choice of jackets and pants of blue mixed Kentucky jeans with yellow stripes across the chest like a Dragoon Bugler. By permission I had mine made with dark blue cloth, with only my Sergeant’s chevrons, and it was quite a neat affair.” Sgt. Samuel Chamberlain, 1st Dragoons, Mexican American War
Tactical Jeans Reviewed
Note: where possible, we will provide different perspectives on each pair of pants…because, as you know, Jane is an ignorant slut.
Viktos Gunfighter Jeans (Eric Huh)
AdaptivX V2DX Rendition (50SoFDE)
S&S Precision 757 Concealment Jeans (Nate Murr)
Chuck Norris Action Jeans (David Reeder)
Within reason, each man could choose what kind of uniform he wore and what weapon he carried. Most of the time, I wore the canvas coral shoes we had instead of boots. The coral shoes had a rubber sole and canvas upper, much like a light tennis shoe. I liked the way it gave my feet some sensitivity while still protecting me from thorns and such. Other guys would wear boots, jungle boots, or even bare feet on occasion.
Regular Levi’s jeans tended to be the most popular pants for operations. Team One had told us jeans wore better in the brush and thorns than the issue fatigues. Issue uniforms in mangrove swamps wouldn’t last for six hundred yards before they were torn to rags. For our time in Vietnam, we had each brought four sets of fatigues. Since we didn’t expect to be in any parades, no one brought any dress uniforms. The lack of dress uniforms did cause some trouble if you had to go home early for some reason. For the most part, we wore jeans and fatigues during our first tour. Chief James Watson (Plankowner, SEAL Team One), Point Man
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[Viktos Operatus XP]
“Tactical” pants used to mean 5.11 Tactical cargo pants, and that was it, kids! We didn’t have these fancy tactical jeans, but I’m glad we do now. The Viktos Operatus XP concealed carry jeans are the latest in tactical pants. Instead of being massive cargo pants that are very clearly tactical pants, the Operatus XP look and function just like jeans.
These are a low visibility tactical pant that maximizes concealment, comfort, and tactical ability. They feature the Viktos Attack posture fit that provides low-key cool with maximum mobility. Viktos Operatus XP jeans provide users with a stretchy design that allows you to move and groove without the encumbrance of most denim materials. The thighs are slightly oversized for better movement as well.
You have completely unencumbered movement in these jeans, and you can feel them stretch and flex as you move. It’s quite comfortable, and the Operatus XP jeans make it look easy. That slightly stretching waistband also helps concealed carry a rather large pistol comfortably.
Pairing the Viktos Operatus XP concealed carry jeans with a Phlster Floodlight and optically enhanced Glock 17 is quite easy. The jeans stretch a bit, allow for a comfortable fit, and make it easy to pack a big gun with light and with an optic.
Viktos Jeans — All The Operatus XP Pockets
The Operatus XP jeans offer you a total of nine pockets. You get the basic five you’ve always had with jeans. This includes right and left, front and rear pockets as well as a coin pocket. The front pockets are quite generous with lots of room to stash your goodies. The coin pocket, in particular, is long enough to stash a spare magazine, a knife, or flashlight.
The other four pockets of the Operatus XP jeans include four slash pockets. We have two up front and two between the front and rear pockets. These flash pockets are deep enough to fit a spare pistol magazine, light, knife, or tourniquet. If you want to stash a AR 15 magazine, the front slash pouches have you covered.
These big, generous pockets make it really easy to carry mags with a Neomag or similar pocket carry system. Stashing my Streamlight Wedge provides zero challenge to the jeans, and the same goes for my OTF switchblade, which is quite large itself.
Comfort levels reach all-time peaks with Operatus XP jeans. They caress my thunderous thighs with love. Admittedly they are somewhat heavy but comfortable. They sit loosely on the body and feel almost pre-broken in. Moving, grooving, and staying cool in the face of absolute terror is no issue here. Well, I guarantee the first two anyway.
The big slash pockets make it easy to carry a spare magazine, and the openings are rather generous. Retrieving said magazine and reloading aren’t hard, but it’s going to move around a good bit. Having a system like a Neomag in place will make your reloads a good bit easier since it keeps the magazine positioned in one location.
I do love the big pockets for stashing my EDC gear. Instead of clogging up one pocket with all my crap, I can stash them as appropriate. I don’t carry a mall ninja-like loadout, but I like having easy access to my knife, light, and reload. The Operatus XP jeans make it easy to sort my stuff out.
