Not “Tacticool” But Functionally Outstanding
For military members and contractors, law-enforcement professionals, avid outdoorsmen/hunters, and many others, the perfect pants to wear in the environment you’re working in are an absolute must.
For military, law enforcement/SWAT, or EMT first responders, good tactical pants must have certain design elements that will make them best suited to conduct the job easily. Those usually entail the abundance of pocket storage for tactical gear and reinforced knees and seats which are necessary for durability.
When looking for pants, especially of the tactical variety, look for durability, practicality, cost-effectiveness, and water resistance.
So, several weeks ago, SOFREP was approached by UF Pro, a company from Slovenia. We were asked if we’d like to try out and review a pair of their Striker X Combat Pants. We agreed to put them through the paces and post a review of them.
The first thing we had to do was to get the correct sizing down, and the company has a chart for that. In the past, I’ve had some issues with European vs U.S. sizing but that was not an issue and once the pants arrived, they fit, as advertised… like a glove.
The company sent them via DHL from Slovenia and the pants arrived in three days. I’ve had companies less than 100 miles from my place take three times as long, or longer, to deliver. So UF Pro gets extremely high marks for prompt delivery.
They have different color patterns and the fabric for each is a bit different. I was sent the multi-cam which is the pattern that they’re marketing for Special Operations units.
What stands out really quickly is that the company, as advertised, sewed the pants to be fitted anatomically: their form follows the function of the lower body almost to perfection, so the pants feel like part of your body while moving. The anatomical fit also helps with maneuvering through thick brush and aids in the pants not getting caught up on branches, vines, etc. Those of you who have the Dagobah system swamps of Hoffman, NC can relate.
“The pants move as the wearer moves, whether standing, sitting, kneeling, laying, walking, running, climbing, or jumping. This is possible because of our decision to include stretch panels made from Schoeller®-Dynamic polyamide-elastane blend stretch materials and to strategically position them in the most beneficial places,” the UF Pro says on its website. And they are not stretching the truth. Speaking of stretching:
The entire seat of the pants is made from the same four-way stretch material as the two strips of the material above and below the knees. There is nothing worse than carrying a heavy rucksack and when taking a knee and having said knee come right through the pants. Even worse is when your fourth point of contact (that is your ass for those non-airborne types) rips a hole in the seat and you don’t have time to change.
The four-way stretch material will stop that from happening. And it makes the pants remarkably comfortable when rucking, taking a knee, or sitting doing the rucksack flop. The material sheds surface water pretty well. While testing the pants through for the past few weeks, we walked in some late afternoon and early evening rain. The pants deflected the water well, doing the same for water that was on the vegetation.
Another nice feature is that they have many of the seams covered to prevent them from tearing or unraveling. I noticed that while washing them after getting them a bit muddy in the Florida heat.
When it comes to pockets and cargo pockets, the pants have 14 different pockets and the designers have done their homework as they have constructed them to allow very easy access to all of them, even when wearing a rucksack. The cargo pockets are very roomy but lie flat against the wearer’s leg when not in use. Another nice feature is that the cargo pockets have zippered access at two points, so you can access stuff either while seated or standing.
Inside of the main cargo pockets are two small flashlight/folding knife/spare mag pockets. However, I think the best feature is the zippered pocket on the exterior of the calf area that the wearer can easily access when taking a knee for any additional gear.
I didn’t use the inner thigh pockets, but that is just a personal comfort preference. Those are also easily accessed.
The pants come with a triple-layered knee protection system that works really well, without any chafing on the user. There is a standard lightly padded fabric kneepad that offers light knee protection right out of the package. The company also has an optional hard shell knee pad that is easily emplaced. The optional pad fits into the mesh pocket and is inserted through the horizontal zippers. I tried them sans extra pads, then with the lightest of the pads which were my favorites, and then went with the extra heavy pads, which would be perfect for traversing some heavy mountainous, or rocky terrain.
I also especially like the strap adjustment for knee width that can be loosened or tightened up depending on the situation.
The pants have double belt loops so that the user can wear a belt and a holster easily, although we didn’t try that out. Another small but nice feature is that the pants are cut a little bit taller in the back, which while rucking keeps your t-shirt from coming out. Besides, no one wants to see where the mob buried Jimmy Hoffa when you bend over….
Another really nice feature is the vertical zipper on the back of the calf that can tighten or loosen the fit around your calves. In the Florida heat, they were loosed up a bit for better airflow. The pants also have built-in boot hooks that keep the pant leg from riding up on your calf; if you’ve ever had that happen while laying, or crawling in the prone position, you’ll appreciate the feature.
The company uses high-quality YKK zippers that are used for pockets on the Striker X and the user can decide to use buttons or switch to velcro. Also included is a zip-in Windstopper system, which is an internal windproof and breathable lining that adds weather protection and insulation for when the temperature drops. With temps in the low-to-mid 90s, we didn’t try that part of the system out.
So, let’s go back and see how the Striker X pants handled our four parameters mentioned above:
Durability: Check. These are some tough as nails pants and will hold up even under the most adverse conditions.
Practicality: Check. These pants were designed with the Special Operator in mind. They have been designed to be worn and be functional in a tactical environment as well as when wearing all of your kit.
Cost-Effectiveness: Check. These pants are not cheap, but if you’re like me, I don’t mind paying for top quality merchandise. And these are definitely top quality.
Water Resistance: Check. Even after several washes, the water-resistance of the fabric has held up and unless you’re in a monsoon, most of the water will bead up and runoff.
I originally planned to wear these at a range and put them through the paces running and gunning. But that didn’t happen. So, I tried them for several weeks on local hiking and wildlife trails while carrying a rucksack to simulate (granted it was a light ruck) carrying kit.
The pants performed exactly as advertised and we put them in the rain, mud, brush, etc. of the early, hot Florida summer, which is similar to environments one might encounter out there.
We can’t recommend UF Pro’s Striker X Combat Pants highly enough. Their number of features, their practicality and toughness makes them a must-have for the serious user or professional. However, as I mentioned above, these aren’t the “tacticool” pants that can be worn in the field or on a trip to Wal-Mart; these are serious field pants. However, the company does have some different styles if that would be more of your thing.
For more information, see the company’s website.