• laser training cartridge and target practice

    5 Benefits of Dry Fire Laser Training Systems

    Jul 19 • Firearms Training, Dry Fire • 713

    Laser training is becoming more and more popular in the gun world, and it’s easy to see why. Dry fire laser training systems allow you to practice your aim and technique from the comfort of your own home. There are laser trainers designed for your own firearm and complete laser training gun kits that don’t require your gun for use. Regardless of what option you go with, training with lasers is one of the best ways to improve your shooting technique and accuracy. In this guide, we’ll break down what a laser trainer is, give an overview of different types of laser training systems, and explain why anyone serious about improving or maintaining their weapon skills should own one.

    What Are Laser Trainers?

    universal laser training cartridge laser training cartridge inside pistol

    Laser trainers are devices that use laser technology to mimic the point of impact where a live round would land. Think of one of those arcade games with colorful fake guns. You aim at your target on the screen, and the game registers where your shots hit. It’s the same concept, except the laser trainers we’re talking about today are far more advanced. Laser trainers for firearms are insanely accurate and offer much more beyond registering shot placement. 

    Types of Laser Training Systems

    Laser trainers are available as an accessory for your current firearm or as a separate laser training kit. The best choice for you depends on what you’re looking for and your budget.

    Laser Training Cartridges

    laser training cartridges for revolverlaser trainer cartridges inside revolver

    Laser cartridges fit right into your chamber like snap caps and emit a visible or infrared (IR) laser when struck by the firing pin. Laser Ammo SureStrike cartridges are one of the most popular laser training cartridges and are available in many calibers and even offer adapters for use with other caliber firearms.

    Laser Training Pistols

    laser training pistol

    Laser training pistols are standalone training guns that feature built-in laser systems. Most laser training guns are modeled after real firearms and have realistic trigger pull weights, and some models even simulate recoil. LaserLyte Training Systems include full-size and compact handguns, revolvers, and several other types of firearms. The biggest benefit to laser training weapons is safety since you don’t use a real firearm while practicing. 

    Are Laser Trainers Worth It?

    Good laser training systems don’t come cheap, and you may be wondering if you should buy one. The answer to that is pretty simple; if you plan to actually use the device and train often, it’s more than worth the cost. Ammunition is expensive and not always readily available. Laser training gear lets you practice as much as you want with batteries being the only cost of continued operation.

    Benefits of Laser Training Gear

    Not every laser trainer is the same, and different laser training systems offer unique benefits to the user beyond saving you money on ammo. Let’s go over some reasons you may want to consider purchasing a laser trainer of your own.

    Safety

    Laser training pistols are replica guns that cannot fire real rounds, and laser training cartridges don’t require live ammo for use. As long as you practice proper firearm safety and keep all live ammunition away from your gun while practicing, laser trainers are one of the safest methods to practice with.

    Can Be Used Anywhere

    laser target practice in living room

    We’re not recommending you stand on your front lawn and practice dry-fire drills if you have neighbors around, but laser trainers allow you to practice in areas where you would never fire a loaded gun. You can even practice with them on your couch during commercial breaks, which is actually a pretty good way to simulate firing from a sitting position. As much as we love going to the gun range, it’s not always an option, and dry-fire laser training lets you perfect your technique on those gloomy, range-free days.

    Laser Target Practice

    If you want to enhance your laser training experience, then you should definitely consider buying a laser training target along with your trainer. LaserLyte Target Systems are incredibly fun to shoot at and provide real-time feedback for every shot. There are reactive targets that get knocked down when a shot is registered. If you want to practice with a friend or get some heated competition going, their Score Tyme Training Target Kit lets you go head-to-head with another shooter to see who has the fastest or most accurate shot.

