An advanced tactical shirt protects you when you’re out there in the open doing all those manly outdoor things. Tactical shirts are one of the best ways to survive in the great outdoors. They’re sure to keep you comfortable regardless of the rough treatment and are designed to securely hold onto everything you stuff it with, for whatever purpose. The right tactical shirt will very quickly become your go-to clothing choice, whatever the occasion.
5.11, Under-Armous, Tru-Spec and Rothco are among the biggest tactical wear manufacturers and make high-quality, versatile products that last literally forever. These tactical shirts can be easily worn above body armour and leveraged excellently for all kinds of safety or adrenaline-rushing activities. Most importantly, they are perfect for concealing your carry-on weapons.
However, there are few things you must consider before you decide to buy a tactical shirt.
What are the main benefits of tactical shirts?
Tactical shirts can help you maintain peak performance while hunting, hiking and fishing, training or even while executing a high-stakes mission. They’re also super useful even if you’re just heading out for another hard day at work. They accomplish this with the help of a few significant features. Features such as rip-stop fabrics, easy-access pockets that are also expandable, concealed pockets, button-down collar stays, reinforced elbows to protect your skin at the most common contact points, button cuffs and roll-up loops, special plackets that give you fast, secure access to your firearm etc. are exclusive to tactical shirts. These features are also exactly what sets them apart from normal shirts.
Remarkably, tactical shirts that are more suited for outdoors come with certain extra features and slightly different characteristics such as, heat capes or mesh vents to help keep you cool, soft and stretchable fabrics to ensure maximum mobility, expandable pockets, tactical camouflage and double-fabric elbows and other stress-point reinforcements. All these features immensely boost the functionality of tactical shirts and our usually a no-brainer especially if you do a lot of hazardous outdoor work.
What are the main things to consider when buying a tactical shirt?
Today, you have limitless choices in buying tactical clothing with numerous brands coming out with new styles and tactical clothing lines literally every new day. So how do you, the ideal yet frugal consumer know what to look for and maximize the value for money proposition of your purchase? The first question obviously is to ask what your needs are? Are you a law enforcement, military or security officer? Are you an outdoor sports enthusiast, an instructor, or simply a shooter sports enthusiast? Once you understand what your needs are, then you can begin the certainly tiring search for the right piece of clothing. There’s a plethora of options. Why would you choose a certain brand over another? Are you looking for durability? Or maybe the price is a determining factor.
Here are the most certain factors you need to take into account before selecting a tactical shirt.
Always look for clothing made from high tech synthetic fabrics rather than traditional cotton canvas. It wicks moisture better and can definitely keep you comfortable in a wider range of climates then heavier weight cotton canvas. Remember, synthetic fibres transition better from climate to climate, don’t fade quickly and are a breeze to launder especially while travelling. They’re obviously the superior choice.
If the fit isn’t right, move on to another brand or style that makes clothes that fit you better. Whilst remaining roomy, tactical clothing needs to fit just right. They need to be roomy but not over-the-top baggy.
- The Right Pockets
Pockets are a necessity, whether it’s to carry your car keys, your pocket knife, your spare magazines, or even to just tuck your hands in. Pockets are useless when they cannot fit common items or are lined with material that simply won’t support the items they are intended for. A practical design for the pockets on the shirts is a simple necessity. You might not need too many, but you do want them to hold what they’re intended to hold. Furthermore, they need to be the right places, because accessibility is everything.
- The Right Colors
It wasn’t too long ago when tactical clothing only came in military colours, limiting your choices to one variation or another of OD green, khaki and camouflage. Today tactical clothing has become a lot more mainstream for law enforcement and military officers, a subtle hint to this is the addition of black and navy blue.
While wearing a version of tactical clothing, you’d prefer to blend seamlessly into your surroundings, whether for job requirements, safety, or just the desire to not stand out. Let’s face it, tactically dressed people are quite a sore sight to look at.
This fad has paved the way of more eccentric colours such as different variations of brown, green, blue and red among others. This has enabled the tactical dresser to indulge in recreational activities after work without appearing too ballsy or intimidating.
