May 15, 2021

Spotter Up

In Depth Tactical Solutions

Best Guide for Getting Jeans to Use with a Concealed Carry

18 min read

A good reliable pair of jeans can serve you well for a long period of time.  5.11, Condor, Helikon-Tex and Dynamis Alliance are just a few to come out with multi-purpose jeans. When your best-pair of jeans wears out a replacement might be difficult, especially when you were using it for concealed carry, because jean styles change so much. Don’t worry because the market is catching up with shooter’s needs. There are a lot of jeans brands out there to choose from today, and they are using various materials that benefit active people. Our first recommendation is to go with brands that you know and already use; so stay with tried and true if possible. If you are looking to try something new I’ve created this short guide for selecting jeans. Also, check out the product reviews below and watch our in-depth videos.

LAPG Jeans Review

Viktos Operatus Jeans Review

5.11 Jeans Review

Pentagon Jeans Review

5.11 Tactical Men’s Defender-Flex Straight Fit Jean

Aurora Project

AdaptivX V2X Rendition Jeans

Before you get started on your jeans quest be sure you know what kind of weapon you will carry and what your method of carry is. Accessibility is an important factor when choosing a holster. If you are going to carry a large, heavy weapon with a long barrel/extended magazine it might be prudent to purchase a pair of high-rise jeans instead of low-rise. If you intend to do ankle carry it is recommended choosing boot-cut jeans, whereby you have more room at the ankles, over using straight-leg jeans.

Are you going to use a large Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe holster mounted near your backside or will you instead choose a smaller Blackhawk Inside-the-pants holster w/clip designed for deep-concealment on your front side? A holster that fits closely to the body minimizes the chance of printing through clothing, and the weapon must stay secure until you pull it from its holster. If you are going to carry an Inside the Waistband (IWB) holster instead of an Outside the Waistband (OWB) holster it would be wise to avoid buying tight, skinny jeans. Are you going to carry more than one magazine with your firearm?

Try to go with practical first before fashionable. Purchase something that is comfortable and functional.

I’m not going to list all the different kinds of fiber mixtures used in constructing jeans, brands to avoid or purchase, or prices to pay. “Tactical” jeans range from $39.00 for LAPoliceGear and up to $150.00 for Dynamis Alliance or similar brands. When it comes to jeans, stay with a minimal design that allows good movement, and has few or no showy details. Jeans shouldn’t scream out ‘tactical’. Look for good, heavy stitching and simple construction that make the jeans wearable. Quality jeans are made from a stronger, heavier weight of denim while lightweight denim may equate to a lower quality and the jeans can easily split open simply by washing them a few times and wearing them. Heavier denim jeans may feel a bit stiff at first, but they’ll eventually soften after dozens of washes.

Note: denim is a sturdy cotton warp-faced textile in which the weft passes under two or more warp threads. This twill weaving produces a diagonal ribbing that distinguishes it from cotton duck. The most common denim is indigo denim, in which the warp thread is dyed, while the weft thread is left white. They call this Indigo Blue, the color you might commonly see on sales racks.

It is recommended that you bring your holster with you when trying out jeans. Can you squat down comfortably? Can you raise your leg straight out as if to give a front kick? Good. If you can’t sit comfortably in a chair all day during a plane flight or in a restaurant for a meal then think again, and size it properly. The image of Chuck Norris in this article was for a pair of jeans that used a gusset. A gusset is diamond-shaped extra material placed in the region of the crotch; needed for roominess to eliminate saddle pinch. Notice Chuck’s action kick!

Today many manufacturers are using Lycra or Spandex to give jeans stretching ability, so there won’t always be a need for a gusset. If you are not buying 100% denim jeans make sure you are not purchasing jeans that have too much elastic material or it won’t be as durable as 100% denim. Try keeping it around 97% Denim-cotton/ and no more than 3% Spandex.  Go for more if Spandex, Elastane or Lycra if you like more flexibility, just keep the concept of durability and flexibility in mind. I have had two pairs of Levi’s Denizen jeans rip the entire length on the backside. Also, denim fades differently than a lot of the off-market brands that also uses elastic materials. Cheap jeans fade quickly after just a few washes, and they can also stain your skin or sofa the color blue!