Now instead of having to dig past my knife or flashlight to get my keys, I have them positioned in separate pockets with my front pockets free for my keys, phone, skittles, and the like.
The Other Stuff
The zipper is, Uhm, well, unique. There are two zippers, one that goes up and one that goes down. In case of emergency, you can easily whip it out and take a piss without having to undo your gun belt.
Speaking of belts, seven belt loops will keep your Operatus XP jeans supported and worn with ease. Even when loaded down with all the necessities of a modern-day gunfighter….or fruit-pack snacking dad.
The Operatus XP concealed carry jeans provide total comfort to the wearer and end-user. A stash of pockets makes gear organization easy and simple, and you can keep your mobility sharp. From chasing bad guys to chasing toddlers, the Operatus XP jeans have something to offer everyone.
[5.11 Tactical Defender Flex Jeans]
5.11 Flex Jeans — Our Shocking Long-Term Review
We desperately wanted to wear jeggings, too. There, we said it. Now, let us explain.
For years we saw how our wives and lady friends got to wear skintight but super comfy and stretchy pants that looked like jeans, and we were straight-up jealous. We mean, c’mon, why couldn’t we get trousers that both looked good but still allowed us to move without binding up our twig and berries?
You know the phrase, “Fight like you train and train like you fight”? Well, we did. That’s why we trained many a time while wearing our favorite pair of jeans … only to have our “frank” squished by a tight-fitting crotch and our “beans” smashed by a taunt inseam whilst crouching and shooting or jumping and kicking.
For years we cursed the fashion gods, screaming “When will we have jeans for fighters again?!” as we writhed in testicular-torsion torment.
“Again?” you ask.
Well, the last time denim was designed with warriors in mind, disco ruled the charts, Carter lived in the White House, and Chuck Norris hawked Century Martial Arts Action Jeans.
But a few years ago, 5.11 Tactical was among the first in the tactical world to revive this niche market.
Flex Jeans — Form and Function
The company that popularized tactical cargo pants took the cotton that Levi Strauss popularized and blended it with polyester and Lycra to produce a pair of pants that have the look and strength of the denim we’ve come to love for the past century and a half — but with the flexibility to allow us to do a lunge without having to sing soprano.
Enter the 5.11 Tactical Defender-Flex Straight Jean.
We are not gonna lie; we were initially skeptical. At first glance, it looks like any other pair of denim. It has the dark wash indigo dye. It has a button-top fly with a legit YKK zipper. And it has the classic five-pocket styling … or does it?
One of the biggest reasons we love this pant (yes, we used the L word) is because it also has two discreet back yoke pockets just above the regular back pockets to hold AR magazines. If you like to “run slick” on the range, these mag pockets are perfect for freeing up space on your belt. Plus, they’re close to the outseam, meaning your ammo is a few inches closer to your hands and reduces your reloading time — hey, every nanosecond counts!
And when you’re off the range, these rear hip pockets make an ideal place to stow your smartphone or secondary accessories like a pen, flashlight, or mini IFAK.
But the biggest selling point for us is implied in its name.
The Defender-Flex Straight Jean is made of 10-ounce mechanical stretch denim — which is 76-percent cotton and 24-percent polyester with Lycra T400 Tough Max.
That means it gives us nearly the same range of motion as a pair of sweat pants but is far more durable … and a hell of a lot better looking! Double-needle construction with bar tacks ensures that the areas that endure the most stress — hips, belt loops, and pockets — are reinforced to prevent wear and tear.
Our 5.11 Jeans Review
One Day In: Whether we’re talking about the classic Levi’s 501, a pair of Carhartt work pants, or some ridiculously overpriced Diesel denim, a fresh pair of jeans tend to be pretty stiff off the rack. It takes a few washings and several weeks (or months?) of weekly use to get them feeling snug in just the right places.
But after laundering our review sample, we were shocked to find that the Defender-Flex fit like a well-worn glove after just its first trip through our washer and dryer.
Admittedly, our beefy legs are as thick as tree trunks, so we tend to buy pants that are loose fit. So, we were afraid the 5.11 jeans straight fit would be too constricting. To our pleasant surprise, the Defender-Flex was, well, a perfect fit.
But to make certain, we initiated two of our trademark tests: a high head kick and a lateral shuffle into a crouched shooting position.
