The Best Pants for Concealed Carry

The Best Pants for Concealed Carry

Under Armour UA Guardian pants (image courtesy mfr)

As gun owners who carry on a daily basis, lots of us obsess over finding just the right gear. The best gun (caliber, capacity), the ultimate holster (Kydex, leather, hybrid) or the perfect gun belt (webbing, leather, steel reinforced). But what a lot of us never consider as much is the pants we wear.

Depending on your job, you may not have a choice as to your daily apparel. But if you do, or if more of a business casual look is an option, you can choose pants that make carrying significantly more comfortable and convenient.

I’ve tried them all (or darned close). I have pants from Vertx, Tru-Spec, 5.11, BLACKHAWK!, Propper and more. Jeans, too. They all have their plusses and minuses, but after years of trial and error, I’ve found two that are head and shoulders above the rest.

The Best Pants for Concealed Carry

Dan Zimmerman for TTAG

If you like the practicality of tactical, but want something that looks a lot more discreet, Under Armour’s UA Guardian pants are absolutely the way to go.

The Best Pants for Concealed Carry

Dan Zimmerman for TTAG

While they’re made of a nylon fabric and are technically tactical pants, they don’t much look it.

The UA Guardians have one lone zippered pocket along the seam at the right thigh, and discreet articulated knees. But to the average observer, they’ll look like just another pair of pants.

While they’re 100% nylon, they have some give to them and the waist flexes. That makes them exceptionally comfortable and ideal for inside the waistband carry (they’re great for travel, too). The same pair will be just as comfy for IWB as they will for OWB.

UA Guardian pants are about $70 a pair.

The Best Pants for Concealed Carry

Dan Zimmerman for TTAG

If you want pants that no one will ever look at and think “tactical,” 5.11’s Defender-Flex pants are the choice.

The big advantage here is Defender-Flex pants look like just another pair of jean-cut pants. They’re not covered with pockets, zippers, gussets or D-rings. They looks like a regular pair of casual pants that won’t stand out in any way as tacticool.

5.11 Defender Flex jeans The Best Pants for Concealed Carry

courtesy mfr

I have Defender-Flex jeans as well as khakis. The flex in the name is exactly that. They have plenty of give to them so they’re extremely comfortable as you move.

Like the Under Armours, the Defender Flex waist has plenty of give which makes IWB carry easy and comfortable. You won’t need a pair in a larger waist size to be comfortable on those IWB days.

The Best Pants for Concealed Carry

Dan Zimmerman for TTAG

Another big plus for the Defender Flex design is the two hip pockets that are sewn into each pair in addition to the standard 5-pocket design most pants have.

These are really convenient for carrying a cell phone on one side and, yes, an extra magazine on the other. Lots of concealed carriers leave their extra mags at home because it’s a pain to carry one. Not any more. All of your excuses just disappeared.

Defender Flex pants run about $55 a pair.

Both the UA Guardians and Defender Flex pants come in a number of colors and fabrics. You could confine yourself to one or both of these and be well-fixed for 90% percent of your needs, assuming you don’t have to wear a suit to work.

What are your favorite britches for carrying your EDC gun?

comments

  1. avatar Vinnie Boombotts says:

    I thought we weren’t supposed to patronize UA due to their anti-second amendment position.

    1. avatar RF s a BFBD says:

      It’s only a problem if you buy UA at Dicks Sporting Goods. Also, I shoulder holster carry, so this isn’t an issue for me.

      1. avatar Michael Buley says:

        RF, what shoulder holster do you use? And what gun do you carry? I’ve thought about shoulder holster carry. A lot of options out there, they’re more expensive, and I have become a bit gun-shy, to so speak, on spending more $ on holsters I don’t use. I have a box of those …. I appreciate any details you could share.

        1. avatar Bryman says:

          I use a galco parallel shoulder rig for a md19 .357 while in chest waders out fishing. It’s a great carry for backwoods or in areas where nasty sea lions and seals like to charge you for your fish.

        2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          g17 no good for bludgeoning baby harp seals. man up.

        3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

          oops, s&w. never mind, your good.

      2. avatar frank speak says:

        when your wardrobe consists of mostly sweat pants your options are somewhat limited!..

