While many martial arts remain instructed in a traditional environment with dedicated dogi (martial arts uniforms), many others are developing a more tactical and real-life intent practice paradigm. In either case, martial artists and personal protection enthusiasts are embracing the tactical community in the way of gear, training, and apparel. Tactical clothing was once the purview of on and off duty police and military, but is quickly entering the mainstream as more individuals are seeking personal protection training. Many of these items of clothing were designed for firearms enthusiasts and for that style practice. From self defense shooting to sports shooting activities, the crop of apparel that has hit the market catering to these enthusiasts is staggering. With more hands-on training, will this apparel hold up?
This review is an initial look at the Atlanco Tru-Spec 24/7 men’s short sleeve polo shirt. The supplied shirt was black, size XL. The shirt is a 60/40 cotton/polyester blend. It has the look and feel of a performance fabric, and is ever so slightly heavier feeling than a full synthetic shirt.
The collar sits well, does not curl or otherwise bunch up, ensuring a nice neat appearance. The neck has a very rugged yoke in it, which has allowed it to stand up to various grabs and pulls. The button down has three buttons with a loop at the bottom. This loop is presumably to hang glasses or a mic off of. This loop is right at the base of the button down area, and is not noticeable if the wearer chooses not to employ it.
The sleeves are the perfect length of coverage making this shirt suitable for business casual wear as well as training. The armpits are gusseted allowing a good range of motion and do not have a bunched up feel. The left sleeve has a 2-pen sleeve pocket. I normally carry a Smith and Wesson Tactical Pen as part of my every day carry, and this sleeve pocket appears to have been tailor-made for that model. It fit perfectly. I would like to see a sleeve pocket on the right sleeve since some of us are left handed. As it was, drawing the tactical pen from this pocket was relatively simple, and from a martial standpoint, did not create an awkward vulnerability when drawing. Arms were able to stay low, in front in a protective way, and the draw out of the sleeve led into a decent backfist posture that naturally brought the point of the pen to bear.
The length of the shirt was sufficient for even longer torso individuals. Being 6’3”, I find many polo shirts to be too short, which causes them to untuck easily. The Tru-Spec shirt was sufficient length, and the back length was slightly extended promoting good tuckability. Plumbers everywhere will boycott this.
A normal day
The shirt was worn twice a week for over a month. Environments include home, work, training, and everywhere in between. It is light enough to function as a full synthetic “performance polo”, but just heavy enough to withstand the rigors of physical wear. Activities include desk work, withstanding the destructive forces of a 3 year old boy, training activities such as martial arts seminars and regular class, mowing the lawn, and other mundane chores. In all cases, the shirt was cool, allowed air flow, always looked professional, did not snag, tear, or rip.
A day at the dojo
This shirt was then worn at the dojo during a training event involving firearms as well as martial techniques. Through breakfalls, rolls, grapples, punches, and kicks, the shirt held up very well to the abuse and did not falter. It was breathable, sturdy, and professional appearing at all times.
As a part of every-day wear, the shirt has been worn about twice a week for over two months. It has fully withstood the rigors of every-day life. The other performance polo shirts I have tried tend to rip or run, especially in the washing machine. This is even after being careful and ensuring only shirts of similar style are washed together. The Atlanco Tru-Spec shirt has not “run” or ripped in any way, a trait that performance fabric polos all seem to have in common. No punctures, rips, tears, or wear areas have developed through what is intermediate to heavy use. Their appearance remains like new after repeated washing and drying cycles, and they remain fully serviceable.