- The Right Look
The look of tactical shirts fall in sync with all of its other features. This is a purely subjective preference. However, if you’d like something like say, less tactical, but just as functional, shop keeping that in mind. There are plenty of options out there. Even quite a few in our list. Many have moved away from the time-honoured, shapeless look of mainstream tactical clothing and become increasingly inclined towards the less tactical but more practical clothing. There are a lot of brands that allow you to go for a movie right after a terrifying and demanding hike in the high mountains without breaking a sweat. Look out for them and you’ll be glad you did.
Let us now have a look at the best tactical shirts you can buy today.
1) 5.11 Cotton Tactical Short Sleeve Shirt
The basic 5.11 tactical shirt is the comfortable, durable and functional choice. It is often the go to clothing option for law enforcement, military and fire professionals. It’s versatile enough to be worn both on and off-duty. 5.11 Tactical Shirts are assured with 5.11’s exceptional fit, their patented hidden document pockets and a cutting-edge heat management system.
The Tactical Shirts have hidden button-down collar stays and a handsome, functional design that also effortlessly gives off a professional appearance. You can easily stash your cell phone or any document in 5.11’s patented hidden document pockets located within the front chest of the 5.11 Tactical Shirts. They are designed to be discreet complete with one-handed access and a Velcro enclosure. The left pocket incorporates a dual pass-through slot for pens, chem-lights and tire gauges. Two narrow pen pockets are also placed on the left sleeve.
5.11 Tactical Shirts are made of tough, 5.4-oz. cotton canvas. They’re manufactured using technologies such as triple needle construction and consist of 26 bar tacks in high-stress areas and reinforced anti-crack, anti-chip melamine buttons. This results in an amazingly hard-wearing shirt. A large cape-back with a tacked centre point covers the moisture-sucking Drilex material to efficiently vent and evaporate moisture around the clock. Stitched eyelets at each gusseted underarm further dispel heat and moisture to keep you cool.
2) Under Armour ColdGear Infrared Tactical Fitted Mock
ColdGear Infrared uses a soft, thermo-conductive inner coating that causes to absorb and retain your own body heat. The dual-layer fabric gives you a soft, warm interior and a smooth, fast-drying exterior. The 4-way stretch fabrication also allows greater mobility whilst retaining its shape. The moisture transport system makes sure that no sweat stays on your body and the quick-dry fabric used keeps you light and comfortable. Additional anti-odour technology prevents the growth of odour causing microbes and this is further bolstered by the smooth, chafe-free flat lock seam construction.
This mock can keep you reasonably warm as a standalone piece of clothing. It also offers excellent protection from the elements and is an excellent piece of kit for those who do tough outdoor work. It can be used as an excellent base layer under your jacket, shirt or sweater if it gets too cold. It’s made from 87% Polyester and 13% Elastane.
3) Tru-Spec Tru 1/4 Zip Combat Shirt
The Tru-Spec Men’s Winter Combat Shirt has a special grid fleeced body for increased breathability and improved sweat absorption. The sleeves are lined with grid fleece and feature an adjustable hook and a loop cuff. It also has a pencil stall. The shirt body is made with performance plus grid fleece.
It features tactical response uniform sleeves with a 1/4 zip front mandarin collar. The zip is very cleverly hidden under a hood for added comfort. The elbows are reinforced for extra comfort and the zipper also has a cover hood for added durability. There are shoulder pockets and also internal hidden pockets to further increase functionality. The shirt is versatile enough to be used in both professional and casual environments. It’s made of 93% polyester and 7% spandex.
4) Propper Tactical Dress Shirt
The Propper F5302 Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt is a comfortable and durable solid option regardless of your prospective uses. The lightweight Battle Rip fabric is fade, shrink and wrinkle resistant. The two box-pleated chest pockets with button-through flaps allow you to store and organize smaller items and gear that you may want to carry around with you at all times, including compact weapons.
Furthermore, the fused pocket flaps, internal collar stays and epaulets provide a clean, professional look, even after repeated washes. It also features an optional badge tab that can be used to insert identity badges for professional environments. It’s made from a blend of polyester and cotton.
5) Under Armour Tactical Combat Shirt
This shirt is specifically designed to be worn under body armour. Water-resistant rip-stop fabric strategically placed on top of the sleeves do an excellent job of protecting you from the elements. They also put up with the wear & tear of body armour. It’s tough, lightweight and durable.