These flex jeans easily passed. They provided great flexibility through the crotch, thighs, and buttocks without ever binding our legs or crushing the family jewels.
One Month In: Hitting imaginary targets was easy. It was time to truly put the Defender-Flex jeans to the test. In the first 30 days of testing, we wore the pants almost every day.
We also used them for all sorts of training — from evening jogs and an ice-skating session at an indoor rink to a day at the range and teaching weekly classes in the Filipino knife fighting art of Kali.
In every instance, the jeans performed like a champ despite the wildly divergent environments and circumstances.
We also tasked them during more mundane duties, such as several grocery runs, too many trips to the local café, and a few nights on the town. Because of their casual non-tactical aesthetics, the 5.11 jeans never once caught unwanted attention, making our inner grayman happy.
One Year In: So, we’ve worn the Defender-Flex jeans for more than 365 days and they still perform as well as they did that first day they cupped our glutes.
The reinforced stitching is spot on, so there’s no ripped pockets or embarrassing crotch explosions. And 10-ounce denim has held up well, with minor amounts of wear and no fraying.
After long-term testing, we only have two complaints:
1) While the coin pocket and back yoke pockets are spacious, the front pockets and main back pockets are rather shallow — which is made even more evident in today’s world of oversized smartphones. If you’re carrying a phablet (think the latest iPhone), it’s gonna partially stick out.
A simple fix would be for 5.11 to add an inch to each pocket’s depth. Heck, even half an inch would be a welcomed improvement.
2) The dye in our Dark Wash Indigo sample continued to bleed out after many weeks’ worth of washings. In fact, to this day, if we forget a napkin in a pocket for a few days, it can come out with a slight tinge of blue.
Overall, we’re stunned to find that we’ve fallen in love with the Defender-Flex Straight Jeans.
Wear them with a button-up shirt to a business-casual meeting, or dress them down with your favorite Breach Bang Clear T-shirt for a fun outing on the weekends.
It’s flexible. You can literally kick in them. And, if you prescribe to the concept that you should train the way you fight and fight the way you train, you can excel on the range while wearing this 5.11 denim. Well, that is if you could kick ass prior to wearing them — it won’t suddenly turn you into a shooting machine like Jerry Miculek, after all.
And they’re durable.
Aside from the usual wear and tear of well-worn pants, the Defender-Flex Straight Jean is a workhorse.
While we would have preferred if 5.11 found a way to make these jeans in the USA, we’re impressed enough with it to make them our go-to pants whenever we’re forced to wear something other than just our underwear.
[Viktos Gunfighter Pants]
Practical, Tacticool, or Over-Engineered?
Jeans… a true man’s best friend. Whether you’re doing heavy lifting, out for a stroll, drinking with the boys, or doing some cool guy high-speed gear stuff, chances are you’re gonna want some quality denim protecting your butt and legs. But in the realm of EDC, where does the balance between comfort and practicality meet? What sort of features should good concealed carry jeans have?
Well, the creative lads at Viktos believe they’ve found the answer in their Gunfighter jeans, but do the pants hold up to abuse and movement?
Built Strong, But Will They Flex?
The very name of Viktos means “unconquered” in Latin, and this design philosophy is very much reflected in the construction of the Gunfighter jeans. Using Cordura stretch denim with a nylon blend, Viktos strategically reinforced key high “stress” areas of the pants such as adding extra material in knee joints as well as flexible, breathable Cordura mesh in the crotch area for ventilation and durability.
Overall, the make-up of the jeans is hefty and certainly feels durable — bordering (at least at this stage of break-in) on rigid.
Viktos describes the Gunfighter jeans as you see below. They lead with the phrase Black Arms, Blue Jeans.
From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, jeans have been the unofficial pant of SOF units for decades. Our premier tactical jean, the Gunfighter, takes this popular benchmark and notches it up for the ultimate denim force multiplier. The Gunfighter men’s jeans are constructed for best fit and comfort with a Cordura stretch denim/nylon blend and feature an exclusive flex Cordura crotch, offering uncompromised mobility & durability. With black arms-specific equipment pocketing and padded waistband, they’re the perfect pant for your daily gunfight.
Gunfighter Pants Video
Throughout the (as of this writing) admittedly brief period of owning this version of Viktos jeans, I’ve put them to the test in a few places, including my local gun range. Mind you, this is a battered old outdoor dirt range littered with decades worth of spent brass, steel casings, and target-related detritus. It’s not as nasty as Bantargerbang or the alleys off Skid Row, but every time you take a kneeling position or go prone you do risk the integrity of your clothes (and of course the typical array of minor cuts, bruises, abrasions, and other range dings).
