The Rapid Deployment Shirts are available long sleeve or short; but the long sleeves are easily rolled up for warmer temps.
Photo credit: Magnum USA
The pants are available in various colors and have well thought out pocket placement and design.
Photo credit: Magnum USA
Pockets to fit 30-rd AR magazines, knives, phones, etc are all included in the design.
Photo credit: Magnum USA
It feels odd to be writing a product review and citing the instigating event to SHOT Show back in January, but here I am. At SHOT Show I was in the Magnum booth looking at new products and was shown the Rapid Deployment uniform line. A couple months later I received a sample set to wear test and began doing what I do best: trying to break something. Before I could wear test this uniform though, I had to lose a few pounds - and I'll explain why further down. In general, once I lost that weight, I was pleased with this uniform fit and function and I quite often wear the pants when I'm not on duty. In the recent extreme high temperatures, if I have to wear long pants, they're definitely my preference. More on that too.... Let's look.
First and foremost (and why I had to lose some weight) understand that these are "honest" pants. There is no expanding waist. What the waist size is, is what it is. I've been ordering pants with a 36" waist for years. Most of them had expanding waists and I never paid attention (because it kept my ego intact) to how much the waistline had to stretch when I put them on. When I received my test pair of the Magnum RD Pants and went to put them on... well, I couldn't button the waist. When I got on the scale I found out why. Two months later, lots of exercise and watching my nutritional intake, and I could button the pants and function in them. They are HONEST pants. Order your actual size; not the size that requires an expanding waistline to protect your ego.
Once I got them on I was quite impressed with fit and comfort. Made from 5.4 ounce 100% cotton ripstop, they are very light weight and the overall design is one that functions well in hot temperatures. Even the front pockets are made from mesh net so there are less layers of fabric retaining body heat so close to your groin. We all know that we sweat first in our joints and when you think about it, your front pockets sit right on top of a joint: where your leg meets your torso on either side of your groin. Typical pants design layers fabric there because of the pockets. Someone at Magnum was smart enough to put mesh net there and it has a distinctively cooler feel to it. The other side of that is it also lets you feel whatever's in your pockets more clearly against the skin on your pelvis or leg.
The pants have:
- two standard back pockets
- two standard front pockets (with mesh net as described)
- two magazine pockets (more on those in a minute)
- two phone / PDA pockets
- two "Rapid Deployment Knife Pockets" (RDKP)
- two miscellaneous ciip-friendly pockets
The two back pockets have no closure mechanism. That's not a criticism, just as observation. The two magazine pockets are large enough to accommodate .223 / 5.56mm magazines and are set into/onto the pants leg at an angle so you can still access the magazine / pocket with your leg bent as if kneeling, etc. The two phone/PDA pockets are set onto the lower face of the magazine pockets and set at the same angle. This makes getting to your phone/PDA easier while seated. The Rapid Deployment Knife Pockets are set at the hip, just behind the front pockets, just in front of, and lower than, the back pockets. They are reinforced so that clip caused wear-and-tear is minimized and are deep enough to hold most folding knives with blades 4.5" or less, depending on the placement of the clip in the knife design. Finally, there are two other pockets I can't find in the published literature about the pants. They are sized right for handgun magazines or folding knives and are placed just above and on the groin side of the .223/5.56mm magazine pockets. I tend to use one of them for a small (single CR123 cell LED) flashlight and have, on occasion, dropped my lighter into the other one.
The design of the pants does seem to focus on comfort in heat and while needing to move as might be expected in emergency circumstances. The crotch is gusseted, is double stitched and has six small vent holes to permit air flow. The knees are "articulated" (stitched with curve built in) and have an internal knee-pad pocket. I had to look twice to find the opening to put in the knee-pads because the stitching inside the pants is so well done. The belt loops are stitched at two spots along the bottom of the waistline so that even if one rips out, the other is still intact. The loops are also big enough to accommodate a 2" wide belt. The pants are available (per the website) in black, navy blue and "mocha" (what Magnum calls that shade of khaki / tan). I'll likely be ordering a couple pair in Navy Blue and Mocha. For the summer months these are incredibly comfortable thanks to the focus on venting and air flow.
The Rapid Deployment Shirt is also made from 5.4 ounce 100% cotton ripstop and is available in Navy Blue, brown and tan (Desert Sage). There is a breast pocket on each side but what, at first glance, looks like the opening isn't. The upper chest is vented using the same mesh material as that in the pocket "buckets". On the right side pocket, the zippered opening is horizontal at the top. On the left side pocket the zippered opening is vertical on the chest-center side (obviously). There are also two "Ab Concealed Equipment Pockets" (ACEP) just below the breast pockets on each side. Only your imagination limits what you might use those pockets for since they'd fit anything from pens to knives to pistol magazines and more. There is another remaining pocket in one of the least expected places: An "Escape & Evasion Money Stash" (EEMS) pocket located in the center underside of the collar. It's big enough to hold five to ten bills, folded twice. I've never seen such a pocket designed into a shirt before. My first thought was, "It'll also hold a handcuff key" which either could be good for cops (because you just never know) or bad if bad-guys get hip and start wearing these shirts.
The back of the shirt is vented just like the chest and airflow is plentiful. The sleeves have no pockets on them but can be rolled up and have the necessary snap-strap to hold them up into that rolled position. All of the "buttons" are actually snaps and they hold pretty well. I didn't have any of them "break snap" while I was wear testing the uniform. The cuffs have two snap positions for tighter / looser fit. The shirt can be worn tucked in as a day uniform or worn out like a BDU wear.
Overall I was highly impressed with the heat management / cooling comfort designed into the RD pants and shirt. While the shirt is available in short sleeve, with the long sleeve shirts so easily adjustable and with rolled sleeves secured, I consider purchasing the short sleeve variant as a personal option. More information on these items can be found on the Magnum website. MSRP shown on the site should never be considered what you actually pay. Do some research both online and at your local retail outlets. I'm sure you can find them for less than MSRP.
About The Author:
Lt. Frank Borelli (ret) is the Editor In Chief for Officer.com, and has over 29 years of military and civilian law enforcement experience. An instructor since 1989 and having delivered training across the country, he stays active in police work, training, and writing. Frank has had four non-fiction and two fiction books published along with two research papers of specific interest to the law enforcement and/or military communities. All can be found / purchased on his Author Page on Amazon.com linked above. If you have any comments or questions, you can contact him via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.