Critiquing Women’s Dickies Tactical Pants


by: Kathy Sherlock


I’ve finished fit testing, stain testing and wear testing, and my verdict is , YES, I would buy these. And I will be shortly ordering myself a couple more sets.


Allow me to break the critique down by category. First the pants.



The Stretch Ripstop Tactical Pant is made of 43% “Elastererell-P w/ Sorona” (Stretchy Stuff, in other words), 34% Cotton, and 23% Polyester. Translated from seamstress language, this gives the fabric some breathability, some durability, and some “give”.  There is also a Teflon finish to help repel water and stains (more on that later).


The waistband has a hidden elastic insert for comfort, and also has a “gripper” insert in the back to help keep your shirt tucked in. Along the outside waist band in the back, there is an extra pocket for handcuffs, (if you’re into that – LOL).


The front pockets have a flattened area on the corner where you can clip a knife. There is a front “cellphone” pocket as well, and the side cargo pockets have several internal dividers for magazines, keys, etc. The back pockets are “inset” -meaning they are sewn to the pants internally, not just a patch of fabric that was slapped on the back. These pockets close with Velcro, and do not have a flap. ( I prefer this, as back flaps always get in my way when I’m trying to access a magazine or bandana back there.)

Dickies offers these pants in Misses sizes 4-16, and 18W-24W. The color selection is Black, Sand, Green, and “Midnight”. I chose Green.


PANT FITimage5

I will be the first to admit that I am not an easy out-of-the-box fit. Sometimes I think I was made up of leftover pieces that weren’t originally intended to go together. I’m about 5′ 4″ on a tall day, but with size 10 feet, and hands to match. I’ve got broad shoulders, boobage, and a substantial caboose. But I also have T rex arms and a 29″ inseam. Taking in waists and hemming up pant legs are my usual life, so that is a “no penalty assessed” thing for any clothing maker. It’s simply a cost of doing business in this body.


I usually take a size 16-18, so I went with 18W, which I knew would probably be a little big. Yes, I used to be a 10-12, but that was 30 years ago. Wait, why am I apologizing?There are guy shooters out there with 48 inch waists, and they are not apologizing for their size. So screw the guilt. Yes, I am, as fellow Lady 3-Gunner Christi Conner Tate says, a “Sturdy Girl”. (Thanks Christi!)


As a brief “soapbox” aside, yes “Sturdy Girls” shoot. Shooters come in all shapes and sizes, and the Industry is just going to have to get used to it. Women are not a one-size-fits-all demographic. We have money to spend, desires to feed, and lead to send downrange. And if you give us what we’re looking for – ALL of us, not just the size 0-12 girls – we will line up to give you our money. (End rant)


The pants arrived unhemmed, as I requested. The unhemmed inseam for size 18W was 36″, so you could comfortably hem these to 35″. I went to 29″.


These are a relaxed fit, so there was plenty of room in the seat and thighs. I did take a couple darts in the waist to bring it in a little (the norm for me, as I mentioned above). The rise was high enough to be comfortable, and not feel like I was going to lose them at the next low port. (Hip-huggers and leggings are NOT what I’m looking for in range wear). I love the shirt-grabber band in the back to keep my shirt tucked in. My only complaint about the waist is that the handcuff pocket at center back gaps a little when belted in. Since I don’t need handcuffs, I’ll probably put a little Velcro on that. Or I could just use it as an extra emergency mag pouch.



Since these pants came with a tag that advertised Teflon-treated stain resistance, I accepted the challenge. I subjected them to sunscreen, gun oil, gun carbon residue, colored lip balm, pen ink, grass, and blood.  Details here.


The gun oil required a second round of treatment, and didn’t all come out, but everything else did. But admittedly, this was a torture test, as I let the stains sit for a week before I treated them. I make no apologies – this represents my real life and laundry habits – Martha Stewart doesn’t live here! LOL

The stain resistance actually exceeded my expectations.



Overall, wear has been great so far. I have washed these pants at least five times and they retain a neat appearance, without looking rumpled or faded. I can’t say that for my cheap Walmart men’s cargo pants. Neatness isn’t a critical detail for a shooting match, but if you are employed as a truly “tactical” type, a professional appearance matters.


The pockets are plentiful and roomy (most women’s pockets, if they are there at all, are designed to be flattering, not practical). The belt loops did NOT interfere with my holster placement (as many plain cargo pants do). The seat gave me neither plumber’s butt, nor the need for undie picking after squatting at a low port. (Most pants -including a certain decimal number company’s – give me both)!