Thursday, August 23, 2012

Review: Blackhawk! Engineered-Fit Shirt

Here's another great item made by Blackhawk, that the folks at LEGear sent my way. This innocuous looking shirt is in fact part of Blackhawk's "WarriorWear" Line, of engineered base-layers. I've reviewed other Blackhawk! gear before, in their knee-pad range, and I have some pants from them lined up to look at as well. You may recall that I have reviewed this kind of shirt once before, and I was pleased to be able to look at someone else's take on the design and application of technology.

Here we go: The WarriorWear Engineered-Fit shirt comes in V-neck or crew-neck, I chose crew, as I like having full closure, keeping all my cat-bell like jinglies tucked in. The shirt is actually made of three distinct regions, in two different fabrics. The torso and biceps are made of a very fine Jersey knit in 92% Nylon, 8% Spandex and the underarm strips, running mid-pectoral to mid-shoulder blade are of a 95% polyester, 5% Lycra mesh. This gives you considerable breathing through sweaty armpits, as well as being stretchy for unrestricted movement.
The seams are all extremely flat, almost inappreciably so, and better yet, are placed off the shoulders entirely, giving no pinch points for packs, harnesses or plate carriers loads to press and rub on. Being a long, tall and skinny critter, I don't have a lot of padding that I can shrug off that kind of thing with, so having the seams off my load-bearing areas was a welcome relief. The material is actually brushed on the inside, to give even better contact to the skin,as this is a wicking shirt, and designed to be held tight to the body, both to draw away moisture, but also to prevent agaisnt-the-skin friction from your load. It is also anti-microbially treated, to help prevent stinky goon syndrome.

I can attest to this, having worn it all day under my it at Manifest overnight, then all day at a kendo instructors course. Kendo is a very physical activity, under both heavy gi and armour. The material kept me dry, chaffing free, comfortable all day, and didn't smell! It's going in my running kit at work

It's important to note, that sizing is really important with these types of shirts. You need a skin-tight fit to gain the most from them. The Blackhawk range of Engineered-Fit body-sculpted shirts (in that they aren't just flat panels of fabric, but are "body-shaped") have specific measurements associated for their sizing. To move from their "Standard Fit" and full "Compression Fit" (for those who want that), all you need to do is move one "size" down. I got myself a "Large" but could have probably done better with a "Medium", as the length was more than adequate to cover my long torso, as you can see here as I demonstrate a "traditional Provencal French salute". You can see there has been no ride-up, helped in part by the soft, next-to-body, jacquard elastic waistband, and the intrinsic stretch of the materials used.

I really liked the smooth, matte-finish surface the shirt has. I've now worn it solo, and under a variety of other tops, slept in it, trained in it and have been dry, comfortable and protected from some regular wear and tear. Definitely worth getting into!


  1. Hey. I am looking at getting this shirt in black from LA Police Gear. I am about 6' 175 lbs athletic build and I usually wear larges or mediums with mediums being somewhat tight on my body. I took my chest measurement and got on average 41, should I go with the Medium since I am on the large side of "Medium" or go with the small?

    1. g'day Ryan,

      I would go with the medium for sure. The shirts are long, so i'd go for the snugger-fit for sure. I chose the large for the same reasons you would, but in this case this would be a mistake.

      Good luck, I've had good experiences with LAPG, and the Blackhawk! shirts are super.


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