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