Thanks to mastermind, Dan Costa, 5.11 has become a brand worn by governmental agencies, private security companies, etc. all over the world and for good reason. They make excellent gear that can stand up to harsh conditions, hence why they make the perfect choice for Airsoft loadou...listen. I'm going to be honest. I've been sitting here for waaaaaayy longer than I care to admit, trying to think of a super-cool way to say how awesome 5.11 is. The problem is that I've had a long day, and quite frankly, I really don't think you care how well the blog is written. I think you're more interested in seeing what the products look like. So here they are, in all their glory:
I'll let you in on a little secret. I already own a set and wear them not only whilst I put fools on blast at my local Airsoft venues, but I have also been known to wear just the shirt (sans pants of any kind on occasion), while I write blogs about Airsoft stuff. The other night, I got home from work, changed out of my suit & tie, and subsequently into my 5.11 Rapid Assault Shirt & Multicam TDU Ripstop pants. Then I proceeded to join my family at the dinner table for a nice meal. I can tell you right now that EVERYONE at the table was green with envy of all my multicammery. No one else at the table plays Airsoft or has any real interest in tactical apparel, but it did not matter.
The appeal of these TDUs from 5.11 know no boundaries.
The shirt is extremely comfortable to wear and just look at how well it blends in with my carpet!!!
The "poly-cotton" blend or whatever the body material is made from (55% cotton/37% polyester/8% spandex knit, as a matter of fact. Bee-yi-yotch!) is very lightweight and breathable, which, of course, was the intention of the designers. If you live in a climate similar to mine, you'll appreciate this feature when you factor in the weight and heat produced from wearing a load-bearing vest during game-play.
The sleeves are made from 5.11's famous TDU polyester "Ripstop" material, which I've already covered in past blog entries, so I won't mention how well it held up against some rusty old barbed wire that I tripped on one day while playing Airsoft and wearing a pair of 5.11 ripstop pants and how the pants only sustained a tiny rip about the size of three or four BBs while the flesh of my lower leg was ripped to shreds of all hell and I then had to get a Tetanus shot because of the whole ordeal. So I guess the Ripstop material isn't perfect, because otherwise if it was, the fabric would be magical and have saved me the trouble of having to get a $140 Tetanus shot, which sucked something awful. I know I just said that I wouldn't mention that particular incident, but I suppose that was somewhat inaccurate, considering I pretty much retold the whole story again in one long, run-on sentence.
One extra touch that was rather sweet of 5.11 to do for us, was to add pouches on the sleeves WITH velcro, suitable for sticking our favorite morale patches to, in an act of vanity and hope that wearing such patches will make us look "tight," "hip" and/or "cool" to other Airsoft players. One time I put my cell phone in my sleeve pouch instead of in my right-front pocket, where it usually resides. I definitely felt like I was getting good use of the pouches at that time.
While I do realize, there's at least one of you out there that is saying, "well, gosh gee golly whiz, what's so different about the 5.11 Rapid Assault Shirt that hasn't been done already by other companies who pretty much offer the same style of shirt?" Well....I'll tell you. Number one, when compared to what I would consider the benchmark for battle shirts, the Crye Precision Combat Shirt, you'll notice a substantial difference in the price tag. 5.11 offers their shirt and pants for around half the price of the Crye shirt, without having to sacrifice any sort of quality. Keep in mind, that while we Airsoft ~"operators"~ (and I use that term very loosely) delight at the opportunity to sport this so-called "Gucci gear," it was designed for law enforcement and military applications, and if I know 5.11 like I do (and I do), they're not going stake their multi-million dollar reputation on a product that will put their customers in harms way. So rest assured, that while one might think that just because the 5.11 shirt is substantially cheaper in price, does NOT mean that it suffers in quality. While I realize I've been focusing primarily on the Rapid Assault Multicam Shirt, lest we not forget about the 5.11 Multicam TDU Ripstop Pants that complete this winning outfit. All the same features that make the Ripstop TDUs so great (extremely durable), but this time in the ultra-effective and everso good-looking Multicam pattern.
Other features that this tactically hot outfit boasts include extra ripstop fabric for enhanced elbow protection.
Zipper for zipping and unzipping your chest hair.
Mesh fabric for venting out the stank produced from your armpits. This is a shot of the left side of the Rapid Assault Shirt. You can see the stitch line where the two different fabric types are sewn together.
Here's a close-up of the mesh.
That's breathability, right there, my friends.
Here's a shot of the back of the shirt, where you can see there's some more mesh up around the back of the neckline, plus, you can see a bit of the mesh areas on each side of the shirt. The brilliant minds over at 5.11 definitely put some thought into this one.
Multicam tag...so you know it's good.
Let's switch gears now and share some of the spotlight with the 5.11 TDU Ripstop Pants, also in Multicam (don't mix and match your patterns, you will look like an idiot).
The pants have pretty decent size cargo pockets on each leg, and within those cargo pockets, 5.11 has added additional pockets to help compartmentalize the contents of your pockets, in an effort to assist you in finding what you're looking for in there a little bit quicker when you're in a rush. I like to use the small, inner pockets to keep my keys, wallet and/or other items that I don't want flopping around in the larger pocket while I'm trying to be tactical.
On each side of the inner construction of the pants, there are elastic bands that allow for a more comfortable fit in the event the standard waist sizes don't quite fit you just right (fatty).
Personally, I wear a belt, but that's because I have to buy their 2XL Long size to get the extra length I need for my long and hairy, yet powerful, beast-like legs. And no, I'm not just blowing hot smoke up into your dark, foul-smelling crevices, I'm 6'6", remember?
See what I did there?
Extra fabric reinforcement on the front of the knees, along with the ability to use neoprene pad inserts for a little extra cushioning on your knees. Whether you're crouched on a knee behind some cover on the field, or just trying to work your way up the corporate ladder, this feature definitely comes in handy for reducing wear and tear while you're down on your knees.
Speaking of reinforcements, the "seat" has also been granted extra fabric as well. Oddly enough, no innuendo comes to mind at the moment. Perhaps I'll think of one later and edit it in. Best thing to do is keep your browser open and just keep hitting the refresh button every ten minutes or so to see if I've updated this entry with something cool and not-so-subtle.
So. What now? Well, how's about we wrap this 5.11 Multicam party up for the time being. Truth be told, I've got some serious stalking to do on Facebook.
I think it would be difficult to argue at this point that these items are anywhere near your ordinary, average, boring and/or run-of-the-mill tactical uniforms. They were made with functionality and comfort in mind for the end-user and I can honestly say that they've done a fantastic job at achieving those goals with this new set of TDUs. I know that there are many others out there who feel the same way because these things are selling out left and right. Pyramyd Air still has some sets in stock still, so I would suggest snagging your set now. My guy on the inside tells me that not just Pyramyd Air, but 5.11 Tactical is already backordered on the Rapid Assault Shirts until February 2011, so if you wear a Large or an Extra Large, you're in luck, because Pyramyd still has a few left. Get some (literally).