What Are Tactical Pants? (Styles, Materials & Construction)

Blog Written by JOHN COTTON / Fact-checked by LOGAN MILLER

what are tactical pants

Tactical pants are essential for people who work in the military, emergency services, law enforcement, outdoor workers, and adventurers. Tactical pants protect your lower body and provide more storage for personal tools, light equipment, and other belonging you need to bring to the worksite.

Moreover, these tactical pants give both comfort and functionality. It depends on how you will use it that you can choose among many sizes, colors, and designs of tactical pants.

So, what are tactical pants? Read more to know.

What Are Tactical Pants?

Tactical pants are specifically made pants that are worn by people who work outdoors or in action-related jobs—often worn by law enforcement officers, military, and emergency services. These pants are among their formal tactical attire whenever they are in their line of duty.

These pants are incredibly robust due to their rugged construction. All the parts are made with quality materials, from bar-tacked pockets and lines to polyester sidearms and belt loops. Some are also designed with bullet-proof fabric, typically the Dupont Teflon.

Additionally, adventurous people can make good use of these types of pants because their designs are highly functional for easy movements. The pants are made not just to comfort their users but also convenient with their many pockets.

Tactical pants are not used are not exclusively for men. There are different styles and sizes of pants that are also made for women.

Tactical Pants Styles


Tactical pants come in a wide range of materials and cuts, from lightweight to large and tall sizes. Most tactical pants are lightweight, and it is comfortable to wear.

There are also tactical shorts that have the same functionality as the pants. Law enforcement does wear BDU pants, TDU pants, Tac 5.11 pants, or police pants in their line of work.

  • Often, tactical pants are called 11 pants from a difficult rock climbing summit Yosemite, and 5.11 comes from the Yosemite Decimal System. This makes tactical pants withstand a hard challenge.
  • Meanwhile, TDU pants definition is simply Tactical Dress Uniform, and BDU means Battle Dress Uniform. Most tactical TDU pants are made to replace the 1980s camouflage BDU pants.
  • Presently, TDU pants have more improvements than the previous BDU pants. To use TDU pants means that you will have more functionality and updated designs.

Thus, manufacturers of tactical pants made sure that they incorporate unique styles that are good for different wearers. There are different colors available such as:

  • Tactical khaki pants
  • Black tactical jeans pants
  • Brown pants
  • Camouflage pants

Ultimately, it will help you find the perfect fit for your body type, not loose or tight.

Tactical Pants Pockets


Tactical pants are known to have multipurpose deep and angled pockets. These pockets are made with a convenient design for storing essential items people carry on the go.

It will help anyone who carries many things just in one place. Also, it has reinforced tailoring for toughness and well-designed pockets for quick access to your items.

Each manufacturer of tactical pants sews a varying number of pockets into their pants. Commonly, the pants have seven or eight sacks.

  • There are two pockets in front, another at the back, and two cargo. It also has two extra pockets where you can store your pocket knife or device.
  • Other items designed to fit your tactical pants are a flashlight, handgun, multitool, handcuff and key, shears, guns, pocket knife, ropes, pen, notepad, and other tactical equipment.

It is best to know what you will use your pants for so that you can estimate the pockets you want to be in your pants. However, it is more important that the bags are sturdy and convenient to use than the number of pockets.

Materials and Construction

Tactical pants are made of comfortable fabrics such as cotton and polyester. In this way, it will not be too heavy for the person to wear for the whole day.

Since tactical pants are used for heavy-duty activities, their materials are specifically made to withstand almost anything. In addition to being extremely durable, the pants are also fairly light.

It also has thick belt loops that support belts that can carry handy equipment or necessary tools. Additionally, tactical pants have a Teflon-like finish that makes the pants waterproof and perfect for rainy weather.

These tactical army pants have premium materials that serve not only for the comfortability of the users but also for added protection to the lower body. The pants are constructed in a way that has extra spaces in their’ buttocks and knee areas.

It is to accommodate buttocks or knee pads for added protection, if necessary. Moreover, some brands sell freedom tactical clothing that specifically makes top-notch tactical clothing.



What makes tactical pants “tactical”?

Tactical pants, as its name suggests, relate to combat tactics. To succeed in combat, you have to have certain skills and equipment.

Thus, tactical pants are made to provide protection, versatility, and comfort to your body. It is also usually worn by military and law enforcement, making it tacticians’ clothing.

Why buy tactical pants?

You must buy tactical pants if your line of work requires you to. Other than that, having tactical pants can come in handy when it comes to using them for outdoor activities.

If you are someone that wants to go on a lot of adventures such as mountain climbing, it is ideal that you should buy tactical pants.

There are a lot of tactical pants styles you can choose from, so you will never run out of options for your next job or adventure.

How to wear tactical pants?

First, make sure that you have the right fit for your tactical pants. It is important that you are comfortable with what you wear, especially if you use it in action.

Next, if you are planning to wear tactical pants, consider wearing full combat or adventure gear. These include vests, boots, belts, essential tools, and other accessories.

What’s the difference between tactical pants and cargo pants?

The difference between cargo pants vs tactical pants is that tactical pants are designed for specific work, such as being in the military.

  • In fact, tactical pants are meant originally as a standard U.S. government-issued garment.
  • Tactical pants are more like combat pants, while cargo pants are designed with the latest fashion and do not usually follow strict clothing standards. There are other casual cargo pants designs such as ripstop cargo pants, military over pants, and pants without cargo pockets.

You can inspect the visible differences in appearance for both tactical and cargo pants. Inspect its pockets, and you will know it quickly.

Are tactical pants comfortable?

Tactical pants are comfortable. Since it is made for action, meaning it must provide comfort to those who wear it. Materials used to make tactical pants are cotton and polyester, known to provide comfortable linens.

What does tactical mean in clothing?

Tactical clothing is made for action. When you say “tactical”, it only means that people who use it require full tactical gear such as police, military, security, and civilians.

How are tactical pants supposed to fit?

Tactical pants are more high-waisted than other pants. Since tactical pants carry weights in their belts, they are designed to fit heavy gears without dragging the pants down.

Tactical pants stretch but not so much. With that, it is supposed to be just right for your size, not too loose or tight.

What is the difference between BDU vs tactical pants?

Tactical pants are more modern military clothing than the 1980’s BDU pants. Though they have similar features, tactical pants have more updated features, such as deep pockets that are essential for combat.

Besides its functionalities, BDU’s camouflage design is not as versatile as tactical pants designs today. Anyone besides military personnel can wear tactical pants without looking like they are going to battle.


So, what are tactical pants? You already know their designs and uses by now. Tactical pants are more than just regular pants; they offer comfort, versatility, and dependability.

These tactical pants are designed for many purposes and help you be “tactical” in your workplace or outdoor activities.

Indeed, before buying your first tactical pants, you should know the different brands that sell them. You can choose many designs and styles, so you need to research which suits you.

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