The Basic Requirements For A BDU
Let’s start with some basic considerations about what the pros look for in a BDU.
When it comes to tactical gear in general, we can think of three key points that need to be met in order to serve the needs of the tactical community.
- Durability (must be combinable with other equipment)
A BDU must meet all the points and expectations that professionals have of a high quality BDU.
Striker Combat Pants (2012)
It was undoubtedly the most important milestone of the Striker BDU. In 2013, the first model in our combat trousers series laid the foundation for the UF PRO combat trousers.
Here are two highlights of the original design.
The thermal stress of physical activity heats up one of the largest muscle groups in your body, the thigh region. The large muscle mass generates a lot of heat when running and walking, for which we have found a smart solution.
The front and back upper thigh fabric we used in this model was extremely air permeable thanks to a unique NyCO knit fabric.
In high temperatures, the fabric undoubtedly offered one of the best ventilation properties we have seen to date.
Unfortunately, there’s a reason the fabric wasn’t widely used in the tactical industry. He had a disadvantage when it comes to durability. The knit structure could be damaged very easily, as only one yarn had to break to cause damage to the entire structure of the fabric (as shown by the red yarn in the image above).
Due to the large forces used during the manufacturing process, parts of the material were structurally damaged even before the pants were deployed in the field. Although most pants were not affected, we were unable to meet our own quality standards and so we decided to remove this particular version from future designs.
Another feature of the pants were the Tourniquet TQ loops in the thigh area. The initial consideration was that they were easily accessible and practical. However, this approach was not adopted by the professionals.
The side pockets also had a slightly different shape than in the Striker XT and no additional cell phone pocket with a strap.
One of the early prototypes of the Striker XT combat pants (left) alongside the Striker combat pants (right).
Striker Xt Combat Pants (2014)
The XT version of this model brought significant changes from its predecessor. The foundation of the “Gen.0” was solid, but there was some room to adapt the pant to its current version.
We changed the cut of the pants to a more anatomical fit by increasing the stretch area in the back. The back pockets were sewn onto this stretch fabric. This was important because we broke up the monochromatic area with camouflage elements.
The back pockets were sewn onto this stretch fabric. This was important because we broke up the monochromatic area with camouflage elements.
The pants are more body shaped overall and have an anatomical fit due to the increased stretch area in the back.
The knee area has been redesigned to a better ergonomic shape by implementing two Schoeller stretch sections below and above the knee section. This offered better protection with a wider leg position.
There was also a separate pocket for the UF PRO Solid Pads. You can now wear the pants and only use the penetration-resistant armor.
A completely new feature was also a double zipper (which can be pulled from both the bottom and the top) and the new leg width adjustment zippers for a better fit around the boots.
The Development Of The Knee Area
Between the Gen.0 and the Striker XT combat trousers, we have completely revised the knee area. At the time, this was one of the major changes to our pant design.
The basic idea was that we tried to separate the Solid and our two CUSHION and IMPACT knee pads because we wanted to offer the pros a wide range of modularity in their BDU.
Perhaps the most interesting prototype from this development process was the ‘striped’ knee version, which used a mix of the same stretch material as the back of the pants between the CORDURA fabric.
We tested the CORDURA, stretch and ripstop combinations, all dictated by the Solid Pads that shaped the knee area.
In the end, puncture resistance, durability and comfort were the key factors. CORDURA was thus the simplest option for the knee area. The material is durable and available in camouflage colors. The other alternative, schoeller®-keprotec, was great in terms of performance but lacked IR protection and stealth options.
The knee pads themselves were further developed a little later. The first line of improvement was the material used in the pads.
The first material version used was a d3o version, which was later dropped for durability and weight concerns.
Already after the first version we switched to the SAS-TECH material, which is still used in our knee and elbow pads today. This gave us two different material versions. The super soft foam was optimal for extra cushioning and SAS-TECH was the top choice for impact protection with excellent energy absorption properties (the pads stiffen on impact).
These two materials became today’s IMPACT and CUSHION versions of the 3D Tactical Knee Pads.
The next big step was changing the actual shape of the knee pads. By creating a 3D shape instead of the flat design, we were able to save some weight and improve the ergonomic fit of the knee pads by mimicking the vertical and horizontal flex of the knee area.
The new shape gave us the opportunity to reduce the thickness at the edges of the pads (by around 5mm) and add it in the middle (6-7mm). So at the point where you most likely expect an impact.
The curvature of the new shape also provided better vertical mobility.
The new design of the 3D Tactical Knee Pads also included a separate Solid Pad pocket and allowed the wearer to use an additional level of penetration protection in our P-40 Tactical Pants range.
Striker Xt Gen.2 Combat Pants (2016)
The Striker XT Gen.2 is our current benchmark at UF PRO for the industry’s best combat pants.
The two massive updates from Striker combat pants to Striker XT combat pants made it to Gen.2. The waist and knee section remained unchanged.
The main differences are the pockets in the rear stretch area of the Gen.2 and their integration into the stretch area. In this way we were able to achieve a much larger stretch area for better comfort.
The two additions that the Gen.1 does not have were:
- Adjustment of the calf width with a cord (the cord was incorporated in a lower leg pocket)
- boot hook. The pant legs attach over the boots, preventing sand, mud, snow, etc. from getting into your boots or pants.
Striker Ht Combat Pants (2015)
The Striker HT was released a year before the Striker XT Gen.2. However, for a better understanding of the changes, they are presented here after the XT Gen.2 model.
The HT follows the same design as the XT Gen.2 but adds an entirely new feature in the form of two front venting zips for extra airflow. It was designed as an all-around pant, similar to the XT Gen.2, but also includes a feature for higher temperature environments.
Striker X Combat Pants (2019)
Our latest pair is also the first that we have developed specifically for the tactical sector.
Based on military feedback, the Striker X Combat Pants were designed from the ground up for military units.
The X features a completely different streamlined construction. The knee area is more even without the external Solid Pads pocket. Seams are overlapped using a special weaving technique, making the pants less likely to rip overall, even if you get caught in branches or wire.
Another key difference is that the Striker X design is easier to patch. You can quickly sew them back together right in the field with a needle and thread (one way to make the repair easier is to use buttons instead of zippers for the bag closures).
Striker Xt And Xt Gen.2 Combat Shirt (2016)
With any combat shirt there is a conflict between comfort and durability. On the one hand, the substance must
- dry quickly and transport moisture quickly
- be durable
- be as comfortable as possible.
However, you cannot have all qualities in one. The substance is always a compromise.
The overall design of the Striker XT “Gen.1” Combat Shirt was good but rated excellent with the Gen.2. Here are some highlights of the improvements.
The air/pac shoulder weight distribution panels and fit were already great and didn’t require any further changes.
The fabric used under the armpits was not antibacterial enough and developed the first odors after wearing it for a long time. That has been addressed by using a Maring wool fabric covered with a high tenacity polyamide mesh for better durability.
A small change was also made to the upper sleeve pocket. A bite strap has been added there to make it easier for the pros to close the bag.
An additional feature was the Molle channels for additional gear should you wish to attach it to your forearms. In addition, we designed a phone pouch for it.
At the time it was unclear how mobile device development would affect the tactical sector and we were at the forefront when our phone pouch was designed to fit the Molle channels on the forearms to allow easier access to the technology .