The time of year when we start thinking about adding a few layers to our daily uniform is upon us. Now I understand how little "street cred" a guy from Arizona will have telling you about cold weather gear, but with nighttime lows in the 30s it is definitely chilly enough for a good insulated jacket. Don't worry; I won't be testing parkas and mittens any time soon.
Dickies, a brand synonymous with hard-use work-wear, recently ventured into the law enforcement market with a line of tactical clothing. The company now offers everything from tactical pants and shirts to outerwear, including the Tactical Softshell Jacket. What I would consider a medium-weight jacket, the Tactical Softshell is the perfect weight for a range of winter weather conditions.
If you're like me, you add a good base layer to your uniform for the ability to block the wind and keep you warm without adding bulk. This Dickies jacket works well as a final layer that not only adds insulation but also completely blocks out the cold winds and even light rain and snow. Constructed from very durable polyester, the Tactical Softshell also incorporates a bit of Spandex. This provides just enough stretch to prevent rips and increase range of motion. The water- and wind-resistant outer shell is lined with micro-fleece for warmth and the whole thing is machine washable.
The design of the Tactical Softshell is simple and clean. It is professional enough for uniform wear yet stylish enough to be donned in plain clothes or off duty. If you're working an undercover assignment or need a good raid jacket, the Tactical Softshell features three pull-out identification panels; two in badge-sized squares in front and a large one in the back. All three are lined with reflective striping.
Although not a storage workhorse, the Tactical Softshell has just enough pockets for all the essentials. Two side pockets that keep your hands warm and one side-access chest pocket large enough for a backup pistol are secured with robust YKK zippers. Inside is a small pocket perfect for your phone or wallet. Both sides of the Tactical Softshell are zippered to allow easy access to a pistol yet almost disappear when zipped up and not in use.
Available in black and dark blue, the Dickies Tactical Softshell jacket is a durable piece of gear that'll work as hard as you do. If you're starting to feel the winter chill, you might consider picking one up.
Dickies Tactical Softshell Jacket Specs:
Shell: 9.8-ounce 92% Polyester/ 8% Spandex 3-Layer Softshell
Lining: 4.13-ounce 100% Polyester brushed tricot
- Durable water-repellent finish
- Wind resistant
- Side holster CCW access
- Warm lining
- Hidden front and back ID panels
- Inside storage pocket
- Front slash hand warmer pockets
- Articulated elbows
- Price: $199
A.J. George is a patrol sergeant with the Scottsdale (Ariz.) Police Department who also serves as the SWAT team's crisis negotiation supervisor.