The ATACS -FG version of these have been the only trousers I have used for airsoft for just shy of two years now, so the review should be fairly reflective of how well they stand up to being used and abused.
The 3D Integrated Battle Pants are OPS take on the very in vogue trend started by Crye Precision, with integrated knee pads and the like. There are aspects of the OPS pants that I actually prefer over Crye Precision ones, although they mainly revolve around the insertable kneepads rather than the trousers themselves, and there are of course aspects which Crye outdoes OPS in but we’ll go into that later on. Whilst OPS gear is not real steel and therefore aren’t built with the idea of them standing up to the riggers of an Afghan deployment, they are at the top end of the airsoft gear market, coming in at around £130, which also includes a set of the insert-able knee pads so you are ready to go without any further harm to your wallet.
So how have these ‘airsoft spec’ trousers held up? Very well! The only thing I have noticed happening in the last couple of months is a few loose threads on the loop velcro which is positioned behind the knees to adjust the position of the kneepads, and some on the loop velcro on the lower leg closure, which given that the Jurby site is full of gorse, thorns and other things designed perfectly to snag your gear is very good going for two years of service and nothing that a knife and a lighter to seal the threads couldn’t solve. The kneepads are fully adjustable in both height on the leg and also sideways through the use of velcro and elastic so you can ensure that they slide over the knee when in the knelt position although I have found the side-to-side adjustments can get caught on some of the nastier looking gorse and thorns and come undone and make itself a bit of a snag hazard but generally they stay in place unless you start going knee deep in spikey pathways (which I find myself all too often doing). I have only once found the kneepads making a bid for freedom and that was after a particularly treacherous ‘expedition’ through waist deep gorse and thorns coupled with a face plant, so the tension and velcro retention system works well here too.
The colour has faded over the 2 years of use, although I have tried to preserve as best as possible by only showering them down with lukewarm water rather than subjecting them to the washing machine and the colour has held up well enough in my eyes (although the first two washes they did end up getting subjected to a hot wash which caused most of the fading off the bat), and has helped the colours to look more natural, as when new they slightly on the bright side (not OPS fault, as they use genuine ATACS-FG materials). As you can see, over time the colours have become a bit more washed out (particularly the green colour) although it is still there.
OPS vs Crye Precision – standing up to the big boys
So how do OPS stack up against Crye Precision? Having just bought a set of Gen 3 Crye Precision pants in MC there are a few notable differences between the two. Firstly, the kneepads are not interchangeable, as the CP Airflex pads are too large for the OPS (the actual plastic knee pad piece is the same size, but the fins around the pad on the CP are much larger). The CP pads are also secured slightly better than the OPS ones, however neither is lacking. As mentioned at the start, this is where I actually think OPS have done a better job on the kneepad design than CP in a certain regard. As the picture shows below, the OPS pads have grooves cut into them over the whole pad, where as Crye is generally flat, with grooves only cut to aid in bending. The grooves in the OPS pads actually provided better grip than the Crye’s when I tested them on wet grass and concrete so +1 to OPS for that.
The OPS trousers however do not have quite as many features as the CP Gen 3s do. For example they do not feature any stretch panels around the knees or around the back of the waist, although OPS do produce another set of trousers called the ‘Ultimate Direct Action Pants’ which does incorporate stretch panels in the same way as Crye do. The fly on the OPS is also slightly outdated as they feature a full button fly rather than zip/velcro that Crye uses and which I prefer. The slight padding that Crye has added to the Gen 3s waist is also a nice touch which the OPS trousers don’t have, so you might find after a long op that they might start to rub a little (although they didn’t after two days at AI500 so that’s good enough). There are also a few other little additions that the Gen 3s have that the OPS do not, but all in all they are very similar in terms of features.
So given the comparison to Crye G3s, would I recommend the OPS trousers? Absolutely. The Crye’s are put together nicer and have a few extra features, but for £230 (assuming you have to buy the kneepads as well), that is exactly what you would expect. Do the OPS feel £100 cheaper than the Crye’s? I wouldn’t say so, and the fact that they have survived 2 years of use and abuse through a site that is full of nature trying to snag you is testament to their build quality.
Therefore I would give the OPS trousers:
+ Has withstood 2 years of airsoft use without any tears or threads coming loose everywhere and whilst the colour has faded it still looks like ATACS FG.
+ Ridged knee pads make for better grip on wet surfaces when compared to Crye version
+ Adjustable in all the right places – waist band, knee pad height and side-to-side
+ Comfortable and fast drying when wet and don’t become weighed down when wet.
+ Come with knee pads.
— Button fly could be improved with a zip/top button or zip/Velcro like Crye.
— Side-to-side knee pad adjustments can get snagged on thicker undergrowth and come loose.
— A padded waist would be nice, but I only even thought it was missing something because I just got some Gen 3s otherwise I wouldn’t have even noticed.
Overall the negatives are small things that unless I had the Crye’s to do a side by side against, I probably wouldn’t have noticed them. Whilst they aren’t up in Crye/Arc’Teryx price range, they are top of the market in terms of airsoft gear but the price in my eyes is definitely worth while, and but for the AI500 rule restrictions on Kryptek Mandrake, I’d have snapped up another pair of OPS in Mandrake for that event too.