Shadow Tactical Operator Pants: For Duty In the Field

Intending to give the wearer a lean, athletic tactical trouser, the Operator Pants by Canadian manufacturer The Requirements Group/Shadow Tactical is among several in its line of field apparel. The Operator Pants provide a blend of materials that gives sufficient protection in the field, while retaining comfort.

Constructed of a 60 / 40 blend between cotton and Rip-Stop polyester with Coats® nylon threading, the Operator Pant is intended to provide maximum abrasion resistance with a number of useful field features.

At the waist, the Operator Pant has five 2.5” belt loops (two in the front, three in the back) along a reinforced waistband intended to soften wear of a tactical belt and prevent pinching. The rear yolk of the waistband has an elastic section to it that allows the waistline to expand up to 1” on either side for maximum comfort.

The double button fly uses nylon bands to secure the Canadian plastic buttons to the waistline, while a YKK zipper and large groin gusset provide freedom of movement in dynamic ranges of motion.

There are four traditional pockets on the waist (two in the front and two in the rear), angled to allow ease of access, with the rear pockets secured via hook-and-loop. Each has a mesh liner interior for breathability and to keep overall weight in material to a minimum.

At the thigh is a button-secured cargo pocket on each leg with an additional, forward-facing, zipper-secured accessory pocket that is designed to be accessed while sitting.

At the knee is an integrated sleeve for knee padding, that is accessed from the interior and has a hook-and-loop closure.

The bottom of each leg ends with an interior blousing liner that can be cinched closed to prevent insects or water penetration. The outer cuff has a reinforced webbing to help maintain it from folding or fraying. Behind the calf of each leg is a small accessory pocket that is secured via hook-and-loop.

The Operator Pant is available in 18 different color varieties to include; Woodland Digital (featured), Flectarn, Russian Digital and more at sizing between Small and 2XL.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • CostGood (3/5): At $65.80 USD the Operator Pants are in the mid-line of tactical trousers for Shadow Strategic and offer some of the more improved features of its newer designs while still offering some of the more traditional features. Some notable market alternatives that offer similar styled trousers would be Propper’s OCP ACU trouser ($149.99) specifically for the U.S. military – to their civilian Kentic Pant ($54.99), or Tru-Spec’s Pro-Flex ($63.95). These alternatives all demonstrate that while the market is diverse; with many features of similar design, the Operator Pant does offer some more improved functionality over just any entry-level tactical trouser, thus making its modest price appropriate (or average) within the current market.
  • Comfort Fair (2/5): The Operator Pants had a good amount or room in the thigh and gusset due to its straight-leg pattern and generous spacing. Moreover, the waistband had an elastic yolk in the rear that allowed for some flexibility in sizing and dynamic movement. The overall 60 / 40 material blend however, was very thick with not a lot of breathability. These trousers would be ideal for more temperate climates or fall/winter weather but as the seasons have changed and we’ve moved right into high temperatures and high humidity—these pants got hot quickly. A recommendation to Shadow would be to consider adding a drainage grommet to the gusset, or include some ventilation panels to increase airflow. For its use, the Operator Pants would do well for the appropriate environment or season, but generally as an all weather tactical trouser held a fair scoring.
  • Durability – Excellent (5/5): The high durability of the Operator Pants was the tradeoff for its negative aspects in comfort. The Rip-Stop polyester material and bartack reinforcement proved to be very durable and resisted dragging and direct kneeling against rock and dirt—all without damage to the threading or compromising the material. Multiple iterations were run, sprints, and stretches intended to strain the material but at no point was any failure in the product’s durability experienced. In all the Operator Pants performed excellently as tactical trousers with a high degree or durability fit for any condition.
  • Functionality Good (4/5): Functionally the Operator Pants had more features in it than the basic tactical trousers on the market. The double button fly was a nice feature that added strength to the waistband to prevented one button taking all the abuse. The angle of the front and back pockets was clearly intended to aid in accessing them while sitting or standing. And the inclusion of extra pockets at the thigh and at the calf enhanced the ability to store accessories or other mission items regardless of setting or attire (such as while wearing body armor). One unique aspect of the Operator Pants’ function was in the blousing liner to the bottom cuff that added a good level of protection against insects in tall grass while still preventing the trouser to snag on footwear. This could of ideal use by those who find themselves in very rural settings where ticks and other biting type insects love to wait for the passerby. The only feedback to Shadow from a functional aspect would be to remove the loops on the back of the mid-thigh as there was no perceivable use for them.
  • Weight Average (3/5): At 1.10 pounds the Operator Pants were only slightly heavier than the Gen II Tac Pants, a difference made notable by the amount of heat experienced while worn. Otherwise, the Operator Pants were not excessively heavy while worn. With the more advanced pocket layout, plastic buttons, and all the necessitating reinforcement stitching, there was little excess to wear on the user. In comparison, Propper’s OCP ACU trouser (1.7 pounds) specifically for the U.S. military or the Kentic Pant (1.9 pounds), or Tru-Spec’s Pro-Flex (1.6 pounds) all demonstrate that Shadow’s Operator Pants are of an appropriate (or average) weight for more advanced tactical trousers.

Overall Rating – Average (17/25)

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IMG_2889_TackenbergI am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the author. The views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.