There is a time and a place for everything, including the clothes you are wearing. Sometimes you wear a Tuxedo, and sometimes it’s BDUs, and other times its a more casual approach. We often joke about the predictable mall ninja clad in range gear for going to the mall. A lot of us like the durability, the flexibility and the strength clothing from tactical brands offer, but we hate standing out like a sore thumb. The 5.11 Defender Flex pants are one way to get both great pants and to blend in.
Without a doubt, the 5.11 Defender Flex series of pants are some of the best, if not the best, tactical pants on the market. Here at the Loadout Room we are massive fans of the 5.11 Defender Flex jeans and have written about them more than once. The Defender Flex line is expanding and now includes the Flex Straight Pants. These are perfect for situations where you want something a little different than jeans. The 5.11 Defender Flex Straight pants come in volcanic, stone and grenade. My specific pants are volcanic.
Design of the 5.11 Defender Flex Straight Pants
The idea is simple. You need the performance of tactical pants with a casual look. This was the aim of the 5.11 Defender Flex jeans and pants. They really don’t stand out in any crazy way. The pants are made from a cotton and polyester blend fabric. This results in a stronger and more material than your standard jeans. They can take the abuse you can toss at them. To get the Flex in the name there is a little dose of Spandex tossed in.
The belt loops are much wider than standard jean belt loops. This will serve to support a heavier and thicker belt and the heavier loads required to carry a gun, ammo, and other fun toys. There is a total of seven pockets in my 5.11 Defender Flex straight pants and they include the standard front and back pockets, as well as a coin pocket on top of two specialized pockets. The coin pocket is massive by the way, very handy, and very easy to stash goods as large as standard EDC knives.
The two specialized pockets are essentially the size and shape of a AR 15 magazine. In my jeans review, I didn’t dive too deep into these pockets other than as a way to reload my 80 percent lower AR 15.
In reality, these pockets can be used for way more than AR magazines and I’ve discovered this as I owned the jeans and now the pants for quite some time. These specialized pockets are perfect for standard EDC stuff like your phone, or one of those spare portable batteries. You can also toss in a complete blow out kit complete with a tourniquet, H dressing, combat gauze and more.
This will be a quick and easy way to stash a full-on medkit, like Crate Club’s own NAR kit. Plus its concealed in the jeans themselves. I haven’t been to Europe in a bit, but this would be perfect for those shadier areas where a pickpocket is waiting. They aren’t likely to be expected or planned for by your basic criminal.
From a concealed carry perspective I love the pants. They stretch just right from their original size to accommodate a gun. I personally like to carry a full sized handgun and that little extra room makes it easy to accommodate an IWB holster comfortably. Concealed carrying with these pants is very comfortable and the Flex perspective makes it incredibly comfortable to do so.
What Makes Them Stand Apart?
What makes these pants so great? Probably the Flex in Defender Flex. These pants are not only super comfortable but ridiculously easy to move in. They move with you and do not restrict your freedom of movement in any way. One of the best ways to experience the feeling of freedom these pants offer is for you to run drills around cover. Shooting around corners, squatting behind cover, and more dynamic movement range on the range. The pants move with so much ease and the comfort level they offer shows me why women like yoga pants.
Best of all they actually look pretty damn good. I’m not a paragon of style, and I’m a simple man, but I like how these pants fit and feel. Not too tight, but far from Jinco levels of crazy baggy. They are dark, nearly black, and provide a consistent, and very comfortable. They are a little more dress up than your standard blue jeans, but still casual enough.
Without a doubt, they are an amazing set of jeans for daily wear. They are comfortable, easy to wear, and stylish. However, the practical aspects of the pants make them perfect for low profile tactical situations, as well as range time, and even hiking and general outdooring.
My only complaint is the thick pocket seams. This does make them tougher, but also makes it harder to use with pocket clips. The 5.11 Defender pants are rock solid, reliable, comfortable, and allow you to maintain maximum movement. I honestly want a closet full of them.