    Shooting Range Simulator

    laser ammo training virtual range

    For those with some room in their budget, Laser Ammo has range and marksman simulators that plug right into your TV or laptop. These laser training simulators come packed with tons of marksmanship drills and shooting games. While expensive, these training simulators are an amazing way to practice at home, especially for law enforcement. Some of these simulators include judgemental drills that test your trigger control by displaying targets to shoot at and civilian targets to avoid.

    Taking the “Dry” Out of Dry Fire

    Dry-fire laser training systems are easy to use and provide high-quality practice that you can do anywhere. Laser trainers are a great training tool to spice up your practice sessions, and we recommend them to anyone who wants to practice safely at home and save on ammunition. If you’re interested in buying a laser trainer of your own, make sure to check out our guide on the Best Dry-Fire Training Systems that goes into more detail about the different types of laser trainers and the pros and cons of each.

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  • SOUSA Optics RAID Red Dot Sight

    Jul 16 • Optics, Reviews, Red Dot Sights • 627

    With almost every major pistol manufacturer offering “optic ready” models, a pistol red dot sight is becoming as common as a red dot scope on a rifle. Thankfully there are affordable red dot sights that can still take the abuse of being mounted on a pistol. Now anyone can afford to try a red dot tactical sight or equip all their pistols with a red dot sight like the SOUSA Optics RAID pistol dot.

    Overview

    The SOUSA Optics RAID red dot sight offers tons of value at an unbelievable price. Utilizing the most common optic footprint, the RMR cut, the RAID is compatible with the vast majority of optic cut slides and mounts on the market. The wide lens and thin housing offer a clean sight picture of the 3 moa dot but can still take a hit thanks to the housing design. The brightness settings are very usable not just during the day but also when using night vision. The battery is accessed from the bottom of the optic and has a 5000 hour run time with a 14hr auto shutoff feature.

    Specs

    First Impressions

    The common mount pattern and affordable price give this red dot sight a ton of value. You can invest in a pistol slide or shotgun mount with confidence that if you want to change the optic later on, you aren’t tied to a proprietary optic footprint. The brightness settings offer the end user to set it to their preference in any lighting condition. The RAID also offers a very crisp sight picture when using night vision devices, something not all red dot optics can say given the variety of lens coatings in use.

    Summary

    If you are looking to try out a red dot scope on your pistol or shotgun without needing a large budget, the SOUSA Optics Raid red dot sight should be at the top of your list. It offers quality features at an attractive price while still giving you options for later on.

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  • duck hunter wearing camo in hunting blind

    How to Choose Turkey and Duck Hunting Camo Patterns

    Jul 13 • How-To, Hunting, Bird, Turkey • 802

    Choosing the best duck hunting camo is much different than picking out a deer hunting camo. Most big game animals lack depth perception and are color blind to an extent, but waterfowl and turkeys have excellent eyesight, which makes camouflage an essential part of a successful hunt. In this guide, we’ll give you a bird’s-eye view on how to choose a duck hunting and turkey hunting camo and give you tips on how to stay concealed while bagging waterfowl. 

    Do You Need to Wear Camo for Duck and Turkey Hunting?

    You technically don’t need to wear waterfowl hunting camo in the same way you don’t technically need a spoon to eat soup, but it’s a lot more helpful than using a fork. In less confusing words, turkey and duck hunting camo is important if you want an easier and more successful outcome on a hunt. For the most part, birds have better vision than humans, and they can see every minute detail, reflection, and movement in their view.

    Turkey and waterfowl can distinguish colors better than humans can, and their eyes are extra sensitive to UV light. That means shiny reflections, even off your face, can give away your position and scare away your prey. Camouflaging your hunting blind, boat, and yourself give you the best opportunities to make mallard stew.

    Do You Need to Wear Blaze Orange Hunting Camo?

    duck hunter wearing blaze orange safety vest

    Blaze orange vests and hunting apparel help other hunters see you and create a safer environment. This is perfectly fine when hunting deer and elk that can’t properly see the color orange. However, birds can easily spot the out-of-place bright orange color. 

