Like most concealed carry permit holders, I am always looking for a comfortable and easily accessible way to carry my pistol. I usually carry a compact, but sometimes I carry a full-size, usually in a cheap Uncle Mike’s fabric holster in an appendix carry, one-to-two-o’clock position. On a lark, a while back I did a search for concealed carry pants and I came across American tactical Apparel’s Battle Pants.
The American Tactical Apparel battle Pants are pants specifically designed with concealed carry in mind. Designed by Brian Hoffner, who spent 30 year as a policeman and is a master holster maker, these pants are made to quickly and easily access your concealed pistol, whether you are right handed, left handed, or carry in a ankle or calf holster. The main feature of these pants are the zippers and the holster. There are four zippers on the pants; one on each hip running from a couple inches below the belt to the knee, and one each on the inseams running from mid-knee to about where the top of an 8″ boot would be. These zippers enable you to quickly access your firearm, extra magazines, flashlight or whatever you may be carrying. The pants also have fifteen pockets, so with the weapon and accessory holster your options for carry are practically unlimited. One warning though: the waist size is cut true to size, not vanity sizing like your jeans, so do like I did and go up a waist size when ordering.
The holster is called the Underguard Covert Weapon Holster and is made of neoprene. At the top of the holster is a short strap with hook and loop that attaches to a loop sewn into the waist of the pants. The holster wraps around your upper thigh and closes with hook and loop tape. The holster is ambidextrous and can be used on either your right or left side.
Carrying one or two extra magazines is no problem with all of the pockets on these pants. I typically carry one or two in the left thigh pocket, but that is usually because I wear them to school where I sit the majority of the time. On the butt are four pockets, which are perfect for a cell phone, AR or AK mags but are also big enough for even a George Costanza wallet. The front thigh pockets also can fit a phone or AR or AK mags. There is a rear thigh pocket on each leg which I haven’t used yet but I can see where they would be handy to put empty mags in or a notepad, etc.
It is all fine and well to read about a product, but altogether different to actually have and use that product, so I asked if they would send a pair for a review. In short, I like them. Seriously, I really do. I have worn them several times since receiving them and they truly exceed the expectations I had for them. When I initially got them I was a little put off by the fabric. The fabric is a 65%/35% polyester/cotton blend, and at first felt stiff and a little rough, but after the first washing the fabric softened up and became quite comfortable. Speaking of comfortable, the waistline is slightly padded which is nice since I wear a 5.11 Operator Belt, and the pants are generously cut, likely more for the ability to conceal a weapon that for comfort, but comfortable just the same. I wore these pants to school, carrying a Sig P229 in the holster, and the pants and holster are quite comfortable for all day wear, either sitting, standing or walking. The holster stays in place as does the weapon; there is no flopping around, digging into the waist, or fear of it sliding off of your belt and into a urinal.
This brings us to the “bottom line”: do I like them and would I recommend them. Yes, I like them. Not love, but really like. Why not love? Well, nothing serious; I prefer a little more butt room and a little more taper in the leg bottoms (not skinny pants style, for all of you who think that!). The rough side of the hook and loop on the holster is also on what I consider the wrong side, since it has been rubbing me raw every time I wear them (the president of ATA, brian Hoffner, says they reccommend wear an underarmour type boxer brief with a 6″ or 9″ leg with the holster until their new model comes out). Would I recommend them or would I buy another pair? Absolutely. these are my preferred CC option now. They pants are comfortable, functional, and give another great and useful option to those of us who carry concealed. Also, the very things that I am not crazy about with these pants are actually already being addressed. American tactical Apparel is moving their manufacturing from a contractor to in-house so they will have more control over cut, style and quality control; the leg taper will be addressed in their new plant. They are developing a boxer brief to help with any discomfort when wearing the holster.
In addition to the Battle Pants, American Tactical Apparel also has their Discreet Casual Dress Pants, which look like normal khakis but has the zippers on the sides, and the Battle Shorts, which are the shorts version of the Battle Pants. The PPD (Police, Professional,Duty) Pants are being developed also and will feature a higher waist and normal rear pockets but retain the rest of the pockets and access points of the Battle Pants. the PPD Pants will be part of a line of lower priced products manufactured overseas to meet the needs of departments and agencies that are not bound by law to purchase US made items, but purchase by bid price. Don’t let this shock you though; my three pairs of 5.11 pants are made in either Cambodia or Vietnam.
At a price point of $99 plus another $35 for the holster, they run slightly more than a comparable pair of tactical pants and separate holster, but for those of us that prefer having a concealed weapon off of our waist or even just looking for another carry option, these pants fit the bill. You can purchase your Battle Pants at http://www.americantacticalapparel.com/.