I’ve conducted various shooting drills while wearing Viktos jeans. Those have included such movements as sprints and turns, taking cover in various positions, and level changes into different postures. Aside from one spot in the knee area that seems to be strained (I’ll be watching to see if it’s a failure or just discoloration in the coming weeks), I’m happy to say the Gunfighters live up to the unconquered moniker so far.
Despite their best intentions, unfortunately, some of this durability comes at the cost of comfort and mobility. As someone with a much smaller frame than most, my experience with the Gunfighter jeans has not been as comfy as some of my peers. They hang a bit loose and feel heavy, overall…but that’s a physical build issue. I’m betting Travis Pike doesn’t report the same experience in his review (q.v.), and some folks will prefer a heavier pant anyway.
My preferred style of jeans is a form-fitting slim cut, in which I can maximize quick movement and hip flexibility. For comparison’s sake, my go-to EDC pair of jeans has always been the 5.11 Defender Flex Slim jeans. These have the benefit of being fitted to my slimmer frame, while also featuring a material that stretches with my hip flexors and waist movements.
While wearing the 5.11 jeans, I’m more than capable of doing a full range of motions such as high kicks whereas the Viktos Gunfighter jeans add a bit more restriction in any movements that involve the knee going past the hip line.
The Gunfighters are billed as being both built for hard use as well as optimized for everyday carry activities, i.e. “concealed carry jeans” or “EDC pants”. Having spent over a month wearing these while working in the office, shooting at the range, sitting down at my local deli, looking for stray cats to pet, and driving my car, I would say Viktos achieved this, but with mixed results.
Here are the official specs:
• Attackposture fit
• Cordura® stretch denim chassis
• Vented stretch Cordura® crotch gusset
• Padded waistband for comfort from heavy warbelts
• Oversized belt loops fit tactical belts
• YKK® brand front zipper for durability
• Magazine hip pockets
• Pistol magazine coin pocket
• Hidden waistband stash pocket
• Velcro® morale patch compatible
• U.S. veteran designed & developed
• 1-year workmanship & materials warranty
Like any well-made, EDC purpose-built pants, the Gunfighter features oversized belt loops for facilitating heavier tactical belts, hip back pockets for magazines, and even a hidden waistband stash pocket. Some of those features work better than others.
When carrying my gun concealed at the appendix position with a proper gun belt, the Gunfighter functions exactly as intended. I’m more than capable to move around as I normally would without my piece flopping around and drawing from concealment is a snap.
The problems start to arise from the most basic components of pants: the pockets. The front two pockets work perfectly fine, as they are spacious for carrying your phone, wallet, car keys, and the like.
However, the design of the rear pockets makes less sense, functionally. Viktos opted for large horizontal-facing rear hip pockets, intended to hold your AR magazines or any other large item. At first glance, pockets that are oriented parallel to the waistline can allow for quicker access to your items in high-stress situations. Unfortunately, as soon as movement is inserted into the equation, items in these pockets are extremely prone to simply falling out.
There is nothing retaining your items short of shoving them deep back into the pocket, at which point this defeats the purpose of having quick access as you’ll now have to suffer a game of “blind fishing”.
Part of my EDC loadout includes a peppery spray and a utility knife—items I consider essential. Due to my front pockets being reserved for my wallet, phone, and keys, there’s very little space for stuffing a blade and an OC spray. Normally, I utilize the back pockets for these items as they will be out of sight but still accessible. The Gunfighter pocket configurations prevent this from being a practical option for any extended amount of time. Even with tight pocket clips on both the spray and knife, the angle of the horizontal cut pockets has almost always resulted in my items slipping off.
Attempting to place these items in the back cheek pockets also resulted in similar problems as these adhere the least to the body, hanging much looser during normal walking motions. As a result, I was simply given no realistic comfortable option of carrying two of the most essential items on my person without making sacrifices with retention.
To Wear or Not to Wear?
The Viktos brand name is one I hold to a high standard. I having been a long-time customer and have purchased several items from their lineup. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed using their various shooting gloves and wear their jackets in every appropriate season.