Furthermore, the 4-way stretch construction moves better in all directions. The material absorbs sweat and dries through really fast. It has multi-zippered sleeve pockets and the left sleeve also features a 4×4 patch. It’s made from 100% other fibres.
6) Under Armour Tactical HeatGear T-Shirt
Under Armour ensures a solid next-to-skin comfort with this compression shirt made of ultra-soft fabric. Then it should be no surprise that this ultra-tight compression shirt fits just like a second skin. The lightweight, 4-way stretch fabrication improves range of motion, absorbs sweat very quickly and dries super-fast. The advanced moisture transport system keeps you cool, dry, and super comfortable effortlessly.
The Anti-odour technology prevents the growth of odour-causing microbes. It is made of 100% polyester. However, be warned that the shirt will melt when exposed to extreme heat or open flames. This poses a risk of serious injury wherein the melted product can come into contact with your skin. Otherwise, this is the best undershirt by a very far margin.
7) Propper Men’s I.C.E. Polo Shirt
These shirts are fade, shrink and wrinkle-resistant. They feature an advanced, moisture-wicking fabric that dries up to 125% faster than cotton. They also feature hidden collar buttons. It has a two-channel pen pocket. It also has a gusseted breathable mesh underarm and a mic/sunglass clip on the shoulders.
The polo shirts are extended enough to be tucked into your pants. It features concealed collar stays and the sunglass holder is placed near the buttons. It’s made from a 6.8 oz. 94% polyester and 6% spandex interlock.
8) 5.11 PERFORMANCE Polo Tactical Shirt
This performance polo shirt by 5.11 is one that stays looking good day in and day out. It has a slight sheen and 5.11 has included all the features of their cotton Tactical Polo and then some more. These include the mic clips, the fully gusseted sleeves and even the pen pockets on the left sleeve.
The 5.11 Performance Polo shirt fabric is moisture wicking which prevents the growth of odour causing bacteria. No more shirts that stink of sweat. These Polo shirts are made with their proprietary SmartWeave fabric. This also helps the Performance Polo Shirt to resist snags and remain wrinkle-free.
You can easily attach your radio microphone to any of the three mic clips on the shoulders or the chest placket. The two pen pockets are located on the left sleeve. The strong synthetic fabric of the Performance Polo Shirt resists stains, tears and snags. The collars won’t be rolling at the edges, courtesy of the no roll collar which has flexible stays. The pen pockets are stitched to endure constant use and all seams are designed for both comfort and durability.
5.11 uses only melamine buttons on the Tactical Series Performance Polo Shirt. Melamine buttons don’t crack or break and can withstand the heat of an iron without melting. The stitching and materials used in the construction of the Performance Polo Shirt are of the highest quality demanded by Law Enforcement, Fire and Military personnel. It is made of 100% polyester.
5.11’s fully gusseted sleeves give you a complete range of motion even when wearing a ballistic vest. 5.11’s Performance Polo Shirt can easily outlast other polo shirts by a large margin and is exceptionally priced to give the best value that it just makes sense to wear the best.
9) Rothco Tactical Performance Polo Shirt
gest suppliers of tactical wear for the outdoors, military and survival gear. This experience is well-observed in how they’ve designed and manufactured the Rothco Tactical Performance Polo Shirt. It is a basic, no-nonsense tactical polo shirt and gets the job done, albeit quite well.
It has two mic clips on each shoulder and an additional one under the centre placket. It also houses two pen pockets on the left sleeve which are easily reachable. The moisture wicking properties of the material keep you dry and absorbs sweat at a very quick rate and dries up at an even faster rate. It is made from 100% polyester.
10) Under Armour Tactical Tech Long Sleeve T-Shirt
This is another solid offering by Under Armour. The fabric is quick-drying, ultra-soft & has a more natural feel. The material wicks sweat & dries up really fast. This full-sleeve shirt is a part of their loose fit series and is best suited to be worn as a standalone piece of clothing. It is fuller cut for complete comfort and makes for an excellent base layer.
