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Review: 5.11 Tactical Defender Flex Jeans

Review: 5.11 Tactical Defender Flex Jeans

Any person who packs an EDC kit is inevitably a fan of pockets. When thinking about the number of items defense-minded citizens carry today, space is definitely at a premium, and the new 5.11 Tactical Defender Flex Jeans are a great option for getting some extra versatility in your kit.

One of the issues with today's clothing is that everyday jeans aren't conducive to incorporating the essential elements of an everyday carry kit. When it comes to my list, there's a wallet, smartphone, flashlight, concealed-carry gun, backup gun, knife, spare magazines, car keys, etc. The list keeps going on, and ordinary pants run out of room soon.

Of course, an easy solution is to go with a pair of 5.11 Tactical Pants, which feature roomy cargo pockets and all of the tough construction expected from a pair of pants designed for duty use. These are great options, and many people count on them. However, they are unmistakably tactical. Concealed carry is a low-profile exercise, and those who practice it do their best to blend in so as not to attract attention. This is the kind of situation where the 5.11 Tactical Defender Flex Jeans are designed to excel.

From the outside, these pants don't look tactical, and that's the great thing about them. At a glance, these look like pants anyone could have pulled off the sales rack at Kohl's. However, there are some hidden features that makes these a must-have for everyday carry.

First, the pockets. From the outside, it looks like the Defender Flex Jeans aren't any different than your regular weekend wear, providing five standard pockets, but there are a few design changes that allow gear to be squirreled away from prying eyes.

First, the coin pocket. 5.11 Tactical did what every other jean designer neglected to do and actually made it useful again. The pocket is deeper, allowing an EDC knife to slide in easily and securely. In a pinch, you can also use it to store a spare 15-round Glock magazine, as I've found, but there's some noticeable printing and it's on the wrong side for a right-handed shooter.

On the back side of the pants, there's a seam that traverses the area between the belt loops and the back-pocket openings. Along that seam, just above each back pocket, there is a hidden internal pocket that provides extra storage. The neat thing about these pockets is that they are perfectly sized for AR-15 magazines. The end of the magazine body sticks out at the top to provide easy accessibility, but throwing a T-shirt over the seam conceals them well, and there's very little printing.

Now, most people don't walk around needing two AR-15 magazines at the ready, but the pockets provide a perfect place for spare handgun magazines, smartphones, knives or other accessories.

In addition to the versatility offered by these pants, the construction also provides durability during heavy use. The company uses a cotton/polyester blend that incorporates Lycra T400 fabric, so the material is stretchable and comfortable to wear. It also features doubled-up stitching in high-stress areas for improved resilience, and one welcome element is the inclusion of several more belt loops that help secure gun belts.

One thing to note is that the pants come in both slim-fit and straight-fit designs. I received a pair of the early slim-fit jeans, and I noticed that the snug fabric around the ankle made it difficult to use an ankle holster for my Ruger LCP II. If you're a fan of ankle carry, consider getting a pair of the straight-fit jeans.

Overall, the new 5.11 Tactical Defender Flex Jeans are a great addition to any gun owner's daily wear and makes it easier than ever to carry all of the elements of a proper personal-defense kit. The suggested retail price on the new jeans is $69.99.

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