Tactical Pants for the 99%

Mike Durand

My first foray into the world of tactical pants, besides my issued BDU trousers in the 1990s, was back in 2007 with a pair made by 5.11. They were good and I still have several pairs. However, I was still looking for more. A bit more style, better pocket design and layout, and something that made me look like I actually had an ass.

Yes, I said it. It made me look like I had an ass.

Cargo pocket with Magpul P mag, Browning Hi-Power 10 round pistol mag, and flight gloves.

 

Enter LA Police Gear and their Operator Tactical Pants.  I bought my first pair in 2010 for $19.99. I figured  at that price even if they were junk, I’d still have two pair of pants for less than one pair from another manufacturer.  Well, they weren’t junk.  They are awesome.

The 60/40 cotton and polyester rip-stop material make these pants surprisingly tough yet lightweight. Over two years of breaking brush on backpacking expeditions, range trips, and everyday use have resulted in some wear and tear in the normal spots but no major issues with the fabric have arisen. No one likes a wet butt or crotch so I was impressed that the pants dry very quickly, even while being worn.  The seat and knees are reinforced with double fabric along with the lower edges of the front pockets, right were you would clip your knife. The belt loops will accept the larger ‘riggers’ belts in addtion there are styles with an elastic waist or cinch straps secured with hook and loop tape. The front two belt loops have color matched plastic D rings.  Unlike other pants, the Operator pants come with a built-in drawstring for blousing. Another nice feature is the diamond gusseted crotch, which provided ample freedom of movement when crouching, high stepping, or kneeling. Binding has never been an issue with these pants.  Having personally experienced a very painful ‘binding incident’ involving full combat equipment , a T-10 parachute, and 800 feet in which to enjoy the sensation, I really appreciate that.

Got pockets? The Operator pants are loaded with them!  On the front are two very deep pockets and two slit pockets large enough for a 30 round AR/M4 mag. The back pockets are slits with flaps secured by two buttons.  In ACU trouser style, two vertical bellows pockets with flaps secured by hook and pile tape are located on the calves of each leg. Where these pants leap ahead of the others I have is the cargo pockets.  Instead of being simple patch pockets that I have to fight to cram items into, these slanted cargo packets are generous bellows style and are more than adequate for my needs.  The flap is secured with hook and loop tape and features a double stitched opening in the middle, wide enough for a Maglite.  Inside the pocket are two smaller pockets, the larger at 4 ½ x 3” is situated directly below the opening in the flap.  The smaller one measures 4 ½ deep by 2 ½” wide with a plastic D ring directly above.

All the hardware–buttons, D rings, and zippers–on the Operator pants are color matched to the fabric and are made of plastic, which is really the only negative I can describe.  So far I had two zippers blow teeth, resulting in a trip to the tailor.  I’m willing to pay more for a metal zipper, L.A. Police Gear, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that sentiment.

The front slit pocket on the L.A Police Gear Operator Tactical pants with Android Razr phone.

My wife entitled this picture 'Mamma's Money Maker' I'm not sure if I need to see E.O. over that.

Zipper issues and plastic accessories aside, for $19.99 I think the Operator Tactical Pants are a damn good deal and worth your hard earned money. They can be found here in a variety of colors and options.

R2A

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

defensor fortissimo May 10, 2012 at 4:59 am

Good review. I own several of LAPG's pants myself and they're a great set-up. The front **** pockets are really handy for holding miscellaneous and I like the d ring inside the cargo pockets for clipping my keys on. The knee pockets work out well with 5 11 pads so that makes for a nice bit of interchangability. As for the plastic zippers I've never had an issue, which may just be my luck, but considering it's supposed to make the pants TSA compatible, you can't really fault them for trying to lower your chance of getting SARC'd every time you fly

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defensor fortissimo May 10, 2012 at 5:03 am

***** really?

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Lew May 10, 2012 at 5:13 am

I use the D-rings to clip a firesteel to and I personally love the plastic zippers. Ultralight and as previously mentioned I can fly with the bloody things. Huge fan of the operator pants, especially for the money.

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Travis D. May 10, 2012 at 6:31 am

I love these pants as well. The only issue I have is that the zipper comes undone quite often, and that they are very light pants. I'd like it if they made a slightly heavier pant that would do well in the spring and fall, but they are great on warm days.

I also am a big fan of their operator polo shirts. They fit great.

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straps May 10, 2012 at 9:43 am

Funny how we dogpile companies whose designs resemble one another on this site and others but here we go with a review of a product by a company that buys a pair of Crye pants and a pair of Triple Aught Design pants, lifts the best features of each and contracts with Asian sweatshops (THERE IS SIMPLY NO OTHER WAY TO MAKE A GARMENT THIS COMPLEX COST $20) to mass-produce ripoffs.

Re: LAPG I did business with them once–gonna be a while before I do THAT again. They were the first to offer the ACU in MC so I bit. Took a while to get the uniforms but that wasn't the big problem–when Brown dropped the box off at my house I GOT THE WRONG STUFF. I appreciated that LAPG sent me $310 of gear on a $150 order but I've been the guy on the flip side of one of those errors so I decided to bank some karma. Besides, what I really wanted at the time was a Multicam uniform. Credit where credit is due, they threw some swag in for my honesty when they finally shipped me my stuff..

I know that Crye stuff and TAD stuff is pricey and can be hard to get. And you could argue that LAPG is fulfilling demand that the companies whose products they imitate is not meeting properly. My counter-argument is that there are more ethical ways of going about that (maybe licensing–with the attendant quality control that you'll never get when you're moving product for $20 a unit). Also, I've seen first hand that LAPG's knockoffs vary WIDELY in quality.