This shirt also offers excellent protection from the elements and is an excellent piece of kit for those who do tough outdoor work. It can be used as an excellent base layer under your jacket, shirt or sweater if it gets too cold. It’s made from 100% Polyester. It breathes extremely well and can be worn even in hot, humid weather despite the long sleeves. It is extremely versatile and does an exceptional job of keeping the wearer comfortable.
11) 5.11 Tactical Long Sleeve Shirt
The original Long Sleeve 5.11 Tactical Shirt features a handsome, low-profile design. It is built from tough and breathable 5.4 oz. cotton canvas that’ll keep you functioning for longer than you’ll ever need to be.
The 5.11 Long Sleeve Tactical Shirt features a state of the art triple-stitched construction and 26 individual bar tack reinforcements for extreme durability in any environment. 5.11’s hidden document pockets provide a safe place to store those things which you’d like to hide from prying eyes. They also provide super quick access to concealed gear when and if the need ever arises.
The pen pockets at the left sleeve offer quick convenience alongside several other pockets on and inside the shirt. The patented integrated cape-back Drillex cooling system keeps you dry and comfortable all day long. They shirts absorb sweat and dry up incredibly fast that you’ll never feel sweaty or sticky due to your skin being wet.
5.11 has long been setting the standard for multi-purpose tactical apparel worldwide. They are extensively used by police, fire, and military professionals across a broad range of disciplines and have become to go-to uniform for many. This stylish cotton polo shirt combines field-tested resilience and top-tier tactical performance with their long-term experience making quality products in the tactical gear industry.
12) Propper TAC.U Tactical Combat Shirt
The Propper TAC.U Combat Shirt is loaded with innovative features. It starts off with a half-zip front that also has a loop fastener with an encased nametape on the back of the collar. The side panel has an underarm gusset for enhanced range of motion which results in an extremely free moving wearing experience.
A fully articulated elbow with external elbow pad openings ensures that your elbows are never uncomfortable. The double-layer stretch shoulder has additional shoulder pad pockets to provide extra padding to the shoulders so that they aren’t stressed out during hard labour. The vertical zipper pocket on each sleeve has a separate loop fastener patch for insignia. The left arm also has two additional pen pockets that are easily accessible.
The integrated dual cuff has a thumb hole with encased hook and loop fasteners. This boosts the already excellent functionality of the shirt and provides unmatched versatility. It also has multiple dual layer pockets on the sleeves to store anything and everything that you might ever need to carry on your body. This is besides the shoulder pad pockets that are double layered for enhanced stretching.
The shirt construction is inspired by military standards and the sleeves and collar feature durable Battle Rip fabric. It is made from an excellent blend of 65% polyester and 35% rip-stop cotton.
13) Tru-Spec 24-7 Short Sleeve Field Shirt
This one is a much more casual offering by Tru-Spec. Its biggest USP is the dress shirt style tail that gives it a much more undercover look. This is one shirt that will not stand out as a tactical shirt.
Coming to its characteristics, the shirt features a Byron button down collar with buttons that are very cleverly hidden under the collar points. This is an important characteristic of tactical shirts and hiding it further helps the shirt to not stand out as tactical wear. It has pen pockets on each side of the button and this can be easily accessed through the front plackets. It’s excellent to be used as a concealed carry shirt. It features a yoked back for better fit and the shirt underarms additionally have vents to further help keep you dry and your body at the right temperature.
14) Rothco Long Sleeve T-Shirt
This long sleeve T-Shirt is exactly what the title entails. It’s a simple long sleeve T-shirt by Rothco that comes with no brand tag on the front or back. This makes it an excellent choice for screen printing and just casual wear.
The shirt comes in plenty of military-inspired camouflage colour schemes and you’re honestly spoilt for choice here. It’s made of a comfortable 60% cotton, 40% polyester blend. Rothco is the foremost supplier of military, tactical, outdoor, survival clothing and gear. This expertise is reflected in the design and make of this T-shirt and is an excellent option for those looking for casual wear.
15) Under Armour Tactical Tech T-Shirt
Under Armour states that the idea to make this t-shirt started from just a simple idea to build a superior t-shirt and that’s exactly what they did. Using their expertise of manufacturing tactical gear of years, they’ve made a simple half-sleeve t-shirt that is far superior to most other t-shirts on the market today. They have bundled all their experience making tactical clothing from all their diverse product and made a simple t-shirt that can be worn anywhere, anytime for any purpose. It’s made from 100% polyester.