    Safety is a priority, so you should always look up your local and state laws about blaze orange hunting requirements. 

    Thankfully, most states don’t require blaze orange hunting gear for waterfowl. If yours does, you may need to rely more on camouflaging your hunting blinds and boats to maintain stealth by the water. Blaze orange is sometimes a requirement for turkey hunting. Some hunters choose to only wear their blaze orange colors while moving to their next site. Safety always comes first, so you should wear blaze orange when necessary. If you remove your blaze orange apparel while stationary at your hunting spot, make sure to keep it nearby so that you can hold it up to alert nearby hunters of your presence. 

    How to Choose a Duck Hunting Camo Pattern

    turkey hunter wearing mimicry camo

    There are two main types of hunting camo patterns: breakup (digital) and mimicry. Breakup camouflage uses abstract shapes and colors to conceal your outline. On the other hand, mimicry camouflage uses imagery of nature to help you blend in with your surroundings. Break up camo is good for hunting deer and other big game because they can’t see well, and blending your outline into the background is the best way to stay hidden.

     

    For ducks, turkey, and other waterfowl, you want to use mimicry camo patterns. Since birds have good vision, they can make out small details and see a vast range of colors. Mimicry camouflage is more effective at fooling fowl, as long as you pick one that best matches your environment.

    Waterfowl Hunting Camo Patterns

    marsh hunting camo pattern

    Marsh and waterfowl camo patterns are your best bet for hunting ducks. These camouflage patterns feature tall grass, reeds, and cattails you’d find near a marsh or swamp. When you pick your next hunting location, make sure to research the area beforehand. Duck hunting season is around fall for most folks, but a marsh up north is going to look a bit different than a southern swamp. Compare images of the hunting grounds with camo patterns while shopping for hunting clothes to properly match the vegetation and colors of the area.

    Other Duck Hunting Camo Tips

    As we mentioned earlier, ducks are sensitive to UV light, which means shiny reflections will raise all their red flags and scare the flock away. With deer hunting, you can get away with just wearing camouflage hunting clothes, but with duck hunting, you need to camouflage everything, not just your clothes. That means your face, hands, and any shelter you are using should be camouflaged or painted to match your surroundings. Grab a pair of camo gloves and some face paint to blend in as much as possible. Also, try to only use weapons with a non-reflective matte finish. You can perfect every aspect of your camo game, but one shiny gun can ruin all of your hard work.

    Hunting blinds are your best bet to stay concealed while hunting waterfowl. However, they aren’t necessary if your hunting spot has the right natural cover. Again, researching the area beforehand will help you pick the best duck hunting camouflage possible.

    The last piece of advice is to minimize your movement as much as possible. Patience is a virtue for a reason. It’s not easy, but it will greatly improve your efficiency on any type of hunt, especially waterfowl.

    How to Choose a Turkey Hunting Camo Pattern

    Picking a turkey camo pattern is very similar to choosing a duck camo pattern in that both are birds with excellent vision. Mimicry camo will suit you best when it comes to hunting gobblers, and reducing reflectivity is a must. The main difference between the two is the location and time of year. 

    Turkeys can roost near water, trees, or open areas. If you plan on stalking your prey, wear a camo pattern that best matches the overall environment. If you’re lucky enough to nail down specific spots, you can grab some mimicry camouflage that suits that specific location. 

    Turkey Hunting Camo Patterns

     

    Turkey hunting starts around spring, and this fickle season will have different results depending on your location. Remember, vegetation and color schemes change from region to region, so make sure your hunting camo matches that. At the start of spring turkey season, the trees and plants may still be brown or waiting to bloom. As time progresses, plants and trees will flourish and lush greens take over the scenery. 

    woodland hunting camo pattern with brown leaves woodland hunting camo pattern with lush greens

    Marsh camo patterns can certainly work when hunting turkeys by water, but you’ll want to check out Woodland camouflage patterns for other roosting spots. That means brown colors and imagery of sticks and bark usually suit early spring turkey hunters best, but as the season goes on, you’ll want to swap out for some Woodland camo patterns that have elements of green and maybe some imagery of leaves and grass. 