Some of the features to consider when purchasing jeans. Look for slightly oversized thighs for increased mobility, enough external pockets or slash pockets for quick-access EDC, a gusset to eliminate saddle pinch and lots of added belt loops to assist holding up your pants. It is important to find jeans that feel comfortable and can hold up with prolonged use in a magnitude of different climates. If possible seek out jeans with all heavy-wear seams that are double-stitched, and bar tacks or brass rivets at critical stress points.

Waist and Rise

Waistband

You should be able to stretch at the waist especially when you need to react quickly and with increased motion. Waistbands shouldn’t be so tight that they don’t leave enough room to insert a holster and pistol. Because your stomach expands or shrinks throughout the day adequate room allows your holster to fit comfortably even if you overeat. It’s important to get yourself measured and to not have a struggle when sliding jeans on. If you cannot button the jeans easily it is time to go up to the next size.  If you cannot easily slide your finger in-between your waist and the jeans itself with your holster inserted then it is time to go up a size or two. Most of the shooters I know purchase jeans a few sizes larger than their normal size. For example, I am a 32″ waist but I purchase 34″ waist so I can do appendix carry; a few of my buddies follow suit.

Normally, jeans should fit perfectly around your waist with no need for a belt to hold them up. A belt is needed to keep the holster and gun in place and prevents your jeans from sagging. Look for jeans with enough belt hoops for added strength, and reduced sagging around the waist. Look for up to 8+ belt loops that are 0.5-inch wide and fit up to 1.75-inch belts. If you are between sizes then go for the larger size, and use a good belt. Another option is to try a brand with a wider selection of jeans.

Rise

The rise is the distance from the middle of the crotch seam (right between your legs) to the top of the waistband. It usually ranges from 7 inches to 12 inches. Jean rise is important because it determines where your pants sit on your body, which in turn creates your perceived waistline. The rise length affects the fit around your crotch and importantly the rise determines how your holster will fit inside your jeans. You do not want a billowy fit at the crotch or sagging; do choose jeans for a comfortable fit. Notice where the navel is located in the image below? Accessibility and security is key. A rise that is too high can cause pinching or irritation on your trunk, a rise that is too low doesn’t seat a holster properly. The key take-away is to have a rise with enough structure to hold your holster. If the rise is too stretchy around the waist the jeans will be too soft and won’t secure tightly; the only thing really holding your firearm & holster secure is your belt. Be sure that both will support your holster & firearm.

Some jeans come with a gusset. A gusset is a diamond shaped piece of denim sewn into the crotch area of some brand of jeans. The gusset eliminates 4 seams coming together in one spot and creates freedom of movement and a more comfortable wearing experience. The actor Chuck Norris used to market a karate jean brand with a gusset whereby the jean user had greater mobility.

Length

Different men have different preferences when they purchase certain length pants. It’s up to you what you prefer. Leg sizes go by your inner leg, from your crotch to your ankle and then they are determined by small (S), regular (R) and long (L). I prefer more room in the thighs and the length. I often wear boots with jeans and I also like to run in my jeans. Some jeans come with articulating knee construction.

Pockets

Look for jeans whereby you can carry essential equipment in an organized discrete fashion without losing your tactical advantage. Ensure your pockets are wide enough and deep enough to carry your EDC, and magazines (even Rifle mags) without bulging or too loose where you might possibly lose something when being active (running from danger, to danger, kneeling et al.) Are you able to access your pockets to reach your cell phone or pocket knife? Watch Spotterup writer Ben Johnson’s video in this article. He discusses wearing jeans while using important accessories.

Loops

Ensure they are well stitched because it’s likely you’ll have your holster hoops affixed to your belt; the added weight can cause sagging or wearing down of the fabric over time.

Style

Skinny Jeans

Skinny jeans are best for those who are tall and have slim builds. Stretchy denim or other material is best for skinny jeans if you intend to use an IWB holster.

