Tactical pants are the perfect option for those adventurous souls who seek rugged, comfortable pants that offer freedom of movement for their hardcore recreational activities like shooting and shooting competitions. To make a good selection, ask yourself three critical questions. What’s the climate like where you will wear your tactical pants? How rough will you treat them? How much storage space will you need?


In warm climates or hot weather, ultralight pants made of breathable materials are the best choice. Look for pants made with a high percentage of nylon in the material blend (65 percent polyester, 35 percent cotton is common). For colder weather, adding a base layer will sometimes decrease movement enough that cold-weather tactical pants are preferable. In those cases, polyester blend pants lined with fleece or other insulating materials are a good choice.


If you’re mostly going to be wearing these pants to the grocery store, ruggedness and durability might not be at the top of your list. But if you’re going to be running, climbing, crawling or other athletic activities, you need a durable pair of pants. Many manufacturers use triple stitching and double layers of fabric in the knees and crotch to avoid tearing. Heavy-duty zippers and waist closures (snap or clasp) also ensure that the pants will last longer.


When you’re shooting at the range, competing, or training, on-person storage is a plus. Many tactical pants offer eight to 12 pockets, with or without flaps and closures. Well-placed pockets are a must, and the best pants have a pocket on the left thigh just about the size of an AR-15 magazine. Look for pants with plenty of pockets but consider this: Too many pockets can lead to too much heavy stuff in those pockets. The end result is a challenge that your belt just might not be able to handle!