    2. avatar Ed G says:

      I thought this as well

    3. avatar Ragnar says:

      UA lost my business when they prostrated themselves before the alter of SJWs. They can burn in business hell along side Nike, Levis…

      1. avatar B.D. says:

        Lost me long before that…. when their tax returns became public and it was clear they marketed that wounded warrior crap to profit millions and only donate pennies towards actual wounded warrior programs.

      2. avatar Erik Weisz says:

        This is exactly what I came here to say. Fuck UA.

    4. avatar The Dude Abides says:

      Vertx delta stretch.

  2. avatar LP says:

    Ah, but no one makes a proper CCW pant in a size for tall thin guys. I’ve looked. Oh you’re a 33×36? Sorry Charlie, try gaining 50lbs, maybe cut your feet off and get back to us.

    Meh. Decent pair of wranglers works just as well for less money, and come in sizes other than xl, XXL, xxxxl.

    1. avatar Grumpy says:

      Yep, Wranglers for years. They have my size and color and work just fine for my needs. I have one pair of 5:11 tactical for hiking, but everyday, good ol Wranlger. The only issue I have is the back pockets get worn thin where the spare mag seems to rest all the time. But at $25, I can afford to cycle the worn ones to the work drawer and buy new ones for “dress up”. My current dress jeans are at least 4 years old, so for $25 I’ll stick to Wrangler. And yes, jeans is as dressy as this old guy gets these days. There are some benefits to being old.

      1. avatar Dick Giddings says:

        You betcha. $25 Jean at Salvation Army and Goodwill stores range from $5 to $8 and are barely worn. If you can’t figure out a way to conceal your “carry”, then blow $75 or $80 on something stylish. I am 75 and don’t care to impress anybody with what I am wearing. I just tuck it in my pants and carry on.

    2. avatar Michael Christenbury says:

      Go to the 5.11 website, they have plenty of selections in your size!

    3. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Same here with the Wranglers. They also make some ripstop cargo pants that work great for me and are far cooler than jeans in the summer heat here in Georgia.

    4. avatar DH says:

      +1 on Wranglers. They have an elastic waist pair that are perfect for IWB, are cheaper, and don’t scream tacticool.

    5. avatar Neil Hightower iii says:

      Try duluth trading company I love there firehose with flex waist.

  3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    dickies flame retarded cargo pants. 34/36 is tough so i get ’em unhemmed. work supplied and required.
    made my last fashion statement years ago.
    i’ve seen internal cargos and i am intrigued.
    i load out a middlin’ pockit drumph daily.

  4. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    With my fine physic. Slight gut, no waist. I’ve had to settle carrying IWB in the cheapest Wranglers and a fine t-shirt. A good solid 1 3/4 inch leather gun belt. Works for me.

    1. avatar DaveM says:

      I’m looking for a solid 1 3/4″ belt, any suggestions?
      Found a few online but short on customer reviews.

      1. avatar Mike B in WI says:

        I have been wearing a Bullhide gun belt for the last year. It has eliminated the gun-side droop of my other leather belts.
        Check ’em out here: https://www.bullhidebelts.com/

      2. avatar KyKPH says:

        I have found Bigfoot belts hard to beat! They have a steel reinforcement in them that really eliminates the sag.

        1. avatar The Rookie says:

          I like Bigfoot belts as well.

        2. avatar SouthernShooter says:

          I agree on the Bigfoot! Use it when carrying my SR9c. My LC9 on the other hand works well with a Columbia leather rig.

      3. avatar Bing Crosshair says:

        Hank’s Belts are good belts for a decent price.

        1. avatar Kroglikepie says:

          +1 on Hank’s. Classy, and utilitarian as all get out.

      4. avatar Strength & Honor says:

        https://saddlebackleather.com/leather-tow-belt

        Worn this for years and it still just as tough as the day I received it.

  5. avatar Extra Smooth says:

    My favorite all around pants are Carhartt ripstop cargo pants. Plenty of pockets, very sturdy, and long lasting. The cargo pockets are large enough for large smart phones.
    They are not cheap, so look for sale events and free shipping.
    https://workingperson.com/carhartt-men-s-b342-des-cotton-ripstop-pants.html

    1. avatar Vinnie Boombotts says:

      Dude, thanks for that website. I just found a Carhartt winter jacket for a great price!

