5.11 got its start by innovating and creating the tactical pant. With the constant pursuit of trying to create a product that meets the demands of today’s public safety and military professionals our job is never done. Like most of our products, professionals come to us with a problem or product that needs to meet their specific needs out in the field.
The new 5.11 APEX pant is the result of low vis professionals seeking to blend in more seamlessly, but still have the capabilities to meet their gear and mission needs. We got the chance to ask one of the designers behind the APEX pant a few questions to learn more about how this new pant came to be.
What prompted the development of the APEX pant?
Security and undercover law enforcement types wanted a low profile pant that still had functional tactical features. It could not be rip-stop fabric as this is a dead giveaway for law enforcement/covert operations, so we developed the “Flex-Tac® canvas”. These guys also wanted a trimmer fit for a more contemporary look and ease of movement. As well, they wanted the pant to allow them to “blend-in” with a crowd.
What features make this pant an innovative piece of gear?
We developed a new smooth version of the “Action Waistband” which is lower-profile and comfortable. It’s like we combined an athletic pant with and everyday casual pant. This stretch section of the waistband at both sides of the hip combined with the stretch canvas fabric allow wearers to move more freely, and comfortably wear an IWB holster. The pant also has an ergonomic fit with articulation at the seat, crotch gusset and knees. Functional features also include the patent-pending flexi-cuff tunnel pocket inside the waistband, handcuff key pocket at hem and a hidden pocket inside back of the waistband which can hide a handcuff key or kevlar line for cutting. Inset, low-profile zippered cargo pockets have bellows that expand to the inside to reduce the bulky aesthetic that cargo pants can have. Cargo pockets have mag pockets inside to keep them from banging into each other. Discreet pockets on the back yoke can hold extra mags. Slash hand pockets have hidden reinforcement at the knife shelf.
How did the design team (or client) envision this pant being used?
We developed Apex so that undercover cops, security, air marshals, and special forces personnel could use it as a work pant to look less tactical, but still be able to carry all that they need to do their job. We also envisioned civilians using Apex as an everyday pant that would be great for hiking or any other outdoor activities.
What separates this pant from other pants in the line?
Firstly, the fabric of this pant is not Rip-Stop nylon fabric which makes it less tactical looking. The fit is also trimmer than our traditional tactical pants for a more contemporary look. Also, there are no flaps, velcro and cell phone pockets on the front of the pant.