Everybody needs a good pair of pants. While it is very easy to just make do – much like decent waterproof gear, it’s hard to go back once you have ‘experienced’ a decent pair of trousers. At least, that’s what I tell myself. UF Pro may have just ruined me forever.
While I previously have used Cactus Super Trousers, then switching to a pair of 5.11 Taclite Pro, I had also seen a pair of trousers worn by Simon Gillice of Gillice Practical Shooting Events that had caught my eye. After a man-to-man discussion on trousers with Simon1 – I decided to look into the UF Pro Brand2.
UF Pro is from Slovenia – and, being honest – prior to seeing Simon’s pair – I had never heard of them. However, they have, in the last couple of years – grown and grown in profile all over the ‘tactical web’ – with reviews and features popping up all over the place.
After a quick bit of research online, I narrowed down my selection and ordered the trousers in from Matt at Twin Needle.
While I believe Simon had the Strikers, I decided to get the HT (High Temp) version – I figured I could always wear thermals under them (and UF Pro actually have a liner trouser anyhow) and I wasn’t planning on wearing these in the snow – in fact, a hot day, in the sun during summer is likely where these were going to get the most wear.
The HT Venting System – or – the Ball Vents!
The fundamental difference in the HT version is the venting system.
When things start to warm up, open up the top and bottom zips, and you get airflow. This is further enhanced through movement – so when you are active – they are pushing air around the nether regions, keeping things comfortable.
The, now officially named ‘ball vents’ seem to be the first thing that people notice on these pants.
But, they also work!
While, to be fair I don’t run in these much, shooting, hiking, rucking, all cause a bit of heat buildup – and opening up the zips allows a dump of the hot air. This means as it gets hotter – I can stay in the protection of the trousers (knee pads, shin protection) without overheating. While I would still like a pair of their shorts for ‘non-competition’ days – it means I won’t suffer from sweaty thigh/balls while out. Which is definitely a good thing!
Stretchy in the right places!
Another feature of these pants, which makes them so suitable for active work – is the stretchy panels placed around the trousers. Namely, the butt and the groin.
Now, while I don’t expect to be doing any Chuck Norris Kicks in these – it does mean, that taking a knee, dropping to prone, or generally, doing active tasks in the trousers are a lot more comfortable and a lot easier.
Knee Protection – always landing softly!
A big factor for me in looking for a dedicated pair of competition trousers was knee protection – dropping in front of a barricade, going prone, all potentially on dirt (and gravel) –
I wanted something to give my ol’man knees a bit of protection.
The UF Pro system is awesome. By ‘default’ they come with a lightly padded, abrasion-resistant outer kneepad.
However, because I wanted all the protection I could have5 – I opted for the inserts as well. Of which there are two.
UF Pro gives you the choice of a soft cushion, a solid puncture-resistant option, or, stack them up and use them both!
The design of the pockets is awesome. Not only do they not bind, as they aren’t tightly strapped around your knee like many systems would be, they always seem to manage to be right where your knee lands when you drop down on them.
The result is a high level of protection, without sacrificing anything in the way of manoeuvrability or comfort. Sure. They add a bit of weight to the system, but considering the environment I am using them in, I couldn’t care less about that.
I simply keep the pads in the range duffel, then put them in after briefing and before the days shooting.
Pockets, pockets and more pockets.
Fourteen of them!
There are all the pockets you would expect in a tactical style pair of trousers and more. However, unlike traditional cargo pockets – they don’t seem to billow out as much – having inner compartments to hold things in place against your legs.
I don’t like rear pockets and don’t tend to use them much these days (sitting down on things) – so the front pockets give me more than enough space to carry everything I want, both on the range, and on the way there.
The front knife and pen pockets give you a spot to move the long objects from your traditional front pocket, down onto the thigh – again removing a potential impediment (spiking you legs with the sharp end of my pen, for example) and zips on certain ones allow secure storage or left open, quick access.
The pockets will happily hold a steel AI 10 round magazine and the lower ‘shin’ pockets are perfect for storing a small blow out kit and spare earplugs for those people who, for some reason, don’t think of packing them when heading out to a range6.
Inside the front top pockets are also a couple of smaller zipped pockets – perfect for holding EDC – a lighter, small torch, coins…
The waistbelt – battle belt ahoy!
I have recently started wearing a battle belt to the range – more correctly, a duty belt which holds a spare mag, kestrel and a blow out kit and tourniquet. If I am at the pistol range, then this is also a holster belt.
The waistbelt on the UF Pro trousers is set up to facilitate this in a very smart and very useful way.
On top of the stretching waistbelt7 is two sets of belt eyelets. The first allows wearing a normal belt underneath, and the second set designed to secure the battle/duty belt. This second set is larger, and have a rivet closure – do you don’t need to feed the belt through the loops. This is perfect for a rig that goes on when I am shooting and comes off for the trip to and from the range.
In addition, the trouser front sip opens from both the top and bottom – so if you have a large belt rig on, and can’t access the top of the zip… well… no issue!
To say these pants are feature-rich would be an understatement!
A couple more features worth noting –
The bottom of the pants have an elastic tightener for blousing your boots (should you chose) – which also features a very cool system for hiding away the extra elastic. In addition, this system allows putting the pants on (or taking them off) whilst still wearing boots. If, for some strange reason, you forget to put your pants on before your footwear.
In addition, a loop in the front of the pant bottoms ‘laces’ under the laces of your boots, holding the pants down and in place for those ninja kicks you will be executing while operating operationally in these pants.
All in all, these are a specialised, highly technical and highly functional pair of trousers. A little too over the top for every day wear maybe (unless you want to be explaining the ball vents on the regular) – but certainly very useful, functional and comfortable in physical, practical use.
They are not cheap. There is no denying that. But – for a pair of specialist trousers that are going to be worn, and worn, and worn – I don’t have a problem with that.
It’s hard not to gush over these trousers, and it’s important to note, that I paid full price for them. And would again.
- The Striker HT air circulation system
- Pocket configuration:
- 2X Front pockets
- 2X Back pockets
- 2X Safety pockets
- 2X Multi-functional, two- way access side pocket with inner compartments
- 2X Attached gear pocket with a security strap
- 2X Mag/ knife/ marker pocket
- 2X Large lower leg pockets
- Double belt loops
- Stretch in the waistband
- Ergonomic UF PRO® 3-layer knee protection system
- Width-adjustable lower leg area with a vertical zipper and elastic cord at the leg ends
- Double zipper pull fly
- Inner zipper for detachable WINDSTOPPER® lining
- CORDURA® reinforced instep
- Boot loop
- Loops for suspenders
- 67% Polyester, 33% Cotton Ripstop fabric
- Schoeller®- Dynamic: 92% Polyamide 8% Elasthan
- 100% CORDURA® fabric
PenCott™ Badlands and MultiCam®:
- 50% Nylon, 50% Cotton Ripstop fabric
- Schoeller®- Dynamic: 92% Polyamide, 8% Elasthan
- 100% CORDURA® fabric
- 0,95 kg (size 34/34)
the kind of conversation that really only happens between two men carrying rifles at the time ↩
Schoeller®- Dynamic: 92% Polyamide, 8% Elasthan ↩
67% Polyester, 33% Cotton Ripstop fabric ↩
call me soft if you want, my knees can’t hear you ↩
don’t ask me why they don’t – but I know I have had to recently restock that pocket ↩
unadjustable, but you won’t ever need to ↩