    2. avatar Ryan Kiniry says:

      Carhartt runs a 10% military/vet/Leo discount as well. It may be nickles and dimes but of you use those discounts where ever you can it adds up

  6. avatar bob says:

    TTAG not covering the Pro Second Amendment march in Pittsburgh today?

    Relevant, any pants I own are CCW pants. I prefer the pants to fit me, not me fit into pants that fit my gun.

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    I’ve found great comfort with Duluth firehose pants. Office setting, tucked shirt, IWB carry 6′ 3″ 195lbs. I can squat, bend, crawl on the ground, jump and reach in comfort.

    1. avatar Jack says:

      Second on Duluth. I’ve also got a pair of mountain khakis that have been nice. The Duluth are more comfortable and cheaper with the fairly consistent coupon codes. Unfortunately they’re both made overseas…. Can’t have it all

    2. avatar Kroglikepie says:

      You beat me to it. Duluth Firehose and Firehose Flex are awesome. Extremely durable and comfortable.

    3. avatar LKB says:

      +1. And they are damn near indestructible.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        Me too.

        Second choice is L.L. Bean cargo pants. Nothing say he doesn’t like guns s than L.L. Bean.

  8. avatar Bob says:

    Thank you! A review of this part of our gear has been long overdue. Thank you for doing, and in detail.

  9. avatar Oscar Cannington says:

    Duluth Trading Fire Hose Pants.

  10. avatar JMR says:

    Screw UA. They caved to the antis and let go someone who did something completely legal.

  11. avatar Kevin says:

    I love my 5.11 Defender Flex jeans. They are, by far, the best jeans I’ve ever owned. The extra pockets are great for putting a pocket knife or pistol magazine. I have a pair of the 5.11 black “pants” that have the same extra pockets as the jeans.

    Pricing on the jeans is $69.99 unless a sale is going on. 5.11 will occasionally throw a 20% coupon in your order for use on your next order. Great way to buy some extras if you have the funds to do it.

  12. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    I wait for sales at LA Police Gear on Blackhawk or Tru-Spec. They fit this out of shape retired guy pretty well and I can hide a 9mm Shield or J-frame in the pockets. I like the stretch waistbands. Both brands wear quite well and seem to be a good value for the price. Under Armor clothing is way overpriced even when you find it on sale (which isn’t very often) and most of the 5-11 pants I’ve owned don’t seem to hold up to even moderate abuse. I used to be excited about the Duluth line of pants, but I’ve found that they don’t wear well considering their premium price. “Tactical” pants are very common for old farts like me. I live in a community that has a large population of military retirees and people around here wear what’s comfortable. We like our pockets and if that sends the message that we’re armed, its a good thing.

  13. avatar RCC says:

    I have some 5.11 covert khakis more for putting passport and wallet in for travel. Hidden pocket too small for full size 9mm. Only bought as Amazon had free shipping and half price about 18 months ago.

    The outdoor / climbing pants at cabelas or Bass Pro come with all sorts or secure pockets. Have a few from sales.

  14. avatar Hoyden says:

    Tactical kilt.

    So many crevices to hide the gat.

    Operator beard required.

    Browning Graham pants also work well. Just enough spandex for the DadBod, no “I’m an Operator, shoot me first” look. No beard required.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Commando wear is likely to cut short any searches, as well!

    2. avatar JD says:

      So gay…..

  15. avatar Drogo Bunce says:

    Take a look at the Wrangler Riggs Workwear Ranger Pants. The cordura lined back pockets are nice, but I wish they would line the knife/tool and cargo pockets. The gusseted crotch makes squatting and lunging MUCH more comfortable. The matching shorts means that you can set up your standard carry configuration (phone in this pocket, knife in that…), and not have to change it in the summer. My only beef is that the cargo pocket snaps tend to wear holes in the covering fabric. A bit of SeamGrip solves that problem nicely.

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      Second.

      One of the only pants I will wear anymore. They are room, and well constructed.

      All these other pants either have a weird taper down the legs or are skinny. I am not overweight the slightest, but definitely not slender enough for skinny jeans. My biggest problem, is that its hard to find good pants with crotch room. Riggs has plenty.

  16. avatar billy-bob says:

    Pffft! Velour track suit and mexican carry FTW!

  17. avatar Matt says:

    I wear 5.11 tactical pants tucked into combat boots…. in addition to my primary edc gun, 2 backup guns, 7 mags and k bar, I can dump more edc gadgets down my pants….