However, the Gunfighter jeans, while serviceable, do not meet the cut for my personal needs. As a smaller frame individual, the cut and sizing are obviously meant for a bigger stature. But even with that in mind, there are obvious compromises on flexibility in favor of durability. The biggest offender without question is the pockets, as they effectively nullify the use of many everyday items, thus mitigating efforts to be truly “EDC optimized”.
The Viktos Gunfighter jeans seem to be looking to fix problems I have never encountered. That isn’t, of course, to say they don’t address problems someone else might encounter depending on task and environment.
With competitors currently selling tactical jeans at a substantially lower price, the Viktos Gunfighter jeans must, unfortunately (in my world) be relegated to second choice. Your mileage may vary.
For additional reviews or to buy a pair:
· visit Optics Planet or find them
· Amazon Prime, and
· on Tactical Sh!t.com, and also check
· Midway USA, or
LA Police Gear
“For uniforms of service, a cloth or forage cap and gray mixed or sky blue jeans, hunters frock coat and pantaloons without stripes is suggested (not required) for neatness and comfort. The coat reaching half down to the thigh, double breasted, double row of white military buttons, eagle stamped, or black mould buttons, made to button close around the throat. For non-commissioned officers, same as above, only the Sergeants are to wear white worsted epaulettes on each shoulder and the pants to have a white worsted stripe one and one-half inches wide down the sides. Corporals to wear epaulettes but not the stripes. The orderly sergeant is distinguished by a red worsted sash on duty…” Adjutant General of Indiana, 1846, Uniform Guidance for Volunteers, Mexican-American War
Formerly Oxcart Jeans
This report is almost a year in the making. It features two American companies that design and manufacture their products here in the United States. AdaptivX makes high-quality clothing and Carbon Tactics machines precision metal parts into belts and other products. I wanted to wear this pair of jeans with an EDC belt for an extended period of time to truly get a good sense of the level of comfort as well as durability.
Photos By: Muzzle Flash Media
AdaptivX, formerly known as Oxcart US (“Oxcart Jeans”) is now a partnership with Dynamis Alliance. I was sent a set of the AdaptiveX V2DX Rendition concealed carry back when they were called Oxcart jeans. The name Oxcart comes from the A-12 CIA spyplane program. That aircraft that preceded the USAF’s SR-71.
These denim designs were meant to be sleek, innovative, and “low vis” like the planes they were named after.
The Oxcart Project was recently declassified, but with redactions. That’s not the case with the AdaptiveX jeans: we’re gonna tell you all about ’em (and about an excellent EDC belt too).
As of this writing, the Dynamis Alliance AdaptivX V2DX Rendition is my favorite set of EDC pants (not just tactical jeans) out of the many different types and brands I’ve tried over the years.
I know that is saying a lot and I’ll tell you why.
AdaptivX Rendition Rundown
They are easily one of, if not the most comfortable pants that I have worn ever. They are cut with flexibility for dynamic movement in mind. The fabric material is a nice blend with the right amount of thickness, or rather thinness, which makes them light and not too hot to wear all while maintaining the ability to stretch.
I’ve been through a few training courses with them and they never hindered my ability to move.
Concealed Carry Jeans: Moar Pockets Please!
The Rendition concealed carry jeans have quite a bit of smartly designed and placed pockets. You wouldn’t notice them at a first or even second glance. There are 9 pockets in total with many of them either hidden or discreetly placed. This makes them the ideal choice for me as everyday carry wear, you can carry a lot on your person without drawing attention with cargo pockets and screaming tactical.
The main two pockets are deep and help in preventing the contents from falling out in the seated position or while running. There are two hidden pockets right behind the main pockets that will hold a 30 round AR-15 mag or anything similar in size (like a tourniquet or small medkit). In front, there are two small pockets that can hold a pocket knife, spare magazine, or flashlight.
These tactical jeans have a lot of options to allow you to bring whatever you need, comfortably and without drawing attention to yourself (though true concealment requires more than fancy jeans).
With all the features mentioned, I am again able to wear jeans. That’s something that I haven’t done for years because other off-the-shelf jeans don’t get it done for me at all.
The only thing that I didn’t like so much about the AdaptivX britches was that the pants legs need to be hemmed — much like the “Action Jeans” of forty years ago. When it comes to ordering, you’ll only have the option of choosing the waist size. It’s not a huge deal, I am just used to having my pants ready to go upon getting them. Cost is a factor, they’re not cheap and that’s because you’re getting a high-quality product that is made in the states, not overseas. There are those who will complain about this, though, despite the potential advantages.