Slim leg 

Slim legs jeans styles are often mistaken for skinny jeans but are not as form fitting around the calf and thighs. For guys like me with big thighs the slim leg is a better choice than the skinny jeans.

Straight leg

Straight leg jeans are perfect for nearly all body shapes and will be a preferable style for many. Straight legs do do not have any tapering to the jean itself allowing for a solid shape throughout the jeans.  They are looser at the knee.

Wide Leg and Boot Cut

Boot cut jeans taper at the ankle and can be paired easily with boots. Boot cut is excellent for ankle-holster concealed carry.

Wide leg jeans do not have a real shape to them, although they do widen at the thigh. They have plenty of room and comfort for the day.

 

LAPG Terrain Flex Jeans  (fully reviewed)

Purchase


The Terrain Flex Jeans from LA Police Gear are the result of years of development, samples, blood, samples, sweat, tears, and more samples. We strove to bring a truly high-end jean that doesn’t compromise on fit, quality, features, and price. This tactical jean has all the features you’d expect – an amazing stretch fabric (that doesn’t look like it), rear hip pockets, a hidden handcuff key pocket, hidden knife clip reinforcements, and high-quality zippers, buttons, and stitching.

The Terrain Flex Straight Fit Jeans are the perfect balance between a modern and classic jean. The medium wash has just the right amount of distressing to make these jeans perfect for casual or more dressy settings. For the fabric, we added in just 2% of spandex to give it that flexibility you need without sacrificing any looks. The Terrain Flex Straight Fit Jeans in Dark Wash have an amazingly stretchy fabric that looks clean, performs well, and can be dressed up or down. We were very careful to add just the right amount of stretch so they don’t look like traditional stretchy denim. The straight fit is the perfect balance of a flattering rise and fit through the waist and thighs, with a straight leg all the way down past the knee. Our jeans have a roomy waist thanks to the stretch fabric, making them a great choice for concealed carry.

9 Pocket Configuration:

  • 2 front pockets with internal hidden clip reinforcement
  • 2 front “watch” pockets modified to fit pistol mags
  • 2 traditional rear patch pockets
  • 2 rear hip pockets sized for rifle mags or smart phones
  • 1 hidden handcuff key pocket (in rear center belt loop)

Features:

  • Medium Wash – Perfect for casual or dressy settings
  • Dark Wash – Clean, professional look
  • Straight Fit – Classic fit in waist and thighs, straight leg past the knee
  • Medium Wash, Vintage Wash, Charcoal, & Black fabric composition is 13 oz. stretch denim (98% Cotton, 2% Spandex)
  • Dark Wash fabric composition is 13 oz. stretch denim (73% Cotton, 25% Polyester, & 2% Spandex)
  • Prewashed to minimize shrinking and for natural feel and appearance
  • Classic button waist with brass locking YKK zipper
  • Reinforced, boot-friendly double heel fabric
  • High end stitching with bar tacks in key areas
  • 9 pocket design (see above for details)

From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, jeans have been the unofficial pant of SOF units for decades. Our premier tactical jean, the Gunfighter, takes this popular benchmark and notches it up for the ultimate denim force multiplier. The Gunfighter mens jeans are constructed for best fit and comfort with a Cordura® stretch denim/nylon blend and feature an exclusive flex Cordura® crotch, offering uncompromised mobility & durability. With black arms specific equipment pocketing and padded waistband, they’re the perfect pant for your daily gunfight.

–    Attackposture fit
–    Cordura® stretch denim chassis
–    Vented stretch Cordura® crotch gusset
–    Padded waistband for comfort from heavy warbelts
–    Oversized belt loops fit tactical belts
–    YKK® brand front zipper for durability
–    Magazine hip pockets
–    Pistol magazine coin pocket
–    Hidden waistband stash pocket
–    Velcro® morale patch compatible
–    U.S. veteran designed & developed
–    1 year workmanship & materials warranty

VIKTOS Gunfighter Jeans

Purchase

From the jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Afghanistan, jeans have been the unofficial pant of SOF units for decades. Our premier tactical jean, the Gunfighter, takes this popular benchmark and notches it up for the ultimate denim force multiplier. The Gunfighter mens jeans are constructed for best fit and comfort with a Cordura® stretch denim/nylon blend and feature an exclusive flex Cordura® crotch, offering uncompromised mobility & durability. With black arms specific equipment pocketing and padded waistband, they’re the perfect pant for your daily gunfight.