  18. avatar Charles O. Slavens says:

    I’ve had the right front pockets, in my cargo pants and cargo shorts replaced with heavy-duty canvas, which the seamstress made slightly longer to accommodate a snubby. It is invisible.

  19. avatar brucew says:

    Target carries Levi Denizen jeans and they have quite a bit of stretch including the waist. Very comfortable especially the Athletic cut. Some styles also have the zipper pocket on the right thigh. Only $29 a pair.

  20. avatar PMinFl says:

    I’m cheap!!! I get Wrangler cargo pants at Wal Mart.

  21. avatar Anymouse says:

    I like 5.11 Apex for business casual environments or warmer weather, and Duluth Firehose Flex Cargo Work pants elsewhere. I’m a penguin with thick thighs, so most pants don’t fit or easily print anything in a front pocket. They both have flex for IWB, don”t have rip-stop squates, have divided cargo pockets that hold mags in place, and the Duluth cargo pockets don’t print.

    1. avatar Pelvicpunch says:

      Same here on the Apex pant. They dont really stand out all that much in the standard colors and i love cargos for keys, wallet, phone.
      Comfy for travel and 5.11 does a killer .mil discount!

  22. avatar Dude says:

    #MeToo Wrangler cargo pants from Wal Mart worn about everyday.

  23. avatar paul says:

    Dickies loose carpenter jeans(you have to ask them, they are listed on the website anymore. Loose enough for ab carry, even if you are fat(like me). Having a seamstress in the family can help to, put an inside pocket behind the back pocket you don’t use with a flat piece of leather keeping it from printing. Not pretty, but……..

  24. avatar Lee Dixon says:

    Cabala’s Trailhiker II cargo pants all day, everyday. They even have reinforcement on the right pocket for a knife clip and elastic waist to make sure that the fit stays true.

  25. avatar Vernowhereman says:

    LA Police Gear brand pants are better than any 5.11s I’ve ever owned and half the price.

  26. avatar RBD says:

    wrangler capenter khakis, $20 from target
    IWB for full size, front and rear pockets work with pocket .380 too

  27. avatar Kendahl says:

    If you carry in a front pocket, the opening needs to be at the side, rather than in front, and nearly vertical. Jeans have the opening in front. That makes the gun almost inaccessible when you are sitting.

  28. avatar bpayne says:

    Slight tweak for me. Agree 100% on the Defender Flex pant, they are great, but I absolutely love the UA Covert Tactical pant over any other for EDC use. It’s similar to the Guardian, but has the hidden zipper cargo pocket on the left leg, much more convenient/practical for those 2 spare G19 mags. The Covert has a utility pocket on the right side above the main pocket, perfect for the Microstream USB/Mini Griptilian combo I run. Lastly, the pant is made of a ripstop material versus the lighter poly. They do cost an extra $10, but I think they are totally worth the price. I have almost every color of these pants, and I wear them almost every day. Office, range, church, outdoors, or dinner with the wife, they fit me and my kit better than any others I have found.

  29. avatar JD says:

    Another vote for Duluth trading. By far the most comfortable pants I’ve ever had, and I’ve had them all. They look good enough to go out to dinner and have enough pockets to organize edc gear. The fire hose work pants are the ones I’m referring to. They even have a hidden pocket on the front left side. Not cheap but Duluth runs sales every so often.

  30. avatar Old Air Force says:

    Tru Spec 24-7’s for me. They wear well, come in most colors, great pocket layout, and come in shorts in a few colors. Full size .40 in right inner pocket with a spare mag. Second mag in left inner pocket with a multi tool. Two edc knife pockets. Every thing a well dressed sheepdog should need. Price is the only drawback so I watch for sales at LA Police and Amazon. In black they actually are pretty low key and make very nice casual pants. Personal favorite is OD.

  31. avatar B.D. says:

    Riggs Ranger or 5.11 Stryke.