16) 5.11 Tactical Rapid Assault Long Sleeve Shirt
This Rapid Assault Shirt is the perfect addition to 5.11’s popular Tactical Duty Uniform line. 5.11 has worked with an elaborate team of law enforcement officers and military personnel to develop the ultimate combat shirt for tactical and practical use. The body fabric is a lightweight poly/cotton/spandex knit that wicks perspiration and dries up very quickly.
5.11 has engineered mesh panels into the side of the shirt to improve air flow. This will help keep you cool and dry. The torso is form fitting without being tight or restrictive thanks to the premium stretch fabric. They’ve also utilized flat lock seams to reduce chafing and maximize comfort especially when you’re wearing it under body armour. The saddle shoulder construction allows for maximum range of motion regardless of your operation.
The sleeves are constructed of a tough poly/cotton rip stop fabric. The elbows are further articulated and reinforced for added durability. The large, dual shoulder pockets provide additional storage capacity and the half zip entry within the woven collar that can be worn up or down takes care of all your storage and accessibility needs. It is made from an incredible blend of 55% Cotton, 37% Polyester and 8% Knit Spandex.
The 5.11 Tactical Rapid Assault Shirt is the perfect addition to your tactical clothing wardrobe. Simply because a lot of thought and work has gone into it to ensure that you’re never left hanging.
17) Tru-Spec Tactical Response Shirt
Tru-Spec says that this shirt provides the same durability and protection of a combat jacket but with the comfort of a short-sleeved tactical combat shirt. With Tru-Spec’s stellar experience in the field of designing and manufacturing tactical gear, one would a fool to doubt it. This tactical shirt is insanely comfortable and has an excellent fit. So much that it shouldn’t be a combat shirt at all.
Its design is based off the current military clothing design. The tactical shirt is made to provide protection while providing comfort under both body armour and vests. This fact alone is sure to make it a hit among military, law enforcement and fire-fighter individuals. The body of the shirt is made from 60% cotton and 40% Codura. The base layer fabric is made with no melt, no drip requirements. This ensure that you’re kept cool and dry and all moisture is wicked away from body. It dries super quickly too.
The front has a ¼ zipper which has a hooded covering to provide additional comfort and the two short sleeves have spacious shoulder pockets that are very well functional. The overall material used in the shirt is an excellent blend of 65% polyester and 35% cotton. This is one of the best short-sleeved tactical shirts that you can buy on the market today.
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18) Tru-Spec Combat Shirt
This combat shirt is designed to complement an officer’s existing arsenal of equipment whilst presenting a sharp professional image in accordance with the standards of top-tier law enforcement units.
Its design is based off the current military clothing design. The tactical shirt is made to resist shrinkage and the superb quality of the fabric ensures that the colour never fades. This fact alone is sure to make it a hit among military, law enforcement and fire-fighter individuals. The body of the shirt is made from 60% cotton and 40% corduroy. The base layer fabric is thin and lightweight which makes wearing it for extended periods of time quite comfortable. This ensure that you’re kept cool and dry and all moisture is wicked away from body. It dries super quickly too.
The front has a ¼ zipper which has a hooded covering to provide additional comfort and the two long sleeves have spacious shoulder pockets that are very functional. The overall material used in the shirt is an excellent blend of 50% nylon and 50% cotton Codura brand fabric. This is one of the best combat shirts that you can buy on the market today.
So there you go, a comprehensive list of the very best tactical shirts that you can buy on the marketplace today. These shirts are designed to be used and abused to the core in any environment. Even the ones which are lightweight and have thin fabrics will hold up really well against the atrocities of Mother Nature. Not to say, they’ll take any abuse you can dish out to them. They are tear and scratch resistant and most of them are also shrink resistant so you do not need to worry about washing them.
These pieces of clothing are designed to be worn the hell out of. Simply because they are great and that’s what they were designed to do. Most of them have multiple pockets, some of which are even concealed to help you carry those things which you normally wouldn’t. Few pieces of clothing are more versatile than this. And with this list, now you’re spoilt for choice. Choose whichever feels right and just get to that intensive workout or extreme game that you’ve always wanted to do!