NOBODY here is rolling in dough. I know I sure ain't. It may be nice to have a source for cheap gear (especially to trash on a job site) but it doesn't justify celebrating the theft of ideas with the kind of legitimacy that a write-up on this site confers.

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Tbirdjoel May 10, 2012 at 10:04 am

I've been wearing them since I discovered them 4 years or so ago after I got tired of ripping up $50.00 5-11's. I think I paid $14.99 for my first pair and I'm probably still wearing them. I've never had a zipper or D ring break and the pockets and belt loops work well with guns and gear.

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xcalbr May 10, 2012 at 10:24 am

Ill stick to my assortment of TAD trousers. These would be good for somebody on a budget that quickly needs some tactical pants however.

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David Reeder May 10, 2012 at 11:15 am

STRAPS: I can assure you from a writer- and editorial standpoint there is no desire to either dogpile any products where it isn't deserved, nor to provide legitimacy where it isn't deserved. By and large our goal is to provide 1) knowledge of a product's existence, and 2) a genuine review, good or bad, of that product. I can't speak for the others, but I hesitate to join in on any judgmental bandwagon if I don't have all the facts. There are undoubtedly copycats out there, however after 20 years as a cop I have learned not to take sides on anything without due diligence. I'm also smart enough to know there are a lot of readers (like you) who probably know much more than I about a product's background. If we were to filter out all products that someone had accused of being a copy or rip-off, we'd lose a quarter or more of the articles we right. Some of that would be righteous. Some would be bs. So my personal philosophy is to write what I know and then let the readership offer perspective that might persuade other readers. I have done this a couple of times in the past with piece of kit I was fairly sure were knock-offs but couldn't prove: I wrote it up and within just a few comments it was clear that opinion was widely held. I guess my point here, and I mean this sincerely, is that I rely upon you and other readers like you to give your opinion or background to other readers in areas where I am deficient, uneducated or too close to it, the same with product manufacturers as it is with the technical details of other pieces of kit. I hope this makes sense. That's the great thing about a forum like this. Readers can offer opinions both pro and con. Some will back what you said. Some will counter your assertions. This gives people more perspective with which to try and make an intelligent decision. Barring me getting telepathy or my own intelligence service in the industry, that's the best I can do. NOTE: I am NOT being a smart *** here, or sarcastic. I truly do learn a lot from what readers post on our articles. I don't always agree with it, but I like to think it's all good to take in (other than the obvious trolls of course). Thanks for taking the time to post. Sorry my response is like War and Peace.

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Neal May 10, 2012 at 11:16 am

How do you feel about the Razr/ Maxx as a tac-phone.

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David Reeder May 10, 2012 at 11:17 am

Nope. Not letting me fix it. I agree. A little aggravating.

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defensor fortissimo May 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm

that's cool it's just kind of silly

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Lance May 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Nice but outside of Velcro replacing buttons this isn't really different from BDU pants.

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red2alpha73 May 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Neal,
It's a good phone for everyday use. I have taken it out to the field a number of times and that's were it's drawback come into play. The 4G on the phone destroys my battery if I forget to put it in stand-by mode. Unless you have a portable charger or turn the thing off, which defeats the purpose of having a phone, you're going to have a dead phone in 24 hours. In my experience. I'm sure others will have more thoughts on this. The other problem is the design of the phone it'self. It's thin, really thin outside the case. Even with the Otter Box case I have it in I worry about snapping the thing in half if I IMT on it. So for a tac-phone I think I'd look elsewhere.

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JohnB May 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Thanks for the review of something that the rest of us can afford.

I bought some 5.11s once, wore a couple of times. Almost impossible to ride in a vehicle with your wallet in those big back pockets. Gave them to the Salvation Army.

Replaced the 5.11s with some Wrangler cargo/tactical pants from Walmart. Unfortunately, Wrangler does not make them any more. Some day they will wear out and I will then replace them. Nice to know there is something out there to replace them with.

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thebronze May 10, 2012 at 2:15 pm

What is wrong with the comments? Why aren't they appearing?

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oscar May 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm

LAPG pants be they ACU or Operator gives good value to your hard earned cash. I usually didn't mind before that they were made in China, but now with China muscling on Scarborough Shoal, I'm boycotting Chinese made goods. There are tactical pants locally made and sold here in the Philippines that's in the $35-$43 range. Materials and worksmanship is great. The downside is that they are basically knock-offs of the old crye field pants. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Armored-Industries/

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Frank Bowers, FIC. A May 11, 2012 at 5:58 am

I guess this must have been a mexican who wrote this story their men are the only men i know who have no *** at all.

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Billy G May 11, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Thanks for the review.

But, I think they may still have too much "commando" appearance if you're trying to tone it down.

I prefer the VertX pants for the urban setting. The internal design of the cargo pocket puts them at the top of my list. However, these pants aren't without fault. I don't care for the externally attached rear pocket.

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Pantsman May 12, 2012 at 5:05 am

Dat ***!

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Pantsman May 12, 2012 at 5:06 am

***!*

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Taylor May 13, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I do love these pants and have a wide and assorted collection of numerous brands, all of which are field tested. HOWEVER, replace the crotch zipper before first use. Every one I have has failed. At their price and other very positive attributes it's worth it..

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coolhand77 May 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

Now I don't feel so bad about blowing out the zippers on a few…I'm not the only one!

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