Law enforcement officers put a lot of effort into finding the right gear, but recently I’ve been wondering if they focus on the wrong stuff. Sure, a reliable and effective sidearm is important, but how often are you going to use it? Not much, probably. If you’re lucky, you’ll never have to draw it in anger at all. You need to have it with you, and you need to have confidence that it’ll work when called on, but most of the time it’s just a weight on your hip and you could do your job fine without it.
You can’t do your job without pants, though. They’re 100% essential if you want to keep the respect of the public, so it’s pretty vital that they’re comfortable and practical. Pick the wrong pair and it won’t make a life-threatening difference, but your job will be a bit harder and less pleasant than it needs to be. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks testing Propper’s Lightweight Ripstop Station Pants to see how they measure up.
Propper has been making tactical gear for the military and law enforcement since 1967; today they have a headquarters in St. Louis, a distribution facility in Dickson, TN and factories in Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. They constantly invest in state of the art design and production technology, and it looks like they used a lot of it in creating these pants.
I’m more used to wearing military-style combat trousers, but apart from the lack of cargo pockets the station pants are pretty similar. They’re cut to allow plenty of freedom of movement and the pockets are generous. I was very impressed with the fabric. It’s a light but tough polycotton mix and, although it’s ripstop, it doesn’t have the prominent checkered look that reinforced fabrics often do. The cloth feels slightly rough to the touch and I was worried they might be uncomfortable for prolonged wear, but they’re far from it. They feel absolutely fine next to the skin. My normal workwear is old German Army moleskin combat trousers, which are finely woven pure cotton, and they’re the most comfortable trousers I’d ever found. The Propper station pants are at least as pleasant to wear.
Another nice touch about the fabric is its water-repellent finish. Propper calls this Durable Water Repellent and it’s certainly survived three full cycles in the washing machine. A heavy splash will soak into the pants, but they shed light rain quite effectively.
I was really impressed with the attention Propper has paid to the little details. These are pants designed to be worn for a long, active shift. They have to allow you to move easily from running a desk to walking the streets to spending hours sitting in a cruiser, and they have to let you do it in comfort. If your duty dress isn’t comfortable, you’ll be more prone to distraction and fatigue, and you won’t perform at your best. The Propper station pants have a discreet and very effective sliding waistband that lets itself out a couple of inches when you sit down, then tightens back up as soon as you’re back on your feet.
Security is provided by a smooth, high quality fly zipper and a press stud closure, backed up by an internal button. The belt loops will hold any belt up to 1.5 inches and are extra-wide to keep it from twisting.
These aren’t cargo pants, but there’s still plenty of space for essentials. The front slash pockets are deep and roomy, holding your wallet and keys securely. The hip pockets are also large and the right one has a button closure. Finally there’s a discreet knife pocket on the front of the right slash pocket, which also makes a great hiding place for a small flashlight or even an extra pistol magazine.
So far I’ve washed my station pants three times, to keep them free of coffee stains and cat hair. I deliberately didn’t bother ironing them because I wanted to see how they look without it after washing and three or four days’ wear. They were still impressively smart, and when I did finally get the iron out they went right back to looking as good as new. Good cut and top quality fabric seem to be paying off here, because with normal care and attention these pants will keep you looking as professional at the end of a shift as you did at the start.
Overall, then, if you’re looking for a pair of smart but comfortable duty pants that are up to the demands of an active policing job, the Propper Lightweight Ripstop Station Pants are a tough one to beat.
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.