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Honest Review: 5.11 Tactical Watches for Gen X & Millennials



The 5.11 Tactical powerhouse is hell-bent on making the best apparel possible for shooters and gun enthusiasts. Many of us are familiar with its extensive lines of pants, shirts, and boots, but we often skip past the many accessories that this California-based company brings to the table. Among other things, 5.11 makes some incredibly tough watches that handle the roughest ranges and reflect the style of dress to which we have become accustomed. For 2022 two new models hit the shelves, the Outpost and the Division; let’s check them out.

The Outpost is a sneaky way to keep Millennials in the dark of the hour, as it is an analog design. (If you really want to confuse them, you can put it on the arm you use to work your stick shift.) This watch features a robust 44mm case home to large-format numbers and a hand system treated with a photoluminescent material for use in low-light conditions. Three additional dials provide at-a-glance military time conversion for those who can’t add 12 to the afternoon hour, or have downed so many PBRs that they can’t tell if it’s day or night (please stay off the range, and your sister).

I wore the watch for a week, and although heavy, it was rather comfortable. I attribute this to the fabric band that was completely breathable—it’s even removable and washable should you have a mishap at the urinal (too many PBRs). The mineral crystal proved to be tough as nails too, as it was constantly scraping against the pointy contents that make up the abysses that are my pants pockets. Lastly, as I threw out the manual in a vulgar display of toxic masculinity, I found setting the four dials to be instinctive. Simply pull the crown and turn the minute hand until you have the time you want, then press the flanking buttons to adjust the military dials.

While you might find the Outpost strapped to a wrist that is clutching a 1911, the Division is a tick-tock that you just might see on TikTok. Its oversized digital display is just the thing 20-somethings need to watch the seconds of their life slip away as they pursue a meaningless degree in something woke. For those who like to think long-term, you will enjoy the heads-up date display that also shows the day of the week. 5.11 left out the year, but most of us can get that straight by May, or June at the latest. The Division is also built with a 44mm case and that same fabric band that makes it effortless to don and cozy for the long haul. I enjoyed and appreciated the use of a mineral crystal where most digital watches go the plastic route to save a buck. Plastic is a no-no for watches in my line of work, as all it takes is one stray ejected case to gouge it beyond recognition. On the range, I loved that the Division had both a stopwatch and a timer, as both were incredibly handy when running drills, and it matched every gun and pair of gloves I own.

These new watches retail for $125 and $105 (respectively) and come in multiple color options. The Outpost can be had in either Black or the grey-toned storm finish, while the Division can be purchased in either Black or Tac OD. Both watches are built to be water-resistant to depths as far down as 100m/330ft, making them ideal choices for divers, fishermen, or editors who’ve been reading my articles all day. (Editor’s note: Thanks for the nitrogen narcosis. I’m still not going to let you start a sentence with a numeral.)

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