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Tactical Performance Corp. Combat Pants (Prototype)

30/11/2011

Tactical Performance Corp's Combat Pants feature high mobility fit and pattern with articulated, integrated knee pads.

 
Tactical Performance Corporation has shown a prototype of their new A-TACS Tactical Combat Pant In NYCO A-TACS Ripstop with the unique VAT Print fabric. Among many unique features on this combat pant the use of VAT print fabric sets it apart from other products in the category. VAT print fabric is more expensive for manufacturers but retains better color fastness in the sun and with repeated washings, an important feature for the field operator with unpredictable laundry facilities. The new combat pants feature built-in, articulated lightweight knee pads for protection and mobility. The pants are 50/50 NYCO NIR (Near Infra-Red) VAT print Ripstop fabric. The pre-production prototype we evaluated is a size 32 waist, regular length.
 
From the bottom of the pants the leg openings use an adjustable Velcro closure instead of the small nylon webbing drawstring sewn into the hem of conventional BDU pants. The Velcro makes adjustments quicker than a drawstring and more convenient since the Velcro adjuster flap is always exposed at the rear of the lower pant leg unlike the drawstring hem that is typically bloused up inside the pants cuff. On our prototype the loop section could have been slightly longer so the hook section on the flap fully attached rather than having some excess free running end. There is an 8 inch (20 cm) vertical zipper on the outside of the leg to make putting on and removing the pants easier.  When the velcro adjuster and zipper is closed the pants hem can be bloused similar to how you blouse normal ACU or BDU pants.

The Velcro tab at the cuff and zipper make adjustment and donning easy.

 
Just above the vertical zipper at the leg opening is a small vertical pocket 5 inches high (12.8 cm) and 3 inches deep (7.7 cm). This small pocket is useful for range cards, commo indices or other small items used frequently in the kneeling position.  Because of the low position of the pocket you may blouse the bottom of these pants slightly lower on your boot than usual.

The lower leg construction including the Velcro closure cuff and zipper along with the ankle pocket are useful design additions.

To the outside/rear of the knee has a Velcro adjuster tab to draw the knee and lower leg of the pants tighter reducing the volume of the lower leg and securing the integrated knee pads closer to the leg. The fit on the pants was very good so I did not need to cinch this Velcro down much to get a nice fit. The back of the knee section of the pants is a separate fabric panel construction seen in high mobility sportswear like running tights. This multi-panel design adds cost to the garment but provides a more precise fit while still allowing free range of motion for running, clearing obstacles and other dynamic activities. There are a lot of design themes in these pants from technical/action sports wear adapted to the tactical user.

The lateral Velcro adjuster tab helps secure the integrated knee pads and improve fit on the already precise feeling pants while maintaining full range of motion.

The integrated knee pads are sewn into the pants, not a separate closed-cell foam insert that rides in a pocket at the knee. There are a number of advantages to this design. You never forget your knee pads when you deploy since they are built into the pants. The pads stay put without creeping down your leg as you move from kneeling shooting position to running and back to kneeling shooting position. The greatest advantage is no series of straps around your lower leg so there is greater comfort, especially in hot weather. Since each knee pad is actually three separate pads with a seam between each for full range of motion this design is also cooler than one large knee pad that covers the entire knee. Placement of the pad is good for kneeling position and for the prone position. The knee section is covered in abrasion resistance coated Nylon/Cordura for improved durability over the 50/50 NYCO fabric used in the main sections of the pant.
 

The integrated, articulated knee pads eliminate the need for straps, can't be lost, are cooler and provide full range of motion.

 
Fit and location of the knee pads will vary from person to person since the length of each person’s thigh and lower leg differ slightly even within the same inseam and height. When two of our testers, including the one shown in the photos, kneeled on these knee pads they rested on the lower of the three separate pads. This worked fine during my wear testing. Two of our wear testers also commented they would rather have this fit for their knee protection than separate pads that slide down or catch on vehicle or aircraft doors and during hasty ingress and egress. One tester told me, “Finally- a knee pad that stays in place”.

