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5.11 Tactical I Uniforms Praised for Innovation: Functional AND Comfortable Uniforms in Wear Tests

Responding to the changing needs of international law enforcement, 5.11 Tactical, the California-based supplier of top quality tactical clothing for police professionals, has introduced a line of duty and dress uniforms that combine improved function with real comfort on the job.

Response by agencies and departments testing the new uniforms has been overwhelming enthusiastic. At a presentation to a Kansas department, one officer insisted on putting the sample uniform on and wearing it during the discussion. According to John Ralph, co-owner of OMB Police Supply, “I’ve never seen anything like that response. Every department that hears about the 5.11 uniforms want to see it as soon as possible. These uniforms are unique, way above and beyond what’s been done before.”

In the Pacific Northwest, Roger Heldman of Blumenthal Uniforms reports a similar response. “The departments love the whole concept. I call it ‘Class A appearance with Class B comfort and function.”

According to 5.11 Tactical CEO Dan Costa, “We convened an advisory panel of law officers from around the country and spent three days just talking about what would make a perfect uniform. This is the result.”

The product development team included representatives from the Secret Service, FBI, CIA, police and sheriff’s department personnel, even the Department of Forestry. The loud and clear message was: give us uniforms that help us do our work.

Currently available are long-sleeve uniform shirts, uniform pants, shorts and the first ever 100 per cent cotton polo uniform shirts with no fading, no wrinkling, and no shrinking.

The new uniforms from 5.11 Tactical feature durable, resilient fabrics, and many design details based on the changing demands now placed on law enforcement officers everywhere. “Old style uniforms used by on-duty officers are essentially ceremonial,” says Dan Costa, CEO of 5.11 Tactical. “They restrict movement, they are uncomfortable, and they don’t represent what’s going on out there anymore. An officer on patrol is not an officer on parade - you just don’t know what’s going to come at you. Our uniforms are survival tools that you wear as gear.”

5.11 Tactical uniform shirts are fitted to accommodate body armor and have a sophisticated by-swing shoulder pleat. The front of the shirt is double thickness, with hidden document pockets on either side of the placket. The dress pants have a patent-pending “diamond gusset crotch” that gives comfort and freedom of movement during the most strenuous activity. The tactical waistband and Back-Up Belt System (BBS) provide the functionality needed today in the field.

“The 5.11 line has basic performance-oriented DNA that goes back to the earliest days of our company,” Costa says. “These were features developed by California mountain climbers who had to keep their gear right at their fingertips and who needed clothes that would perform the same as all their other equipment. In fact, ‘5.11' refers to the scoring system for rock climbing - 5.11 means a climb that is very, very difficult. When you’re 2,000 feet up on a cliff, hanging by your fingernails, you don’t want to struggle to get your other hand in your pocket.”

While responding to the current trend toward functionality in law enforcement, the new 5.11 Tactical uniforms maintain their appearance as neat, clean, and professional. The uniform shirts have permanent creases, and the polo shirts have built-in collar stays to keep them from curling. All are easy care wash-and-wear.

“Uniforms are equipment,” Costa says, “they have to work right, and they have to give good service. We’re using new fabrics that will not wrinkle, will not fade, and that feel soft and comfortable when you wear them.”

For more information about the new line of law enforcement uniforms from 5.11 Tactical, call 209-527-4511, or visit their website at