Back in January, I wrote an article titled “A Firearms Enthusiast’s Top 5 Picks from SHOT Show 2017.” In it, I mentioned several firearms and other products that stood out above the rest at SHOT Show…among them the Wyldcat pants from 5.11 Tactical.
At first glance, they looked cute and trendy, but I wasn’t sure how well they would stand up to the day-to-day wear and tear of practical use on the range. The material seemed too soft—very different from regular tactical pants. Even so, I wanted to try them on and put them to the test. I can testify that other 5.11 products that I’ve worn, such as the Cirrus, Stryke and TacLite pants, as well as the Recon Trainer shoes and Sierra Softshell jacket, have been excellent and met my expectations as a firearms instructor. Because of those products, I expected that the Wyldcat pants would likely live up to the 5.11 standard.
If you haven’t heard of 5.11, the company offers clothing, gear and uniforms for emergency response personnel and law enforcement officers, as well as the everyday citizen who’s carrying a firearm for personal protection or teaching on the range.
So, back to the material of these pants. They are made of a stretch sateen fabric which 5.11’s website describes as a Microsand finish; it feels almost like velvet. Because of the stretch material, it has a good amount of give, making the pants comfortable to move around in, especially when sitting, kneeling or “running and gunning” on the range. The stretch material also makes it easier to wear an inside-the-waistband holster, unlike jeans or other pants that are sometimes snug with a holster’s added bulk.
Besides the comfort and ease of use of these pants, I absolutely love the way they look. They’re designed to be adaptable, so you can wear them on the range or to a business meeting. The zippered leg gussets at the bottom allow you to wear them zipped for a straight-leg, skinny-pant feel, or unzipped for a boot cut. I personally prefer them zipped, especially when coupled with a cute pair of shoes and nice top. My pair is black, so it’s easy to dress up or down, depending on the situation. One week I wore them to church and no one noticed that they were “tactical” pants. How awesome is that? One other positive aspect is that I can wear these while teaching my firearms classes and not look like G.I. Jane, but not look sloppy, either.
Starting from the top, the waistband on the Wyldcat pants are somewhat stretchy, just like the legs. The fit around my waist was perfect, without a gap in the back that often happens with some of my other pants. There are 7 belt loops—2 at the appendix location, 2 on the sides, 2 on either back hip, and an oversized loop directly in the back. These loops are large enough for a regular gun belt.
Moving down, there are a total of 8 pockets. Amazingly, these pockets are fully functional, rather than just for looks. The top front pockets look like a small slit, but will hold even my large smartphone. The lower front pockets are deep enough that I can carry pistol magazines, a pocket knife, car keys or other necessities. The back top pockets are the same “slit” design, but can hold an AR magazine or cell phone, and pretty much blend in with the seams and hide. The back lower pockets are similar to what you’d find on a pair of jeans, and have plenty of depth to hold extra magazines and more. The knee portion of the pants are reinforced by doubled-up construction for added durability. I’ve already discussed the zippers on each leg, but this is really what sets the pants apart from other tactical styles.
Tiffany Yerby Dillon, director of design at 5.11 says, “We supply apparel that they [women] want to wear and look good in. You don’t want to look like your husband or boyfriend when you’re on the range. A lot of folks want to wear something that’s fashionable that functions all day long.” I appreciate the thought that has gone into this design. 5.11 says these have fit, function and finish, and I agree. If you’ve hesitated to buy a pair, don’t wait any longer. You won’t be sorry.
The Wyldcat pants are available in three colors; black, khaki and grenade, and come in women’s sizes 0–16. MSPR: $74.99.
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