    Other Turkey Hunting Camo Tips

    turkey hunting headnet

    Like duck hunting, you’ll want to properly camouflage from head to toe when hunting toms. Your hunting pants, vest, and other apparel are all equally important. Skimping on one part of your hunting camouflage can jeopardize the success of your entire hunt. You’ll also want to wear hunting gloves to conceal movement and face paint or a headnet to minimize reflections.

    The last turkey tip is to avoid red, white, and blue colors, especially near your head. There are plenty of other occasions to be patriotic, but turkey hunting season isn’t one of them. Those colors can easily resemble a turkey, and wearing them increases your risk of not being properly identified by other hunters.

    All Duck Or No Dinner

    Hunting waterfowl and turkeys requires more detail to camouflage than hunting deer or elk. It’s all or nothing. Covering your head, face, hands, body, legs, and feet are critical to a fruitful hunting season, and with the right camo patterns, you’ll see immense success in the wild. 

    Just make sure to buy mimicry camouflage – marsh and waterfowl patterns for ducks and marsh or woodland patterns for toms, depending on the location and time of year. Make an effort to reduce your reflectivity with matte gun finishes and face masks, nets, or paint. Adhere to your local and state laws regarding blaze orange to stay safe this hunting season. And finally, exercise patience on a hunt to see your best results yet.

    Hopefully, you now know how to choose the best duck hunting camo and turkey hunting camo for your clothing and blinds. Prepare for your next outing with OpticsPlanet’s huge selection of high-quality hunting gear including game calls, ground blinds, and so much more. As always, have a safe and happy hunting season!

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  • deer hunter wearing camo

    Best Hunting Camo Patterns for Deer and Other Big Game

    Jul 7 • How-To, Hunting, Apparel, Big Game, Deer • 1050

    Big game hunters know how important hunting camo is when it comes to concealment. The right camouflage pattern can make you practically invisible to your prey, which allows you to get close and take the best shot possible. With so many different types of hunting camo patterns available, it can be challenging to figure out which one will help you harvest the most meat this season. In this guide, we’ll break down different types of hunting camo patterns to help you find the best deer hunting camo and best bow hunting camo based on the animal you’re hunting and your environment.

    Types of Hunting Camo

    Before discussing the best camo for deer hunting and big game, let’s go over some of the basics of camouflage. Popular brands like Mossy Oak and Realtree have their own proprietary camouflage names, but no matter what it’s called, all hunting camo patterns fall under one of these two types: mimicry and breakup (digital).

    What Is Mimicry Camo?

    mimicry hunting camo pattern

    As the name suggests, mimicry camo tries to mimic your surroundings to help you blend in. This could be a brown background with sticks and branches for fall hunts or white background with sticks and branches for the winter. Think of it as the type of camouflage that could fool a human, if done right. However, properly sporting mimicry camo can be quite a challenge on a hunt when seasons change, weather is fickle, and the environment you plan to hunt in may not look exactly as you planned. 

    What Is Breakup Camo?

    digital hunting camo pattern

    Breakup camo, also known as digital camo, breaks up your outline to help you blend in with the environment. Unlike mimicry camo that uses actual elements of nature in the design, breakup camo uses colors and shapes to achieve concealment. If put to the test, humans should be able to distinguish this camouflage much easier than mimicry. However, you have to remember that you’re trying to hide from the animal you’re hunting, and animals, especially big game, do not see the world as we do.

