One of the most obvious gaps in any CCW system is the wearing of workout gear. I’ve noticed, you’ve noticed, and we can bet the bad guys have noticed. The workarounds are many, but none of them are really very good. Like a lot of you, I prefer to wear sweats to and from the gym. I can stick my pistol in my pocket, but its less than ideal. Sweats aren’t made for that, and not only does it print and drag, but it is slow to deploy and obvious. I have shoved my blaster in my gym bag before, but that isn’t the best solution for rapid use either. So this week, I am very happy to review a product that is purpose built to solve the problem.
A couple of months ago, Arrowhead Tactical Apparel asked if I would be interested in giving their sweats a test drive. This is not a question that would need to be asked twice. As a left-over habit from the Army, I am pretty much in sweats anytime dressing like a grown up is not required. Which is most of the time these days. With my area still mired in COVID hysteria, there isn’t a lot of reason to put on real clothes. I would also bet that over the course of the last year, many of you are in the same boat.
The same night I talked to Arrowhead, I found myself on the way to pick up Chinese take-out. I looked at my holstered Hellcat, and had two options. (Leaving it at home wasn’t one of them. Daddy doesn’t play that.) Not that long ago, I would have changed clothes just to be able to wear my blaster. Even if the only real-time of exposure was the walk from the car to the pick-up window and back, Boy Scout rules apply. Or I could sloppily put my gun in my pocket, as mentioned above in the gym scenario. Either was less than ideal, and I was really hopeful that Arrow Head’s product could live up to the hype.
Now in my discussion prior to review, I had some questions that needed to be answered. Quite obviously there is an intersecting circle of dudes that like to do Crossfit and shoot guns, but isn’t that big. The original Carrier Jogger has an athletic fit and a tapered design, clearly made for people that take the fitness part seriously. I, as many of you, have commented, fit a lot more in the “practicing running breeds cowardice” body type. And I’m not alone, I’ve been to SHOT Show. Does Arrowhead make an option for us plus-sized gun models?
Happily, yes. The Carrier Sweatpant has a looser fit and a full length inseam, much more suited to 12 ounce curls.
What about the ladies? My wife was immediately interested, as women are quite frequently attacked while jogging. A quick Google search will show you just how common that is. Arrowhead does not, at the present, make a dedicated women’s line. It’s in the works, but not here yet. In order to have a full answer, I went ahead and ordered the athletic fit model in a men’s size small. Household 6 is very much on the petite side, and they fit just fine.
Okay, how does it work, and does it work? Like most brilliant solutions, it is actually quite simple. The outer waistband of the pants ( or shorts) is elastic with a draw string, just like any other sweats. Inside, however, is another set of wide loops. An enclosed semi stretchy gun belt is run through the inner loops, and provides enough rigidity to hold a firearm. To keep the hardware slim, Arrow Head uses an ingenious magnetic locking buckle. The footprint is very small, but it will hold up anything you have.
The owner of Arrowhead Tactical makes his own videos using a SIG P320X5. Which is not a small handgun. In order to match his claims, we chose to test the Carrier Sweatpant with a SIG P320 VTAC, very nearly the same size. Combined with a Black Point IWB made specifically for the VTAC, we were in business.
In a rather surprising twist, the Carrier Sweatpants were quite comfortable with this set up. I will also credit Black Point for making a fantastic holster, but Arrowhead delivers. You can walk around all day with a full-size gun in your sweats, and it feels really no different than jeans with a gun belt. Borderline unbelievable, but true.
In range performance, the sweats again get high marks. Despite the belt being thin, at no point did I draw both gun and holster, which would be bad. Are there drawbacks? Two, but I consider both of them minor. First, if you appendix carry, the belt will be pulled out of your sweats slightly when you draw. Due to construction, most of the front appendix area is outside of the retaining loops. Not a big deal, and the belt still keeps ahold of the holster. But maybe an inch of extra draw stroke from appendix. The second is the one place you do notice the belt giving a bit. On the draw stroke, no big deal. But reholstering, it does try to push your pants off a bit. Again, no big deal. This isn’t your set up for a defensive pistol class, and if you draw on the street reholstering is way down the list of concerns.
One other oddity- I find myself now preferring the stiff waistband of the Arrow Head tactical pants, even when I’m not packing heat in the house. It is oddly comfortable, and now my other sweats feel sloppy.
The full-size P320 does work fine, but once you switch over to a smaller gun? Unreal. When I carry my P365 in this setup, it just disappears. Never again be unarmed, no matter what you are doing. Arrowhead Tactical Apparel makes a product I can highly recommend. And I can recommend it for reasons besides function too.
The owners of Arrow Head Tactical are quite obviously Second Amendment supporters. They wouldn’t make a product like this if they were not. So you can spend $84.99 with a company that is in your corner, or you can give your money to the people at Nike and Under Armor that hate you. Considering Nike has several models that cost more than that despite being made in a Chinese sweat shop, quite possibly by slave labor. If you need some sweats, please support a brand that is at least on your team.