Gear Arrowhead Tactical Apparel Review: No More Excuses Forrest Cooper January 27, 2021 2 Comments, Join the Conversation It has often been said, if you want to start a business, look for a problem to solve. Both monopolistic magnates and the local self-employed handyman have relied on this principle for millennia. With the world of firearms and related gear often being forced to “innovate” around abstract obstacles, such as the political views of those in charge of lettered agencies, it can be tiresome to hear of another new gadget to fix a problem that should never exist to begin with. Far, far from there, Arrowhead Tactical Apparel has brought a solution to a problem that doesn't need justification. Model: 6 ft, 180 lbs, 32-inch waist. Arrowhead Tactical Apparel Pants Size: Large. Tactical Apparel is a phrase that both oozes and imposes a stereotype. In military applications, it can mean a chest rig, plate carrier, or bloused fatigues. In a civilian world, we often think of cargo pants, sturdy boots of a subdued color, and a just-loose-enough button down. In fact, we rarely, if ever, think sweatpants. Arrowhead Tactical Apparel, however, has made unassuming athletic clothing their point of entry into a market that is still waiting for a skinny-jean version of Crye combat bottoms. Arrowhead Tactical Apparel isn't just about blending in. You can't prove a negative, and just the same, the brand isn't built on the idea of not looking a certain way alone. From the onset, their design makes sense: going to-and-from the gym has long been a hassle for EDC-minded people, often forcing a choice between awkward holster placement or forgoing it altogether. In a world so much more sane than ours, it also just makes sense for tactical gear to have an athletic aspect. There's always going to be some humor in the self-proclaimed self-defense expert who struggles to climb a flight of stairs without getting winded, and there's no need to explain the health benefits of physical fitness. It's in the definition. Arrowhead Tactical Apparel is for those who are interested first in doing. Features and Design At it's core, Arrowhead Tactical Apparel's Carrier line up directly addresses the problem of most athletic gear: retention. The inside of the waistband features a channel with wide internal belt loops. While the joggers, sweatpants, and gym shorts can be worn without it, each includes a semi-rigid/semi-elastic belt that secures with an adjustable metal buckle. EDC gear such as a holster or knife can be attached as they usually are without concern for a sagging waistline or sudden loss of the item down the pant leg. The material used tends to be a bit heavier than expected, effectively concealing a holstered handgun. The added cloth weight and thickness kept warm during this COVID winter in the Coldest American Metropolis, and during the brief gym closures, were re-purposed as work-from-home loungewear. Comfort not being the whole deal, as the key beef with similar clothing is its tendency to sag when anything is put in the pockets. Speaking of pockets, the joggers and sweats have the expected four typical on most trousers. Inside the joggers' rear pockets are a sewn-in sleeve that can, albeit tightly and thus securely, hold a Glock 19 magazine. Both the sweatpants and joggers secure the back pockets with zippers. The shorts, are a different story, with two seamed front pockets, and a single zippered rear with another stitched-in section conveniently stowing a pistol magazine, flashlight, or small folding knife. Evaluating Arrowhead Tactical Apparel As much as the term Mil-Spec has been used as, on the one hand, a standard, and on the other, a branding strategy, there's nothing Mil-Spec about Arrowhead Tactical Apparel, and that's a point in their favor. Just like AR-15's, the standard set by the military is the absolute minimum most are willing to go, and equipment should only get better from there. Arrowhead Tactical Apparel takes this approach, and though the brand doesn't scream “I'm a veteran” in its style, it instead appeals to solving a problem. Meet the Evaluation Tools: Left to Right from Top: Tier 1 Concealment Agis, Black Point Tactical Dual Point with Caddy, TXC Holsters X1 Pro, Crucial Concealment Ambo Cover IWB, Black Point Tactical FO3, Toor Knives + Haley Strategic Darter, Glock 19 MOS with Trijicon RMR, NLT SIRT, Glock 19 with Leupold Deltapoint Micro. Ammunition: Nosler Match Grade 115gr Jacketed Hollow Point. Fitting the belt through the internal loops took a little getting used to, but rolling the top of the waistband over on itself and then start threading the belt through seemed like the best and easiest option. A number of holsters were tried in conjunction with a brief run and jump test. We tested three different Glock 19 Gen 5 “loadouts” with minor variations between: a Tier 1 Concealment Agis, with attached caddy and extended magazine for maximum capacity. Middling the pack, a Black Point Tactical DualPoint with attached pouch. Finally, for the pistol-only options we went with a TXC Holsters X1 Pro, a Crucial Concealment Ambi Covert IWB, and a Black Point Tactical FO3. Model: 6 ft, 180 lbs, 32-inch waist. Arrowhead Tactical Apparel Pants Size: Large. Range of movement and security of the firearm constituted safety considerations, without ignoring comfort. Across the tests, concealability was the least of the challenges, assuming that we're not wearing a schmediumn shirt. Carrying a second magazine in an attached caddy added enough bulk to quickly rule it out of any form of exercise other than a light, short jog, but felt just as secure and normal as when tucked into a pair of jeans with a good belt. The type of clasp, loop, or attachment point of each holster played a surprisingly large role. The wider holsters would roll and twist on the belt when limited to one belt clip. Between the Black Point Tactical Dual Point and holsters like the Tier 1 Concealment Agis, the wide-set belt clips of the latter secured the firearm more consistently, which came into factor when drawing the handgun. On the smaller holster options, the priority followed this trajectory: if you two clips are available, choose that, if one, typically go with the wider one. The wider set clips of the Tier 1 Concealment (left) outweighed the disadvantage of its bulk. Black Point Tactical's Dual Point with Caddy secured firmly, but would rotate on the semi-elastic belt. A final measure when considering belt clips, with the flexibility of the belt, metal clips vastly outperformed plastic options. Splitting between the pistol-only holsters, at the top of the tested pile Black Point Tactical's FO3 reigned supreme with both the flexibility of leather “wings” and the metal clips used. After that, it became a toss-up contention between TXC Holsters' X1 Pro and the Crucial Concealment Ambi Covert IWB at far as retention goes. Top: Black Point Tactical FO3, Left: TXC Holsters X1 Pro, Right: Crucial Concealment Ambo Cover IWB. Bigger and more capacity, in this sense, is not better. After that, having two attachment points vastly improved the consistency of the draw and containment of the weight of the firearm. A small knife could easily be concealed. Conclusions on Arrowhead Tactical Apparel For an athletic apparel company that has chosen to tackle the problem of effectively concealing a defensive tool, Arrowhead Tactical Apparel has brought a solution that erodes one more excuse of not going to the gym. Although not as comfortable as loungewear, nor as secure as jeans and a rigid belt, the balance between the two results in pants that keep you warm in the cold, and keep your heater close. To get the most out of a pair of Arrowhead Tactical Apparel, the name of the game is matching a holster to the clothing. Not about style but security at this point, much of the utility of a good pair of tactical joggers is not solely dependent on the pants themselves, but in the choice of what holster to carry. That being the case, they're making a point by emerging into a market many have left untouched. 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