They go for $150 a pair, and in my opinion, they are worth it.
From my favorite pair of jeans comes my favorite EDC Belt; the Quicky Magnetic Belt by Carbon Tactics.
Carbon Tactics is a small business operating out of Tucson, Arizona. They machine Aluminum, Titanium, and other metals into precision parts that become belts and other equipment that they come up with that doesn’t quite exist yet.
The Quicky Magnetic Belt Buckle is CNC machined out of 6061 Aluminum and is a two-part system with male and female parts that each contain neodymium magnets. When they come together, it looks like a single-piece buckle. Push them together and pivot one side and they come apart with ease.
To close, bring them near each other and the magnets do the rest. It is a very simple and effective design. Once you set it to the right length, you’re all good to go and if you need to adjust it later, you can do so discreetly without having to disengage the buckle.
The nylon webbing part of the belt is also made in-house and is very strong and durable. There are two options when it comes to webbing: regular and double. They sent me both and as strong as the regular belt is, I would recommend the double. It gives you more rigidity and strength if you’re carrying a pistol.
These two American-made products are great by themselves; together they’re my preferred choice to go about my day. It allows me to carry everything I need without having to compromise by leaving certain parts of my kit at home or being noticed in public.
For now, I can say with confidence that they are my favorite pair of jeans and a belt that I wear almost exclusively on a daily basis.
We’ll provide an update if AdaptivX releases a newer model of tactical pant or concealed carry jeans.
757 Performance Denim
S&S Precision Concealment Jeans
Illumination tools. Check. Navgear. Check. Weapon Accessories. Check. Armor carriage and loadbearing equipment. Check.
Concealment jeans…wait, what?
S&S Precision has been making some pretty cool gear for the coolest of dudes since 2007. They primarily serve the military as a sort of Skunkworks for mission-specific and end-user-driven designs. Though many people outside the circles they frequent have never heard of them, they’ve nonetheless earned a solid reputation among people who pay attention to the right places. Many dismiss the company as a “Tier 1 unit boutique shop” that only focuses on the military.
This might be partially true, but if you stop to think about it, what’s wrong with that? Who cares? It’s capitalism and it serves a need.
As long as the microscopic tip of the spear has companies willing to produce specialized items, they will get the equipment they need. I agree that the guys out there doing the dirty work should come first, and S&S Precision will always serve them first over commercial sales. It would seem the company is starting to expand their product lineups and focus though and is releasing more of their wares for open purchase. One such product is a particularly strange one for a military-geared maker of flashlights and weapon retention devices.
Note: Unfortunately for those who love them, the S&S Precision 757 Performance Denim concealment jeans are no longer offered by the manufacturer (though you can still get them on eBay occasionally).
Designer jeans aren’t cheap. If you don’t believe me go to your local mall and check some tags. I fall into the category of “buy the cheapest jeans that fit” kind of shopper, but even though I’m a thrifty bastard I still want to look presentable. Putting on a pair of S&S Precision’s new 757 jeans for the first time, I was immediately impressed by the quality.
“This is what rich people must feel like when they put on their pants!” I said out loud while threading my belt through the bar-tacked loops. Well, rich people who don’t mind putting bad guys in the ground, maybe.
The first thirty seconds in them, and I was already in love. The fit and style are for carrying a weapon concealed, but without looking like it. These 757s look like a regular pair of high-end designer jeans from the exterior, with a comfortable cut and ride.
Let’s start this review with what I don’t like about the pants since there are a bunch of things that I do like about them and I don’t want to end on a negative note.
The first is that they are priced the same as designer jeans. The website (the only place you can buy them) has the jeans listed for $128.97, which is pretty damn salty. The only perk to this is that the pants are made here in America, so that partially explains the price. Another aspect contributing to the price is the amount of stitch work that goes into making these things. Seriously, I think I have a few plate carriers that have less thread holding them together. Virtually every stress point is bar tacked, and the 757s have a total of eight pockets. This all adds up to a lot of time on the sewing machine, and thus more expensive.
The next thing I didn’t particularly care for was the holster system. The jeans have a sort of 1 in. spaced PALS style slot system sewn inside the waistband, to facilitate the installation of the S&S “757 Multi-Purpose Holster.” From the website, they describe it as an
“…injection molded thermoplastic elastomer holster fits most full size handguns to include Glock, Sig, etc. The holster is symmetrically designed to be ambidextrous, with contoured surfaces for maximum comfort and angled belt slot for a more aggressive tilt forward.”