    Basic Camo Patterns

    Most camouflage pattern/color combinations are designed to suit an environment as a whole. While it seems a new, innovative camo pattern enters the market every year, most hunting camouflage falls under one of these categories:

    Woodland

    Marsh

    marsh hunting camo pattern

    Brush

    brush hunting camo pattern

    Snow

    snow hunting camo pattern

    As you can see, woodland camo is suited for forests and heavily wooded areas. It is great for most deer hunting seasons except winter, which is when you’ll want a snow camo pattern if the weather calls for it. Marsh camo is mainly for waterfowl hunting and swampy areas, so it is not ideal for most deer or elk hunts. Brush camo patterns are perfect for elk hunting out west. The lighter patterns of dirt and dead grass match the arid terrain and keep you concealed even when there is no natural cover. 

    Do I Need Camo for Hunting Deer and Other Big Game?

    Camouflage hunting clothes allow you to get closer to your target to take a better, cleaner shot. Without the right camo, you’d need to take your shot from a longer range to avoid being seen. While it is certainly possible to take down a buck in your everyday attire, it’s highly discouraged. The closer you are to your target, the more ethical of a shot you can take. Experienced hunters may be able to forgo camo clothes with a long-range rifle, but bowhunters will always need camouflage to get within range of their target. 

    Another point to consider is that most states require you to wear some type of blaze orange camo while hunting. Make sure to check your local and state regulations regarding this before your next hunt. If you’re concerned that the bright orange color will give away your position, continue reading to learn why that doesn’t matter for big game hunting.

    Can Deer See Blaze Orange Hunting Vests? 

    blaze orange hunting camo clothes

    Did you know that deer cannot see blaze orange as humans do? According to the National Deer Association, deer cannot perceive longer wavelengths of color like red and orange, which appear brown or gray to them. However, deer can easily detect movement in the distance. That’s why breakup (digital) camo patterns are the best for hunting whitetails. Breakup camo blends your outline into the environment so that sudden movement is significantly less noticeable to your prey. 

    How to Choose the Best Deer Hunting Camo

    Even though deer can’t see color that well, the type of breakup camo you choose still matters. Deer can still see patterns, and the background of your camo needs to match your planned hunting environment. Unfortunately, there isn’t a universal camo pattern that works well in all landscapes. You need to choose a deer hunting camo pattern based on where you’ll be hunting and the time of year. While it’s difficult to nail down the perfect type of hunting camo pattern for whitetails, it’s helpful to think about how you plan to hunt. 

    deer hunter wearing camo sitting in tree stand

    For example, if you’re hunting up north in a treestand, you will be elevated in the treeline. That means you need to blend in with the sky and treetops. On the other hand, you’ll want a camo pattern that helps you blend in with the dark tree bark and branches if you’re on the ground. Now picture these situations reversed. If you wore darker hunting camo while in a treestand, deer will see an out-of-place dark spot in the treeline. If you wore lighter hunting camo while on the ground, deer will see you as a light blob against the darker trees. Regardless of color, these patterns impact how easily deer will see your movement.

    Can You Mix and Match Camo Patterns?

    The above point is a great example of why mixing and matching camo can work in the right environment. This isn’t a fashion show; it’s a hunt. You want to dress appropriately to give yourself the best chance of filling that freezer with fresh meat. Treestand hunters may want a snow or lighter woodland camo hunting jacket to match the skyline but darker woodland hunting pants to match the tree they’re sitting in. 

    Spot-and-stalk hunters may want snow camo pants and a woodland top for winter hunts to simultaneously match the ground and the bare tree bark behind them. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box with your camo choices. 

    How to Choose the Best Bow Hunting Camo

    The biggest difference between hunting with a rifle and hunting with a bow is the distance between you and your target. Bowhunters need to get up close to their target to effectively take it down, usually no more than 20 yards. Truth be told, there isn’t much of a difference between rifle hunting camo and bow hunting camo. If you follow the thought patterns above, your bowhunting camouflage will work just fine. 

