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Thread: Opinions on Designing Concealed Carry Pants

  1. #1
    Supporting Business Mack's Avatar
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    Dec 2015

    Opinions on Designing Concealed Carry Pants

    We are in the very early stages of designing a pair of pants with concealed carry in mind, specifically AIWB/IWB. We are going to be purposefully light on the details of what we are thinking design and feature-wise at this point because we would like some input from anyone who is willing to provide any. This project will not be complete until 2022 but we would like to get as much info as possible about what your ideal concealed carry pant would be like.

    We thank everyone in advance for their time and we will provide more specific info about the project and some of the ideas we have after we have the opportunity to hear from everyone here.

  2. #2
    Site Supporter
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    Sep 2015
    Fayetteville, NC
    I've only been carrying for 4.5 years AIWB, 99.9% in jeans(maybe 100%). The thing I've noticed is the clasp/button is in the way for me because I carry more centerline. Good luck and looking forward to seeing your design.

  3. #3
    Deadeye Dick Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    Jun 2013
    @Mack, this is great news. I think there is a decent market for good pants. Here are a few thoughts.

    The best designed pants I have tried are Helicon-Tex UTP. These look too tactical, and are a bit saggy in the ass. But they fit great and have every feature I need:
    • Medium-to-heavy stretch fabric
    • Stretch waist
    • Belt loops in the right place (out of the way of AIWB loops)
    • Open rear pockets (no flaps) that are off to the side enough for flashlight carry.
    • Jeans style front pockets
    • iPhone pocket
    • Cargo pockets
    • Built-in AIWB mag pouches that also fit a fixed blade sheath

    My favorite CCW pants overall are 5.11 Apex. They do pretty much everything the Helikon pants do, don't look too tactical, and my wife says they look good on me. However, the cloth is a bit too thin for year round wear.

    Eddy Bauer Guide Pro pants are quite good as well. But again, the cloth is too thin.
    "You can never have too many knives." --Joe Ambercrombie
    "You don’t really graduate from certain problems or certain things… like you always have to work on trigger control and pulling the trigger straight. " --Ben Stoeger 1/24/2018

  4. #4
    A stretch waist. Some of us can change waist sizes with a couple of servings of ice cream.

    Front pockets deep enough and strong enough for a J-Frame or Glock 26 BUG.

    Narrow belt loops and maybe some scattered around that could be skipped for holster loop placement.

  5. #5
    Site Supporter
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    Feb 2011
    Eschewing cargo pockets would allow use by people who have to, or prefer to, dress up from that extremely casual look.

    Most places where people live in the US get really hot in the summer, and many are very humid. Where it's very cold in winter, most people are not spending much of that time outdoors. So, selecting a fabric that is somewhat lightweight and breathable would make more sense to me than a heavy, hot fabric. So many pants have stretch built in these days that I think it would be a step backward not to include that too.

    Belt loops that aren't huge would be nice; some manufacturers in this market seem proud of their 2" or larger belt loops. Who is threading a police duty belt through their pants? I think a correct fit of belt to belt loops (1.5" is by far the most common as you well know) creates a more stable platform. The cheap Amazon pants I use as range pants have snug belt loops, and it makes a difference.

  6. #6

    A slightly gusseted crotch, not like Duluth, something much smaller and much less noticeable but something that give a hair more room. I think my largest complaint over all is when wearing normal fitted adult clothing especially jeans that have some stretch when filling the front of the pants with gun, knife, spare mag you lose some of the space in the butt and crotch and it decreases comfort and airflow. Maybe the same thing could be accomplished with giving 1/2" shorter inseam or a slightly higher rise. I don't know. I just hate feeling like my pants are getting sucked into my 4th POC and my berries stuffed back inside my abdomen when I sit or squat. I hate saggy pants though.

    Additionally I would also love some venting in the front pockets, small but efficient in terms of venting. I tried some pants I think by Vertx not sure. But they had mesh in the pockets albeit too much. Pockets felt flimsy and unsupportive. I felt like it was a good idea only poorly executed. Another issue that seems to stem from MFG's trying to save on material usage is not having enough jean material on the front pocket that matches the outside of the pants. So you see the lighter blue material often and the pants look unfinished/cheap. I also wouldn't mind having slightly reinforced pocket bottoms and sides just along the seams, (in my head I am thinking of a strip of material folded in a V run the out length of the seam). That way if you have a pocket blow out it is easy to either repair yourself or take it to a competent seamstress and have it repaired.

    Option between straight or tapered legs would be awesome. Nothing weird or extravagant style wise so they can be worn with anything. Count me out on cargo pockets but maybe a SKU with and one without if not a pair of jeans. I'm not a fan of crazy pockets or things that look tactical in any way shape or form. Nothing that is even a giveaway to another, "gun guy/gal."