Initially, this seemed like a great idea, allowing me to thread their holster into this intentionally designed, somewhat (?) eponymous feature of the concealed carry jeans allowing for carriage without an exterior belt. This, however, lost its appeal after actually carrying a gun that way. The stiff polymer holster is a “one size fits all” affair designed to fit the most common, popular pistols.
I found the retention to be extremely stiff, regardless of what pistol I placed inside. Even after countless draws, it was tight and I found reholstering to be equally annoying. When threaded into the jeans with the included strap, I found the system to be uncomfortable in comparison to most of the modern IWB holsters I currently use. The stiff holster material is pushed against the skin and wasn’t terribly comfortable. Another strike.
The last thing I’ll complain about is the fact that it’s a pain in the dick to take the holster on and off the pants. Since you essentially “sew” the holster into the inside waistband slot track with a separate, stiff strap it takes some time. As in more time, than putting on a belt and regular IWTB holster. This becomes a chore really quick when doing laundry, and also means if you aren’t wearing the 757’s, you have to use a different holster anyway. After a few attempts to utilize this feature, I abandoned the holster completely. It’s the only part of the pants I don’t like, and I think a lot of people will agree after giving it a try.
I understand that the point of these pants is to offer a “deep concealment” option, but if someone (a bad guy) is close enough to see a tiny J-hook over your floppy Old Navy belt you definitely have bigger problems than your chosen brand of concealed carry jeans to worry about.
Now for all the good aspects of these innovative jeans!
The eight pockets are awesome, offering the ability for you to pocket carry more gear and reduce your belt’s signature. The front slash pockets are deeper and wider than most, and each side has a smaller internal pocket. This mirrored inner pocket is sized for a pistol mag, multitool, tourniquet, knife, or flashlight.
Such EDC items will also sit deep in the pocket, to keep those items from peaking out of the slash pocket top. The rear pockets are equally useful, and the 757s have two traditional outer pockets, topped with two “hidden” pockets above. The standard pockets are deep and wide for the most gargantuan of wallets or phones and are bar-tacked at the corners for durability.
The hidden pockets above are just below the waistline and are sized to fit a larger pistol. I tried carrying a Glock 19 and a 1911 Gov model in this pocket, but I couldn’t get used to it. The grip of the pistol sits much lower than where it would in a holster and appears to print more as a result.
As a “last-ditch,” or “grab and go” setup it will work, but I’m not sure if I could ever count on it for daily carry. They are great for other applications though, such as carrying your phone, thin med kit, radio, or M4 sized magazine. If you used only the rear pocket to haul rifle mags, You can easily fit four in these rear pockets. Unused, they are virtually invisible when empty.
The 757 Jeans are cut for an active lifestyle, and wearing them to the range and running around town on errands showed this to be true. The crotch is cut generous enough, as well as the legs to be comfortable when squatting, kneeling, sitting, or when going prone. They wear more like cargo pants as far as comfort and load carriage goes, but don’t have the “Shoot me first!” look at all.
These are the only kind of pants outside of cargo, “tactical” or BDU style that allows for so much gear to be organized and carried. Wearing them out to town feels like wearing any other pair of jeans, and if not for the comfort and pockets you would easily forget that they aren’t simply that.
Overall, I really like these pants. Having worn them training, to classes, and just doing routine “life stuff” on a daily basis, they have become my current favorites. They are extremely well made, have laundered well, and are holding up with little sign of wear.
Although pricey, they are great for their intended role and will give you your money’s worth for sure. For anyone that carries a pistol daily, I recommend you give them a try.
Although S&S Precision equipment is available from a number of retailers, the jeans (as best we can tell as of this writing) are available only on eBay nowadays.
You can find other S&S Precision products online at Tactical Distributors.
AKA Chuck Norris Action Jeans or “Kickin’ Jeans”
Action jeans now, those were the original tactical jeans! The year was 1977. The Oakland Raiders beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. It was the first Super Bowl I remember actually paying any attention to, though I didn’t care about any of them until Super Bowl 55 – I was too young in 1970 for Super Bowl IV, you see. Star Wars opened in May, Hulk Hogan debuted as “The Super Destroyer”, my dad got us an Atari VCS (upon which I crushed my 6-year-old sister in Combat Tank-Pong), we learned that the Little Red-Haired Girl’s name is Heather…
And the world saw the debut of Chuck Norris action jeans — the O.G. tactical jeans. Unless you count the blue jeans worn by Naval Special Warfare in Vietnam, of course, but don’t interrupt when I’m pontificating. Technically, these were the Century Brand Action Jeans, and Chuck Norris didn’t have anything to do with ’em for another five or six years at least.
