A few years back at SHOT Show 2018, one of the reps at the 5.11 Tactical booth tossed me a pair of their then new 5.11 jeans. Properly called the 5.11 Defender Flex jeans, I still have that original pair 4+ years later.
How my 5.11 Jeans have Been Used
Honestly, I just use them like regular jeans. But because they look nice and aren’t at all tactical in appearance, I’ve worn this pair for everything from plainclothes security details all the way up to job interviews. Also, full disclosure, I like the 5.11 Defender flex jeans so much that I’ve bought three more pairs with my own money since getting the free pair.
In fact, I might have an irrational emotional attachment to my 5.11 Defender jeans, because I was wearing a pair when I went over the handlebars of my Vespa in Miami at 35 mph. I had a fractured shoulder and road rash down my arm. However, my legs were fine, despite skidding down the Miami asphalt for 5 meters. The jeans didn’t make it, but I feel like that’s a pretty noble sacrifice.
5.11 Defender Flex Jeans Features
Here’s the part of the review where I tell you all the features of the 5.11 jeans. First: they’re jeans. So they cover your lower body from waist to ankle. They’re soft, which is also nice. They’re available in a slim fit for a more urban appearance. Or, you can have a Defender flex straight leg which fits over combat or cowboy boots nicely. Also, the fitted waistband is really comfortable, while allowing room for a concealed firearm inside the waistband. That’s thanks to the mechanical stretch allowed by the blended fabric construction. All styles, whether fitted or straight leg jeans featured double-needled construction. I don’t know what that means, but I read it on the website and it sounds cool, right?
Oh, also the straight leg jeans? They’re wide enough, at least on me, to conceal a J-frame in a Galco Ankle Glove. That’s pretty much the perfect ankle gun rig as far as I’m concerned.
They have a bunch of colors available, but just stick with the darker ones because dark jeans will always be in style for dudes. However, the best features of the Defender Flex jeans are the pockets. Oh the pockets. You’ve got your traditional front pockets, normal back pockets, and a coin pocket. But wait there’s more! 5.11 calls them “yoke pockets.” There are two extra pockets that are forward and higher than the back pockets, but still behind the hip line. These pockets JUST SO HAPPEN as if by accident to perfectly fit a 30 round AR mag. Or an iPhone 12 Max. I usually use them to clip my knife on one side, and my NeoMag RASC on the other side.
5.11 Jeans aren’t the Only Part of the Defender Lineup
The jeans were so popular that 5.11 expanded their entire Defender Flex lineup to include an Urban Pant and a Range Pant. The Urban pant, of which I own a pair, is good if you work in an office where jeans aren’t appropriate. I wouldn’t know what’s that like, I’m writing this review in board shorts. However, if you do have to dress like a grownup, the Urban’s a good choice.
The Range pant is also nice. It’s designed with little more of a rougher look than the urban pant, so maybe not office appropriate. But if you work outdoors and need to protect your legs, it’s a solid choice. Like all parts of the Defender lineup, it’s reinforced in the traditional high stress areas to provide long term durability.
After 4+ years of regular wear, washing, and range sessions, my original pair of 5.11 jeans are starting to…have the stitching come out on the pocket lining. The highest praise I can give a product is buying it with my own money, which is why I’ve spent over $200 on more pairs of these pants. Do they cost more than some cheapo jeans from Wal-Mart? Yeah. Are they also better in every way and going to last longer? Also yes.