–    Attackposture fit
–    Cordura® stretch denim chassis
–    Vented stretch Cordura® crotch gusset
–    Padded waistband for comfort from heavy warbelts
–    Oversized belt loops fit tactical belts
–    YKK® brand front zipper for durability
–    Magazine hip pockets
–    Pistol magazine coin pocket
–    Hidden waistband stash pocket
–    Velcro® morale patch compatible
–    U.S. veteran designed & developed
–    1 year workmanship & materials warranty

PENTAGON ROGUE (fully reviewed)

Purchase

Crafted from hardwearing and highly breathable Cotton fabric with stonewashed denim finish, the new Rogue Jeans Pants from Pentagon feature self-locking YKK fly zip with button, multiple storage pockets, dedicated magazine pockets, diamond crotch for added freedom of movement, and triple stitching at stress points for extra durability. Thanks to its classic casual fitting jeans cut design and contemporary look; the Rogue Jeans Pants are perfect for everyday wear as well as for highly demanding outdoor activities such as hiking, hunting or paintball.

  • Classic casual fitting jeans cut with tactical design
  • Self-locking YKK fly zip with button
  • Two regular front hand pockets with reinforced fillets and inner sleeve pockets
  • Two classic rear pockets
  • Two concealed magazine pockets above the rear pockets
  • Small front tool sleeve pocket on right leg
  • Diamond crotch for added comfort and freedom of movement
  • Six belt loops with front loops reinforced
  • Triple stitching on stress points
  • Genuine YKK zipper
  • Hardwearing stone washed denim fabric for contemporary look and feel
  • Material: 100% Cotton
  • Manufacturer: Pentagon
  • Manufacturer’s number: K05028-40

DYNAMIS ALLIANCE (fully reviewed)

Purchase

  • Modern Taper
  • 5″ inseam for custom fit
  • Premium Candiani Italian Stretch Denim
  • Dnamic Stretch
  • Signature Slash Pockets
  • Rivet-Less Construction
  • Knight Gre 4 Wa Stretch Inner Waistband
  • 9 pocket design
  • Sewn in – USA AMERICAN MADE flag
  • Black Thread

We do not think much more needs to be said, but if you want to know more details here is what we did.  We took a premium Italian Stretch Denim and through a detailed wash process created a deep knight black color that is extremely well balanced.  We also treated this denim to give it an extremely high quality feel. We removed all rivets and replaced them with strategically placed bar tacks to increase overall function and durability. This is the first pair of pants we have released with our American Made Flag placed into them and we are proud to say that we have fought through some battles of our own and this flag represents the resiliency it takes to hold true to what you believe in.  Honoring why we have the freedom to even be given an opportunity to run an American made company will never be lost on us. Tier-1 Designed and Developed. Made in the USA

Särmä TST Tactical Jeans

Purchase

Tactical Jeans – when you don’t want to use cargo pants or camo stuff for covert work, but find ordinary jeans cumbersome and lacking in features. Mobile and stretchy, these would probably be good enough for Chuck Norris (if he didn’t already have his own karate jeans).

  • Elastic material and crotch gusset
  • Hidden pockets with easy access for smartphones etc.
  • High durability
  • 94/4/2 % cotton/polyester/elastane, 403 g/m2 or 12 oz/yd2.

What’s unique about these is the fact that they look unassuming, but there’s more than meets the eye. The cut and material offer mobility unmatched by any casual pants, and extra pockets are hidden in plain sight to keep things available for grabs. The special features are so sleek that if you don’t use them, you won’t notice them either.

Made in EU (Estonia) by Masi company.

Many people prefer Tactical Jeans with a smaller waist size compared to ordinary pants. Part of this is because of the stretchy material but also because of the roomy cut: as with Särmä Common Jeans, the waistbands of these jeans are two inches larger than the nominal waist size to let it ride lower than the navel.