The integrated knee pads stay in place and fit most operators well. Our three wear testers had satisfactory or better use.

The position of the pads can be adjusted vertically via drawstring elastic cord inside the forward small cargo pocket. You simply pull the free-running end of the elastic cord to raise the pad up the leg and slide the cord lock down to secure it. The spring loaded cord lock holds the adjustment.
 
 

A cordlock and stretch drawstring inside the front pocket enable you to adjust the height of the knee pads.

The main cargo pockets on the Tactical Performance Corp Combat Pants Gen II’s are expandable bellows style with two Velcro closures that securely close the pockets. The position of the pocket is slightly rearward and angled for better ergonomics while running with a loaded pocket and for access when seated in a vehicle. Items placed in the pocket like notebooks or map cases slide toward the front edge of the pocket making retrieval easier, another thoughtful design element.

Two Velcro closures securely close the top cargo pocket flap. The shape and location of the pocket on the leg make retrieval of items easy in all positions including seated and facilitate fast running when loaded.

 
At the front, upper thigh there are Velcro closure bellows pockets for small items frequently used while standing, kneeling and sitting. This is a good place for a CEOI (Code Encryption Operators Index) or other small notes. The cord lock and elastic cord for vertical knee pad adjustment is inside this pocket.  None of our wear testers felt the shock cord inside the pants while wearing them.
 
 

The upper cargo pocket also has an elastic drawstring inside to adjust the vertical position of the integrated knee pads on your leg.

 
The top/slash pockets on the Combat Pants prototypes have a zipper closure and are relatively low volume, a good idea since this isn’t a great place to carry important items. This pocket tends to be hard to reach when wearing a full tactical rig or while seated. The lower edge of the pocket has a double fabric layer for using knives and tools with a belt clip. The two back pockets have secure Velcro closures and small volume, enough for a man’s wallet or similar sized item.
 

The small zipper pocket at the top of the pants has a reinforced lower section for small tools and knives with a pocket clip.

 
 
On the seat of the pants are two vertical pads of thin foam padding. These pads make riding a motorcycle, ATV or sitting on the bench seat of an MH-6 more comfortable.  The pads seem to align with your “sit bones” or the pointy part of your pelvis, so sitting on the hard ground or tarmac is more comfortable too. Wearing the pants in the heat I was concerned this padding may make them hot and sweaty, but with the fit in the butt there was no issue.  The pads are a welcome addition. I used to cut a small section of ensolite foam from an issue sleeping pad for this same purpose. It makes sitting in an OP on damp, cold, hard ground slightly more tolerable. Nice addition.
 
The belt loops are 2.25 inches high (5.5 cm) so larger belts will fit. Each loop is coated nylon/Cordura bar-tacked to the pants for durability. The kidney area of the pants comes up high and makes wearing a rucksack (which we tried) with these pants more comfortable.
 

Two thin foam pads are built into panels at the rear of the pants over the "sit bones" for comfort while sitting on hard and cold surfaces.

 At the top of the pants the Velcro adjuster tabs enable the user to chnge the waist size of the pants a few centimeters for a precise fit.

Velcro adjuster tabs enable you cinch down the pants for a precise fit.

Tactical Performance Corp is based in California and has a number of unique designs that are highly evolved from operator input. They have an extensive line of combat apparel in the new Digital Concealment Systems A-TACS pattern ( as well as other patterns including Multicam, 3-Color Desert and Woodland) that includes many thoughtful features such as A-TACS patterned loop Velcro patches as opposed to solid color patches sewn onto A-TACS apparel as seen from some other tactical vendors. It is obvious a lot of practical thought and design experience went into the Tactical Performance Corp Combat Pants. They are an impressive and advanced battle dress uniform made for the way an operator really uses their uniform.

The Tactical Performance Corporation A-TACS Tactical Combat Pants in NYCO 50/50 Ripstop with VAT print and the prototype A-TACS Tactical Combat Shirt Gen II.

 
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