    When bowhunting, your camo choice is much less of a concern than your scent and noise. A deer’s greatest defense mechanism is its sense of smell. Some brands like ScentLok manufacture hunting clothes with built-in odor control, or you could opt for some good old-fashioned scent blockers.

    As for noise control, make sure to buy hunting pants that mention being quiet or silent in the description or features. Browning, TrueTimber, and other popular brands offer a large selection of silent hunting trousers that greatly reduce sounds made during movement, and of course, they come in a wide variety of hunting camos.

    Hiding in Plain Sight

    Big game hunting camo offers many patterns and designs to help you stay concealed. While the number of camo patterns may be overwhelming at first, the right thought exercises will lead you to the best hunting camo for your needs. Here’s a quick recap of what we covered today:

    • Breakup camouflage is best for deer hunting
    • Deer cannot distinguish blaze orange vests from the brown trees
    • Treestand hunters will usually wear different camo than spot-and-stalk hunters to match the skyline and treetops
    • You can mix and match different camo patterns on your hunting outfit as long as it makes sense 
    • Camo is highly recommended for bowhunting, but controlling your scent and noise is more important

    We hope this guide helps you pick out the best camo pattern for deer hunting and other big game. If you want to learn more about what to wear for a hunt, check out our guide on How to Choose the Best Hunting Clothes. Also, make sure to stop by OpticsPlanet’s hunting store to gear up for your next adventure and put your camo knowledge to work! 

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  • tactical pants tactical jeans

    Gear Review: Tactical Pants & Tactical Jeans for 2021

    Jun 30 • Apparel, Reviews, Tactical Pants • 772

    For this article, I reviewed the latest tactical pants and tactical jeans from some of the best brands available today. These include Tru-Spec, Vertx, 5.11 Tactical, and Viktos. To review the pants, I actually wore them while doing various activities at a local park to test the features and designs, and intended purpose.

    Before We Begin…

    We want to go over some topics before we jump into the review, so you know exactly how we looked at tactical pants. We’ve published numerous articles about how to buy tactical pants. In these articles, we looked at what are tactical pants and tactical pants features. Here’s a quick summary: 

    What Are Tactical Pants?

    Tactical pants are designed for both storage and function. They’re popular among those working in police, military, and emergency medical fields, but civilians who engage in outdoor activities or shooting sports wear them as well. Compared to regular pants, tactical pants are designed for practical use and physical activity rather than fashion.

    Tactical Pants Features

    Tactical pants features boil down to fabrics, designs, and pocket space. Manufacturers try to durable, breathable, and flexible materials, so the pants are restrictive. Almost all of them are equipped with a gusseted crotch, which is extra material in the crotch that gives you greater mobility when you run, jump, squat, etc. 

    Pocket space is the most noticeable feature. On tactical pants, the pockets amount to much more than cargo pockets. Usually, there are additional pockets for tools, knives, or a phone. And then, there are usually compartments inside of the cargos. 

    tactical

    Your humble author conducting product tests by executing a tactical jump.

    The Review Process: What Makes Pants Tactical

    First, I stuffed my pockets full of everyday items like a flashlight, pocket knife, notebook, pen, keys, wallet, phone, and snacks. 

    Next, I ran around the park. Well, I didn’t just run. I sprinted. And I did some long jumps and hopped over picnic tables. Then, I did various calisthenics like air squats, tuck jumps, and lunges. Whatever seemed appropriate.

    Afterward, I washed the pants and then slashed and stabbed the fabric with a cheap pocket knife I found in my basement. Lastly, I held the pants under the faucet and poured water on them.

    Here’s what I found:

    Tru Spec 24-7 Series 

    Tru Spec 24-7 Series Pants

    Tru Spec 27-7 Series Pants. Pocket highilights include: knife/tool pockets on both pant legs, a drop-in phone pocket, and another phone pocket getting filled with handcuffs.

    The Tru Spec 24-7 Series pants fit well and conformed to whatever strenuous activity I did. Although they aren’t stretchy, they are designed for movement. There’s an expandable waistband, and the gusseted crotch and baggy pant legs created plenty of room.

