A few months back, the nice folks at Blauer sent me a pair of tactical pants to review. Well, what with the holidays and EMS conferences and the move to a new home and the need to get the trousers hemmed to be able to wear them, and the friggin’ cold weather we’ve had, it took me a while to give these pants any wear.
But, I’ve had a few wears and washes through them now, enough to give you my impressions.
The Blauer 8835 tactical pants are a 65/35 poly/cotton blend ripstop, much like any other BDUs sold by any number of other makers. I’ve worn a lot of cotton blend ripstops, and these are about what you’d expect, looks-wise. They’ve been through four washings now, and they still look good right out of the dryer. They wear well, and aside from the aforementioned un-hemmed state they arrived in, they fit me well.
The Blauer pants come in even waist sizes up to, well… a lot larger than me, and that’s saying something. They feature a comfort stretch waistband that lived up to its name, and allowed me to carry my weapon in my customary IWB configuration without having to cinch my belt any tighter, or like I’ve had to do with some jeans, wear two different sizes – one for concealed carry, one for non-carry.
Believe me, when you’re a big boy with no ass to hold your pants up, that is a quality much to be desired. So is the silicone shirt gripper sewn into the waistband. Unless I buy tall-sized shirts with extra tail length, my shirts tend to come untucked if I do a lot of bending over and squatting. The shirt gripper in the Blauer pants waistband lets me wear my standard big (but not tall) shirts without fear of giving someone a glimpse of plumber’s butt when I bend over.
My biggest beef with ripstop tactical pants is that most of them start to look like crap after a few wearings. They wrinkle, the cargo pockets on the side bulge out and start to sag, forming that ugly gap between the buttons, the pocket flaps wrinkle and bunch up, you name it. Now, the Blauer pants aren’t going to look like a pair of Dockers (if they did, I’d have gotten a lot more wear out of them), but neither will they look like you’ve slept in them after smuggling half a dozen energetic capuchin monkeys across the border in your cargo pockets, either.
What I mean to say, folks, is that the pockets held their shape well, and there are plenty of them. The front pockets have an L-shaped opening that allows you to clip a knife there without impeding access to the rest of your pocket.
When I wear my uniform pants at The Borg, I keep a Kershaw folder in my right front pocket. I’m forever rubbing the side of my right hand on it as I reach into my pocket, or snagging my knife as I withdraw my hand. There just ain’t enough room in my uniform cargo pants, but Blauer’s pocket design eliminates that problem. The zipper closures on the thigh cargo pockets also keep them from sagging and bulging, and keep your stuff secure.
Comfort, wear and durabilty: B. I can’t in good conscience give them an A, because I haven’t worn them enough to rate their durability. But the expandable waistband, front pocket design and reinforced knees make them a good deal more comfortable than my other poly/cotton ripstop pants. They have plenty of pockets, and the “cell phone” pocket is suitable to carry a couple of extra magazines.
Looks: A. They look better than their competitors’ comparable products. For a pair of, as EMS Artifact calls them, “action adventure pants,” they’re good-looking britches. The zippered cargo pockets hold their shape a good deal better than comparable pants with button or Velcro closures. They also cost a good deal more than comparable pants, which brings us to…
Price point: C. They look better than my 5.11 or Tru Spec ripstop cargo pants, but at $30 more than the Tru Specs and $20 more than the 5.11 pants, they ought to. At $64.95, The Blauer 8835 trosuers fall into exactly the wrong niche for me; they’re not dressy enough to wear in a business casual atmosphere, and they’re too expensive for me to use as a pair of beaters. For just a few dollars more, I can buy a nice pair of Woolrich or Redhead cotton canvas cargo pants that I can press and wear with a nice shirt at EMS conferences. When I’m beating around at the range or lying in the dirt shooting at prairie dogs, I don’t particularly care how nice my pants look. I can get the same utility from a pair of pants at half the price.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the pants, although they’re not what I prefer to wear. If your agency allows you to wear BDU-style pants as part of your uniform, the Blauer 8835 operational trousers would be a good choice. They’re comfortable, good-looking BDU pants.
They’re just not dressy enough for my work, and too expensive for my play.