    Lastly you guys should talk to Craig and Ed Calderon. I think those two perspectives and input would be pure Gold. Craig has a serious sense of style and I believe of everyone I've ever met knows the ins an outs of wearing nice things while maintaining functionality the best. Ed on the other hand has been modifying things for carry in his daily life for a long time. Though his purposes are different for the most part in terms of what is carried just his insight and thought process alone with evaluation would be huge. I do hope you contact them both their insight would be worth paying for. Shit I would put money up for it and I mean that. Regardless I seriously look forward to supporting you all. I have a ton of your stuff and have to say is some of the best that I own hands down. Thank you for taking the time to gather peoples thoughts and input here.

  7. #7
    The pockets are a big deal. I'm not a cargo pockets guy. The best pockets are those hidden hip pockets designed for phones for these reasons:

    • no sitting on phone/wallet (hello, back issues)
    • phone/wallet doesn't slide out of the pocket when seated
    • frees up room for something else in the front pocket
    • fits AR mags
    • secure for running without being unnecessarily deep
    • don't get as sweaty as front or rear pockets

    Other considerations:
    Reinforced pocket lips are great for pockets knives and flashlights.
    I agree with the gusseted crotch being awesome and the metal-stemmed buttons not being AIWB friendly.
    Semi-stretch fabric allows you to stretch out tight areas like folks with big butts/thighs and skinny waists or vice versa.
    A stretch waist band is tricky. Many of mine eventually lose its stretch and become ill-fitting. I've had better luck with rigid waist bands and buying the correct size.
    High rise waist bands are for women. Mid or low for men (preferably low).
    A zipper that's too short is completely useless.
    Slight pant leg taper is good.
    No tactical yoga pants unless the models are tasteful.

  8. #8

    Opinions on Designing Concealed Carry Pants

    Quote Originally Posted by Clusterfrack View Post
    [*]Built-in AIWB mag pouches that also fit a fixed blade sheath
    Definitely second this. Long ago I messaged Duluth Trading to add the “pocket inside a pocket” fo their Firehose line to both sides. It’s nigh perfect for a double stack mag and tall enough to retain single stacks too. It’s perfect, just in the exact wrong pocket unless you’re wrong handed.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  9. #9
    Tactical Nobody Guerrero's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2017
    The MKE
    I'd like to echo the "no cargo pockets" thing, but some kind of "auxiliary" pocket on the thigh would be nice, big enough for pepper spray (or maybe an extra pistol mag). Carrying pepper spray in a front pocket is a pain in the ass (back pocket, too).

    Gusseted crotch
    Maybe articulated knees
    A little more room in the thighs and butt without making the waist bigger
    A little stretch to the fabric.
    Sturdy belt loops, but not crazy wide or too many
    “Bad decisions are not made through a lack of skill or innate judgement: they are made because of an inability to handle pressure at the pivotal moment.”
    -James Kerr, from his book Legacy

  10. #10
    Site Supporter
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    Feb 2011
    IMHO, the now discontinued 5.11 defender flex slim/straight pant is a good starting point. "New" models called the Defender Flex Range and Urban pants are just being introduced (Range pant is approx. 95% cotton, 5% poly stretchy material. Urban is 68% poly 32 cotton). They seem to be angling toward a slimmer fit.

    1. Both slim and straight tapers
    2. Stretch in fabric
    3. Will take a crease and/or elimination of wrinkles by ironing
    4. "Hidden" phone/mag/etc. pockets behind hip points free up the pockets in more std. locations
    5. 5+ belt loops with optimized placement for AIWB/IWB
    6. YKK zips
    7. Teflon anti stain coating
    8. NOT Made in the PRC.

    Your biggest challenge may be how to maintain quality relative to your other products when you will likely have to go off shore to get these sewn up to be able to hit a price point that folks will take. I suspect for many that number is sub 100.00 shipped.

    I base that on wearing and shopping for Royal Robbins back in the day, 5.11, LAPG stuff, Eddie Bauer/First Ascent, Prana, Kuhl, Wrangler and no name Costco stuff in the tactical/scouting/camping/hiking/urban casual space and those brands plus Bluffworks and Mizzen Main in the the Business Casual and Travel Wear spaces. I acknowledge that there may be some overlap in said spaces. Indeed, I am sitting at work in a pair of Bluffworks Khakis as we speak. It will be 100+ today in KC.

    I will say that LAPG seems to be hitting the intersection of quality/performance/value quite well. They do that by having their pants made in the PRC.
    I am not your attorney. I am not giving legal advice. Any and all opinions expressed are personal and my own and are not those of any employer-past, present or future.

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