Tactical Jeans of a smaller-than-usual size will not be glam rock tight so if you want a closer fit, give the sizing a moment of thought.

Below is a table of garment measurements:

The starting point was jeans as regular as possible, namely the Särmä Common Jeans. We added a crotch gusset to allow ninja moves, which are also easier thanks to a 2-Way Stretch material and elastane mixed into the fabric.

The fit is best described as “plain” or “regular”, although it differs slightly from Common Jeans. We didn’t incorporate any bagginess for pocket space, because the material stretch handles it. The belt loops are big enough for a 50 mm / 2″ belt but work fine with regular 40 mm / 1.6″ belts as well. Button fly.

  • Mid rise waist
  • Stretchy, non-restricting material
  • 50 mm / 2″ belt loops
  • Button fly
  • Crotch gusset
  • Ten useful pockets:
    • Two ordinary side pockets
    • Two (pistol mag size) smaller pockets inside each side pocket
    • Two ordinary back pockets
    • Two (assault rifle mag size) hidden back pockets

In addition to the usual front and rear pockets, the front pockets have two flat “coin pockets” per side. Even the smaller ones are big enough for a pistol magazine, folding knife or multi-tool.

In the rear, you’ll find two slash pockets behind the side seams. A yoke conceals the mouth, so it’s “not there”. The pockets are large enough for a smartphone or tourniquet, but by coincidence also fit something you can use to feed an Evil Black Gun.

In our trials, we have used the Tactical Jeans for all kinds of rough business, and even after wearing and washing they retain a good look. Natural fibers don’t melt or light up that easily, so the primary material is 94% cotton. A 4% polyester content improves durability and 2% of elastane.

Fabric weight: 403 g/m2 or 12 oz/yd2.

Machine wash at 40° Celsius / 104° F. The color bleeds so handle the whites and coloreds separately. May crock before the first wash, so don’t sit on your grandma’s white leather couch before that.

The colors are black and blue. When stretched, the fabric reveals light-grey fibers within the fabric, giving a lighter appearance. Especially the black ones may appear dark grey from a distance.

Särmä TST is Varusteleka’s in-house brand of clothing and gear designed for military and law enforcement end-users. Our clothing and equipment are made in co-operation with a number of experienced manufacturers with a strong background in producing clothing and gear for military and law enforcement officials, most notably for the Finnish Defence Forces. For further reading check out the Särmä TST corner of our website.

Särmä TST products are covered by a 12-month warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. For further information please read our detailed warranty guide.

HELIKON TEX

Purchase

  • 80% Cotton/19% Polyester/1% Spandex
  • Imported
  • Unique US and EU patented design – A well-known, Helikon-Tex best seller
  • Thanks to its 2-way elastic fabric, you get a comfortable, slim look with an increased range of motion without unnecessary stress on its seams. Its stretchable waist gives you up to 2 additional inches for improved comfort
  • Its lightweight and breathable materials provide an increased comfort during prolonged use in a magnitude of different climates
  • The casual, low profile design combined with the jeans look gives the versatility and capabilities to fulfill the needs of professional users while in an urban setting
  • It has a perfect, patented pocket arrangement for carrying all your essential equipment in an organized discrete fashion without losing your tactical advantage.

5.11 DEFENDER JEANS (fully reviewed)

Purchase

 5.11® brings you the comfort and styling of your favorite everyday pant with tactical functionality and stretch built right in. The Defender-Flex pant has been developed for 5.11 end users who are looking for low-vis tactical without sacrificing performance at the firing range or comfort for everyday wear. Crafted with a Cavalry Twill cotton/polyester blend, with just enough elastane for stretch, these pants are made to keep their shape with style. The five-pocket styling and soft fade finish look sharp, and the back mag pockets mean you’ll always be ready.

