Over the years, I have worn many different uniform shirts. From the old BDU and ACU tops of my military days to more Class A/Class B style uniform shirts during my days in law enforcement and private security. I’ve went rounds with Blauer, Elbeco, Flying Cross, Propper and Galls as well as the bottom of the barrel shirts from manufacturers like Image First.
A few months ago, I literally stumbled across a deal that I could not pass up; a 5.11 PDU Class B shirt that was listed for $25 (instead of the typical $55). Figuring that I’d pounce on the deal, I ordered a few shirts via online and figured that I’d order them in a size larger due to concealable body armor.
Now, with all of that said, allow me to explain my view point in 5.11 before I get into the review.
While I do generally like their pants, I am not a fan of their plate carriers at all and their boots and gloves are just okay (nothing special). Their polos are also “okay” but since I can’t stand polos, I can’t give a true opinion. This is literally my first experience with their uniform shirts.
Back to the review, the first thing that I noticed when I unboxed the PDU shirts was how large these things were. Granted, yes, I did buy a size larger because of my body armor…I do that with most of my uniform shirts, but these things were ridiculous. Is it possible that I received quality control rejects and that’s why they were so cheap? It’s possible, but from what I see today, it appears that they were just on sale.
After attempting to try the shirts on (with armor), I honestly wanted to just return them and wash my hands of it; however, I am kind of glad that I didn’t. I did, however, take them down to my local alterations shop and had them work their magic. The sides were taken in, the sleeves (short sleeves mind you) had to be shortened and they had to be tapered. All in all, by the time I was done, I ended up paying basically full price for the shirts (even though they were originally heavily discounted) due to the alterations. If you’re reading this and you’re thinking about buying the PDU Class B shirts online, realize that they run almost two sizes larger than normal.
As far as the wear is concerned, I really like these shirts…with one, small issue/concern (aside from the size): the fabric can get a little toasty. If you are working the northern states during He spring, fall or winter, you should be fine. If you’re down south and/or it’s summer time, expect to sweat a little more than usual; especially if you are wearing body armor (concealed or external).
For me, quality is pretty good as well. While I am not the toughest person on the planet when it comes to uniforms, I can dish out some abuse. So far, even with the couple scuffles that I’ve had, the shirts have held up.
In the end, Am I going to completely ditch Elbeco or Blauer for 5.11? Not so much. 5.11’s Class B PDU shirts aren’t bad and I will continue to wear them for contracts. But I personally like Elbeco and Blauer shirts more.