But don’t let that get in the way of a good story.
Though they were around in some form until circa Desert Shield/Desert Storm, “Kickin’ jeans” began to fade away in the late ’80s. Maybe that was because Walker, Texas Ranger (who was soon to make his debut) preferred a different brand. I don’t know. But you can read more about Century’s Kickin’ Jeans and their history in Black Belt Magazine over on the website Branded in the 80s.
What do Chuck Norris Action Jeans have to do with tactical jeans and concealed carry jeans? Not much, really, other than being the first tactical pants we’re aware of that were sold with the legs unhemmed. But it’s our website, not yours so we’ll write about whatever the fuck we want. Sorry, not sorry.
“Cargo pants and field jackets derived from the uniforms of WWII soldiers, and turtleneck sweaters, pea coats, and woolen beanies, those staples of contemporary winter-wear, have been used by Navies since the 18th Century. Even jeans are military-influenced, their popularity stemming from the influx of servicemen after WWII wearing standard-issue Navy dungarees as casual wear. All in all, men would probably be walking around naked today if not for the military.” Scott Christian, Esquire
Got a favorite brand or style of tactical jeans you think we should check out? Hit us up in the comments!
Denim at War
There is some dispute over who actually manufactured jeans for servicemen during WWII. Take the contrast in the following two passages.
“Although historically there has been a longstanding tradition that Levi’s supplied denim wear to the US Navy, this seems to have no basis in fact. The Levi’s company itself believes its only government contract was fur lined parkas for Alaskan USAAF troops. Instead, Levi’s main patriotic effect was to improve the morale of servicemen who, according to many letters home, slept with their precious jeans under their pillow, probably because if they were stolen there was only a remote possibility of being able to buy another pair.
Denim workwear had been just about as ubiquitous with the US military as it had been with the civilian population; denim Bell Bottoms were first approved for US Navy use in 1901. Although many companies, including Eloesser-Heynemann, produced Bell Bottoms in small numbers, Bell Bottom manufacture during WWII was dominated by traditional military suppliers such as the Polkton Manufacturing Company of Marshville, North Carolina. which produced Seafarer Bell Bottoms. Much of the denim for these pants was ‘818’ or Jelt from Cone Mills. which at that time was also producing Levis’s denim – perhaps the reason for the links between the Navy and Levi’s. Cone subsequently received the Army-Navy E Award for its work towards the war effort.
Blue denim work clothing was adopted as standard by the US Army on 11 June 1919, replacing brown work clothing used before. The top was a jumper style pullover, the trousers had five pockets — two front, two hip, and a watch pocket. In 1933 a one-piece work suit (coveralls) was adopted in blue denim for use by mechanics, drivers, machinists, and others in similar roles. This was in addition to and did not replace the two piece work uniform. The M1937 U.S. Army Indigo-Blue-Denim Uniform was the grandfather of all HBT fatigue uniforms. While the Axis countries had modernised their clothing needs the US lagged behind with only slight improvements from uniform designs that spanned during the 1920s and 1930s. Denim had been produced for military purposes starting in the late 19th century and since it was such a durable and comfortable fabric the military saw no need to update the technology. The Army did eventually replace the denim work uniform with the Herringbone Twill uniforms but what the Army didn’t know was just how popular the denim styling would remain post WWII. This uniform was also issued to prisoners-of-war and you can find original examples with the obvious “PW” still painted on the back.” Eastman Leather Clothing Blog
vs. this one:
In every invasion, dungarees are the basic battle dress of our Navy Blue Jackets. Dungarees are the garments you see our men wearing in all combat photos which show American sailors at their guns or passing the ammunition. To keep our fighting men supplied, the Navy now needs large additional supplies of these garments. Your efforts in producing Navy dungarees are just as vital as those of the workers turning out munitions of war. The Navy counts on your full cooperation so that none of our fighting men will be deprived of the dungarees they need [August 16, 1944]. Telegram from Rear Admiral W.B. Young, US Navy Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, to LS&Co.
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