  • Comfortable, slim, and tactical pant
  • Five pocket styling plus two rear hip pockets
  • Soft fade finish and enzyme washed fabric
  • Fitted waistbandSPECIFICATIONS
  • Button top fly with locking YKK® zipper
  • 8.8 oz. stretch Cavalry twill (66% cotton / 31% poly / 3% elastane)
  • Dual back patch pockets
  • GSA/TAA compliant

VIKTOS Operatus Jeans (fully reviewed)

Purchase

Lo-vis enough to be your best daily jean, tactical enough to carry a full EDC load-out. Stretch denim chassis with a gusseted crotch and slightly oversized thighs designed with a fit to move with the operator through the myriad of combat postures and evolutions with comfort. The dual-pull zipper ensures you can conduct men’s drainage operations without having to de-militarize your waistline. The Operatus™ XP Denim Jean includes four external slash pockets allowing for instant access to your equipment: Two external leg slash pockets provide pistol magazine access and concealment, while front exterior slash pockets provide adequate depth for access to standard capacity AR style magazines for range days or if SHTF. Blades and flashlights also tuck away nicely for your EDC needs.

– Attackposture™ fit
– 12oz Stretch denim chassis
– Slightly oversized thighs for increased mobility
– Four external slash pockets for quick-access EDC
– Crotch gusset to eliminate saddle pinch
– Seven belt loops
– Double zip front fly for access with a gun belt
– U.S. veteran designed & developed
– 1-year workmanship & materials warranty

 VERTX DEFIANCE

Purchase

For decades, jeans have been the go-to pant whenever comfort, durability and an unassuming presence were desired. They transcend generations, occupations and get more comfortable every time you put them on. Our Defiance Jeans add superior utility to the Prepared Professional’s™ closet with 11 pockets that allow you to keep everyday carry items close at hand and they are ideally suited to teaming up with work or gear belts and any type of shirt or outerwear. They are the closest you can get to wearing a multi-tool. With just enough stretch to keep up with your activities and a healthy dose of Coolmax® to help regulate your body temperature in all environments, they’ll be in your regular rotation from day one.

Features:

  • 11 pockets keep essential items handy and organized
  • Deep front pockets are made of soft highly-breathable mesh
  • Watch pocket in right front pocket
  • Front pockets have a pass-through slot for comms lead or a RATS tourniquet
  • Dual angled rear yoke pockets fit standard smart phones and rifle mags
  • Wallet traps in both rear pockets keep wallet or passport secure
  • 4 mini stash pockets let you pre-load key items from 1.75 to 2 inches long
  • Keyring and lanyard anchor point in both front pockets
  • Concealed DropLoop pass-through in each belt loop for flexible restraints or reinforced tether points for lanyards or gear

Construction:

  • Relaxed fit is comfortable and allows free movement
  • Articulated knees enable dynamic mobility and prevent cuff creep when sitting
  • Full gusseted crotch allows greater range of motion
  • Brass YKK® locking zipper
  • 8 belt loops are 0.5-inch wide and fit up to 1.75-inch belts
  • Boot-friendly cuffs
  • All heavy-wear seams are double-stitched
  • Bar tacks or brass rivets at critical stress points

Fabric and Technology:

  • Stretch 10.5-ounce 71% cotton/4% polyester/7% Modal/17% Coolmax®/1% Lycra®
  • Pre-washed for comfortable feel and natural appearance
  • COOLMAX: Stay cool, dry and comfortable in hot weather or while being active. Never washes out.

CONDOR JEANS

Purchase

Engineered for the urban operator in mind, the Condor Cipher pants blends modern aesthetic with technical performance. Constructed with lightweight quick-drying stretch fabric to ensure 24/7 comfort, micro mesh pocket liner to boost breathability, and a gusseted crotch for enhanced maneuverability. The Condor Cipher  balances performance and comfort for the challenges ahead.

  • Specifications
  • Elastic waist band for IWB holster
  • Two gadget pockets for phone or mag
  • Two back pockets
  • Zipper pocket on the right
  • Articulated knee construction
  • Imported
  • Size        W:30″-40″
  • L:30,32,34
  • *Slim Fit*
  • Color     Black, Charcoal
  • Notifications      Materials: 97% Nylon/ 3% Spandex

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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