    I literally threw all my other pants away. …ok, I still have some but never, I mean NEVER, wear them – an old pair of Sondor Stealths that are good for around the house, and some dickies for working on the truck or around the house as well… but mostly, I wear a second pair of blue or black Stryke’s for that too. They are the best pants I have ever invested in and as long as you don’t dress like a tacticool warrior then they look no different that Kuhl type pants. I tried some Kuhl pants, but returned them all. Hated them. I don’t mind the price if the quality is there, but their pants are seriously awkward. Their shirts though, are amazing. I own 5 Airspeed LS shirts and they will last forever, just like my Riggs Rangers and 5.11 Stryke pants. I spent YEARS getting a comfortable wardrobe. I don’t do jeans, or khaki’s with tucked in shirts like the goofball in the pictures of this article. I wear danners and merrell’s, the pants and shirts I listed, or Next Level CVC tee’s and that is it. Carhartt hoodies/sweaters and a Dickies Pro jacket with a plain “flexfit” hat in black. Never stand out, and always enough room to bend with plenty of pockets without flaunting my flashlight/knife and everything else I carry.

    and yes, I own dress attire as well… it hangs up in my closet waiting for a funeral/wedding.court date that never happens. The stuff I listed looks great and with the Airspeed LS tucked in, is definitely classy.

    Seriously… YEARS to put all this together and have not bought clothes since. I will replace the Next level tee’s when needed (But I have about 20 of them for a reason – they are awesome and plain with a great fit and material that will last) and the rest has held up so far for the past year – Next level shirts for almost 2 years. I don’t complain about fading.

    /rant about my wardrobe and how I think all this skinny jean/under armour crap that has inconsistent fitting is a waste of money. But mostly because UA can fuck right off and anyone dumb enough to buy their shit can too.

  32. avatar SkorpionFan says:

    I like the black Tactical Jeans from http://www.varusteleka.com
    Särmä TST Tactical Jeans
    Price $83.99 + $9.99 shipping (for entire order)
    “Tactical Jeans – when you don’t want to use cargo trousers or camo stuff for covert work, but find ordinary jeans cumbersome and lacking in features… We added a crotch gusset to allow ninja moves, which are also easier thanks to a 2-Way Stretch material and elastane mixed into the fabric.”
    Ten useful pockets:
    Two ordinary side pockets
    Two (pistol mag size) smaller pockets inside each side pocket
    Two ordinary back pockets
    Two (AK 30-round mag size) hidden back pockets
    Material: 94/4/2 cotton/polyester/elastane, 403 g/m2

  33. avatar Erik Weisz says:

    HelikonTex and TruSpec – both make nylon/cotton blends that are better than poly/cotton. They breathe better and last MUCH longer. Helikon also makes very nice nylon/spandex blend technical pants in solid colors only. Most of my pants are camo, and have been since middle school, long before “tacticool” was a word – no one has ever accused me of being “tacticool”, and I wouldn’t care if they did. I usually wear Vasque shoes/boots, which I find the most comfortable ever. I carry a CZ SP-01 Shadow every minute I’m not asleep (and some minutes I am asleep) IWB in a StealthGear holster. I often print above my belt when wearing a tshirt, but I again don’t care as I live in an open-carry state and no one seems to notice anyway. I also carry around an overloaded Helikon Direct Action Ghost backpack all the time, and it still looks new after 3 years. Their stuff seems really well made.

  34. avatar possum says:

    No Pants no trousers its not for me, My gun hangs out for all to see

  35. avatar ZKahr says:

    Thank you so much for this review. I have holey and stained jeans that I haven’t replaced because I don’t want to buy levis again but I didn’t know where to turn.

    I have known of those “commando” pants that are for carrying, but I didn’t realize that there are a lot of these “discreet carry” pants too. Apparently I’m not the only one who wants to carry but not look like a Navy Seal/Dwight Schrute hybrid.

  36. avatar Craig in IA says:

    I own some 5.11 taclites but most days since I’m retired I just wear Cabela’s regular jeans. I’m 32 waist but wear a 34 to cover the IWB carry, nfbd. I decided to lose some belly a few years back so all my 34 dress pants also work with the IWB. Don’t need to look like some sort of ninja or cop-wannabe as far as I’m concerned.

    The real thing about “pants” is that you always act like you’re wearing your “big boy” ones…

  37. avatar Joatmon says:

    Carharrt jeans work for me. I’ve got a good sturdy belt and have no problems.

  38. avatar jordan says:

    I love my 5.11 defender pants. I have multiple pairs and wear them everyday.

  39. avatar E9 says:

    Duluth isn’t tough. Little snags quickly turn into holes. Carhartt is tough.

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