REVIEW: Propper BA Softshell Jacket

The BA Softshell Jacket by Propper is designed with the professional law enforcement or military wearer in mind – with a broad range of storage options and non-traditional movement points built in. One look at this jacket and you know that Propper meant to provide a jacket that would work with you rather than against you when things start happening fast. But looks can be deceiving; the real question is how it would actually perform during day to day use.

When I opened my latest box of items to be field tested, I was excited to find it contained the Propper BA Softshell Jacket. I had been seeing a lot of this model online and at the local uniform store so I looked forward to giving it a go. I was especially happy to see that the one I was provided with came in the woodland pattern; maybe because it was a throwback to my early military days, or maybe because it was even sharper looking in person than the pictures I had seen. Before I get into the actual wear test, let’s take a look at the features – and there are plenty.

  • 100% Polyester
  • Water resistant
  • Full-zip front with two-way double sliders for easy CCW access
  • Pull-out ID or badge panel on left chest
  • Zip vent under arms for regulating temperature
  • Dual bicep and wrist pockets with zip closure
  • Warrant pocket with quiet magnet closure on chest
  • Internal chest pocket and two internal stash pockets
  • Additional dual-access zip pocket on lower back

JacketAs you can see, the main features include pockets and zippers – lots of each. But we will get back to that later. First, let’s discuss the basic fit and function.

The polyester material provides the best of both worlds regarding fit and comfort. The smooth outer finish looked clean and professional and proved to be easily cleaned with nothing more than a damp cloth. The fleece interior surface provided a soft surface, which is especially nice if wearing short sleeves, and added a bit of warmth when the temperatures dipped.  Aside from the zippers and pockets, the other notable design feature is the numerous seams – much more than a traditional jacket. These double sewn seams proved to be the key to ensuring a sleek, contoured fit while still allowing for an unrestricted range of movement. The jacket also provided excellent protection from both the wind and rain, as well as being much warmer than expected given the light weight.

Now for the zippers. First, there are a lot of them, but they proved to be for more than show. Each of the numerous pockets (right chest, traditional front waist, double bicep, dual forearm and double entry small of the back) is secured by a high quality, quiet zipper – which is also used as the principal means of closure. The zippers proved to be reliable and easy to use, although small tabs might be useful when wearing gloves. So far, none of the zippers have shown any signs of wear or malfunction, and I do not expect that to be a concern in the future.

ID Tab JacketTime to discuss the pockets themselves. Again, there are a lot and they are a central feature of the jacket. The large document pocket, located on the right chest and secured by magnets, is a standard feature on many of Propper’s LS1 and Covert series jackets and shirts. I like that the magnetic closure provides easy, one-handed access and that it is much quieter than either a zipper or velcro. The pocket itself is deep and large enough to hold important papers or even a small backup weapon securely.

The left chest pocket looked like a traditional jacket or shirt pocket but hidden inside is an easily displayed ID panel outlined in reflective material – a big plus when it comes time to let uniformed officers know you are one of the good guys. Each bicep pocket proved to be a convenient place for a smartphone or similarly sized items and was easily reached with the opposite hand. Honestly, I have not found a need for either the forearm or small of the back pockets, although I admit they could prove useful for storing extra cash, ID or even a nice place to store extra gloves – I guess I’ll need to wait and see.

Underarm VentAdditional features I found welcome were the underarm vents and the wrist and waist adjustments. Although many of today’s jackets include such features, most appear to be an afterthought – simply added because everyone else has them. Not so with the BA Softshell. The underarm vents include both zippers to open and close as well as mesh backing, which prevents the opening from fully exposing your body to the elements. The wrist and waist adjustments allow for a broad range of adjustment without having straps, cords or snaps in the way.

After almost daily wear in a variety of settings and weather conditions, I found that the Propper BA Softshell jacket proved to be a quality jacket which was built with the active wearer in mind. Whether you are a professional looking for high speed outerwear or simply someone who enjoys a jacket which fits well and looks even better, I would recommend you pick up your own. Aside from the woodland pattern I tested, you can also select from either LAPD navy, black, khaki or olive finishes.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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