    The pockets can obviously hold a lot and there’s velcro on just about every one of them to keep the flap closed shut. The dedicated knife or tool pocket was really nice. It’s strategically placed out of the way between the hand pocket and back pocket and on both sides. There’s a cell phone pocket on the outside of the cargo pocket. It has a flap, but it was too small for my iPhone X. Still, the phone fit well inside the drop-in cell phone slot behind the cargo pocket. It just didn’t have a flap. That was actually a more convenient location, though.

    The pants were also durable. They not only withstood physical activity like running, jumping, and squatting, but also water beaded up against the Teflon fabric when placed directly under a faucet and they just as easily withstood knife slashes. However, my blade penetrated the ripstop fabric with gentle stabbings. 

    My only criticism — and it’s really more of an observation — is that they look like tactical pants. Subtle is not a word I would use to describe them, but you’d only wear these in a uniform setting or during recreational activities.

    From the Factory Pros Cons
    • Fabric: 65% Polyester/35% Cotton Rip-Stop
    • Weight: 6.5 oz. 
    • Pockets: 12
    • MSRP: $68.95
    • Lots of pocket space
    • Designed for mobility
    • Water and stain-resistant
    • Non-stretchy fabric

    Vertx Defiance Jean

    Vertx Defiance Jean

    Vertx Defiance Jean. These tactical jeans have spare pockets just below the waistline and they have articulated knees.

    The Vertx Defiance Jeans look and feel like normal jeans. The only aesthetic giveaway that they might be tactical jeans is the articulated knees. You can tell by the small stitching in the four corners around the knee, but you’d have to look hard to find it. 

    Although denim is a heavier fabric, I remained comfortable wearing them in the 85-degree heat. The stretchy fabric was breathable. Also, the fabric paired with the relaxed fit and gusseted crotch made running and jumping easy as well. 

    Vertx lists the Defiance Jean as having 11 pockets, but it’s actually seven pockets plus four stash pockets located around the inside of the waistband. The stash pockets are big enough to hold a key-sized object but not much else. Still, the other pockets are very nice. 

    The hand, change, and spare pockets use a half mesh and half cloth lining. The hand and back pockets both run deep and will hold everyday items like keys or a phone comfortably and without printing. The spare pockets are long and wide enough to hold a pen and a knife at the same time or a pair of handcuffs, but not my phone. 

    The Vertx tactical jeans were also very durable. Off the rack, they were very comfortable for every activity I tried. They withstood knife slashes and stabbing. However, they weren’t water-resistant. In fact, water just soaked right into the fabric. 

    Online, I saw one criticism expressing concern about the belt loops. They measure about 2.5-inches long, so they’ll fit a wide belt, but the concern was more about how they’ll hold a duty belt. The belt loops aren’t very wide, but the stitching is heavy duty and there are eight of them as opposed to five like on other pairs of tactical pants. 

    Overall, the Vertx Defiance Jeans look, feel, and wear exactly like you’d want them to. They don’t look tactical at all and that’s the point.

    From the Factory Pros Cons
    • Fabric: 71% cotton/4% polyester/7% Modal/17% Coolmax/1% Lycra
    • Weight: 10 oz.
    • Pockets: 11
    • MSRP: $69.99
    • Relaxed fit makes moving easy
    • Spare pockets have casual look
    • Spare pocket won’t hold some phones

    5.11 Multicam TDU Ripstop

    5.11 Multicam TDU Ripstop

    The 5.11 Multicam TDU Ripstop are pretty basic for tactical pants, but they do have compartments inside the cargo pocket.

    A quick preface. The pair of 5.11 Multicam TDU Ripstop pants I received were too small for my waist. I sent in my waist and leg sizes, but the pants are sized small, medium, and large. Turns out, a 34 waist overlaps into medium and large sizes. So, whoever sent the pants made a judgment call.

    Obviously, the fit wasn’t great. The expandable waistband stretched to its limits, so the button snap was released every time I tucked my knees into my chest by jumping or squatting.

    Although the pant legs were plenty long, I felt them pull and tighten around my kneecap when I got into a kneeling position. Sure, size probably contributed, but it seemed more like a material issue than a sizing issue. The polyester fabric had little to no give. If I had received a large size or the pants were made out of stretchy fabric, I think I would’ve had better mobility.

    Besides the ill-fitting size and fabric, the 5.11 tactical pants are super basic for pocket space. They’re equipped with six pockets, so no phone or designated knife or tool pocket. However, inside the cargos had magazine slots, and the hand pocket does have extra material to clip a pocket knife. The pockets were plenty big for whatever you need.

    I also found the pants to be somewhat durable. I deliberately slid through the grass on my knees and they didn’t wear. The grass stains washed right out. When held under the faucet, water slipped right off. When I slashed at the fabric with a pocket knife, it resulted in scratches and cuts, but the durable underlayer still offered protection. However, the pants did withstand stabbings.

    In the end, I wouldn’t want to wear these pants for long periods of time. They were just too uncomfortable, but they could be useful during short stints of time like at a paintball game or trip to the range. Given the price, though, I’d go for something else like a better pair of 5.11 Tacticals

    From the Factory

    Pros

    Cons
    • Fabric: 65% Polyester/35% Cotton Rip-Stop
    • Weight: Unknown
    • Pockets: 6
    • MSRP: $79.99
    • Durable fabric and underlayer
    • Water and stain-resistant fabric
    • Fabric had little to no stretch

    Viktos Operatus XP

    Viktos Operatus XP

    The Viktos Operatus XP has deep pockets, big enough to hold a full-size flashlight, and they also have the nifty dual-pull zipper on the fly.

    The Viktos Operatus XP jeans are comfortable, durable, and it might take a minute or two for someone to notice the extra pockets. While they blend in from a distance, the spare pockets look very dad-like up close.

    The two hand pockets and four spare pockets all use a deep, fabric liner. The depth of the spare pockets was impressive. One’s located on the outside of the hand pocket, and then the other is found between the hand and back pocket. The rear spare pocket runs parallel to the front spare, but it has an angled opening, which makes accessing its contents easier.

    Although they are much narrower, the spare pockets all felt just as deep as the hand pocket. Viktos calls them EDC, or Every Day Carry, pockets, so they’re designed to hold a pistol or AR magazine. But they will also fit a phone, knife, or even a full-size flashlight.

    One novel feature is the dual-pull zipper, which provides two sliders on the fly. There’s one at the top and one at the bottom. The purpose of the feature is so men don’t have to “de-militarize” their waistline when they pee. It’s a bit superfluous, but also rather harmless.

    At 12 ounces, the denim stretch fabric felt lightweight and breathable. The tactical jeans moved rather effortlessly amid any and all physical activity. I didn’t have a problem running, jumping, crawling, climbing, etc.

    Most of the two-inch belt loops are a bit thin, but there are seven of them and the rear one is extra thick and embedded with some kind of elastic fabric. The pants also held up against knife slashes and stabbing, but they absorbed water.

    The Viktos Operatus XP tactical jeans would be great for a more casual look on the range, or during recreational or duty-oriented activities.

    From the Factory Pros Cons
    • Fabric: Stretch denim
    • Weight: 12 oz.
    • Pockets: 9
    • MSRP: $119
    • Thoughtful features, especially fly zipper 
    • Plenty of pocket space
    • Looks kinda tactical

     

    Dress for Success

    The pants reviewed in this article are the latest and greatest in tactical wear. If there’s other tactical gear or clothing you want to see reviewed, let us know in the comments. As always, find great deals on tactical pants and more on OpticsPlanet!

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